On February 18, 2004, at 1352 Hawaiian standard time, a Canadian registered Piper PA 31, C-GPTE, landed short of the runway at the Kahului Airport, Maui, Hawaii, during an emergency landing following a loss of engine power. Computaplane, Ltd., was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot, who held commercial pilot certificates issued by Canada and the United States, sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country positioning flight that departed from Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii, about 0700, en route to Oakland, California. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the pilot was ferrying the airplane. Approximately 300 miles east of Honolulu, the pilot reported that the right engine failed. The pilot diverted to Kahului; however, the airplane landed short of the runway. The inspector conducted a post impact examination but could not determine why the power loss occurred.
According to the owner of the airplane, Murray's Aircraft Service, the pilot was hired through Computaplane, a ferry company based in Scotland. Murray's Aircraft Service completed a modification of the fuel system on November 25, 2003, to allow for additional fuel onboard the airplane during flight. The airplane was being returned to Canada from Australia; the pilot was on the intermediate leg of the trip when the accident occurred.
The operator stated that they believed the accident resulted from the pilot failing to identify the stall warnings during the last portion of the flight, and his failure to recognize and recover from the final stall, just prior to the airplane's impact with the ground.
The pilot provided a written statement of the circumstances surrounding the accident. The airplane had various repairs from the time the pilot ferried the airplane from Brooks, Alberta, Canada, to deliver it to Australia, and then back again. His departure from Honolulu was uneventful until the low fuel flow and boost pump lights illuminated. He stabilized the airplane for single engine operations and transmitted a "MAYDAY" call. About 30 minutes from Maui, the controller advised the pilot that he was closer to Maui than Honolulu. About 40 miles from Maui, the airplane's controls began to chatter "like they were slipping." Approximately 200 yards from the runway, the controls "chattered hard and then the right wing dropped and I hit the ground hard." He recalled the owners mentioning that the fuel pumps had not been replaced, but they decided not to replace them.