The glider tow plane that crashed at Dillingham Airfield in February and killed both pilots inside was “obviously in distress and not in control” prior to the crash, according to a new report.
Witnesses heard the sound of the Cessna Ector 305A’s engine “diminishing” as it yawed and drifted toward the tree line, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The engine surged again as it flew over the tree line before going quiet again.
It crashed 800 feet away from where it took off. Weather conditions did not appear to be a factor in the crash.
A pilot who witnessed the accident said the plane was “obviously in distress and not in control,” according to the report.
Prior to the Feb. 22 crash, the pilots in the plane flew a lap around the airfield and experienced a “rough” landing. The report said according to a witness, the plane landed, then “the tail wheel bounced up and down and the airplane came to an abrupt stop on the runway.”
When the plane, owned by Honolulu Soaring Club, landed on the runway, one of the pilots left the plane and talked to the other. He got back in and they flew again, the witness said.
The pilots have been identified as Bill Enoka, who was serving as instructor pilot, and Rick Rogers, who was learning to fly the glider tow plane.
The plane had operated as a glider tow plane for 40 years.
Enoka, 78, had a lengthy aviation career and was a respected member of the Kauai Fire Department. Rogers, 70, a Hawaiian Airlines employee for decades, was known in the early 1980s as “Captain Haleiwa.”