NTSB preliminary report notes plane climbed 75 feet before it crashed in Hāna, Maui

Hāna plane crash. PC: Maui Fire Department

The pilot of a small airplane involved in a crash near the Hāna Airport in East Maui last month said the aircraft stopped climbing shortly after takeoff, and descended nose-down into nearby trees. The information was included in a preliminary aviation accident report filed by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The crash was reported at 9:55 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2022. Maui Fire Department officials say the crash site was located approximately 100 yards west of the Hāna Airport runway in heavy foliage.

The craft was described as a Flight Design CTLS light sport airplane, with registration No. N992SA.

The NTSB report indicates that the plane sustained “substantial damage” to the fuselage and wings.

The pilot sustained serious injuries and the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries, according to the NTSB report. An initial report from the Maui Fire Department indicated that injuries were not life-threatening, with one individual walking away from the wreckage, and the other extricated from entrapment within the plane.

According to the preliminary NTSB report, the airplane was operated by the pilot “as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.”

The pilot had completed four “touch-and-go landings” at the Hāna Airport, and took a short break before a planned return to the Kahului Airport, according to the report.

“The pilot said that just after takeoff from Runway 26, as the airplane climbed to about 75 feet above ground level, the airplane stopped climbing and it subsequently descended into an area of tree-covered terrain. As the airplane descended into the trees, it nosed down and struck the ground in a nose down attitude, just past the departure end of the runway,” according to the NTSB report.

The report further notes: “The pilot stated that there were no outward indications of a mechanical anomaly; however, he believed that the engine was not making rated power. Multiple pilot-rated witnesses reported that they heard no unusual sounds and the engine appeared to be operating normally.”

A detailed examination and final report is pending.

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