Small plane lands in field in Central Oahu


A plane carrying two people, a flight instructor and a student pilot, made an emergency landing in Central Oahu Tuesday night.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Cessna experienced engine trouble and the pilot made a decision to land in a field off Ka Uka Blvd., across from Costco Waipio, at around 7 p.m.

No one was hurt and the plane sustained little damage, if any.

“Surprisingly, we had an engine problem in flight,” flight instructor Michael Richards said. “We come to this area to practice aerial maneuvers. My student, Mr. Hamilton, was taking flight training and as we were in the process of doing maneuvers, we had engine trouble and the engine didn’t provide us enough power to make it to the airport, Wheeler or Honolulu, so unfortunately we had to put the aircraft down in the field here.”

When asked how he picked this particular area to land, Richards replied, “We look for places that are safe with adequate landing distance and something that would not cause harm or injury to us or other persons or property.”

Richards said he only had about three minutes to figure out where to land and glide it to safety.

The single-engine Cessna 172 “P” model was built in 1983. It is registered to Hawaii Aircraft Leasing and leased by Moore Air.

Richards is an instructor with Moore Air Flying Club. He told KHON2 he wasn’t scared during the incident.

“I have a lot of training doing this,” he said. “I’ve been a flight instructor since 2005 and I have lots of experience teaching students how to handle emergency situations.”

In this case, Bruce Hamilton was the student pilot.

“Mr. Richards here put down the plane as he always instructs me. (There was) no concern on my part, because he was doing a fantastic job,” Hamilton said. “It’s a great lesson, I tell you. I hate to say so, but I enjoyed it because I could see first-hand how soft field landings work in an emergency.”

“(There were) no injuries to myself and my passenger, and the aircraft appears to be fine,” Richards said.

So what’s next? Richards said mechanics will take a look at the plane and figure out the best way to get it out of the field. He thinks it’ll most likely be dismantled and then taken away in a container or on a flatbed.

We did some digging and found this is not the first incident involving that particular plane.

Back in January 2012, a female student was piloting the Cessna when it made a hard landing at Honolulu Airport, went off the runway and hit a runway sign.

According to the NTSB accident report, the plane suffered substantial damage, but no one was injured.

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