Honolulu, HI Skydiving Plane Crash, Dec 1981


Honolulu (AP) -- An airplane taking skydivers to a football game jump sputtered and spun into Pearl Harbor near the USS Arizona Memorial, officials said. Eleven of the 12 people believed to be aboard were killed.
One man was pulled alive from the harbor by three men who saw the plane go down.
Authorities first were told 13 people were aboard by the man who was found alive. Later, other members of the Jump Hawaii sports parachutist club said 12 were aboard, a Navy spokesman said.
However, a search was continuing Sunday in case the first report proved accurate, said Jerry Lambert of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base.
Club vice president Stephen Fischel identified three of those aboard the twin-engine Beechcraft as club president BYRON BLACK and two of his sons, DANNY, who was piloting the aircraft, and BOBBY.
Six bodies were recovered Saturday night by Navy and Coast Guard rescue crews and taken to the city morgue. Five bodies were discovered Sunday, the Navy said.
No names were released by authorities.
Search operations had been suspended at 1:45 a.m.Sunday because the shallow waters in the area posed a danger to boats, said Richard Rothrock, deputy public affairs officer for the Pearl Harbor Naval Base. Searchers were sent out again at daybreak.
The parachutists were scheduled to jump into nearby Aloha Stadium before the start of a football game between the University of Hawaii and the University of South Carolina.
Ten minutes before the 7:10 p.m. crash, the plane contacted the control tower at Honolulu International Airport for the last time, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman George Miyachi.
The pilot radioed he was climbing to 3,500 feet in preparation for the jump, Miyachi said.
Nolin Brede, who helped pull MIKE SALMONS from the water, said he saw the plane coming down in a spin and its "motors were reved up real high" when it hit.
The plane crashed into 3 1/2 feet of water on a reef near Fort Island, about 250 yards from the USS Arizona Memorial to those who died there during the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Rothrock said there was speculation that the pilot of the plane may have been trying to land on the island.
By the time Brede and his friends reached the wreckage, only the tail of the plane was visible, he said.
SALMONS, 34, was picked up about 25 yards from the wreckage and taken to a hospital for treatment of a broken leg.
"I decided I didn't want to stay in there. The others decided to stay with the plane. It did all kinds of crazy stuff," said SALMONS, who said he was sitting closest to the door.
"I jumped and three others also jumped," the veteran diver said in a telephone interview from his hospital bed, but those who followed him did not have enough altitude left to deploy their chutes.

Wisconsin State Journal Madison 1984-12-07

List of Casualties:
BYRON BLACK, club president.
DANNY BLACK, pilot, and Byron's son.
BOBBY BLACK, Byron's son.


I was a neighbor.

What a sad day that was. I lived next door to that round pole house on Farrington Hwy with my roommate Ron , the one at the corner of the street the Blacks lived at the end of, we used to come over to Russ's house and Pepper's house a lot to party with you guys back then. Ron was bartender at the Sugar Bar at that time. This skydiving planes incident yesterday made me think about the sad ProBowl day back then. I was with Skip and crew from the Feed Trough at the Pro Bowl when it happened.

Mike the electrician.

Hi Lynn

i think I know you. Aren't you a Southern girl Lynn? Remember partying at Peppers house? How about at Whiteys place in Waimea? Lori's beach house in Waialua?

How about going shrooming behind the DZ? Not you, huh?

It's been 31 years so I could be wrong.

Best Regards, Bob

Steve Herald

Steve and I, along with another friend from Colorado came to Hawaii together to go to UH. He was our room mate and was a vey special young man. In the short 4 months that we lived together, we had so many fun times. He was quite a handsome and special man. Every year in early December I say s special prayer for my special friend who lost his life so early. I will never forget that night when we gathered with his jumping friends (who we didn't know, buts whom Steve talked so fondly of) and how we sadly found out he was on the plane. It forever changed our lives, and I also say a special prayer for his parents who lost him way too young.

Thank you for posting this information, I had thought so much about that accident over the years, and it brings comfort to know others have too.

Dillingham HI Skydive Accident 05 DEC 1981 minor correction Ira

Every year around the 5th of December I think of the tragic loss of the lives on board this aircraft. I can remember standing on the airfield as the aircraft departed up the runway. I was scheduled to go as an 'observer' but at the last minute had a fight with my on/off again boyfriend Ira Allen. I cannot repeat what my words to him were as I stalked away.
Someone said that Ira Allen owned a Sub cleaning business. Not true. He was a salvage diver in the Navy at one point, but at the time of this accident he was living the fun life - living on the North Shore. He had a new live in girlfriend at the time, with a young boy. From Alaska. I think the young boy was Ira's son.
I lived almost across the street from the airfield at the time of this accident. Russ Francis NE PATS, was my roommate (as stated here elsewhere). And yes, the phone rang off the hook at the house when the news hit the media that Russ 'might' have been on the aircraft. He was not of course. Whitey, another fine man gone, lived two doors down from me. He was dating a real nice lady at the time (damn I forget her name). I remember walking into their kitchen (still mad at Ira), and hearing the breaking news that a Cessna had crashed into Pearl Harbor. I knew it was them. The rest is a blur of tears, families arguing (who to bury, who to cremate, yadee). My backyard and home became crisis central. I think it's because Russ lived there too. I remember the yard strewn with skydivers debris, canopies eerily wafting in the wind to dry. Hopefully to be salvaged if possible, both in memory and not knowing quite what to do with it all. Quite gross now that I think about it. We had memorials at the house, ash throwing and many nights of plain unbelievable pain remembering those we lost so tragically. I still miss you all. Thank You for letting me vent here. Its been a long time.

