Hawaii Airshow Invitational at Kona International Airport

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Pat Bendokas and her husband moved to Kona from Seattle three years ago and are pretty aviation savvy, considering Seattle is home to Boeing.

“It’s always fun to see planes. This is good to have here,” she said, taking in the spectacle from a prime seat on the tailgate of a C-17 cargo plane.

However, the Bendokas’ former neighbor in the Seattle suburbs had his own plane parked on his own runway stretched across 70 acres.

“We were kind of used to him buzzing around, so today is not something we haven’t seen,” she said.

Nearby, watching Alan Miller doing some zany flying in his Aerona Champion, were Joey Camacho, Nick Brown and a group of friends.

Squinting up at the yellow single-engine two seater, Camacho, 16, said he wasn’t really into airplanes or aviation and isn’t ready to sign up with the Air Force just yet.

“I don’t know. Maybe,” he said. “The F-16 jet. Now, that’s one I’d really like to fly.”

Brown, however, was catching the aero-bug.

“I wasn’t really into it before, but now it’s cool. It’s really a rush,” he said. “That small one painted with the flag (the SNJ-4 Texas flown by Big Island resident Bruce Mayes) makes me more into airplanes and stuff.”

The two-day event – the first of its kind in Kona – featured a variety of civilian and military aircraft, including the slick B-1 Long-Range Bomber, KC-135 Stratotanker for aerial refueling and a C-17 Globemaster.

Among the stars of the show were the C-130 Hercules, flown in from Yokota Air Base in Japan, and a pair F-16 Fighting Falcon jets that performed a couple of very loud, very impressive low altitude runs over the airfield, complete with some barrel-rolls.

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