Dillingham Airport on Oahu’s north shore remains closed following the crash of a King Air 65-A90 that killed 11 people on Friday. NTSB investigators have arrived and have begun investigating the wreck site, the agency said Monday.
“This is the deadliest accident involving a civil airplane in the United States since 2011. We’re here to determine how this happened, why it happened, so we can determine what safety measures are needed to prevent it from happening again,” NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy said.
The airplane took off Friday evening Hawaii time carrying at least three tandem pairs, plus additional staff including videographers and the pilot. Witnesses said the airplane departed the runway and rolled inverted. It burst into flames on impact.
“Weight and balance is a factor in the safety of these operations and that’s a calculation that needs to be made before a plane is operated. That is something we’ll be looking at as part of this investigation,” Homendy added.
The King Air was operated by Oahu Parachute Center, one of three skydiving operations at Dillingham. The site of the airport dates to the 1920s, but in 1941, the Army leased additional land to build the Mokuleia Airstrip where P-40 fighters that responded to the Pearl Harbor attack were based. Today, Dillingham is a busy general aviation airport with glider, parachute and some military operations.