Throwback Thursday:
Queen Elizabeth 2

The ocean liner QE 2

A little more than ten years ago, the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) made her final stop in Honolulu on March 25, 2008 on her last around the world voyage before being decommissioned later that year.

The arrival and docking of the QE2 at Honolulu Harbor was always a sight to behold. The ship attracted a good collection of fans and photographers who came out to snap pictures of her. Over the years I’ve shot several photos of QE2 at her familiar moorings at Piers 2 or 11.

In late 2008 she was sold and set sail for her new home in the far away Arab city of Dubai. There she sat for many years, her fate usually unknown until it was announced that she will opened as a floating hotel this year. In an email that I got from the QE2 Story website and message board:

QE2 Dubai Hotel Opens

Hello global QE2 fans! We don’t often send special emails during the month, but we felt this was too important to miss.

QE2 Dubai is now available to book to stay on, and the “soft opening” date is the 18th of April (the same day that Queen Mary 2 is in port), followed by the full “grand opening” in October, when all areas of the ship will be brought back into use.

The ship is now known as the QE2 Hotel  Dubai. More information can be found on the hotel’s website.  An updated story on QE2’s conversion to a hotel appears here: QE2 News / QE2 in Dubai / QE2 Today.

While I never stepped on board the famed ocean liner, she will forever be a treasured memory for all those who traveled on her as well as those who saw her in port and other places while in active service.

Previously on this blog: QE2 Stops in Hawaii  for the Last Time

Hawaii Files Photos on Flickr: QE2

Queen Elizabeth 2QE2 docked at Honolulu’s Pier 11, 1989.

Honolulu Harbor 1989QE2 at Honolulu Harbor, Pier 2, 1989.

Turning the QE2QE2 departing Honolulu Harbor, 1989

QE2 Honolulu Harbor 1999

This is my most popular photo of QE2  taken 1999.

QE2 in Honolulu
Her last stop on March 25, 2008, Honolulu Harbor Pier 2.

All photos and content Copyright to Melvin Ah Ching Productions. 2018. #TBT

 

 

Please follow and like us:

Throwback Thursday: Aloha Airlines

Aloha Airlines Wall Map
Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 "Funbird"
Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 on approach to PHNL over Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, February 2008. Retro “Funbird” livery.

March 31 of this year marked the tenth year since the closure of Aloha Airlines after more than 60 years of business in Hawaii. It was a sad and painful time for its owners and employees, and a blow to Hawaii’s traveling public to see a long time kama’aina business go belly-up.

Surely Aloha Airlines demise was attributed to several factors including a bad economy, high fuel prices, outdated equipment and predatory pricing by Mesa’s GO! Airlines subsidiary which itself also closed down some years later.

Former employees of Aloha Airlines marked the date by having a reunion at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki this past week.

My memories of Aloha Airlines go back to my youth when my parents used to take my sister and I to Hilo Airport just to see the airplanes come and go at the terminal. This was in the old days, long before security became a major issue and obstacle to access by non-passengers.

I used to marvel at both Aloha AirlinesFairchild F27 aircraft as well as those from Hawaiian Airlines (Convairs, DC-6s). This was back in the day before jets happened.

In the old days Aloha Airlines flew a variety of aircraft including the DC-3‘s that they started up with (long before I was born), the Fairchild / Fokker F27, Vickers Viscount and BAC-111 jet. In time they would standardize on the Boeing 737.

As a boy growing up on the Big Island, I rarely got a chance to fly. When we did, my parents always flew us on Hawaiian Airlines.

Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200
Aloha Airlines at Lihue Airport, May 2005.

It was not until my college years that I finally got around to flying on Aloha. I usually flew to the Big Island of Hawaii’s airports in Kona and Hilo, as well as to Honolulu and once to Lihue, Kauai. Aloha Airlines also flew to Waimea-Kohala. I flew on Aloha’s Boeing 737-200 aircraft except maybe for one or two times on the newer 737-400 that Aloha had in passenger service for a short time.

One of my most memorable Aloha Airlines flight was one coming into Honolulu from the Big Island. While coming into Honolulu our flight had to abort its first landing attempt after another plane was spotted on the runway.

Aloha Airlines 737 at Kona
Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-400 at Kona International Airport, 1989

Flights on Aloha were pleasant experiences. They were on time, the personnel were courteous and helpful and the Boeing 737-200 aircraft were clean, even though by the start of the new century, they were considered “aging” and nearly obsolete.

