Pilot Ditches Cessna 310 Just Short of Hawaii

If you ditch your plane 13 miles short of the Hawaiian Big Island, does the Coast Guard rescue swimmer still give you a lei?

Charles Mellor was reportedly ferrying a twin-engine Cessna 310 to Hawaii; he was 500 miles out when he contacted the FAA and told them he wasn’t going to make it.

The man was flying for delivery a Cessna 310 twin-engine aircraft from Monterey, California, to Hilo when he radioed federal aviation authorities that he was 500 miles out and low on fuel, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Angela Henderson, a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard.

He estimated he would run out of fuel 100 miles short of the island, according to a Coast Guard statement.

In fact, he made it to 13 miles or so when he finally touched down on the waves.  A Coast Guard C-130 was following him by that time, and a MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter picked him up.

The CNN article makes the observation that a Cessna 310s advertised range is about 1900 miles, while the distance from California to Hawaii is closer to 2300.  The 310 was likely fitted with ferry tanks.  Still, it would be interesting to know what changed after the pilot passed his point of no return (the point at which it was shorter to continue to Hawaii, rather than return to California). Presumably, he hit that point and still thought he could make Hawaii.

Watch the Coast Guard video.

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