Port Allen, HI
This week, I was saddened to learn about the loss of a flight instructor and his student in the crash of an ultralight aircraft at Polihale on the island of Kauai. I only met Gerry Charlebois once, that on the day I was his student. We were probably flying pretty much the same flight plan that Gerry and another student were flying a few weeks ago when something tragic happened.
Click on the image above to see the video or read the story as posted on Hawaii News Now website.
As the news story indicates, Gerry was very safety conscious. Even though most people consider the flights as sightseeing, they are also legally able to be logged as flight instruction. Gerry and the other instructors giving the flights over Kauai allow the student the flexibility to make the flight as much of a flying lesson as he or she wishes.
My personal take on my flight is that it would be a mixture of sightseeing and flight training. I’d never flown a weight-shift-control aircraft before (the FAA definition of the flight controls of many hang gliders, powered hang gliders and ultralight aircraft.) I was interested in learning how they fly.
There wasn’t a moment during our flight where I considered that we might be outside of a normal safety of flight situation. Gerry’s professionalism was on display for the entire flight lesson, and we visited at some length after the flight while I waited for the processing of the digital photos I would take with me as a keepsake. I’m sure he will be missed in Hawaii’s aviation community.
For 22 years, Gerry and his crew of instructor pilots have provided flight students with beautiful aerial views of Kauai. Gerry was the owner of the company “Birds in Paradise”. As of this writing, I see their website at http://www.birdsinparadise.com is still active.
To read more about my flight lesson with Gerry, click here. I shall cherish that one-hour flight training entry in my logbook, that on the day that I met and flew with Gerry Charlebois. Blue skies, Mr. Charlebois. Rest in Peace.