Hilo International Airport

Continent: North America Country: United States Region: Hawaii
Hilo International Airport (General Lyman Field)
Location Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii
Airport type Commercial
Website http://hawaii.gov/ito
Overview map Google Maps
Tower 118.1 263.1
Ground 121.9
Approach 119.7 269.2
Departure119.7 269.2
ATIS 126.4

Official Spotting Locations

Other Spotting Locations

Hawaiian Airlines Premier Club Lounge

Located on the lower level of the concourse, this area is accessible only to first class passengers, Premier Club, and Pulani Platinum members. This area is typically empty, with at most five passengers in the area. There are two windows which allow you to grab shots of taxiing aircraft at the ground level.

Runway 8/3 Arrivals & 26 Takeoffs

Hilo Airport usually has landing traffic on either runway 8 or runway 3. All scheduled jet traffic will land on runway 8-26, with minor exceptions. Very rarely, at most once every few months, the winds will change forcing all aircraft to land on runway 3-21.

The best location to see arrivals is at the intersection of Kamehameha Ave. and Silva St. There is an empty lot directly across from the touchdown indicator bars in which tractor trailers and containers are temporarily stored. You can park your car there and move to one of two locations. With a longer range lens you can stand on one of the flatbed trailer units towards the rear and get excellent shots of arrivals. Occasionally tractor trucks will come from the nearby port and drivers may harass you about standing on their containers/trailers, but most drivers don't seem to notice or care. Another alternative spot is directly across the street. There is a metal safety barrier between the road and the fence, and in about the middle there is a signpost. Climbing the barrier near the sign will allow you to use a shorter lens and still make it over the fence.

Another location to spot arrivals and takeoffs is the concrete structures on the south western side of the airport, opposite the western hangers. Follow the signs on the main airport road to civil air patrol. The parking lot is usually empty and if you stand on the concrete barricades near the north-eastern fence you can get decent shots of arrivals on runway 8, and from the structures to the west, you can get good shots of runway 3 departures and arrivals. If you have a longer lens its best to stay at the entrance to the lot, parking your car off to the side. The hill allows you to get shots of transient aircraft such as the FedEx MD-11 parked directly in front of the cargo terminal.

Runway 26 Arrivals

During the early morning hours and evening hours, aircraft may land on runway 26. Most aircraft unfamiliar with the area will land on runway 26 because of its easier straight in ILS approach. The best place to snag arrival photos is in the middle of the neighborhood of Keaukaha. At the intersection of Baker St. and Krauss Ave. is an emergency gate with access to the airport. You can generally pull up close to (but not within 6 feet of) the gate without anyone harassing you. It is best to stand on the bumper of your car to make it over the fence because there aren't really high spots in this area. An alternative is the other gate at the intersection of Andrews Ave. and Kapili Ave. These locations also have a direct line of sight to the passenger terminal, temporary parking area to the east of it, and helicopter base to the west.

Locations to Avoid

Airport Security

Hilo Airport Security tend to be harassing and suspicious of everything. They all drive white trucks with red beacons. Usually you won't see them on the outside of the fence, but if you see them approaching it's best to back off at least 15 feet from the nearest airport fence to avoid a confrontation. It is important to note that they are not police and cannot detain you. They tend to excessively patrol the old airport area near the cargo terminal. If you do see them outside the fence, it is best to stay put. They do occasionally follow you until you completely leave airport property.

Regular Traffic

Most common first

  • Misc. Operators - AĆ©rospatiale/Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil (Squirrel)
  • Blue Hawaiian Helicopters - Eurocopter EC130 B4
  • Hawaiian Airlines - B717-200
  • Trans Air Maui - Short SD3-60
  • Aloha Air Cargo - B737-200
  • United - B737-800 ETOPS
  • FedEx - MD-11

Facilities and Transportation