About This Site

The concept for this site grew out of the dream of Benjamin R. Schlapak, Oahu District Manager, Airports Division, Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and Honolulu International Airport manager, to share and preserve the illustrious history of aviation in Hawaii and the impact that Hawaii aviation had in stimulating the growth of air travel in the United States. The daring aviators who made the first trans-Pacific flights were the catalyst for over-ocean flying and the development of commercial air travel. They also forever changed the economy and face of the Hawaiian Islands.

In 2006, the historic aviation project was turned over to Marilyn Kali, the HDOT’s Director of Public Affairs for more than 20 years, and currently the historian for Honolulu International Airport.

For more than four years Mrs. Kali located and scanned thousands of photos from the archives of the HDOT, the Hawaii State Archives, Hickam Air Force Base, U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, U.S. Navy History Center, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, and private collectors who made their photo collections available. Along the way, she also collected numerous stories, newspaper articles and magazine clippings about early aviation in Hawaii which you will also find on this site.

You’ll also find information taken from the minutes of the Territorial Aeronautical Commission, the Hawaii Aeronautics Commission, and the Aviation Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, which detail the efforts to support aviation in hopes of increasing tourism and improving the business climate in Hawaii.

The first result of the research was the publishing of the book Gateway to the Pacific, Honolulu International Airport, The First 80 Years 1927-2007 on the 80th anniversary of HNL on March 21, 2007.

On this historic aviation website we have posted the thousands of photos and articles that were collected during this project. The photos are presented in high resolution format so that when downloaded they provide quality prints. Unless a photo credit is given, we do not know who the photographer was. If you were the photographer for one of the photos and would like a photo credit, please contact us.

If you have photographs, documents or stories that you would like to contribute to the site, please contact us. We will continue to add to the site as information becomes available.

If you would like more information about this site, contact us at airoahu@hawaii.gov.

Terms & Conditions

Please read the following Terms & Conditions of Use carefully before using this website. You are required to expressly accept the following Terms and Conditions of Use, without any modifications, prior to each use of this website. The State of Hawaii Department of Transportation Airport Division (the “HDOTA”) may revise the Terms and Conditions of Use without any specific notice to you. The Terms and Conditions of Use posted at the time of your use of this website governs that use. If you do not agree with any part of the following Terms and Conditions of Use, you will not be permitted to use this website.

The images and other content, (the “Media”), on this site, http://aviation.hawaii.gov, are protected under applicable intellectual property laws. Unless otherwise stated, intellectual property rights in the website are administered by HDOTA on behalf of itself and the State of Hawaii.


You are prohibited from using the Media for any commercial purpose. Any use, whether or not commercial, that may tend to degrade, tarnish the reputation of, or embarrass the content creator (photographer, videographer etc.), the State of Hawaii, or HDOTA is strictly prohibited.


The following are general examples of what Media may not be used for or in connection with. The following list is not exhaustive.

  • Taking or attempting to take Media for commercial, marketing, self-promotion, or novelty applications;
  • Taking or attempting to take any action that results in editing or altering images -cropping is acceptable;
  • Taking or attempting to take any action that compromises the website;
  • Taking or attempting to take any action that involves reprinting on coffee table books, garments, posters, mugs, or any medium.

You agree that, upon notice from HDOTA, you will immediately cease all use of the Media and, to the extent possible, remove all Media from any and all materials in which they appear.

Credit is required for each of the Media as specified on this website. Credit must be placed adjacent to any use of the Media.

You, your successors and assigns, agree to release, indemnify and defend HDOTA and the State of Hawaii from and against all costs, liability, loss, damage, and expense, including all attorneys’ fees, and all claims, suits, and demands therefor, arising out of or resulting from your acts or omissions under these Terms & Conditions of Use and your use of the Media.