Sky dive in paradise


Over the past 32 years, I have often thought of Bobby and Danny.
I met them during my days playing football at Univ Of Oregon 1977-80.

The last time I was with them was at a party at their house in 1980 on the night before I departed Oregon after Winter Graduation.

I contacted the family immediately after the accident and told the family how I knew the boys.
They put me on the phone with another friend from Eugene who was a Black Belt and who actually introduced me to Bobby and Danny. He had flown in to be with the family.

I can't not remember the name of our mutual friend and would like to reconnect with him.

Can you help with this?

All the best

Chris Vaughan
Santa Rosa, CA
+1 707-953-5504

Skydiving Accident Hawaii 1981

Hi - I, too, worked for Jump Hawaii with Byron Black and the gang. I also worked with Byron Eliani -- he was the nicest guy. He used to work on the repair of the parachutes that had holes/rips in them. I also lived across the street from the drop zone and enjoyed many many fun days with my skydiving friends. Roy and Jim were best friends and Roy was in love with Jeannie (Jim's sister). These two gentlemen were great friends and they overall were just the most fun to be around. I remember lying on the beach without a soul nearby and I heard someone talking and laughing and I didn't see anyone. Who would have thought that the two of these guys would be landing on the beach to visit with me. They just dropped down and we all sat around and talked story. I will never forget it. I would also like to say that Steve from Colorado was also one of the finest young men and had only recently come to the drop zone less than a year before his death -- he had not been around us all that long but had certainly made an impression on the drop zone. He was a funny and very handsome young man. He was full of excitement when it came to hanging out with the up-jumpers. He was one himself but needed to work his way into their group and he did. Many really liked him. I remember him very well and am so sorry for his family as they lost an awesome son. It was devastating to us all. Each skydiver had a distinct effect on the ones left behind. We miss them all and there were so many to miss. Bill (Moriarity) would be shocked at how much the drop zone has changed...I went back and was overwhelmed at the difference 30 years makes. In your mind you hope for something to be similar but it did not feel that way at all when I returned for a visit. I could finally walk away and know that we were all part of a time that will be etched in only our own memories ... So glad you had extra time with Byron -- i really liked him a lot. He made work fun!

Cause of Crash ?

back at this time I was doing some odd jobs for Jump Hawaii to earn jump time..
it was devastating when this accident occurred
I wondered if they ever determined the cause ?

correction to article

first of all, let me introduce myself, my name is June, I was Byron Eliana's girlfriend at the time of his death. I still think of him from time to time and it has left a scar. However, I treasure the memories we had.
I just happened on this article when I was looking through some skydiving pics. Brought back memories...article was close.. Byron's last name is Eliana. He passed on June 18, 1983, not July 18.
Byron was close to all of the one's who passed. If he was that 13th skydiver on that flight, he would have been gone earlier, and I wouldn't have all the great memories. Please feel free to contact me if you would like. I wish I still had the pics, however, I sent them to his parents, and they are now deceased, his father just passed last year.
My e-mail is jfhall58@yahoo.com or call me at 601 383 6003. I am also on fb. Do you still keep up with Vicky, Debbie(?) Adams or any of the others at that time??

The death of Jump Hawaii

Byron Eliani(my dearest friend) was the missing 13th jumper that was never on the plane. He died the following year (July 18th) from a skydiving accident.

I used to jump-master at Jump Hawaii. I was on duty that night onboard the USS Sargo sub. We could see the helo fling over the Az memorial. They let me off duty and I road my moped to Jump Hawaii's office and started taking calls from wive's and the press. Steven "Yak-Yak" Fischel was with me. For a while, there was a rumor that Russ Francis was on board. (wide reciever - New England Pats)
I just pulled out my moldy log book and have tears in my eyes.
BYRON BLACK, club president. my second father
DANNY BLACK, pilot, and Byron's son. way too young to die. Broke Teresa's(Mom) heart
BOBBY BLACK, Byron's son. Black belt and a really nice guy
STEVE L. HERALD. young kid from Colorado. Had a lot of jumps with him.
IRA ALLEN. Ownes a submarine hull cleaning business
JAMES R. WHITING, JR. Whitey who had a story in the 1st ed of "United We Fall"
CHARLES L. KNAEBEL. Charlie "this ain't bowling" 'K'naebel - my first jump instructor
WILLIAM BURR - "Moriarty" Lived in the caine fields and lived to skydive.

I didn't know Roy, George and Jimmy as well. I think two of them were brothers-inlaws. But I have pictures and videos of them all.
Some are on my FB which is what made me do this search.