Mechanic, owner explore ways to remove plane from Waipio field

A mechanic Wednesday inspected a small plane that landed in a field in Waipio the night before, trying to figure out how to get it back to the airport.

The Cessna 172 was carrying two people when it landed safely near Ka Uka Blvd. Tuesday night after reported engine trouble.

“We may build a little plywood platform, push it back, take the front, and get it over the hard surface road to make it easier for the farm,” said Mark Jones, owner of Moore Air Inc.

Aloun Farms, which owns the field, is working with the plane’s owner to haul out the aircraft.

Two years ago, this plane was involved in another incident.

“The short of it was the airplane was blown by the winds off to the side of the runway, touched back down on the grass and hit an airport sign. But it was fully repaired and FAA-approved since then,” Jones said.

“Typically here in Hawaii, you see most emergency landings done on golf courses, that’s usually the number one choice,” said Peter Forman, aviation analyst and long-time flight instructor.

But, according to Forman, landing in the field was the right thing to do.

As for regulations, “as far as minimum altitudes over congested area, (planes) need to be 1,000 feet above the buildings and less congested areas, 500 feet high,” Forman said.

At Kalaeloa, the pilot of an aircraft needs to be in communication with the control tower, when the plane is within five miles of the area.

But when a pilot is not in a controlled airspace, the pilot is able to fly without communication.

“So they were in a location where they probably could be flying on their own without actually talking to somebody at that moment,” Forman said.

Pilots must also have a flight path, just like commercial air planes, and not stray.

“Safety is the priority, so we want to figure out what happened so we can prevent it from ever happening again,” Jones said.

The owner of the plane is still deciding how to get the aircraft out of the field, whether a pilot can find a way to fly it out or if the aircraft can somehow be dismantled and hauled back to the airport.

Either way, the plane’s removal is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

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