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Enroute Traffic Avoidance
Make a special effort to watch for other traffic during your tour of the islands. Most light planes in Hawaii fly the same routes between airports (staying just offshore) and fly at only a few different altitudes (between 1500 and 3000 feet MSL). Consequently, a large percentage of the state's air traffic is concentrated within a relatively small piece of the sky. Watching closely for other traffic and flying at appropriate altitudes are your two best actions for avoiding a close encounter with another airplane. However, you can also help yourself avoid other traffic by using plane-to-plane communications and scheduling your trip so as to miss the flights of scheduled tour planes.
      In Hawaii, professional air tour planes traverse the skies daily. Several different companies are based in Honolulu and fly tourists among the islands in light twins. Sometimes several of these planes will travel in a pack spread out over a few miles, and traffic avoidance can become very interesting if you should fly into one of these packs. The tour planes typically follow the same schedule. Departures from Honolulu take place at about 8 a.m. with flights proceeding over Lanai to either Maui or the Big Island for lunch stops. Then in early afternoon they're airborne again and heading along the north shore of Molokai and over Oahu enroute to Kauai. Kauai is circled in a clockwise direction, and the planes then land at Lihue Airport for a few hours to allow the passengers to take a boat trip. In late afternoon the tour planes depart Lihue and race to Honolulu International like horses heading to the barn at the end of the day.
      Plane-to-plane communications on frequency 122.9 are heavily used in Hawaii. A typical transmission will be structured such as: “North Shore Molokai Traffic, Cessna 761HB is approaching Ilio Point at 2500, eastbound.” Although most transmissions are made by commuter airline pilots, all pilots are encouraged to participate. The north and south shores of Molokai are heavily traveled routes and generate a great number of plane-to-plane communications. Pilots flying along Maui's shoreline between Opana Point and the eastern corner of the island should address transmissions to “Hana Traffic,” and for flights along the northern shore of the Big Island, transmissions should be addressed to “Hamakua Coast Traffic.

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