Our February edition of "HNL RareBirds Classics" takes us to the Keahole-Kona International Airport, where this Japan Airlines' DC-10-40I, JA8538 (c/n 46974), offloads passengers and cargo from JAL70, their flight from NRT in a 2003 photo. I was in KOA for a Japanese TV shoot in January 2003, and saw this from the Aloha Airlines 737-200 we were on as we pulled into our gate. JA8538 is seen above on the KOA wide-body ramp.
After its retirement from the JAL fleet, JA8538 was purchased by Omega Tanker, and re-registered as N974VV. It is a frequent visitor to HNL, as it supports US Navy fighters, and it was most recently seen on 01.30.11 at HNL along with a pair of F/A-18F Super Hornets.
Up until October of last year, Japan Airlines had a daily flight from NRT to KOA, JAL70. The return segment, JAL79, made a stop at HNL. Service initially began with their 747-346s, then changed to the DC-10-40I, then finally to their 767-346ERs.