I knew such flying would be incredible, and I was not disappointed. I planned my entire Hawaii vacation around my wish to fly with Hans even though I had never before met him or flown in a moto glider. The only insight I had was I had flown sailplanes so I was motivated to fly with Hans. I called him many months in advance because I am 6 ft – 1 in and 245 lbs from Yoga and lifting weights. Weight and balance is very important to small aircraft. Fortunately Hans verified we could fly together. At 245 lbs I am at the absolute upper limit of weight as a passenger for the moto glider that Hans flies. Headroom and leg room was fine but no extra. This is certainly worth knowing in advance. Call Hans beforehand.
Hans is an incredible, experienced, and safe pilot too. Let his judgement decide when it is safe to fly. He knows what he is doing. Please give yourself at least two days when you might be able to fly. Tricky weather conditions, particularly gusty crosswinds at Hana Airport, might demand one reschedule. Hans is wise and will keep you safe. If he recommends you postpone, then listen and thank him. One has to be flexible with schedule in order to have the best and safest experience. Cell phone reception is difficult for everyone on Hana. It may take a few cell phone calls to connect with Hans. This is not his fault. He will return your calls.
I stayed 4 nights in Hana because the Hana Road is such a beautiful, challenging, and time-consuming drive. It took me 2 ½ hours both coming and going, not including stops. This flexibility and planning allowed me to have two full days when I might be able to fly with Hans. No sense going all the way to Hawaii (and even more challenging, remote Hana) and not get to fly. I was lucky with the weather and I actually flew both days on his longest flights.
My girlfriend and I both flew the high-altitude flights to 11,000 feet over the Volcano on Saturday, 6 May 2017. The Dimona moto glider has just two side-by-side seats, so Hans takes one person at a time. This climb and altitude gain to the Volcano rim takes at least an hour. I was so thrilled by the experience I then flew a lower altitude long duration flight with Hans the next day. I was so able to enjoy the Hana Road and the Waterfalls when I was not driving a car on that oh so narrow and twisty Hana Road. The waterfalls pictures and aerials of Hana were spectacular on the low-altitude flight. The crater pictures from the high-altitude flight were literally out of this world, they look like something from Mars the Red Planet.
Last tip for photographers: Shoot pictures through the smaller and open side vent so you avoid the inevitable internal reflections and loss of sharpness from the Plexiglas canopy. Hans will maneuver the Dimona to position you for the photograph, just talk to him through the headset and let him know what shot you need. Hans is a great guy. Whatever you need he will accommodate you as long as he deems it safe. What a unique and spectacular experience. Few people will do this. I am so grateful I have done this. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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