Club Spotlight

Flying in Paradise: Moore Air Offers Opportunities to Fly in Hawaii

HawaiiWhen I traveled to Hawaii a number of years ago, there were a few things on my must do list besides go to a Luau. The first was taking the winding, scenic Road to Hana in search of Charles Lindbergh’s final resting place. It’s not easy to find, but the serenity of the old, one-room church perched in the woods alongside the water with Lindbergh’s distinctive grave beside it made it well worth the trek.

As much as I enjoyed the beauty of the drive, I really wanted to see the awe-inspiring landscape of Hawaii from the air. So my friends and I took a helicopter tour over the Na’Pali Coast on Kauai, which was unforgettable.

HawaiiThe images of jagged green mountains with narrow waterfalls dropping like faucets pouring into the deep blue Pacific below left an indelible impression that I will always treasure. The funny thing is, I never thought of flying the islands myself.

But it is possible. Moore Air, based at Honolulu International Airport  (KHNL), is a for-profit company that offers a fleet of eight aircraft available to rent, a Part 141 flight school, and also has a flying club to help keep rates low for frequent flyers.

The club was founded in 1996 when the military shut down the Hickam-Wheeler Aero Club. Moore Air got several of its planes and opened its doors. In 2001, it became a Part 141 approved flight school. Mark Jones, a former Air Force pilot, purchased the company in 2008 and has been running it ever since.

“Our mission is to provide excellent airplanes for a reasonable price and aid our customers in any way that improves their flying experience,” Mark said.

HawaiiThe fleet consists of four Cessna 172s, a Piper Cherokee 140, a Piper Arrow, and two twins—a Beech Travelair and a Beech Baron. All the aircraft are IFR-equipped and include water survival gear such as life vests, rafts, and flares.

Club members pay a $200 initiation fee, which is refundable when they leave the club, and $30 in monthly dues. The benefit is being able to rent the aircraft at the member rates, which are about 7 percent less than the regular rates. There are events such as guest speakers and potluck dinners or picnics semi-annually.

“We get a lot of folks who come in to get their ratings,” Mark said. “We’re located close to three military bases, so we also get a fair number of military guys who may be in desk jobs now who want to keep their flying skills. We get a handful of foreign students, and we also rent planes to folks who come from the mainland who want to fly around the islands.”

Visitors pay the regular rate for aircraft rental and can fly solo after a thorough checkout that includes an hour and a half of ground school going over the unique aspects of flying in Hawaii, and a flight review that is about an hour and 20 minutes.

HawaiiSome visitors just want to go around the island, so they’ll fly with a flight instructor and the rest get a full check out and go on their own. Mark said he gets between 25 and 40 visitors each year that want to fly while in Hawaii, and that about 25 percent are returning customers.

The 14 public use airports on the eight main islands offer plenty of opportunities for General Aviation pilots—from sight seeing to traveling between islands for the day or for the weekend. However, flying in Hawaii is a little different than flying on the mainland.


Unique Flying In The Islands

Hawaii“There are nuances to flying in Hawaii,” Mark said. “We’ve got specific weather issues and we spend more time than most on ditching because if you’re going cross country and you lose an engine, odds are probably 90 percent that you’ll be in the water.”

Moore Air provides a detailed briefing on ditching procedures developed with the assistance of the Coast Guard. Ground instruction also includes flying in Honolulu’s Class B airspace and the unique weather in the islands. For instance, Mark said showers tend to pile up on the north shores but rarely are there broad weather systems.

“We get showers and you can easily circumnavigate them,” Mark said. “But what you’re circumnavigating can be bad enough to be total IFR. It can be a downpour but it’s white just like you’re in a cloud, so that would be a precaution to be aware of.”

At night it can be pitch black and difficult to distinguish the horizon between the sky and the water. Moore Air requires pilots have an instrument rating to fly at night.

“Night flying in Hawaii is black as black can be,” Mark said. “I’ve been between Oahu and the Big Island, which is all over water and 20 miles from the nearest island that you pass on your journey, and it’s black above you and black below. You know you’re flying along in almost unlimited ceiling and unlimited visibility, yet you can only see about three feet out the front window.”

HawaiiMark credits the club’s success on its customer service and reasonable rates. “We bend over backwards to take care of our customers,” he said. “With our club member block rate we’re the lowest on the island, and at the regular rate we’re just about even with anybody else.”

But the best part of flying in Hawaii is the stunning scenery. “I’ve been here 14 years and I’m stilled wowed by the beauty,” Mark said. “That’s the part that I enjoy the most. The constant beauty of what you’re seeing.”




Moore Air Flying Club


Honolulu International Airport (KHNL), Honolulu, HI


Year formed



2 – 1978 Cessna 172s ($147.75/hr or $137.59/hr club rate)
1 – 1983 Cessna 172 ($147.75/hr or $137.59/hr club rate)
1 – 1998 Cessna 172 ($147.75/hr or $137.59/hr club rate)
1970 Piper 140 ($135.50/hr or $126.23/hr club rate)
1972 Piper Cherokee Arrow II ($182.45/hr or $169.89/hr club rate)
1960 Beech Travelair ($317.35/hr or $295.70/hr club rate)
1967 Beech Baron ($290/hr or $269.70/hr club rate)
Redbird TD2 Simulator ($60/hr or $50 club rate)
ATC 810 Simulator ($35.43/hr)
Rates are Hobbs hours, wet. 

Joining fee

$200 refundable fee when member leaves club

Monthly dues

$30 per month




Schedule Master


Topics: Flying Club, Aviation Industry, Navigation

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