Here’s what we know about the 737 cargo plane that crashed off Oahu

Pilot and aviation expert Laura Einsetler discusses Boeing 737 cargo plane crash off Kalaeloa.
Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 11:44 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 2, 2021 at 5:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Boeing 737-200 cargo plane that crashed off Oahu early Friday with two pilots onboard was built in 1975 and operated by a Hawaii-based cargo fleet, Transair.

Aviation experts said it’s common to use the Boeing 737-200 for cargo.

What’s not common is that both engines on the large aircraft would fail.

“It’s very unusual to have issues with two separate engines,” said aviation expert and pilot Laura Einsetler, who added 737s are designed to fly with a single engine operational.

She said in the wake of the crash, the NTSB will undoubtedly be investigating the history of the aircraft and any potential maintenance issues.

They’ll also be looking at possible pilot problems or environmental causes, including bird strikes.

A 10-member NTSB team is deploying to Oahu, and it includes investigators with a variety of specialties, including wreckage recovery.

Transair CEO Teimour Riahi said in a statement that it was working with the NTSB and FAA.

The company describes itself as one of Hawaii’s largest air cargo providers, providing inter-island cargo service with a fleet of five Boeing 737s along with other aircraft.

A cargo plane crashed in waters off Oahu early Friday shortly after takeoff.
A cargo plane crashed in waters off Oahu early Friday shortly after takeoff.(Graphic)

Transair Flight 810 had just taken off from Honolulu about 1:40 a.m. and was headed to Kahului when it started experiencing problems. Both pilots onboard were rescued and remain hospitalized.

Peter Forman, an aviation expert in Hawaii, described the Boeing 737-200 as “reliable” and said a crash involving the loss of both engines is “very, very rare.”

He said the way the pilots ditched in the water, with the fuselage and tail initially on the surface, required immense skill. “At night, it’s much harder to judge your altitude and your sink rate,” he said.

“It was a challenge and I’m glad these guys did OK with it.”

This story will be updated.

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