Full Story: 3 dead, 3 injured after plane crashes on Lanai
An investigation is underway to find out what caused a twin-engine plane to go down on Lanai. KHON2 looked into the plane and the company’s past.
The plane was owned by Maui Aircraft Leasing. The twin-engine Piper PA31 was made in 1975. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the plane had no previous accidents or incidents.
George Hanzawa has been flying planes for the past 15 years. He says he’s very familiar with the Piper Chieftain airplane, which is the same one that crashed Wednesday night on Lanai.
“The Piper Chieftain has been around in the Piper series since the late ’60s and it was made until about 1984. It has been the workhorse of the Piper fleet as far as a twin-engine plane,” Hanzawa said.
Hanzawa says the plane is known for it’s power and dependability.
“They’re still very, very sought after by operators that want to use this type of aircraft and because of its dependability and its safety record,” Hanzawa said.
The plane in Wednesday night’s crash was found one mile south of the Lanai Airport.
“Lanai is a small airport. It is not dangerous at all. But last night, conditions, there was some wind, but wind has no factor on these planes. So wind is not a factor. It was dark. It was a dark night, but again, that’s not a factor. Pilots are trained to do this type of flying and they practice it all the time,” Hanzawa said.
Three people were killed in the crash including the pilot.
Hanzawa knows him and says he was well-respected in the industry.
“Obviously, he did a remarkable job where people did survive. If it was different, it could’ve been that everybody could’ve perished, but he did do a remarkable job on getting the aircraft down and doing the best he possibly could at that time, I’m sure,” Hanzawa said.
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating. They have yet to determine the exact cause of the crash.