Military pilots praised after emergency landing

Brian Kitaoka
Brian Kitaoka

By Roger Mari - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The flight crew of an Army helicopter receives praise from other chopper pilots today; a day after the crew was forced to make an emergency landing at Kapiolani Park.

The Blackhawk helicopter had to land at about 3:30 Monday afternoon. It was supposed to be a routine training flight. The pilot and crew made a successful and safe landing.

"He did a fantastic job the flight crew of that UH-60 did a fantastic job of putting it down at Kapiolani Park, without causing hazard to people there," said former helicopter Pilot Brian Kitaoka.

Part of training includes knowing where to go in case of a malfunction, such as empty parking lots, or even golf courses, or in Monday's case a wide open park.

"If you're in the middle of downtown choices are very limited. Thank god for them, they were near Kapiolani Park."

Earlier this month a similar situation happened in New York when the pilot of a U.S. Airways commercial plane made an emergency landing in the Hudson River. No lives were lost.

"He did a great job as well as the flight crew of the UH-60, he did a fantastic job, he made the right decision," said Brian Kitaoka.

Hawaii is well-known for its helicopter tour rides. Some hope Monday's incident won't detour visitors from taking to the skies.

"Public perception is that when things go wrong, they fall like a rock that's the furthest thing from the truth. We're al trained to perform a maneuver called auto rotation where we can pretty much put the bird down in a certain area."

The helicopter was eventually fixed and was able to lift off without any further problems. Army mechanics are still investigating what caused the warning indicator light to turn on.