Tuesday, April 1, 2014


RIDE A PAINTED PONY LET THE SPINNIN' WHEEL TURN: I'm sure, as everyone says, Gerry Charle­­bois- the pilot of the ultra-light aircraft that crashed and burned in Polihale last month killing him and his passenger- was a great guy.

But these ultra-light "tours" are illegal as hell because they are not really "flight instruction" as they claim but simply thrill rides for tourists. And everyone know it.

Taking visitors up in these things is not permitted but there is a "flight instruction" loophole that has allowed the practice to continue.

It's one of those "and if anyone asks, you're learning to fly," dealies.

Of course not one news report has mentioned this- heaven forbid they should criticize anything to do with the visitor industry.

According to a local Kaua`i newspaper article:

The accident pilot had recently had problems with the fuel system suctioning the fuel supply out of the main vent line (located in the belly of the aircraft),” states a preliminary investigation report released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board.
In an effort to fix the issue, Charlebois reportedly routed the fuel vent line up through the aircraft’s mast.

With all due respect to the pilot- with whom we apparently shared many friends-, it pains us to say that it sounds like the NTSB is saying that he "Gerry-rigged" the gas line so he could make money that day.

It's now six people who have died just on Kaua`i since 2011 in these ultra light "flight instruction" exhilaration excursions. Isn't it time to close this deadly loophole?


KimoRosen said...

Andy, Well said, thanks for the inside scoop. Why not send this as an LTE submission to the StarAdveriser and Garden Island news? I know it's not your style to do so, but they do have the numbers, people need to see what you just wrote! Mahalo

WingedGringo said...

Aloha Andy,
Clearly it was NOT the fuel line Gerry apparently modified, it was the fuel VENT. My plane has a fuel vent too, and I do not see how it could lead to such a tragedy, but I lay awake nights asking that same question.
The FAA does not allow trikers like myself or Gerry to sell rides. We could sell guns, but we can't sell rides. Does this make sense to anyone?
We should be able to sell rides, this is nothing short of Mankind's most ancient dream come true, but it is not without risk. Customers should be informed of this risk. This would be easy and effective too, with a simple placard that anyone could read; THIS AIRCRAFT IS NOT FAA CERTIFIED and THIS PILOT MAY NOT BE LICENSED
Gerry and I have introduced thousands of earthlings to the joy of flight, something you may or may not understand, I don't know. The FAA is no help at all.