State briefs for May 11

Crash witnesses saw helicopter go down after hearing a bang

HONOLULU (AP) — Witnesses to a helicopter crash last month that killed three people told federal investigators that they heard an odd noise followed by a bang and then saw the helicopter descend without its rotor blades spinning.

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A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety board into the April 29 crash on Oahu also said witnesses saw that “the helicopter appeared to be descending vertically with little forward motion.”

The report did not specify a cause for the crash of the helicopter on a residential street in Kailua.

The accident killed 28-year-old pilot Joseph G. Berridge of Honolulu, and two female passengers, 28-year-old Ryan McAuliffe of Chicago, Illinois, and 76-year-old Jan Burgess of Australia.

A final report including a probable cause is likely to take 12 to 24 months to complete, said safety board spokesman Eric Weiss.

The helicopter was registered to United Helicopter Leasing LLC, and operated by Novictor Aviation LLC, which provides air tours under the business name of Novictor Helicopters, the report said.

The flight left Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu at 8:54 a.m. in good weather operating by sight rather than instruments.

Airline gives superjumbo tours after second test flight

HONOLULU (AP) — All Nippon Airways gave VIP tours of the world’s largest wide-body airplane following the arrival of a second successful test flight in Hawaii, officials said.

The Japanese airline landed its A380 “Flying Honu” at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Wednesday.

Democratic Gov. David Ige and others toured the double-decker aircraft and the airline’s two $5 million lounges.

The lounges will include a first-class area that seats 70 and a second area for up to 300 other passengers willing to pay a $40 fee, which will become the state’s largest passenger lounge.

The state contributed $13 million to airport improvements to ensure the A380 service started in Honolulu, Ige said.

Honolulu became the 11th city airport in the U.S. equipped for the wide-body aircraft and by 2020 All Nippon’s A380 service is expected to bring an additional $285 million in economic impact and up to $30 million in tax revenue to the state, Ige said.

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The airplane painted to resemble Honu, Hawaii’s green sea turtle, will seat about 520 passengers. The test flight was another step toward the carrier’s 2020 goal of doubling its available seats for travel between Honolulu to Tokyo.

The carrier plans to add wide-body aircraft service four times weekly beginning May 24. The carrier also anticipates adding a second A380 to the Hawaii market in July and a third in 2020, officials said.

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