We drove over the bridge onto Ford Island. Our car was packed. I don’t know about my friends but I was super eager to see the planes. When I was just a kid, I used to dream of being behind the wheel of a large aircraft. Somehow that level of excitement, risk and responsibility always appealed to me. This carried on to my late teens and early adult years, taking the ASVAB for the Navy and considering going active duty.
The guard checked our IDs and let us in. I was nearly jumping out of my seat. When we arrived I rushed over to see a ton of people and a bunch of big, little planes ready to take off. One of the workers, clearly seeing my expression, looked over to us and said, “You’re just in time for the reenactment of the Battle of Midway!” I was over-the-moon. While waiting for the reenactment to start we walked around and I took photos with a lot of the cool planes. Most of them were vintage military aircraft, which made me wish I had the right outfit for them.
There was a large tent set up and plenty of docked “little” planes to look at. They were really neat! Most of them even had a tactfully crafted, realistic looking pilot. I felt as if I was walking through a 3D-ariel art show. Most of them were surprisingly up for sale. They definitely made me wish I had the money and ingenuity to pilot them.
Then it was time. We huddled up on the bleachers and watched the first plane (of the afternoon) take off. The music accompanying the “big, little” crafts were all flight themed, which was a nice touch. The best part about the mini crafts taking flight was the accumulation of multiple crafts crossing paths; making the sky light up with enchantment and flair. Cheering swept over the crowd as the planes grew close to the ground, just to gain new heights.
In-between spectacular aerial displays we grabbed food and a cold one. It was a really hot day. Unusually hot even for Hawaii. Walking around, I discovered a large semi-melted hill of “snow.” Kids were playing and dragging their parents in. I laughed and thought of all of the rough mornings I spent shoveling out my buried car. Seeing all of those happy keiki wailing snowballs at each other definitely brought back classic, childhood memories. I thought the snow pit was a cute, unique and fun way for little ones to stay active and cool on this blistering day.
My friends and I walked into Hangar 51 escaping the heat while enjoying the view of a handful of large aircrafts. We walked around and I waited in line with all of the kids. I totally wanted a cockpit photo and did not care who judged me. Luckily the staff was wonderful and the parents thought it was hilarious too. I couldn’t help it. I was completely enthralled by the different gears, especially in one particular helicopter. Captivated by another aircraft, I rapidly hit multiple controls and pretended I was on a recon mission.
Towards the end of my childish fiasco we walked out and continued watching colorful planes circle blue skies. Then, without warning, the announcer mentioned not to go anywhere because they would be launching the “Jelly Belly Candy Bomber.”
Now I know this was for kids. So I did what every respectable adult would do, I waited until all of the kids finished running out on the field, THEN grabbed one of my friends and ran out to see if anything was left. To be fair, I saw another young woman who looked remarkably like me also head out there, as well as a few other adults. Alas, I was not alone in my candy pillaging.
They were all gone. I was sad and surprised since they mention they dropped 80 lbs. (or was it 8?) of candy, until one of the workers smiled and threw one at me to catch.
Thank you. Thank you Pacific Aviation for helping me to relive my childhood even though that wasn’t your intention. The show was amazing and I was left with warm, happy memories. I hope to someday share similar experiences with my own children when the time comes.
For more cool events hosted by the Pacific Aviation Museum, check out their website: http://www.pacificaviationmuseum.org/. For more fun events throughout Hawaii, visit thisweekhawaii.com.