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N30652 accident description

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Crash location 21.188611°N, 156.898333°W
Nearest city Kalaupapa, HI
21.192500°N, 156.986111°W
5.7 miles away
Tail number N30652
Accident date 27 Jul 2006
Aircraft type Cessna 177B
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 27, 2006, at 2054 Hawaiian standard time, a Cessna 177B, N30652, impacted the Pacific Ocean about 6 miles northeast of Kalaupapa on Molokai, Hawaii. The airplane sank and is presumed destroyed. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, Anderson Aviation, Inc. of Honolulu, Hawaii, as an instructional flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and the pilot receiving instruction (PRI) are presumed fatally injured. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the majority of the cross-country flight. The flight departed Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Honolulu, Hawaii at 2005, and was destined for Hana Airport (HNM), Hana, Hawaii. A flight plan was not filed, but the accident flight was receiving flight following services from HNL Air Route Traffic Control Center.

According to the operator, the PRI was enrolled in their 14 CFR Part 141 commercial pilot flight training program. The operator reported that the CFI and the PRI arrived at the flight school after normal business hours and dispatched the airplane themselves. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilots obtained a weather briefing from the HNL Flight Service Station (FSS) prior to departing on the flight.

Radar data, obtained from the U.S. Navy's Fleet Area Control & Surveillance Facility (FACSFAC), revealed that the airplane departed HNL and proceeded east toward Molokai. According to the radar data, the aircraft maintained an approximate altitude of 5,000 feet mean sea level (msl) and an approximate groundspeed of 90 knots for 23 minutes prior to the accident. Radar data shows the aircraft passed the Kalaupapa peninsula eastbound, and then changed directions several times, but still maintained altitude and groundspeed. At 20:53:06, the radar return depicted the airplane at 5,100 feet msl approximately 1 mile north of the shoreline near Kapailoa Point. The next radar return, at 20:53:16, depicted the airplane at 3,700 feet msl with a 50-knot groundspeed, northeast of the previous return. At 20:53:28, the airplane's radar return depicted it at 1,400 feet msl with a 30-knot groundspeed, southwest of the last return. At 20:53:40, the radar return denoted the airplane at 200 feet msl in the same location. The last return was obtained at 20:53:57 with an altitude of 0 feet msl, at 21:11:19 north latitude and 156:53:54 west longitude.

The FACSFAC radar data revealed two lines of heavy returns over the island of Molokai. According to radar facility personnel, the lines depicted areas of heavy precipitation.

Witnesses located at a private residence near Kapailoa Point reported that it was very dark, there were thick clouds in the area, and it was raining. A witness observed airplane lights descending from the base of the clouds at a very rapid descent rate. The witness noted that the airplane lights were wobbling (rotating one over the other) and the engine was revving loudly. The airplane lights disappeared behind the ridgeline and the witness called the U.S. Coast Guard to report what he had seen. The witness added that the weather had been clear earlier in the evening, but the rainy weather had moved in rapidly and then dissipated shortly after the accident. No witnesses observed the aircraft impacting the ocean.

Search efforts were initiated shortly after receiving the witness report, and after air traffic controllers noted the airplane disappeared from radar contact. The search effort resulted in no sightings and was ended on July 29, 2006.

To this date, no wreckage has been located.

NTSB Probable Cause

Loss of aircraft control during cruise flight for undetermined reasons. Clouds, rain, and dark night conditions were factors.

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