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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:43 p.m., Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pilot tells crash investigator plane would not climb

Advertiser Staff

In a preliminary report about an April 30 small plane crash on Moloka'i, the pilot said ascent trouble occurring shortly after departure from a private airstrip preceded the accident.

According to the report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot of the twin-engine Partenavia said that after leaving the runway's grass surface, the plane would not climb. When the pilot turned the plane right to comply with a noise abatement procedure, the plane lost altitude, the report said. It then descended to the ground, coming to rest upright in an open field in Kaluako'i, Moloka'i .

The report said the commercial pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The remaining three passengers had minor injuries. The plane, which belongs to Tora Flight Adventures, was substantially damaged.

The NTSB investigator interviewed two passengers the day after the accident and spoke to the pilot by telephone.

The business operator did not hold a Part 135 Air Taxi and Commuter operating certificate. According to the report, the operator maintained that he was not required to have a certificate because the plane is only used as a means of transportation from Honolulu to Panda Ranch.