I made arrangements by e-mail with Armin (the pilot for this Hang Gliding Maui adventure) and from the first note was impressed with not only his swift response time but his overwhelming generosity. Armin suggested my husband and I fly with him as part of his morning commute to get us to Hana where we would then rent a car for a day and meet him again in the evening for our sunset hang gliding excursion followed by another flight back with him in his Cessna 172. I must tell you that of all the places my husband and I have traveled, Armin has been one of the most memorable characters yet! Upon our meeting him at the local Starbucks near the Kahului airport, his energy was contagious. Flip flops, shorts, laid back guy with an obvious passion for not only his work but his family. After a coffee we were on our way to the Hangar to pack into his private plane (tiny it was, but a breathtaking 'commute' none the less). Armin had provided me with the name of a rental company in Hana so I had a car waiting for us upon our arrival (another great find...family owned business, their number: 808 248 7368). He went off for his job and my husband and I went off into the nearby Hana community visiting fruit stands, touring lava caves and canvassing the grounds for black and red sand beaches. By mid afternoon we headed back to the airport and waited for Armin while he finished up some other clients. It was a serene environment. No ocean in sight, but you knew it was just over the ledge of the runway and you could hear the crashing waves below. Birds flew ahead as the afternoon continued. There was no one at this airport. It reminded us of Fiji...deserted, but rich with stories! Armin greeted us and upon agreeing to do the DVD and the photo roll (HIGHLY RECOMMEND) he started recording, creating a personalized intro for my husband's flight! Because one can become a hang gliding pilot with 15 hours of flight time, Armin approaches the flight educationaly if he senses your interest. My husband is a sucker for knowledge and with his own personal and professional career experience, he was ready to fly the hang glider! Armin had him geared up in no time and off they went into the sky for a 60 minute flight. I chilled in the Hangar, solo-but with Mother Nature. It was the most relaxing 60 minutes. When they puttered back in, my husband was glowing! He said it was one of the most incredible experiences he has ever had-after the first few minutes of nerves he was immediately calmed by Armin's expertise and educational dialogue, teaching my husband the ropes. While I could not do the excursion (pregnant), I would certainly in the future. Armin extended his concern even to me, ensuring I was calm and confident about the ride he was taking my husband on! Our 'commute' back to Kahului was just as spectacular as one could imagine. Armin pointed out all sorts of mansions along the way, pilots rainbows and plantations. His knowledge of the area comes with ease for him-he absorbs the stories and myths of the land and brings it to life with his clients. I am overjoyed by our memory from this special day in Hana (we did this on June 22, the day after Father's Day).
If you like adventure and are willing to tackle thousands of feet in the open air-trust that you will not be disappointed with Armin. He's an exceptional character and a businessman who is more interested in making sure you enjoy your experience than making sure he makes a wad of cash off of you. Believe me, the cash will flow-you will feel as generous as him once you land. It's worth every penny-and at $220 an hour, he's a steal of a deal.
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