Ultralight Flight

All of the images on this page are photographs that I took during my ultralight flight over the West Maui Mountains - there is no artwork featured here.

Dwight Mounts and his remarkable flying machine.

On August 28th, 2005, I had the pleasure of enjoying a flight in an ultralight owned by Kula resident Dwight Mounts.  Yes, I actually did get in this thing.   Dwight even taught me how to steer it myself.  He took me for a really magnificent tour over the West Maui Mountains, as seen in the photo galleries below. 

(Update: After receiving an inquiry from a visitor to my site, I've since learned that Dwight no longer maintains his flight license, so he can't provide ultralight tours at this time.  There are apparently other tour services offering such flights on Maui, but I'm not personally familiar with them). 

The ultralight is simply a hang-glider with seats and a propeller.   It can glide quite confidently even if the engine is turned off, and it has a parachute for really severe emergencies (in case of structural damage to the wing) - all of which renders this little aircraft safer than a helicopter.   Calm, windless conditions are preferable, however, so the early morning hours are the best for flying.   With no surrounding structures to impede your view, a ride in this machine is similar to riding a motorcycle.   Except that you're thousands of feet above the ground, of course.   Flying over the West Maui Mountains in this way is simply too spectacular to describe.   Enjoy the photos...

 

Ukumehame  and Olowalu Valleys

 

 

 

Iao Valley Divide

After countless years of erosion, a narrow ridge is all that remains to separate Iao Valley from the neighboring valleys of Olowalu and Ukumehame to the west. The sharpness of the dividing ridges makes this one of the most dramatic areas in the West Maui Mountains.

 

 

Honokohau Falls

Falling 1,119 feet in two steps, this is supposedly the tallest waterfall on Maui.

 

 

Mount 'Eke

This flat-topped summit is especially remarkable for the bog that it shelters on its isolated plateau. As seen in the photos below, sinkholes and standing water give the plateau's surface a distinctive appearance.

 

 

 

Waihe'e Valley

In my opinion, Waihe'e is the most visually stunning of the West Maui valleys.

 

Above and below: the spectacular "Wall of Tears,"
where numerous waterfalls appear to be fed by
springs that emerge directly from the cliffside.

 

 

 

 

The Summit Bog

The heights of West Maui are dominated by bogs that sustain some of Hawaii's rarest native plants. These photos show a bog perched on the back edge of Waihe'e Valley, very near the summit of West Maui at 5,788 feet.   (For additional photos of the bog country, visit my page of photos from a Nature Conservancy work trip to the bogs...)

Above: the bog occupies the flat terrain on the summit.

Below: pools of standing water in the bog.

 

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