These pictures are taken off my blog entry on our Hawaii trip for the flying blog. There is a bit of duplication here, sorry:
We had planned on doing a flight around the island when we were on the Hilo side, but the weather was just so poor that I had cancelled it. Thankfully 3 days later on the Kona side things were looking a bit better, so instead of visiting around Kona further, we headed for the airport and did a flight around the island. It ended up being well worth it and even if visibility was marginal for sightseeing in my book (we never saw the mountains in the middle of the island), it was apparently about as good as it gets. Touring the Island in about 2H by plane gave us a much better view of things and allowed us to see the lava flow from the top (although even from there it was mostly just the smoke from the steam generated by lava flowing in the ocean). That said, we saw some other cool spots in Volcano NP that we wouldn't have seen from the road. Incidently I also got a good shot from the pool we were in for our Dolphin Encounter a few hours prior.
I ended up going with a CFI because it was both faster and cheaper than getting checked out first, and it was very useful to have someone who could take us to the cool spots to overfly and take the plane when I was just too busy with taking pictures (like when we flew several times around the current lava flow in the ocean).
It was an old and slow carburated C172, but eh, it flew :)
road across an older lava flow
a couple of craters
the 130 hwy stops where lava took over
lava flow falling in the ocean
actual hot lava seen through a hole
you can see the lava flow through 2 roads and a forest
Waipio Valley, with a shot of the road down we didn't take
can you say waterfalls?
the local grand canyon :)
Dolphinquest in action