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Accident Report Detail

Collision with Terrain of Big Island Air flight 58

Executive Summary

On September 25, 1999, about 1726 Hawaiian standard time, Big Island Air flight 58, a Piper PA-31-350 (Chieftain), N411WL, crashed on the northeast slope of the Mauna Loa volcano near Volcano, Hawaii. The pilot and all nine passengers on board were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The sightseeing tour flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 as an on-demand air taxi operation. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed, and visual meteorological conditions (VMC) existed at the Keahole-Kona International Airport (KOA), Kona, Hawaii, from which the airplane departed about 1622. The investigation determined that instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed in the vicinity of the accident site.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident is the pilot's decision to continue visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) in an area of cloud-covered mountainous terrain. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's failure to properly navigate and his disregard for standard operating procedures, including flying into IMC while on a visual flight rules flight plan and failure to obtain a current preflight weather briefing.

Accident Location: Volcano , HI   Mauna Loa volcano
Accident Date: 10/25/1999
Accident ID: DCA99MA088

Date Adopted: 9/26/2001
NTSB Number: AAB-01-02
NTIS Number:  

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