Flight Over Hawaii – a clockwise loop around the Island in a PA28 Cherokee

Today I hired a Piper Cherokee 140 from Anderson Aviation at Honolulu International Airport for a flight around the Island.

It was the first time I’d flown an aircraft outside of Australia but apart from being unfamiliar with the local procedures (which my Instructor Kristie helped me out with) everything was very similar and it was nice to be back in a Cherokee once again.

Honolulu International Airport

It wasn’t long before we were taxying past all the heavy jets and lining up on 04L ready to take-off.

We departed Honolulu International Airport and headed in a clockwise motion around the Island passing directly over Pearl Harbor then tracking to Kalaeloa Airport where we left controlled airspace and climbed up into Class G.

I learned quickly with the huge mountain ranges and strong Pacific winds that smash against them from the Ocean that if you fly too close to the coast you’re going to hit a lot of mucky turbulence, stronger than anything I’ve experienced in Australia before. But thankfully a quick correction of spacing from the coast and a climb up to 2,000′ quickly fixed that.

Waialua Bay and Pipeline

There wasn’t that much to look at on the West side of the Island so we quickly made our way around to Dillingham Airfield on the North coast and were greeted with this view (left) of the famous surfing coastline including Waialua Bay and Pipeline.

I was told that the North gets the big waves in the Wintertime hence there not being a lot of swell here today, but it was a beautiful view with the clouds at around 2,000 feet, the mountain ranges to our right and nothing but the Pacific Ocean off our left wing.


Over the historic old town of Haleiwa we turned inland briefly and flew over a the pineapple plantations that belonged to Dole – a fruit exporter that most of us would have heard of after seeing their labels attached to pineapples and bananas around the world.


We were treated to the beautiful rainbow as fine mists of rain fell around us and as we tracked back out to the coast to continue around the island.

Dole plantation with pineapple maze
Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach

From here we continued around Kawela Bay to turn South and over the Chinamans Hat Island which I didn’t manage to get a photo of but looked exactly like what it was named after, and a little bit like a Hershey’s Kiss too.

Then down the coast past the Kaneohe Bay Military Base before our final turn West again to track over Waikiki Beach and get our clearance into Honolulu International Airport landing back on 04L, crossing 04R and taxying back to the hangar.


A really enjoyable aviation experience and one that I would thoroughly recommend to all visiting pilots. The company I used were called Anderson Aviation (http://www.abovehawaii.com/) who were very friendly and compared to Australian rental prices were also very affordable.

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