Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Could Get Used To This!!

For my first international trip on my own without a babysitter I would be flying one of the two daily non-stops from DFW to Honolulu. The flight leaves about mid-day and arrives HNL around 3:00 PM. A 27 hour layover in HNL awaited. I had the swimming suit and the sunscreen packed and ready.

Even though Hawaii is part of the United States, it is considered an international destination for us pilots as we have to prepare for it in the same way as we would any other international destination. Any flight that requires a large portion of overwater flying is deemed an international leg for flight crews. Translation = International flying pays more than domestic flying!!

We launched on time with a full load of tourists. Rumor has is that AA doesn't even make any money on their Hawaiian flights since a majority of the passengers are traveling on AAdvantage award miles. I don't know if that's really true or not but it certainly seems reasonable.

The westbound leg had us cruising at 34,000 ft. We passed the west coast just north of San Diego over the city of Oceanside. You can barely make out San Diego harbor and Point Loma in the above photo. You can see the city of Los Angeles in the photo on the left.

Just off the west coast of Southern California lie some small islands. The most prominent and famous one is Santa Catalina.
San Clemente island was also visible this day. Just on the tip of the island you can see a small runway that is used by the Navy.Only five hours to go!

But it passed quickly. When I returned from my rest break the other two guys still had us pointed west and all was well in the cockpit.

Before long we could see the peak of Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii. In the photo on the right, the island of Maui was coming up under the nose.

Then a break in the clouds gave me a great shot of Haleakala crater on Maui.
Then came the island of Lanai as we started downhill for HNL.

Time to handoff the camera to the relief pilot. He was now on photo duty.

We descended quickly and made a right base turn over Barbers Point NAS and lined up for a long final to runway 8L. The small waterway under the nose is the inlet to Pearl Harbor.
A nice landing followed by a very short taxi and that was it.....time to conduct a layover!

I'll save my layover activities and the return leg home story for the next post.

For a look at some more of my photos, please aviate over to Plane & Simple.


JP said...

Great post. Can't wait to read more stories now that you're on the 76! Hopefully you'll bid some foreign trips.

It would also be nice to read your impressions of the differences in pilot workload on the 76 compared to the Mad Dog.

KLIT said...

Wow... looks like a blast!! I rode the same Dallas-Hawaii flight on American back in March. Looks like a heck of a time.

What hotel did they put you in? Also, did you go to the Rock Island Cafe? When I was there the waitress said they get lots of pilots... seemed right considering there were three there at that time.

Anyway, congrats!! Waiting on that next post...

Len (Barfbag) said...


Thanks for your suggestion. I'll try to work some of that stuff in.


Len (Barfbag) said...


Our hotel is one of the Resort Quest properties. It's right on Waikiki beach. I didn't make it to the Rock Island. Not sure where it is.


mlesser said...

Good to see you back on the line Len!

Good trips as well..

Hope all is well, sounds like you are enjoying the new plane and flights a lot more.