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Gliding over Hana

Serendipity: [noun] the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

Such was my late afternoon in the Hana area. I was just exploring and decided to visit the area where Hana has its airport. No particular reason but I had heard stories that put it in my mind. One such story was that the late George Harrison (yes, THE George Harrison of the Beatles) would fly into and out of this airport when he was returning to or departing from his huge estate nearby.

Not much going on here this day but I did notice this aircraft sitting on the tarmac. As I stood there, a gentleman walked up and asked if I wanted to go for a ride. He flies this powered glider out of the Hana airport — for a price, of course.

After thinking about how many times in my life that I might have such an opportunity, I quickly put it on my bucket list and an hour later was able to remove it from same.

The only obstacle was that I could not tell Mizuki — she would kill me — not because of the cost but for the risk involved which I considered minor but which she would have considered certain death. But since she was still on the mainland (she did not travel with me this time), how would she know? I guess this issue of LAHP is my confession of sorts. Sorry, honey.

As soon as we took off, my jaw dropped. Of course, I have flown commercially hundreds of times and privately a few times. But never along the rugged coast of Hana. I had only imagined the sheer beauty we would encounter. Naturally, my camera was in hand and I began shooting everything.

After departing and climbing above the town of Hana, we made a U-turn and headed back in the direction of Kahului. As we gained altitude — under power, of course — I noticed the haze which I suspect was partially the normal humidity plus the ocean spray from the huge waves I had been seeing the whole time on Maui.

Unfortunately, haze is not a good subject for photography and I confess that I was a bit disappointed in the results once the photos were downloaded and viewed on my laptop. Therefore, I apologize that many of these photos are not up to my standard but I have done my best with Photoshop and I hope you can enjoy the view regardless.

Here is the Hana airport. One runway. No control tower.

But who cares about airports (until time to land) when you have coastline like this to look at?

And this.

Eventually we climbed high enough to get a birds-eye view (literally) of Haleakala.

Even higher and we could see the opening in the caldera that allows the clouds to enter the crater most mornings. Now it was time to turn off the engine and glide back. In quiet. It was marvelous.

We flew out over the ocean to get additional spectacular coastal views.

Views that just won't quit (thankfully).

Eventually, we began to line up with the runway for our final approach — one try only since we were gliding. My pilot, Hans, executed a perfect landing. Good job!

Late afternoon and the clouds had begun to catch the peach-color rays of the setting sun. What a day!

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com