Aloha was one of the last airlines in the Hawaii market that offered paper flight coupon packs (around 2004) in packets of six. These were very popular in the 1980s after being initially offered by upstart (and long gone) Mid-Pacific Airlines, a discount carrier. Soon after both Aloha and Hawaiian were forced to offer them. Flight certificate booklets were very popular with the public as they allowed people to take an inter-island flight on almost any day and time. They were convenient.

In the long run, the airlines hated the coupons since people stocked up on them and rarely ever flew at the published and more expensive per trip flights. The advent of online booking changed everything in favor of the airlines. Coupons were quickly discontinued.

The last time I flew on Aloha Airlines was back in November of 2006 during the height of the fare war instigated by Mesa/GO! Flights were being sold for as little as $2 each way. It was a definite money loser for the local airlines. The public loved them. I remember buying 4 different flights for a week of travel on three different airlines, flying at about $9 per trip. Once on GO!, once on Hawaiian and I think twice on Aloha.

Aloha Airlines 737-200 in flight on landing
Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 on approach to PHNL. Feb. 2008.

That was the last time. A trip to Hilo and back.

Less than two years later, Aloha declared bankruptcy after GO!’s predatory pricing, high fuel costs, aging aircraft and a downturn in the economy forced the airline to go out of business.

Today the carcass of Aloha Airlines lives on in Aloha Air Cargo, which was the firm’s cargo business that was bought out by another company after Aloha Airlines closed in 2008.

Aloha Airlines is now a memory that many people hold with fondness.

Aloha Airlines 737 jet freighter
Aloha Airlines Boeing 737 ETOPS jet freighter on display at John Rogers / Kalaeloa Airport, Sept. 2003. 100 Years of flight air show.
Aloha Air Cargo Boeing 737-300 jet freighter taxing to commuter terminal area, 2015.

Additional Links

cover photo: Aloha Airlines old route map used to be a mural that hung in the inter-island terminal at Honolulu International Airport.

#TBT

 

Please follow and like us:

Throwback Thursday:
KKUA Radio’s Top 69 Hits of 1971

Hawaii Radio & Television Guide Banner
KKUA AM 690 Logo
KKUA’s 1981 Logo

We resume our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts which will occasionally pull content from our Hawaii Radio & Television Guide Archive. First up, is the Top 69 Hits of 1971 from KKUA Radio.

KKUA was the dominant top 40 radio station in Hawaii in the mid 1970s. They had a strong AM signal at 690 on the dial and could be heard throughout most of the state. Their main rival was KPOI which broadcast at 1380 on the AM dial as well as 97.5 on FM. KPOI’s AM played top 40 and was the most popular pop music station in Hawaii through much of the 1960s and early 1970s. Their FM played album rock tracks.

1971 Hit Records
Some of the hit records from 1971.

Every year, KKUA counted down the year’s Top 69 songs. The chart below is from the Top 69 of 1971 which listed Three Dog Night‘s “Joy to the World” as the #1 song of the year.

