Flight community rallies around injured pilot - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Flight community rallies around injured pilot

Rahul Gawas Rahul Gawas

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Emi Wilkie, the flight instructor whose single-engine Piper Cherokee plane crashed near Kalaeloa Airport Friday, was in fair and stable condition Monday evening. Paramedics initially brought her to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

Wilkie is now resting at the hospital after undergoing surgery over the weekend. While her condition has improved, her friends say, she's concerned about mounting medical bills.

Wilkie's car still sits at Offshore Flight School's parking lot. Her love of flying proudly displayed for all to see. No one there was willing to go on camera, but many in the flight community say, something like this is devasting for everyone involved.

"It was bad when I heard that," said Rahul Gawas, a flight student. "I come to know that through my instructor and it was really bad. I feel really sorry for those who were injured in that flight."

Friday, Wilkie was practicing a maneuver called "touch and go" before the plane crashed. It basically means the pilot is practicing landing techniques.

Government officials say Wilkie did not have a flight plan that morning. There are about 1,600 general aviation crashes every year, with roughly a quarter of them fatal. Human error is blamed for about 80 percent of all plane crashes.

As Wilkie recovers, the flight community's collective heart goes out to her.

"I wish her all the best in her recovery and I wish her get well soon," said Gawas.

The National Transportation Safety Board is looking into the crash. A preliminary report should come out in a week or two. A final report could take more than a year to complete.

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