Helicopter and Jets Near Home Today

It was an unusual day for aviation photography near home. 


There were two photo opportunities near my building that happened this morning. One was unannounced, and the other scheduled several days in advance.

At nine o’clock in the morning the sound of a loud helicopter drew my attention away from the computer work I was doing. I scrambled to get a camera to shoot what was going on just outside my front window.

A Paradise Helicopter Bell 407 (N407WH) replaced heavy air conditioning units at the Woodrose Condominium on Amana Street in Honolulu.

It was a noisy job that attracted dozens of onlookers, most of them condo dwellers just like me who watched the unusual spectacle. Many people were recording the event with their smartphones and cameras. What a sight!

You have to give credit to the helicopter pilot who skillfully maneuvered the craft into the narrow chasm created by the buildings along Amana Street. The workers safely completed the job in about an hour. 

Dozens of people took photos of the chopper from their windows.

Follow the link to see a video shot by my friend Lisa Davidson (@wordsthatworkHI).



The second aviation event happening near my building was scheduled. At around 11:25 this  morning the city of Honolulu was treated to a brief flyby conducted by the Hawaii Air National Guard. The special flight was routed over several Honolulu hospitals as a “salute to all frontline workers battling COVID-19, as well as those who are staying at home to ‘flatten the curve of transmission’ of the virus.”

The flyby over the north side of my building lasted about 10 to 15 minutes. The first jet to fly over went from the area of Queen’s Hospital in the west to nearby Kapiolani Medical Center. That jet was a C-17 air transport plane. The hunkering freighter made a graceful swoop through the sky, flying as low as 2,500 feet.

The next plane that flew over was a KC-135 / Boeing 707 jet tanker. The old-school four engine jet followed the same flight path as the previous plane, with fuel boom lowered sweeping through the sky as it faded away toward the east.

The last two planes were F-22 Raptors flying in formation as they were forced to slow down to do a very visible and loud flyover in the area. These jets can fly several times the speed of sound and are supposedly stealthy to most if not all radar. 

That brief show was over in 15 minutes. It was a great way to spend an otherwise uneventful “stay at home” day taking photos without having to leave home.



Melvin Ah Ching is a photographer, consultant, blogger, desktop publisher, and computer enthusiast living and working in Hawaii. The Hawaii Files have been online since 2006.