Report: Pilot was making corrections before Molokai crash
Pilot Bill Vogt was making an instrument approach to Molokai Airport and was correcting to remain on course while staying clear of clouds when the single-engine plane he was flying disappeared from radar, according to the National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary accident report for the Dec. 10 crash.
The burned wreckage of the plane was found in remote hills on Molokai Ranch land in Maunaloa, about 4 miles southwest of Molokai Airport, the preliminary report released Monday said. Molokai residents Bill and Lynn Vogt were killed in the crash.
They left Daniel K. Inouye International Airport on Oahu at 10:30 a.m. in a Textron Aviation (formerly Cessna) U206G single-engine, wheel-equipped plane on a personal flight home with no flight plan filed, the preliminary report said. The plane was registered and operated by Bill Vogt, who was instrument-flying rated.
The pilot flew under visual flight rules after departing Oahu and transitioned to instrument flight rules when reaching the west side of Molokai, the preliminary report said. He was on a 6-mile circling instrument approach to Runway 5 at Molokai Airport when the crash occurred.
While on approach, the air traffic controller at Molokai Airport noticed that the plane was south of the final approach pattern and advised the pilot, the preliminary report said. Bill Vogt replied that he was correcting but maneuvering to stay clear of clouds.
“The airplane then disappeared from the radar display system, and the air control controller transmitted to the pilot with no response,” the preliminary report said.
The crash occurred at about 11:05 a.m. The weather conditions around that time were north-northeasterly winds at about 9 mph with visibility of 6 miles. There were scattered clouds at 1,200 feet with broken clouds at 1,700 feet, the preliminary report said.
The Federal Aviation Administration Honolulu Radar Center Approach Control Center was notified within 3 minutes of losing contact by the air controller, and an alert notice was issued 15 minutes later, the preliminary report said. The air controller also notified first responders on Molokai.
No emergency locator transmitter signal was received by the U.S. Air Force or U.S. Coast Guard, the preliminary report said.
The Molokai Fire Department reached the remote crash site at 12:13 p.m. Maui County fire officials said that ranch officials had to open locked gates and that firefighters used an all-terrain vehicle to reach the site.
Firefighters extinguished smoldering areas from the crash and removed the bodies. The plane caught fire and was incinerated after impact, the preliminary report and fire officials said.
The wreckage was found on the western side of a 100-foot-high hill with a 50-degree incline, the preliminary report said.
On Dec. 13, NTSB, FAA, Textron Aviation and Molokai police traveled to the site with off-road vehicles, the preliminary report said. Arrangements were being made to recover the wreckage and transport it to a secure facility for examination of the air frame and engine.
Bill Vogt was a retired dentist and Lynn Vogt was a former Kamehameha Schools Kapalama teacher. They were longtime residents of Molokai.
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.