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Preliminary report on ultralight crash

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Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:30 pm

LIHU‘E — The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report on last week’s ultralight crash that killed pilot Steve Sprague and his passenger near Hanalei.

“According to witnesses, the aircraft had been maneuvering near a cliff,” the report said. “As the aircraft turned towards the ocean, a loud ‘pop’ was heard and the aircraft immediately plunged into the ocean.”

 Published Wednesday on the NTSB’s website, the report details the May 17 incident in which the P&M Aviation LTD., Pegasus Quik 912S, light sport weight-shift-control aircraft sustained substantial damage following impact with the ocean. The sport pilot instructor and the passenger sustained fatal injuries.

Kaua‘i Aerosports — a business owned by Sprague — operated the aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, the report said. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local instructional flight, which had originated from Port Allen Airport, Hanapepe, about 50 minutes before the accident. A flight plan had not been filed.

Although NTSB senior air safety investigator Jim Struhsaker was unavailable at press time, NTSB staff members have indicated that many investigations take up to a year to complete.

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