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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pilot apparently off course, NTSB preliminary report of plane crash says

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

This is the wreckage Nicholas Palumbo's Piper Cherokee single-engine plane. The plane crashed into a steep ridge between Ka'au Crater and the Lanipo Trail, killing both Nick and Timmy Palumbo.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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The plane that crashed last Sunday was off course at the time, according to a National Transportation Board preliminary report.

The report said well-known veterinarian Nicholas Palumbo, 81, and his son Tim, 20, left Lanai Jan. 10 at 12:15 for the 63-nautical mile flight to Oahu. But somewhere from the time Palumbo spoke with the Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controller over Koko Head at 1:30 p.m. until the Piper single-engine aircraft crashed on a steep ridge near Kaau Crater in East Honolulu, he got off course.
When Palumbo told the controller he was abeam of Koko Head, the very high frequency omni-directional radio range tactical air navigation aid showed him to be about five miles from the navigation aid to the east-southeast. Several minutes later, when Palumbo reported he was at the golf course, he was 0.5 miles off the shoreline and about 2.5 miles east of the Waialae Golf Course, according to the preliminary report.
The NTSB investigator, Zoe Keliher, said today that there were no mechanical malfunctions, failures or anomalies. On Wednesday, a specialist from the Washington, D.C., NTSB headquarters will fly into Honolulu to perform a routine, detailed investigation of the Air Traffic Control Facility's involvement.
Palumbo and his son were returning from Lanai where he owned a home and had a veterinarian practice.