FAA looking into Lanai crash
The agency will try to find out what caused the downed airplane
WAILUKU » The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of a forced landing by a single-engine airplane on Lanai.
None of the three men were injured, but the airplane did sustain tire damage, according to George's Aviation, the airplane rental company.
The pilot, Michael Richards, 29, of Oahu, said he experienced low power and was forced to land in an open field on a hillside Thursday afternoon, said Maui police Officer Lewis Gamble.
"When I got there, they were walking around," Gamble said.
Gamble said a pilot who wanted to go on a checkout flight flew with Richards, who is a flight instructor, and the third man, who came along for the ride.
The Cessna 172N landed in an open field about 4.5 miles northwest of the Lanai Airport after reporting problems at 5:14 p.m.
The pilot shot off a flare when he landed, causing a brush fire that burned about 25 acres before it was put out by firefighters, Gamble said.
A spokesman for George's Aviation, who did not want to be identified, said the Cessna passed an FAA inspection June 20.
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said an FAA inspector from Honolulu will fly to Lanai to examine the airplane once it has been removed and put into a facility.
"I understand there was not a whole lot of damage to the aircraft," Gregor said.
The Cessna was manufactured in 1979 and has a Lycoming engine, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
The spokesman for George's Aviation said no decision has been made on how to move the plane since it cannot take off without a runway.
This is the second incident this year involving a rented plane from George's Aviation.
In June a 29-year-old South Carolina man who rented a Cessna 150J from George's Aviation ditched the plane in waters off Koko Head. He and his wife were not injured.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this story.