Happy New Year!

From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner

Article from the January 2000 edition of the GACH newsletter 

Happy New Year!
 I hope the Y2K thing pretty much left you alone.  All those rations and water will keep until the next hurricane (hopefully never) or tsunami (ditto), although you may want to check the shelf-life of those spare batteries.  They should last until the real millennium, however.  Note that we didn't celebrate the new year at the end of November.  Why did we celebrate the end of the century/millennium in 1999?  I noted, with some interest, that the same debate occurred in 1899, with a much different outcome.  It was decided, fairly universally, that the Twentieth Century would begin in 1901.   Of course, if you are Chinese or Moslem, the point is moot.

Great Hawaiian Air Race 2000
What isn't moot is the Great Hawaiian Air Race, to be held February 18 - 21.  This year's race-- our second--should be a bit bigger and better than last year's.  As I've mentioned before, we will have two nights in
Heavenly Hana, by popular demand, to allow folks to enjoy the place a little more.  Moreover, we're going to do the speed category handicapping there, rather than at Honolulu before the race, speeding up and simplifying the whole process.  We've also built in an optional refueling stop at Kahului for those flying range-challenged aircraft. We
will again have a fuel truck at Hana, thanks to Air Service and Young Brothers. What we really need is for more of you aircraft owners to sign up with your aircraft, especially those wishing to crew with an experienced mainland racer.  Last year's race did a lot of positive things: we raised a lot of money for Make-A-Wish Hawaii; we cast General Aviation in a very positive light; we garnered a lot of good publicity for Hawai'i; we brought in considerable money to the economy;  many of us learned a lot about flying and performance; and we all had a good, safe, and especially fun time.  It's wonderful when you can combine so many positives in one activity.  Sign up now!

Should Auld Acquaintances...
 Our highest flying GACH member, Dr. Ed Lu, was in town for a brief rest from his NASA endeavors and I was privileged to again fly with him in the CAP- 10.  We used the occasion for a BFR and acrofest, and though it has been a while since he'd been in the CAP, flying his own RV-4 (plus all that astronaut stuff) has left him pretty sharp.  He was to have gone up again in Atlantis on Mission STS-101 this past December, but it now looks like sometime after March.  This time, he'll get to spacewalk while he works on the International Space Station.  If that doesn't qualify as the ultimate thrill, adventure and experience...I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who so enjoyed their work!

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Some of us who are fortunate enough to fly ourselves and our families to places usually manage in one aircraft.  Some of us need two or three.  John Travolta brought his family out to the Islands over the holidays in a B-707, a G-IV, and a B-737.  From all accounts, his off-screen passion is flying, and he has owned several aircraft over the
years, including a DC- 3.  The 737, however, was leased from a company called Premier Aircraft Management, Inc.  As I was killing time at Lihue, waiting for my passengers to finish their boat tour, the 737 pulled up to the Commuter Air Terminal to pick up members of the entourage, piloted by none other than Fred Sorensen.  You long-time GACH
members will no doubt remember Fred.  He used to fly Hawaiian's DC-8s, ferry aircraft to and from the Islands and all over the Pacific, as well as instruct and do all the other GA things here.  Then the DC-8s went away and Fred started flying for Southwest (he still does).  Fred's hoping to come back to fly the Great Hawaiian Air Race next month.  Regarding that 737--the accommodations begin at a level beyond First Class and then get nicer.  John Travolta has done very well.  I'm happy he puts some of that well-earned success into aviation.

Baxter Retires
Gordon Baxter has been an inspiration to pilots and writers alike for decades in  the pages of Flying magazine and his own books.  He wrote about the pleasures, the people, the machines, the places linked by the common thread of everyday flying with an honesty and passion that brought a treasure of joy and smiles and even tears to at least this
reader over the years.  Advanced age and failing health forced him to stop writing a while ago, and it is now time for his retirement.   As I'm sure did thousands of readers, I usually went straight to the back of the magazine to his column,  the "Bax Seat", first, and then read the rest of the magazine.  Godspeed, and thanks, Gordon.  We'll really miss you.

They're Back
The humpback whales have returned to our waters.  I've now seen them off Dillingham, and in the waters between Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Maui.  Please remember that we are not to approach within 100 yards on the surface or 1,000 feet in the air to one of these magnificent creatures.  Of course, if a whale happens to breach right under you while you're on downwind at Dillingham...well, just use common sense.

Kala'eloa Akamai
The Aviation Safety Program Manager advises that some of you are still overflying Campbell Industrial Park while in the pattern at JRF.  Here's the deal:  the refinery flare tower can erupt at any time, sending a
plume of flame several hundred feet skyward.  It's automatic.  If there's excess pressure, it vents.  If you are over it at the time, you're toast.  And that's just one of the hazards of overflying the refinery.  Please don't.  If you wait until you reach the canal to start your turn to base for 4L, you will overfly the refinery.  Lead the turn and protect your okole.

With the new year come the increasing tradewinds.  The light-and-variables we've been having have made for smooth rides and easy landings.  Time now to gear up for the crosswinds and downstream turbulence we usually enjoy.  February/March are often the windiest months.  Some spots really stand out for their ability to shake the living grit out of you, your passengers and your airplane:  McGregor Point and Makena on Maui, Kaena Point and Palaoa Point, Lana'i, Kawaihae on the Big Island, and over the Freeway and the Makaha area of Oa'hu come readily to mind.  Short final at OGG's Runway 5, MKK's Runway 5 and Dillingham's Runway 8 are quite sporty and the hardest I've ever had to work for a landing was one night at Lana'i.  When the wind howls, these places all have low-level shear in common and demand undivided attention, finesse and technique.  Everyone has their own crosswind techniques.  I like to crab to about 50 - 100' and then sideslip the rest of the way.  That allows me to determine on a windy day if I in fact have enough control authority to land with no drift and no crab.  Most Cessna singles are rudder- challenged in a crosswind and get squirrely above 15 knots or so.  The Seneca runs out of aileron first, especially with full flaps, and has a demonstrated crosswind component of only 13 knots.  The Islander has a 30 knot crosswind limit.  The CAP-10's limit is 25 knots, which is quite high; the trick is trying to taxi it afterwards.

Be careful out there.