Mokulele Exec Praises Pilot Skill in Emergency Landing

October 25, 2013, 2:34 PM HST · Updated October 25, 3:42 PM
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A commercial Cessna craft was moved to an empty lot near the Wailea Fire Station following an emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway on Monday night. Photo by Wendy Osher.

A commercial Cessna craft was moved to an empty lot near the Wailea Fire Station following an emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway on Monday night. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Officials at Mokulele Airlines praised the pilot and co-pilot who successfully landed a commuter flight on Maui’s Piʻilani Highway on Monday night.

“We are very grateful that due to the skill of our pilots and support team, this flight was able to land safely,” said Mokulele CEO Ron Hansen in a statement provided to Maui Now.

Airline officials say that although Federal Aviation Administration regulations only require one pilot to operate each flight, all Mokulele flights are staffed with both a pilot and co-pilot as an additional safety measure.

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Officials did not disclose the identity of the pilots or the passengers aboard the craft.

Flight 1770 made the emergency landing at around 7:02 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, after experiencing engine problems shortly after takeoff from Kahului Airport, while en-route to Kamuela on Hawaiʻi Island.

Airline officials say a decision was made to return to Kahului; however, “to ensure the safety of all eight passengers on board, the pilot and co-pilot immediately landed the Cessna Grand Caravan on the Piʻilani Highway in Kīhei.”

All aboard, including eight passengers and the two pilots were uninjured in the incident.

Most of the passengers were transported back to Kahului Airport to be rerouted on Mokulele flights to Kamuela, airline officials said.

A preliminary report filed by the FAA says the Mokulele Airlines Express Caravan craft sustained only minor damage when the forced landing occurred.

FAA investigators were on Maui Tuesday to conduct an investigation on scene. The FAA’s Ian Gregor from the agency’s Pacific Region provided an update today saying the investigation in still underway, and no conclusions have been made yet.

“Thankfully, this was an isolated incident,” said Hansen. “We currently operate more than 115 flights per day and serve more than 20,000 passengers per month, and the safety of our passengers is our top priority,” he said.

Hansen noted that an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the engine problems and thanked the FAA as well as the state Department of Transportation for their assistance.

“We would also like to express our deep gratitude to the Maui police and Department of Fire and Public Safety for their quick and professional response,” said Hansen.

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