After arriving in Honolulu on the AirAsia X inaugural flight from Osaka and making a quick stop at Pacific Marina Inn hotel to drop off my bags and take a quick shower, I headed out to do some Honolulu spotting.
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Honolulu Spotting: Lagoon Drive Parking Lot
The spot of my choice was a parking lot at the end of Lagoon Drive – a street that runs along the southeastern perimeter of the airport. To get there, I walked from my hotel. The walk took about 40 minutes, and offered some nice views along the way.
From the Lagoon Drive spot, it is possible to photograph movements on the “Reef Runway” – 08R/26L. As I got closer and closer to the spot, I tried to capture some of the 08R departures in a “Hawaiian way.”
The spot itself is a little dirt area between the airport fence and the parking lot. There are some concrete blocks that one can stand on to photograph over the fence.
Besides 08R departures, it is also possible to catch landings on 04L and R. The light is only behind ones back in the early morning, though.
Finally, the spot also offers an up-close view of aircraft taxiing out of the cargo and general aviation area spread along Lagoon Drive.
Photographing the Regular Honolulu Traffic
The first couple of movements that I saw were United Airlines 767 and Virgin America A320 departing back to the mainland. There were also some Hawaiian Airlines aircraft including a couple of A330s and a 717.
Unfortunately, due to fairly strong heat haze even around 3:30PM, many of the photos turned unusable. Still, some were OK. The Japan Airlines 777 below is one of those.
For the rest of the afternoon, some of the “heavy” highlights included Hawaiian Airlines 767s and a FedEx MD-11.
The smaller aircraft included Hawaiian Airlines 717s as well as some Island Air turboprops which – by the time they passed in front of me – were too hight to photograph.
Finally, there were also some general aviation aircraft including helicopters, as well as military aircraft due to Honolulu airport also being a United States Air Force base.
Two Highlights to End the Day: AirAsia X & Batik Indonesia
While the above could be summarized as “standard traffic,” that day, there were also two special movements. They also happened to be the last two aircraft I photographed on the day.
The first of those was flight D7 2 – AirAsia X’s return flight to Osaka. While it is scheduled to depart at 4PM, that day it departed with a delay of two hours. Not a pleasant experience for the passengers. However, in terms of photography, it was hard to complain as the light was getting better with each minute of the delay.
The second special movement was the departure of Batik Indonesia’s first Boeing 737 MAX 8. The aircraft arrived earlier in the day from Boeing Field, and in the evening it continued its journey towards Indonesia. First, though, it stopped in Guam.
Interestingly, upon delivery, the titles were changed to Lion Air, and so the above two photos became even more precious.
Given that there were no more interesting departures scheduled after Batik Air, I headed back to the hotel.
First, I stopped to grab a couple of pictures of a little “light aircraft graveyard” that could be seen just a couple of meters down Lagoon Drive.
Then, I just continued the 40 minute walk towards my hotel, bringing the Honolulu spotting session to an end.