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FAA probes plane's emergency landing on Maui highway

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 04:50 p.m. HST, Oct 22, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration  and the National Transportation Safety Board said today they are investigating Monday night's emergency landing by a Mokulele Express plane on a Maui highway.

An FAA official said Mokulele Express flight 1770, a Cessna Caravan, lost engine power after departing from Kahului Airport for Kamuela. The plane, with two pilots and eight passengers, landed safely on Piilani Highway in Kihei just after 7 p.m., authorities said.

No one was injured and there was no damage to the plane nor anything on the ground, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

An NTSB spokesman in Washington, D.C., said the agency is in the preliminary stage of its investigation and hasn't determined whether to send an investigator to Maui.

Ron Hansen, Mokulele's CEO, praised the efforts of the two pilots.

He declined to identify either pilot, but told the Star-Advertiser this morning, "We're very proud of both of them. Both did a phenomenal job.

"They did exactly what pilots are trained all they life to do in an emergency situation. They did exactly the right thing," Hansen said.

This incident occurred about 50 yards south of the Piilani Highway and Kilohana Drive intersection, in the northbound lane of the highway.

Maui Police dispatch received a call at about 7 p.m. saying the plane needed to make an emergency landing, said Lt. William Juan, MPD spokesman. "The pilot conducted a safe landing onto Piilani Highway between Kilohana Drive and Okolani Drive in Wailea," he said in a statement. 

Adam Burke, who lives in a nearby condominium, told the Maui News that the highway usually is busy with cars but was vacant when the aircraft landed.

Police closed Piilani Highway between Kilohana and Wailea Ike Drive for two hours after the landing.

Maui fire officials said today that the plane was moved off the highway to an empty lot near Kilohana Drive and Piilani highway.

The NTSB spokesman said it will be the responsibility of Mokuele to move the aircraft to a secure location if a detailed investigation is needed.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


CORRECTION: State Department of Transportation officials are not investigating the emergency landing, as was reported in an earlier version of this story.

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hornswoggler wrote:
Why are single engine airplanes allowed in airline service, especially over water? The premise here was that they would fly profiles such that if an engine quit they would be able to glide to an airport un-powered. So why do we have here a C-208 out on a highway? isn't this what"s not supposed to happen? The people on this airplane are very lucky.
on October 21,2013 | 10:55PM
HanabataDays wrote:
Take your choice between this single-engine turboprop and the typical piston-engine twins that have been flying interisland since for evah. Turboprops are generally very reliable engines. And I'll take a chance on an engine-out in a single turboprop any day over an engine-out in a twin -- especially on takeoff. Gotta have a very experienced (and lucky) left-seat guy to get back safely on the ground if that happens.
on October 22,2013 | 02:44AM
localguy wrote:
hornswoggler - In case you haven't noticed, two engine airplanes routinely fly over water long distances. As in from the mainland to Hawaii and all over the world. Engine technology and efficiency have increased to where this is no longer a real safety issue. When single planes take off, they quickly gain altitude and fly the most direct route to their destination to minimize time over open water. And should something happen, they can glide to land or very close to it. Lucky? The pilots did exactly as they were trained to do. Airplane provided a safe and controlled landing, as it was designed to do. No miracle or act of God. All a credit to what humans can do.
on October 22,2013 | 05:33AM
hornswoggler wrote:
They got lucky! and PT6's dont fail 99.9% of the time unless someone screwed up.
on October 22,2013 | 09:09AM
Maleka50 wrote:
I would never fly in a single engine plane with more than 4 passengers.
on October 22,2013 | 08:15AM
rigormortis wrote:
But you would fly if there were three?
on October 22,2013 | 05:37PM
Aquarius1 wrote:
I flew in an Cessna L-19 from Dillingham Airfield to Port Allen, Kauai once and in Cessna 172, routinely between Oahu and Kauai. Flying is less dangerous than driving a car. With regard to this Maui incident, it's not luck by darned good pilotting skills. Kudos to the pilots.
on October 22,2013 | 10:21AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Seems to me that that multii-engine aircraft have had their share of incidents and accidents as well. The Cessna Grand Caravan has a fine safety record, especially in the hands of well trained and experienced flight crews.
on October 22,2013 | 10:44AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
This is great news! Pilots who brought their passengers to a safe landing in potentially deadly conditions. Everyone wins! Great job and great pilots!!!!
on October 22,2013 | 06:33AM
cojef wrote:
Chalk of to charmed lives these passengers live, plus expert pilots landing the aircraft. Glad no one was injured.
on October 22,2013 | 07:39AM
hornswoggler wrote:
Duh, so you don't think a twin turboprop would be safer in this case, especially over water? Forget piston twins, no real airline uses those any more. I don't know about you people but you won't find me on a single engine Cessna.
on October 22,2013 | 08:13AM
Hawaiians wrote:
scary stuff
on October 22,2013 | 10:40AM
what wrote:
To answer honswoggler, I would think the FAA would allow single engine aircraft to flyer over water as long as they are within X miles of a runway. Flying Inter-island allows you to be reasonably close to a runway at all times.
on October 22,2013 | 12:17PM
ha_oleboy wrote:
Just one more reason to STOP go!. Poor maintenance during the go! era is most likely responsible for the engine failure. Many have said that go! planes will eventually start falling from the sky. This is only the beginning. STOP go!
on October 23,2013 | 12:32PM
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