Ultralight Safety: Three Crashes in Six Months

Ultralight Safety: Three Crashes in Six Months

For our 1,000th post on Beat of Hawaii, we were hoping for a good deal to bring you. Unfortunately, it’s turned into sad news of yet another deadly crash involving an Ultralight aircraft.¬† Today’s fatal flight took off from Hanapepe’s Port Allen field here on Kauai. Our thoughts go first to those killed and their loved ones.

Ultralight safety is a subject that we last wrote about only 90 days ago, at the time of the previous Ultralight crash on Kauai. There have been in total four crashes, three of them deadly to both pilot and passenger, and three of them on Kauai, in just over one year. It makes us wonder what is happening at Port Allen. We see these popular Ultralights very frequently and look forward to their good safety record being restored.

Regarding prior crashes here in Hawaii, here’s a list of five recent¬†incidents:

May 17, 2011

  • Today’s crash took place on Kauai’s north shore following take off from Port Allen. Both the passenger and pilot died.

February 15, 2011

  • Big Skies Ultralight crashed into the ocean off Kauai near Port Allen. The pilot and the visitor/passenger both died.

December 22, 2010

  • An Ultralight was severely damaged but passengers were unhurt when the plane landed on a Kauai golf course in nearby Poipu.

April 21, 2010

  • A Big island Ultralight crash in which the pilot and passenger were both killed when the craft failed and plunged into the water.

August 2009

  • Another Kauai Ultralight crash in which the passenger sustained a broken leg among other things. The flight occurred during bad weather.

Please share your thoughts on Ultralights in Hawaii and their safety.

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2 Comments

  1. ed (3 years ago)

    Does the NTSA investigate ultralight crashes? I also read somewhere that the way some of these ultralights are crashing are a known issue with a particular model of ultralight…I wonder if all of these ultralights are all the same model? 2 crashes can be a coincidence….4 crashes? There’s something inherently wrong. If we can ground an entire model of Boeing aircraft for a stress fracture in a hatchway, we should be able to ground these ultralights until we know more!
    One of my favorite things to do when I visit the islands is to take a helicopter ride around the island. I’ve done Kaui, Maui and the big island…I’ll be in Oahu in 26 days and am planning to fly around the island then as well…So I watch these “crashes” with great interest. It is really distressing when these tourist flights crash and people die.

  2. Paul (3 years ago)

    Are there gov’t safety checks and regulations on these aircraft?