The Beginning of Aviation on Maui

The first flight to Maui was made by Army Major Harold Clark on May 9, 1918 from Fort Kamehameha on Oahu.  When Major Clark tried to continue the flight to the Big Island he crashed on the slopes of Mauna Kea.  It took him and his passenger two days and nights to walk out to civilization. This was the first inter-island flight. Soon thereafter several Army pilots flew HS-2 aircraft to Hawaii, Maui, Molokai and Kauai.

An emergency landing strip was built on Maui in 1919 by the Army.

Charles Fern carried the first paying passenger interisland from Kapiolani Park to a polo field in Makawao on February 1, 1920. However, between Molokai and Maui, Fern’s gas gauge malfunctioned, indicating an empty tank and forced him to land in a pasture near the Cooke Ranch office on Molokai. After refueling, he headed for Maui. Unable to locate the polo field, he landed instead at the fair grounds in Kahului.

In 1923 aviator Charles Stoffer in “Charley’s Crate” delivered the Honolulu Sunday newspaper to Molokai then Maui, landing at Camp One near Spreckelsville. He began a flight service to Maui and Molokai from Honolulu and ran a flying school on Oahu.

The Honolulu Chamber of Commerce tried on several occasions during the period 1925-1927 to urge the Maui Chamber to take an active role in the development of landing sites on Maui, as had the Hilo, Kauai and Honolulu Chambers, but received no interest.

The Territorial Aeronautical Commission stated in its 1927 annual report that for the past year there had not been a landing field of any description on the island of Maui and development had been somewhat retarded by lack of appreciation of the benefits to be derived from interisland air transportation by those most concerned on that island.