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Aerial Travels
updated: Jan 05, 2017, 9:53 AM

By John Wiley

We've been gone. Far. It's SO wonderful to be home in SB! Flying past SBA to LAX we yearned for them to drop us off, but had to wait two hours for a red-eye flight back. Just after Tday we caught a noon flight for a week in the Hawaiian Islands before going on to Aukland for a few nights, over to Sydney for 3 nights, then back to New Zealand to explore another 2-1/2 weeks and finishing with another week on Maui. Trip of a lifetime, launched by the generosity of a well-off relative and supplemented by life savings. We have pix! Several thousand. Want to see a few? Here are two hastily culled ones from our rented small plane flights over Milford Sound, NZ and Molokai, HI. In coming days/weeks I'll start posting to our blog, but wanted to share with Edhat first. :)

Want more?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 749858P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 10:24 AM

I wish I could afford to globetrot like that, sounds like fun....


 JOHN WILEY agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 10:40 AM

Wish we could afford it too! We'll be eating beans for a long time for first aid on our shattered budget. ;)

The thing that surprised us most is how green NZ & HI are, and though Santa Barbarians may be getting tired of it we LOVED coming home to gentle rain and dreaming of what our hills will look like when the clouds do lift.


 COMMENT 749877P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 10:55 AM


Yep... Budgets are fragile things.


 COMMENT 749879 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 10:56 AM

You can afford it.


 COMMENT 749902P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 11:56 AM

How did to go for renting the small planes in HI & NZ?

Cost, what you had to show, how long you flew, how you navigated, etc? Thanks for the details!


 BECKY agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 12:04 PM

Of course we want to see more pictures!


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 12:10 PM

I remember driving to Milford Sound and not being able to count the waterfalls, there were so many. Astonishing place, NZ, so so beautiful! Look forward to more photos, John, thanks for thinking of your edhat fans. Love to hear descriptions.


 COMMENT 749915P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 12:12 PM

We love your photographs and essays on the beauty you see from the sky. Yes, share more highlights from your trip. And welcome back!


 JOHN WILEY agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 12:23 PM

I flew with local pilots and/or CFIs everywhere but Maui. It was fabulous!! The flight school where we rented at HNL on Oahu has focus on military student pilots, so they make the checkride very difficult and annoying. Maui Aviators has about the same vintage and quality 172SPs, but their market focus has a Maui Mellow and the CFI cut the checkride to 20 minutes when he was confident in my capabilities. Due to wx we ended up only flying Oahu, Maui (several times), Lanai, and Molokai. Kauai in particular was a painful miss.

In NZ we got pro-rata ride-shares with several local pilots, and that enabled far more flying than we'd have afforded by only renting. My choice was not getting the NZ license since it's a big hassle, charts are expensive & (imo) lesser quality, and the radio calls are all but impossible to decipher. We did rent pilot/plane for a couple of flights, including Milford Sound. NZ aviators are a very friendly and helpful bunch, and we greatly enjoyed every one we met. Didn't end up connecting with the AU pilot whom we met here and had hoped to fly Sydney area with, so we went up the high "Eye" tower downtown there and squinted thru the airline plexi on approach/departure.

We got dragon's-eye and rescue eagle views of Middle Earth (but didn't bother with Hobbiton). For anyone who loves the GA point of view, I can't recommend highly enough that you invest the research and bucks to rent a plane & pilot rather than pay the same or more for a tour flight. Go where & when you want, and enjoy 172s with windows that open if you want the best possible pix. I'll be writing a lot about all this on our blog in coming weeks, posting perhaps 0.01% of our pix, and sending some to Ed until he begs me to stop. :)


 COMMENT 749926P agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 12:27 PM

Auckland. With a 'c.' No Auks in New Zealand. Or are there?

That drive to Milford Sound is something else. I remember that
l-o-n-g tunnel. Only me. No one else around. Spooky. And penguins at the Sound.

Yes. Hawaii and N.Z. are gloriously green. After a while, though, the green gets to you. No place like home. Welcome back.


 JOHN WILEY agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 03:13 PM

Thanks for the spelling fix 926. We were glad to have flown the Sound in a 172 rather than package aerial tour, road, or boat. With enough time and money it would've been nice to add a boat tour, some hiking, and a leisurely cruise in Doubtful Sound too. Maybe next lifetime. :)


 MACPUZL agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 03:38 PM

Bungy at Queenstown?


 COMMENT 750020 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-05 06:39 PM

Reminds me of my first trip to Hawaii. It was in a C-124 - so we flew low and slow. Went right by the waterfalls on the North side of Molokai. I was in the military then, and flew standby - so getting there and back cost me nothing. Stayed at Ft De Russey in Waikiki for a few bucks a night - so it was a cheap vacation. I was a freshly minted private pilot then, so of course I rented a plane and flew around Oahu. No problem getting checked out - but holding short for airline traffic on a cross runway was a bit outside my experience at that point. However, it all came off without a hitch. Good memories.



 BN50 agree helpful negative off topic

2017-01-06 09:59 AM

Yes, we want to see your photos! Welcome back home! Sounds like a fabulous trip.


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