 Rank and Title Artist Peak Pos. on Top 20
 1. Joy To The World Three Dog Night 1
 2. I’ve Found Someone of My Own Free Movement 1
 3. Just My Imagination Temptations 1
 4. Smiling Faces (Sometimes) Undisputed Truth 1
 5. Timothy The Buoys 1
 6. Go Away Little Girl Donny Osmond 1
 7. Knock Three Times Dawn 1
 8. Indian Reservation The Raiders 1
 9. One Bad Apple Osmonds 1
 10. Chatto-Matte-Kudasai Sam Kapu 1
 11. My Sweet Lord George Harrison 1
 12. Precious & Few * Climax featuring Sonny Geraci 1
 13. I’m So Poud Main Ingredient 1
 14. Sweet City Woman The Stampeders 1
 15. Life Is That Way Jose Feliciano 1
 16. It’s Impossible Perry Como 1
 17. Domino Van Morrison 1
 18. Superstar The Carpenters 1
 19. Woodstock Matthew’s Southern Comfort 2
 20. Never Can Say Goodbye Jackson Five 2
 21. Gypsies, Tramps & Theives Cher 2
 22. Maggie May Rod Stewart 2
 23. Yo Yo Osmonds 2
 24. Sweet & Innocent Donny Osmond 2
 25. It’s Too Late Carole King 2
 26. Mr. Big Stuff Jean Knight 1
 27. Stay Awhile The Bells 2
 28. Don’t Pull Your Love Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds 2
 29. If Bread 2
 30. Black Magic Woman Santana 2
 31. For All We Know The Carpenters 2
 32. The Pushbike Song Mixtures 2
 33. Mandrill Mandrill 2
 34. I Can’t Stop Osmonds 2
 35. Tears of A Clown Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 2
 36. Stick-Up Honeycone 2
 37. Liar Three Dog Night 2
 38. Watcha See, is Watcha Get The Dramatics 2
 39. Your Song Elton John 3
 40. Draggin’ The Line Tommy James 2
 41. Morning Of Our Lives The Arkade 3
 42. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart Bee Gees 3
 43. I Hear Those Churchbells Dusk 2
 44. Proud Mary Ike & Tina Turner 2
 45. I Love You For All Seasons Fuzz 3
 46. We Can Make It Girl Society of Seven 3
 47. Ain’t No Sunshine Bill Withers 3
 48. Albert Flasher Guess Who 3
 49. Most of All B.J. Thomas 3
 50. Three Cheers For Love Dick Jensen 3
 51. Mama’s Pearl Jackson Five 4
 52. Rainy Days And Mondays The Carpenters 4
 53. No Matter What Badfinger 4
 54. I Do Take You Three Degrees 4
 55. Somebody’s Been Sleeping 100 Proof Aged in Soul 4
 56. Just An Old Fashioned Love  Song Three Dog Night 4
 57. I Just Want To Celebrate Rare Earth 4
 58. Put Your Hand In The Hand Ocean 4
 59. Oye Como Va Santana 4
 60. Love Means (You Never Have To Say You’re Sorry) Sounds of Sunshine 4
 61. Games Redeye 5
 62. Brown Sugar Rolling Stones 5
 63. Lola The Kinks 5
 64. I Dig Everything About You The Mob 5
 65. Love Song The Vogues 5
 66. What Are You Doing    Sunday? Dawn 5
 67. Baby I’m A Want You Bread 5
 68. Frisco Bay Society of Seven 5
 69. Born To Wonder Rare Earth 5

CHART NOTES: 

The big hit of 1971 that was played to death on KKUA and practically all other top 40 stations was Three Dog Night‘s “Joy To The World.” The song was at the number one spot for was seven weeks, making it the most popular song on KKUA.

That year a number of local records got airplay on mainstream Top 40 radio. The most prominent local hit of 1971 was Sam Kapu‘s “Chatto Matte Kudasai” which at first sounded totally out of place on a top 40 format, but eventually got so popular that it went number one in the summer summer. Records by the Society of Seven, who at the time had a record deal with Uni Records (which later became MCA) charted with the singles “We Can Make It Girl,” and “Frisco Bay”. Dick Jensen charted with his top 40 hit single, “Three Cheers For Love.” The local hits are indicated by blue type.

* Climax‘s “Precious And Few” was a number 1 hit in Hawaii during the summer of 1971 before breaking out nationally in 1972. The group was very popular in Hawaii having charted several more times with the hits “Life And Breath,” “Walking in the Georgia Rain” and “Caroline This Time”.

Several nationally released singles were hot in Hawaii and nowhere else. These included “Morning of Our Lives” by The Arkade, “Life is That Way” by José Feliciano, “I Dig Everything About You” by The Mob, “Love Song” by The Vogues, “Mandrill” by Mandrill, “I Can’t Stop” by The Osmonds, “I Hear Those Churchbells Ringing” by Dusk, and “The Pushbike Song” by The Mixtures.

Other songs that got a lot of airplay in 1971 that did not make this chart included “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” by Middle of the Road, “Give Up Your Guns” by The Buoys and “Keep it in the Family” by The Road Home.

Among the popular albums of 1971 were Three Dog Night‘s “Naturally” which contained the #1 hit “Joy To The World” as well as the very radio friendly ballad “Sunlight,” a track that never was released as a single. Also popular was Carole King‘s “Tapestry”, Santana‘s “Abraxus”, Sly & the Family Stone‘s “There’s a Riot Going On,” and several albums by the Jackson Five and Osmonds.

