Taking off in a helicopter is unlike any commercial airline flight you have ever experienced. As forward thrust is not needed, there is no ‘pinned to your seat’ feeling. Your seat simply starts lifting into the air with what feels like effortless will despite the roar of the engine and blades above you.
While I flew over 100,000 miles last year in airplanes, it was the 250 miles we flew around Hawaii, The Big Island that are the most memorable.
Below are our images from the trip with Paradise Helicopters and our gracious pilot Koji Sato. The images are in chronological order and take off from the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa, circle the island counterclockwise and return to the same resort. Some of the highlights you will see in the images are:
- Helicopter mates Virginia Miller, Kelley Cho, Jill Robinson and Rob Payesko of Paradise Helicopters giving us our prep talk. Out of view of the camera are Rebbeca Pang and my girlfriend, Nimmi.
- Macadamia farms on the southern flanks of the island.
- The Great Crack
- The Hilina Slump
- Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
- Pu’u O’o lava pond (the shots of active lava)
- Waimea Valley
- Waihilau Falls (the 12th tallest on the planet according to the World Waterfall Database)
- Puuanahulu Landfill (yes, the garbage has to go somewhere!)
- Back to the Sheraton Kona
Click on any image for a much larger version. Interested in purchasing an image? Drop me a line.
For the photographers in the crowd, all images were shot with a Nikon D800E and Nikon 14-24mm lens thanks to Borrowlenses.com. All but a few were shot at 14mm. That’s a mighty fine lens.
Thanks also goes to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and Big Island Visitors Bureau and Paradise Helicopters for hosting this helicopter trip we’ll never forget. The words and images are my own, so is the adrenaline rush I feel when thinking back to this trip.