Island Air waiting to load PAX while in Kona.
With today being pretty much a travel day, we really didn't do a whole lot but we still had a great time. After a quick breakfast, we headed over to the airport for the trip to Maui and the next hop over to Honolulu that took no longer than about an hour and a half total including layover in Maui. We enjoyed the aerial views of the islands and being able to see where everything was in relation to each other. The weather was about the same as all the other days - partly cloudy but seemed there was more sun today than on the other days. Go figure!
Since we all have something to do with aviation at some point in our lives (either flying in the United States Air Force or others with a commercial airline), we really enjoyed talking with a lot of the aircrews that were in Hawaii.
USAF/Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 climbing out while doing touch and go's in KOA.
Everyone at Hawaiian Airlines was so friendly - I'm sure I would be too if all I did was fly around the Hawaiian Islands all the time, geez. Got some really great shots of Hickam Air Force Base's first Boeing C-17s doing touch and go's while we were waiting to board in Kona. We had seen several 'two-ship' formations flying around in the days prior to leaving the Big Island but never got any close up shots. A total of 18 aircraft will be stationed in Honolulu and crewed by individuals from both the Air Force's 535th Airlift Squadron
and the Hawaii Air National Guard
in Honolulu at Hickam Air Force Base. They only had only taken delivery of two of them the week we saw them. Getting those crews up to speed for global deployment on their new aircraft!
By the way, the airport in Kona on the Big Island is great! I always love going to those airports where you have to disembark directly onto the ramp and walk over to the terminal .
Dedicated to Astronaut Onizuka who died when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, January 26, 1986.
It's completely open air with only covered pavilions in the gate areas. If you've ever flown into Long Beach, CA it's kind of the same thing. The airport is right next to the water and in the middle of an old lava field so you have a clear view of the surrounding area. If you arrive early, be sure to take a walk through the Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center that's right in front of the check in counters for Hawaiian Airlines. The space center has computer-interactive exhibits.
You can launch a miniature rocket and rendezvous with an object in
space, feel the effects of gyroscopic stabilization, participate in
hands-on science activities, and view educational films. www.planet-hawaii.com/astronautonizuka. COST: $3.
Maui was beautiful from the air, only wish we had made more time so we could've stayed here a few days.
The Home Depot store #1703 in Kahului, HI while on short finals to Maui. Nothing like a little bit of home...
The beaches were really nice and gold colored from the air. WARNING: Maui has a really short runway so when you land, hold on to you seat as it's a quick stop. Likewise on departure, you'll get a great sensation of the full take off power required to get airborne as you're pressed back into your seat! Since I work at Home Depot's HQ in Atlanta, it was cool seeing The Home Depot store #1703 in Kahului
, HI while we were on short finals to Maui's airport.
The approach to Honolulu is always fantastic whether you're arriving on 8R/26L or 4R/22L, but you'll probably approach on 8 from the west, especially if you're arriving from the US mainland or international. Since 4R/22L is diagonal to the longer runways and doesn't pass either Pearl Harbor or Waikiki you won't see much there.
On short finals to runway 8L at HNL. Ships in Pearl Harbor in preparation for exercises in the Sea of Japan in the coming days.
You can see a diagram of the airport in Honolulu by clicking HERE
. If you're arriving or flying during the day and have a window seat, keep an eye out for breaching humpback whales during the winter months and for submarines arriving to and departing from Naval Base Pearl Harbor.
You will have great views of Pearl Harbor, Diamondhead, Waikiki and the beaches as well as other areas around Honolulu. We caught a GREAT view of a submarine submerging on our way back to the mainland a few days later but unfortunately had the camera all packed up. :-(
In Honolulu, we rented one of the two-story penthouses at the Royal Kuhio Waikiki on the 42nd and 43rd floors.
First view from the penthouse at the Royal Kuhio in Honolulu.
WOW! We had a fabulous view of Waikiki and downtown Honolulu on one side and the mountains and Diamondhead on the other. Tonight we were treated to probably one of the best views of the fireworks at The Hilton Hawaiian Village & Resort. I've seen them from the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and the penthouse offered a truly different perspective. The weather has really started to deteriorate (rain) and remain overcast throughout the evening and for the remainder of our trip.