I just got back from a great 10 day trip to the Hawaiian Islands with Andy Farrington, Jon Devore, and North Shore local Clint Clawson. The main reason for the journey across the Pacific was to perform at an Air Show at Kaneohi Bay on Oahu. It’s a 3 day Air Show where we perform demonstration jumps each day. We decided that since we were already making the trip to the Islands we would triple up and take care of some flying we had been dreaming about for years, and shoot the pilot for a TV show we are working on called “The Search”.
Mike Swanson Flying in Hawaii
The neighboring Island of Molokai is home to the Worlds Highest Sea Cliffs measuring in at over 2000ft. Access to the jumpable areas is limited to Heli or Boat, so we ended up basing ourselves out of Maui and planned to shuttle with the helicopter each day. Leaving out of Maui on our first day we were pretty nervous. The winds on the Islands were our biggest concern with finding a place we could land safely coming in a close second. When we arrived we landed in the proposed landing area with the heli and got out to inspect the landing area and access the winds. We were stoked to find a suitable landing area and the pilot told us that although it seemed breezy there were only about 20 days a year that the winds were this low, GAME ON! We scored, however to put it in perspective, in most places you would think it was too windy to fly. It was a little bumpy but we still managed to get in 4 speed flying jumps. The next day we woke up to howling winds and spent our time searching around Maui for a place to ground launch our speed flyers. We even got kicked out of the Maui dump, which looked like a great option. We ended up finding a cow pasture on the ocean where we tried kiting a bit. With the over 25kt gusts we were getting tossed around a lot but it was fun anyway.
We were bummed that we might get weathered again with only one day remaining to fly and we still hadn’t done any wing suit proxy flying yet. Chances were pretty high after talking to the locals about typical wind conditions that it would be much too windy.
We arrived at the Heliport early in the morning and the Pilot told us it was on, and that he couldn’t believe our luck, another one of the 20 days of suitable winds in the year! The clouds rolled in so we had to sneak under them to get to the cliffs, which was a bit tricky! Luckily, we were still able to make 4 amazing wing suit jumps before having to head back to Oahu.
Back on Oahu our demo jumps were not scheduled until the afternoons, so we took advantage of this free time and went out to the North Shore for a morning session each day at Skydive Hawaii, and were able to get in 4 jumps before heading off to “work”.
Since we were only making one jump a day for the Air Show we had free time after “work” and loaded up the van and went out to the south east side of the Island for some speed flying. The conditions were awesome and we were able to soar our 9.5 speed flyers for hours. Only one thing to say after a trip like this … Life is good!
Photos Andy Farrington