When he heard I was going home, from Autodesk University, via Hawaii Shaan recommended a Blue Hawaiian Helicopter flight as a great way to see Oahu. Unfortunately, the pilot he knew (from some Autodesk related work) was not flying the only day I could do the flight, but the one I had was great anyway.
They fly modern Airbus Eco-Star helicopters with great visibility for all passengers but I was lucky to be allocated a front seat beside the pilot. That was a matter of luck as is decided by weight loading as much as anything. The five other passengers were a family (on holiday from Atlanta, Georgia) so they filled the back 4 seats and one beside me.
I love flying, but helicopters feels so different from aircraft. This turbine engine one was smooth, compared to the smaller IC engine type, but there is still that weird ‘hanging in space’ motion as they tilt to get forward motion.
We did a short ‘taxi flight’ along a taxiway before rapidly ascending.
It was a stunning day, Honolulu looked like a postcard picture in 3D!
Diamond Head, a must to visit later on, is so distinctive from any viewpoint.
The pilot recommended visiting Hanauma Bay. He said not to go on a Tuesday as it was ‘closed so the fish could go to school’. I thought he was joking…
Manana Island and Waimanalo Bay, look at that water!
Never got a chance to drive the Likelike Highway, but this trip was a good reconnaissance for an upcoming bike ride.
Time spent ‘playing’ with Microsoft Flight Simulator meant I knew what most of these were. I liked how the pilot was open to answering questions, obviously had a patter but was happy to deviate from it.
The Kualoa area, a familiar sight from films and TV.
Typical of the small settlements on the North Shore.
Kahana Valley & the coast towards Hauula & Laie. Unfortunately he did a couple of very gentle turns to give us a better view here and ‘Dad” behind me said he was feeling motion sick. I don’t think he actually was but it meant no more aerobatic manoeuvres, even mild ones, for the rest of the trip.
Farming and horticulture as we followed the Kamehameha Highway back towards Pearl Harbour. This part of the flight tracks the same approach used by most of the Japanese attack aircraft.
Wheeler Army Airfield had more aircraft on the apron than the entire combined NZ Forces…
Before heading over Pearl Harbour we hopped over the ranges towards Nanakuli.
This basin is home to more Naval bases, including an odd arrangement of spaced out structures which turned out to be ammunition magazines.
We passed some massive communication antenna, hundreds of metres high.
An odd shaped bay, one of three identical, because they were ‘made’ for the resorts beside them…
It felt a bit eerie to fly into Pearl Harbour as had only seen previously on documentaries and movies about that ‘day of infamy’.
Flying over Ford Island towards the Missouri, at the dock, and Arizona Memorial.
Heading back to the airport
The odd layout of the airport is apparent, was a bit of hike to transfer from international to domestic on the way into the US.
And down, a smooth landing to end an awesome flight.
The flight track from Google Maps tracking my phone.
Long after the flight I was mucking around in Google Earth and lined up this image comparison. Given it doesn’t simulate atmospherics it is remarkable how accurate it appears next to the real thing.