NTSB investigates Mokuleia crash, loved ones share memories of two pilots

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The Hawaii Department of Transportation re-opened Dillingham Airfield Sunday afternoon, but the skies above Mokuleia remained quiet as National Transportation Safety Board investigators combed through the crash scene.

Loved ones of William “Bill” Enoka visited the crash site on Sunday.

Close friends and family members shared stories about the two pilots who were on board and spoke of their love of flying.

Loved ones of William “Bill” Enoka, said in a statement: “Our family would like to express our sincere gratitude for the condolences love and prayers. We ask for continued prayers to guide us through this difficult time. We know that our dad is in a better place and left this earth doing what he loved to do.”

Rick Rogers was also on the plane when it crashed. According to Hawaiian Airlines, Rogers started his career with the airline in 1987 as a Dash 7 pilot, serving the smaller airfields of Kapalua-West Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. He retired as a pilot in 2010.

Hawaiian Air said he continued to be the company’s archivist and his passion for storytelling on display at Gate 19 at Maui’s Kahului Airport, where a wall display introduces Hawaii Airlines Capt. Jimmy Hogg, who lent the last three letters of his name to Maui’s three-letter designator code: OGG.

The airline said Rogers loved history and telling stories. In a statement his friend and communications director for Hawaiian Airlines said:

“Rick was a unique and wonderful person and pleasure to know,” said Ann Botticelli, who leads the Corporate Communications group with whom Rick worked most closely since 2010. “He had an endless curiosity and an abundance of ideas about how to tell our company’s history. He curated our archives with care and loved to share what he knew. He was a passionate protector of history, an aviation enthusiast, an author, and a marine archeologist. In short, he was a renaissance man and all of us were very lucky to have spent time with him.”

As for the plane, the NTSB and the owner of the company Honolulu Soaring said the plane was manufactured in 1979.

One pilot was training the other Saturday morning and took off and landed safely twice before their last flight

“The pilot in the front seat was receiving training from the instructor in the rear seat,” explained NTSB aviation accident investigator Noreen Price. “They were doing touch-and-goes in a pattern and after the second touch-and-go the airplane climbed to about 200 feet and, according to witness statements, the airplane yawed right and then appeared to lose control and rolled rapidly left and nose down into the terrain.”

The NTSB has been able to rule out weather as a cause for the crash.

“Tomorrow we’ll be doing a more detailed examination of the airframe, and the engine, and propeller to see if we can find any mechanical issues with the plane and we’re also going to be looking background of the pilot in command and the pilot being trained at the time,” Price said.

She also sent her condolences to both families.

“I want to give my condolences on behalf of the NTSB to the friends and family of the deceased here and to the Dillingham community, I know this is a tight aviation community and this is a great loss, so we hope to determine the probable cause and make recommendations so these unfortunate events don’t happen again.”

The future of Dillingham Airfield will be discussed on Tuesday night at the North Shore Neighborhood Board meeting.

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