Tag Archives: Aircraft

A rainy day in North Kohala

A rainy day at Upolu Airport, Hawaii
A crab spider web in the rain

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Rainy Day.’ See more responses here.

I had just finished my walk around Upolu Airport when the weather closed in. Usually, clouds and rain are blown in by the northeast trade winds, but on this day a system was moving in from the west. I’d been watching its progress as I walked, but still got caught out as it moved faster than I expected. Still, I did make it back to the car, waiting for me in the wet parking lot, before the next deluge arrived (top photo).

The crab spiders didn’t seem to mind the weather, and the raindrops made a picture of their webs (middle photo). It also made them easier to see so that I could avoid my usual trick of blundering into them and having webs wrapped around my head.

On the drive home, after my walk, I carved an avenue of spray as I motored along the puddled road (bottom photo).

A rainy day in North Kohala, Hawaii

Upolu landscape

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Favorite Landscape.’ See more responses here.

When I think of the landscape at Upolu, it includes both the ocean that borders it and the skies above. They are, in my mind, integral to the place. But here, I’ve focussed on the land, a relatively small area of a few square miles where I walk most days. It’s rural, agricultural, and coastal. It’s historic and modern. It’s also a place I never return from feeling disappointed. There’s always something of note that I see or that happens when I’m there.

Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

Upolu Airport bombed

Planes gathered at Upolu Airport, on the northern tip of the Big Island, for a fly-in.

Why would anyone want to bomb Upolu Airport, a lightly used airstrip at the northern tip of the island, which is where I go walking because of the peace and quiet? That’s what I wondered when I went down there on Saturday and found 20-plus aircraft, cars parked alongside the road, and a lot of people milling around. Turns out, a group of aviation enthusiasts had organized a fly-in and I’d stumbled on it en route to my walk.

There were planes parked, planes circling above, planes zipping by a whisker above the ground. Apart from the general milling around, a couple of events were scheduled. The first was a touch and go challenge where the goal was to touch as close as possible in front of a line across the runway. Touch down after the line and it counted for nought.

The other event was the bombing run. By the time that rolled around, I’d walked around to the other side of the runway and was leaning on a fence chatting to a couple of airport maintenance workers. The target circle for the bombing challenge, which involved bags of flour rather than high explosives, was not far from where I was so I decided to wait for it to play out, which took rather longer than I anticipated.

What I was hoping for was large bags of flour being dropped from a decent height and exploding in a large white cloud. Instead the bags were small and dropped from just a few feet above the ground as the planes flew by very low indeed. I don’t think the exercise even broke a bag, let alone throwing up a cloud of flour.

Still, it appeared that a good time was had by all, and while my walk got a zero on the peace and quiet scale, it got high marks for being, as they used to say on Monty Python, something completely different.

One of the planes makes a low pass over the airport.
A plane makes a touch-and-go landing, attempting to get as close to the line across the runway as possible.
One of the planes making a low pass for a bombing run. The bomb, a small bag of flour, can be seen just behind the rearmost wheel.
Another plane on a bombing run. The ‘flour bomb’ can be seen behind the plane.

A plane and the moon

Becky’s July Squares challenge theme is ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

This photo is a perfect example of the ‘perspective’ theme. See how much bigger the plane looks than the moon. That’s because it’s a lot closer. But if the plane was up there, close to the moon, it would look a lot smaller than the moon, because the moon is actually way bigger than the plane. Also, the pilot would be in a world of trouble, or in out-of-this-world trouble, depending on your perspective.

Signs: No people

Three of these signs appeared at Upolu Airport recently. I think we can all agree that in these troubling times it’s important for people to stay safe by following such protocols.

The plane in the photo is owned by the skydiving company that used to fly out of the airport back in pre-pandemic days. It’s fairly safe to say that they’ll be one of the last businesses allowed to reopen. It’s hard to maintain social distancing on a plane that size, especially when most clients are going to be strapped to someone who knows how to operate a parachute.

In the meantime, in the last four months, the number of times I’ve seen more than one person inside the fence is exactly equal to the number of times I’ve seen that one person wearing a mask. I won’t say how many times that is, but it’s a very round number.

Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

Search helicopter over Mau’umae Beach

I saw this Hawaii County Fire Department Search and Rescue helicopter flying over Mau’umae Beach, just south of Kawaihae. I think it was just on a training exercise, but we have had a run of missing fishermen and free divers so it might have been associated with one of those searches.

The body of one fisherman was located submerged along the coast, but no trace of the others has been found yet, to my knowledge. The standard practice on the Big Island is to search for three days. If nothing is found by the end of that time, then they call it off.

There are strong currents around the island and if a swimmer or fisherman is injured in the water, it’s easy for them to be swept out to sea, where the chances of finding them diminish rapidly. Sad as it is when a body is recovered, it’s almost harder when nothing is found and there is no sense of closure for families and friends.