Hybrids in Hawaii

Matteo Legnani speaks with the next generation of aviation pioneers helping make hybrid-powered aircraft a reality in the Pacific

The Electric EEL in the skies over Hawaii
All images Ampaire unless stated

The scenic ‘Road to Hana’ is one of Hawaii’s most travelled attractions Situated on Maui, it runs through 620 curves and 59 bridges for 52 miles from Kahului along the island’s jagged eastern coast, punctuated by spectacular waterfalls and breathtaking cliffs. Despite the stunning views, with so many twists and turns, driving can sometimes feel arduous.

This has resulted in numerous souvenir shops springing up along Highway 360 (which is its official designation) selling T-shirts proudly proclaiming, ‘I survived the Road to Hana’.

While tourists flock all year round, eager to spend up to two hours on the most famous route in Hawaii, for locals it’s all a different story. The narrow carriageway and the tight corners are not attractions, but obstacles to overcome when trying to get from A to B and back again as quickly as possible.

This is one of the main reasons for the popularity of air travel between the two towns, the Kahului (OGG)-Hana (HNM) route having been part of the network of local carrier Mokulele Airlines (9X) for years. By air the trip takes around 15 to 20 minutes, which saves around 90 minutes compared with the road journey. Typically operated twice a day in each direction, the connection is part of the Hawaii Essential Air Service (EAS), meaning that it’s funded by US Federal money.

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