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Aviation Pioneers

John Rodgers

Commander John Rodgers flew 1,992 statute miles from San Pablo, California to a point near Honolulu, although he failed to reach his objective, in Honolulu. This “failure” constituted a new world record for a non-stop flight by seaplane.

Emory Bronte

Emory Bronte and Ernest Smith were the first civilians to successfully fly from California to Hawaii, crash landing on Molokai when they ran out of fuel on July 15, 1927.

Major Harold Clark

Major Harold Clark made the first interisland flight on May 9, 1918.

Capt. John Curry

Commanded the 6th Aero Squadron, Army Air Service which became permanently stationed in Hawaii in 1917 and negotiated the purchase of Ford Island for the Army.

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart made two early flights in Hawaii in 1935 and 1937.

Charles Fern

Charles Fern started barnstorming from Kapiolani Park in Honolulu on December 30, 1919, carrying a paying passenger.

Lt. Harold Geiger

Lt. Harold Geiger was the first military aviator in Hawaii arriving on July 13, 1913.

Arthur C. Goebel

Arthur C. Goebel won the Dole Derby in 1927 in his plane the Woolaroc.

Tom Gunn

Tom Gunn made an impressive 25-minute flight at Schofield Barracks, circled Wahiawa on another flight, and took up Hawaii's first passengers on July 13, 1913.

Lt. Albert F. Hegenberger

Army Lt. Hegenberger and Lt. Lester Maitland made the first successful trans-Pacific flight arriving at Wheeler Field on January 29, 1927.

Martin Jensen

Martin Jensen finished second in the Dole Derby in 1927 in his plane the Aloha.

Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith

Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and co-pilot P. G. Taylor made the first trans-Pacific flight from the Mainland to Australia landing in Hawaii on June 1, 1928 on their way to Fiji and Australia. Sir Kingsford-Smith returned in 1934 on a flight from Australia to the Mainland.

Lt. Lester Maitland

Army Lt. Maitland and Lt. Alfred Hegenberger made the first successful trans-Pacific flight arriving at Wheeler Field on January 29, 1927.

J. C. "Bud" Mars

Bud Mars made the first airplane flight in Hawaii on December 31, 1910.

Ernest Smith

Ernest Smith and Emory Bronte were the first civilians to fly to Hawaii from California, crash landing at Molokai when they ran out of fuel on July 15, 1927.

Elbert and Malcolm Tuttle

The teenagers flew a home-made glider off the slopes of Diamond Head in 1910.

Sun Yet Young

Sun Yet Young was the first Hawaii resident to earn a pilot's license soloing at the Curtiss flying school in Buffalo, New York on October 2, 1916. He later went on to join family friend Sun Yat-Sen in the Republic of China and at the age of 27, Young designed and flew the first Chinese built airplane.


Hawaii Aviation is brought to you courtesy of the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, Airports Division.