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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Small airplane belly-flops on Lana'i's runway

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

A twin-engine airplane with four people aboard made a hard landing at Lana'i Airport yesterday afternoon, but no one was hurt.

The Piper Chieftain propeller aircraft is operated by George's Aviation Services on Lagoon Drive in Honolulu. The plane took off on a training flight from O'ahu and was headed to Lana'i when the aircraft's landing gear would not lower.

The pilot was able to safely land the plane at Lana'i Airport about 3 p.m., said Scott Ishikawa, state Department of Transportation spokesman.

"The plane did skid on the runway, but there was no fire and there were no injuries, fortunately," Ishikawa said.

Ishikawa said the rough landing did not damage the runway, but the runway was closed until 5:18 p.m. while airport workers removed the aircraft. He said the closure delayed two commercial flights to Lana'i.

The cause of the incident is under investigation, he said.

The two male pilots were being tested by two observers when the incident occurred, said Bill Padgett, director of operations for George's Aviation Services. He did not have information on the pilots or the passengers.

"They were testing the pilots so they can fly with passengers and then something happened," Padgett said. "But we don't know if it was mechanical, pilot, weather. We have no idea at this point, other than the plane landed with its gear up."

Padgett said he was grateful that no one was injured.

"That's the only thing that's important at this point," he said.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.