Chopper One

A keiki plays pilot in Chopper One the Hawaii County Fire Department helicopter based in Hilo. The helicopter was in Kona for the Boy Scout Makahiki going on at the Old Kona Airport park. There’s a another fire helicopter, Chopper Two, based at the South Kohala fire station. Note: I had earlier listed this as the Puako fire station, duh, thanks Dawn for the catch :)

Chopper Two was given to the HCFD as a community assesement by resort developers and was mired in funding problems initially as they got the helicopter but had no funds for a crew. So the helicopter sat around with part-time usage until a crew was funded by the county a number of years ago.

If you ever visit that station you’ll find my photograph of the 7/11/91 total solar eclipse. I had imagined the highway being clogged with eclipse gawkers when planning my photo shoot so I decided to be at the station where it was off-limits to civilians. Almost a bad idea as the entire Kona-Kohala coast was blanketed by thick clouds. There was a puka in the sky with a perfect view of the eclipse over the station. Photographers less than a mile away got cloudy skies and not photos of the eclipse. As a present I gave one of my photos to the fire station where it hangs on the wall.

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