(Coincidentally, another Aussie e-mailed me asking for HNL
info, so hereʻs what I have.)
The Lagoon Drive parking lot
is an excellent site for spotting, but it is considered airport property and will require a photo permit from the Honolulu Airport Managerʻs Office
. In my experience, theyʻve waived the permit fee (about $100/day of access) in exchange for an agreement to not sell pictures commercially (i.e. for financial profit.) A lens capable of 150-200mm (35mm equivalent) will suffice for the parking lot (I personally use a Canon EF
-S 55-250mm with a EOS Rebel XSi [450D] when Iʻm there), and the best time to go is during May through August (for reasons previously stated) and before 9 AM
or after 3 PM
to avoid heat haze.
For those who do decide to obtain a permit, make sure to also include the Interisland Terminal parking structure in the permit terms for a views of of the interisland ramp.
For people with long lenses who donʻt want to deal with permits, the sidewalk of Lagoon Drive (a public road not under airport jurisdiction) can work for both 8L
and 8R departures, subject to where the sun is positioned. This isnʻt something Iʻve tried myself, but only because I donʻt own a lens long enough to make it work.
Another location that might be viable with a long lens (500mm 35mm equivalent or longer) is out in Ewa Beach
, near the 8L
approach path. I donʻt go there myself because I donʻt have a lens that long, and there are utility poles and wires that partially block views of landing aircraft, but it does provide a vantage point from the south of subject aircraft, which means it can potentially work during the parts of the year when Lagoon Drive does not.
|Quoting sovietjet (Reply 1):|
Particularly if it is at all possible to get good shots of the military traffic from Hickam.
Itʻs fairly easy to catch a KC
-135 or C-17 if youʻre there at the right time, but something little like an F-15 is harder by an order of magnitude. Youʻd need a long lens (400mm minimum from the parking lot) and a bit of luck.
|Quoting dlowwa (Reply 2):|
If you're lucky, the trades might be blowing and you'll get opposite direction ops, but that's not too common (8s are usually in use for normal winds)
The tradewinds (which come from the northeast) are normal winds. The runways occasionally reverse direction when there are Kona winds (from the southwest or southeast.) Incidentally, Kona winds also mean itʻs likely vog from Big Island will be blown over the rest of the state, which (at its worst) can make Honolulu look like a bad day in Los Angeles.
Other aviation-related opportunities include the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor, and a company
up at Dillingham Airfield offering flights in a Boeing Stearman. Iʻve seen pictures in the DB of another aviation museum out in Kalaeloa, but I donʻt know anything about them. There will also be an air show at Kaneohe Bay MCBH featuring performances by the Blue Angels on the weekend of September 29-30 of this year.
[Edited 2012-05-12 04:43:01]