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Travel Blog #122 - Glider Rides Over The North Shore

Until I got to experience a ride on a glider for myself I had no idea how cool these machines are. When to tow line dropped and we were on our own we really were quietly coasting through the air like a bird.

I met up with the Original Glider Rides at the Dillingham Airfield on the north shore of Oahu. I checked in under the pavilion and was told that it would be a few minutes before my pilot landed from his previous trip so I decided to go outside and look around the airstrip and see if I could spot my pilot flying around over the airfield.

The Dillingham Airfield has quite a history. The original use of the area was to house a communications station called Camp Kawaihapai. The camp was constructed in 1922. Then in 1941, the Army leased additional land surrounding the camp to construct the Mokule'ia Airfield. The P-40's that were stationed here were some of only planes that were able to get airborne and attempt to counter attack after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The runway was extended to over 9000 feet in length to accommodate the massive B-29 Superfortress Bombers. Then in 1949 the airfield was expanded and renamed to "Dillingham" after a young pilot from a local family that was shot down in 1945 over Kawasaki Japan. During points in the cold war various missiles were stationed here until 1962 when the Hawaii Department of Transportation leased access from the military for general aviation use of the public. While the military does still perform nighttime training mission here from time to time, the airfield is mainly utilized by the Original Glider Rides.

Glider rides on the north shore of Oahu

It took about ten minutes before my pilot touched his glider down on the runway. The sleek aircraft made its way to a halt just past the pavilion where I had checked in at. The Plexiglas canopy of the aircraft popped open and the pilot and a male Japanese passenger emerged from the cockpit of the plane. Within about 5 minutes, the tow strap had been reconnected to the tow plane and the pilot and I were buckled into our seat belts inside the gliders cockpit.

The powerful engine of the tow plane turned on with a roar, as it began to move forward the slack began to pull out of the tow strap until it eventually pulled taught, lurching our glider forwards down the runway. The takeoff as very smooth and it did not take long at all before we were high enough up over the airfield to pull the cable release and start the gliding portion of our flight.

The north shore of Oahu stretched off into the distance beneath us. Small agricultural plots speckled the land underneath for as far as we could see. On the inland side of us the steep cliffs of the Waianae Mountain Range jutted upwards from the flat grassy plane that the air field was built on. We made a series of long banked turns that lasted for about 15 minutes before the pilot decided to line us up for our final approach back on to the runway.

As I felt the wheels of the plane gently make contact with the pavement of the runway I was startled by the noise that interrupted a period of complete silence that had lasted since we had initially released the cable from the tow plane. I unbuckled my seat belt as the pilot opened the canopy of the cockpit. We said our good byes and I made my way back to the parking lot I paused for a few minutes to watch some of the other gliders circle and then eventually land back on the runway. I had already gone shark cage diving earlier that morning and I couldn't'help but think to myself how lucky I was to that it was only a few minutes past 1pm and I had already done two of the most thrilling activities that we offer on the island of Oahu.

Jake Barefoot in the glider at Dillingham

Travel Blog - Articles #120 to #129

When you're in the middle of downtown Honolulu it is hard to believe that in just a few minute drive you can be in the middle of the jungle, without another person in sight.


The sport of Parasailing was was given birth during an experiment by a French skydiving instructor named Piere Lamoigne. Piere was looking for an easier way to get his students into the air then dropping them out of a plane when he first tied a parachute onto a rope behind his car.


In 1904 a man named John Hind began construction on an aqueduct in the rain forest on the North end of the Big Island in a region known as Kohala. When it was completed in 1906 it provided enough water to farm over 13,000 acres of sugar cane.


The Mokuleia Islands (commonly referred to by locals as "The Mokes") off the eastern shoreline of Oahu are one of the most picturesque locations in the state.


My girlfriends sister and her boyfriend were on the island for a few weeks and we thought it might be fun to let the girls go do a spa day while the boys go out for an afternoon bottom fishing trip.


I remember really wanting to be a fisherman when I was small then getting bored of it when I realized that the shore fishing does not have the same amount of action as you get when you go out on the deep sea.


Many people that visit Oahu leave the island thinking that the entire thing is covered in a dense urban sprawl, similar to what is found in Honolulu. However, for those that are daring enough to explore what lies outside of the city there are some amazing sites that are actually very close and easy to access.


Sea life park is an aquarium center that is similar to Sea World, but on a much smaller scale. Here there are many things to see and do including: penguins, seals, turtles, all kinds of fish, and a large pool where you can swim and interact with dolphins.


It all started one day when I decided to take a walk down the whole length of Waikiki Beach, starting down by the aquarium and working my way towards Ala Moana.


Related Information

Many of our clients are not even aware of the fact that we offer fixed wing aerial tours in addition to helicopter tours. These flights are normally a bit less expensive and many people have commented that they are a much smoother ride.


Are you looking to do something a bit out of the ordinary during this trip to Hawaii? If so you're in luck! We have all kinds of different activities that are a bit unique, so if you're looking to come back home with some different kinds of stories to share with your friends then you should check out some of are blog articles we've written about some of the more "Unique" trips we've experienced.


Are you a fiend for adrenaline? If so don't feel bad, I am too. In my younger years I used to compete in mountain biking and worked at a snowboard mountain during college, mainly shaping the terrain park so you could say that I know how it feels to want to do things a little more on the edge then the rest of the crowd.


Related Categories

Hawaii air tours are fundamentally divided into two categories: Hawaii airplane tours, and helicopter tours. Because these two categories of aircraft are inexorably lumped together it is important to draw a comparison between the two because people always want a contrast to determine which might provide a better Hawaii air flight for them.


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