KKUA’s 1971 Personalities included the following:

Jim Peters 6:AM
Steven B. Williams 9:AM
Gene Davis 12 noon
Ron King 3:PM
Scott Edwards 6:PM
Dick Wainwright 9:PM
Rick Shannon Midnight

Three Dog Night
Three Dog Night’s album “Naturally” released on ABC Dunhill album was popular in 1971 and spawned the hits “One Man Band,” “Liar”, “Sunlight” and “Joy to the World”.

Many of the songs mentioned in this post can be found online at YouTube.com. Songs in bold print are directly linked to a YouTube audio file for online playback.

Please follow and like us:

Saturday is Free Live Museum Day

Smithsonian Museum Live Day graphic

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

It’s always Throwback Thursday when you visit any one of Hawaii’s museums. This coming Saturday, September 23 will be a special day for visiting 4 of Oahu’s museums for the absolute low price of a FREE admission ticket.

Yes, through the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! program visitors can gain free access to the following Oahu, Hawaii museums by just signing up and downloading a free ticket for two!

The Oahu museums included in the free offer are: Hawaii State Art Museum (free admission daily), Iolani Palace, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Historical Gallery and the Pacific Aviation Museum at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor.

My favorite continues to be the Pacific Aviation Museum which is a must for any wartime history buff and aviation fan.

There is still time to snag a free ticket by just visiting the Smithsonian Museum Day Live! page. Have a great Saturday at the museum.

Boeing N2S-3 StearmanAbove and below: Two of dozens of aircraft on display at the Pacific Aviaton Museum on Ford Island.

Pacific Aviation Museum

Iolani Palace EveningFree admission this Saturday at Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu’s Capitol District. Photos Copyright to Melvin Ah Ching.

Please follow and like us:

Hawaii Superferry Set Sail 10 Years Ago

Hawaii Superferry 2007

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, HawaiiFiles.com.

Can you believe slightly more than 10 years have passed since the Hawaii Superferry set sail in the islands. Hawaii residents were mostly thrilled to see the arrival of the ferry service which not only carried passengers between ports in the islands, but also vehicles of all types.

This was surely going to be a huge boom for inter-island travel, a new way of traveling from one county to another. Take your vehicle and even pack your stuff “in a laundry basket” as the TV commercial advertising the ferry once said.

Hawaii Superferry operated in the islands from August 2007 to March 2009. It was rough seas ahead for the ferry as it was met with stiff opposition from inter-island transport competitors Hawaiian and Aloha Airlines, Young Brothers shipping and a number of environmental groups and political interests.

Hawaii Superferry was able to establish its first route between Honolulu and Maui. It sailed to Kauai only once before activists shut it down by blocking the ferry from entering the harbor. Plans to sail to Kawaihae on the Big Island of Hawaii were never realized.

A few days after Superferry started, the service was suspended by a court ruling regarding an environmental impact statement.

A special legislative session to allow the Superferry to operate was held in late 2007. A bill was passed “to allow “large capacity ferry vessels” to operate between ports in the Hawaiian Islands while an environmental statement is prepared.”

Shortly after Governor Linda Lingle signed the bill into law, the Superferry resumed operations from December 2007 to March 2009. On March 16, the Hawaii State Supreme Court “ruled that allowing the Superferry to operate prior to completion of the environmental study was unconstitutional.”

Superferry operations permanently ended the day after. The Hawaii Superferry Company went into bankruptcy. The two vessels built for the operation (with only a single ship sailing between the islands at the time of closure) were eventually acquired by the U.S. Navy,

I was lucky enough to sail on the Hawaii Superferry from Honolulu to Maui and back shooting photos for the HawaiiReporter.com news site. It was one of those trips I’ll never forgot. After that trip, I looked forward to sailing on the Superferry between Honolulu, Maui and the Big Island as a regular paying customer.

Never happened.

Today most people who supported the concept of a privately funded ferry service wax nostalgic about the brief time Hawaii Superferry was in operation. It was a great travel option that should someday be tried again.

Hawaii Superferry
Hawaii Superferry sails out of Honolulu Harbor. August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry
Nice comfy seats on the Superferry, August 2007.

Hawaii Superferry 10-12-08
The Superferry sails back into Honolulu Harbor, 2008.

More Superferry Photos @ Flickr

 

Please follow and like us: