| From the South Ramp
| Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Two Thousand and Three ended with a splash and Two Thousand and Four rode in on a deluge as one of the meanest and wettest fronts in memory passed through our island paradise. Attempting to commit aviation was, at best, challenging and at worst, nigh impossible. Too much of a good thing is still too much. We needed the rain—just not all at once. Most of the many inches of rain that fell, while turning things very green, became runoff, turning the ocean brown with effluent, dips into lakes, and many streets into obstacle courses reminiscent of a’a. Some of those inches also wound up in the bellies of aircraft unlucky enough to be tied down outside. If yours was, it might be worthwhile to open up the inspection plates in the floor and see if you have pooled water and muck. If drain holes are plugged up (and most usually are), water can do some real mischief to aircraft structure, systems and handling.
The Year That Was
Two Thousand and Three was, as most years, a mixed plate of good things, not so good things, and some very bad things. It marked, of course, the one hundredth year of powered, heavier-than-air flight, and the Centennial dominated aviation news as people and organizations sought to celebrate what was among the most important developments in human history—the ability to fly.
Hawai’i Aviation Celebration
Hawai'i came late to the party, but, mostly thanks to the insistent badgering by Rob Moore and a few others, the Hawai'i Aviation Celebration (HAC) was born. Conceived as a two-day air show and static display at Kalaeloa and a December 17th Waikiki fly-by, the unbudgeted HAC lumbered out of the chocks with Ed Helmick at the helm. A Steering Committee of volunteers coalesced to handle the myriad of things an event of that magnitude entails—Ground Boss, Air Boss, Public Relations, Historical, Finances, Security, and Logistics. An even larger group representing various interests, skills and organizations also became an integral part of the process—the military, State DoT, FAA Flight Standards, ATC, Airlines Committee, HCC/UND, Museum of Flying, City and County of Honolulu, and many individuals seeking to help out.
The state hired an event coordinator (Ed Helmick) and went to extraordinary lengths to convert Kalaeloa Airport into a venue for a major event featuring a large static display of military and civilian aircraft, vendor booths, and, of course, an air show. This was a huge undertaking and required a lot of effort by a lot of people. The grounds had to be prepared, aprons, taxiways and runways swept for FOD, display areas delineated, porta-potties obtained and sited, sound system installed, security expanded, parking arranged, and much, much more. Kalaeloa manager Bobby Ramos and his staff worked long hours to make it all happen, supported by Roy Sakata of the Airports Division and many others.
Military participation was exemplary, especially considering worldwide commitments. Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Public Affairs was the executive agent for all military participation, and Lt Dave Faggard did yeoman’s work obtaining the wide range of static displays by units as far away as McGuire AFB. Coast Guard Station Barbers Point cooperated to the fullest, as is very typical of that small band of professionals. The short notice precluded having the USAF West Coast Demonstration Team participate in a flying display, but static displays were abundant and represented all the military services, including USAF/HIANG KC-10, KC-135 tankers, a C-130 tactical transport, C-40 VIP transport; a Navy SH-60 special mission helicopter (HSL-37) and a P-3 long-range patrol and attack aircraft (VP-9); an Army OH-58 light observation/attack helicopter; a USMC CH-53 heavy troop transport helo, and a USCG HH-65 and HC-130. The Honolulu Fire Department and Police Department also had their helos on display.
Civilian displays ranged from a Hawaiian 767 and Aloha 737, to a Pacific Helicopters S-76, a Luscombe, C-170, Navion, C-421, Clint’s Extra 300, Willy’s Baby Lakes, gliders, hang gliders, powered ultralights and a variety of booths from several flight schools, the HPD, Customs, USCG, USCG Auxiliary, CAP, pilot shops, and a wonderful collection of vintage and classic military vehicles, weapons and equipment. Ground Boss Rob Moore, with the assistance of Brad Hayes and Tim Cislo, took on the Herculean task of organizing the totality of the static displays and booths.
The HAC was preceded by Eliot Merk flying the Hawai’i State Flag to Kitty Hawk, as part of EAA’s “Fifty Flags to Kitty Hawk” (Eliot was even featured in EAA’s Sport Aviation). A proclamation from Governor Lingle was signed and promulgated as well.
Thirteen pilots, in aircraft ranging from a Piper Chieftain to a Hughes 500D to a 1946 Taylorcraft flew Young Eagles on Saturday, helping push this EAA program toward the one million milestone—a milestone that was achieved before the year ended. John Callahan, Frank Baker, Chris Ferrara, Bob Justman, Willy Schauer, Eliot Merk, Phil Olsen, Mike Singer, Steve Bobko-Hillenaar, Bob Watkins, Jim Phillips, Josh, from Cherry Helicopters, and a CFI from UND flew a combined total of 149 Young Eagles!
The event was formally opened by Ed Helmick and Rod Hiraga, Hawai’i State DoT, who read a proclamation from the Governor and also introduced Astronaut Carlos Noriega, who flew into Hawai’i to be available for the celebration. Carlos was a NASA classmate of Ed Lu and has been selected for a Shuttle mission following the return-to-flight later this year on mission STS-121.
Saturday’s air show was plagued by strong winds that proved a major, though not insurmountable challenge, especially to the Birds of Paradise model aircraft guys, who still managed an astounding display of helicopter antics that appeared to defy laws of aerodynamics (at least as I understand them). The Coast Guard HH-65 Dauphine helicopter followed with a display of precision handling, and recovering a mock survivor with the hoist and basket. Honolulu Fire Department’s Air One, piloted by Terry Watanabe showed how a fireman/paramedic would rappel down a line from the NOTAR helicopter, secure a rescuee and transport both to a waiting ambulance. Sky Dive Hawai'i ’s Pete Anderson flew their C-182 with four jumpers (Jake, Richard, Kevin and Shaun—with a combined total of some 23,000 jumps!). Using their postage-stamp sized canopies, they seemed to master the blustery wind with ease. The Navy’s SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One at Ford Island next demonstrated a HALO (High Altitude Low Opening) jump with five SEALs diving out of a Coast Guard HC-130.
Willy Schauer put on a fine show with Jim Blewster’s RV-4, including point rolls, rolling turns, humpties, and the Lomcovak tumble. Clint Churchill closed out the air show with his spectacular 29-maneuver routine that includes jaw-dropping gyroscopic maneuvers such as his Tail Swapper, the lomcovak, knife-edge spin, and Cravat.
Clint Churchill again headlined Sunday’s air show. The Birds of Paradise air show team put on a choreographed mock dogfight with quarter and fifth-scale fighters as well as some model aerobatics. Air One, piloted by Lincoln Ishii, did another rappelling demonstration, and the USCG HH-65 put on another rescue demo. The Coast Guard also displayed their ADDS (Airborne Dispersant Delivery System) capabilities with the HC-130. Sky Dive Hawai'i ’s jumpers wowed the crowd with another precision jump. Clint closed out the show with another excellent performance.
Putting on the airshow required a lot of help from the FAA, and it was readily granted. Jerry Parrott and Dave Lusk of the Flight Standards District Office facilitated the necessary Waiver/Authorization application and approval. Neal Kurosaki of the Honolulu Control Facility was instrumental in obtaining ATC clearance and concurrence for the elements of the air show that would impact arrivals to Honolulu’s Runway 8 Left, and developed procedures for participating aircraft to be monitored with minimum fuss and radio chatter. Ray Simpson and Craig Kamiya from Kalaeloa ATC (not technically FAA, but, hey) enabled the smooth sequencing of airshow participants by the Air Boss.
The only thing we lacked was people. An estimated 2,000 folks were at Kalaeloa each day. Poor publicity, competing events, Christmas shopping, and a split venue with the “Sunset on the Planes” event at Kapolei Fair Grounds were all offered up as contributing factors for the poor attendance.
We were also to have a commemorative fly-by of Waikiki on December 17th to give Hawai'i ’s pilots a way to mark the Centennial and we had some 30 pilots ready to take part. Neal Kurosaki again helped work out a plan to use the Reef Runway and conduct the fly-by. Unfortunately, the fly-by was rescheduled to Saturday the 20th and the weather turned Kona and negated the whole thing. Mess with the Karma and you get mud in your eye.
On February 1, the Shuttle Columbia broke up in flight upon its return from orbit. Commander Rick Husband, Pilot William McCool, Payload Commander Mike Anderson, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Mission Specialists Kalapana Chawla, Dave Brown and Laurel Clark perished, again reminding us of the sometimes huge cost of exploration and discovery. As we all mourned, NASA embarked on major journey of introspection and culture change as part of the process to return to flight. Support for the International Space Station continued, despite the grounding of the Shuttle program, and Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko launched on a Soyuz rocket to spend 184 days in space. Yuri got married and Ed engaged and were replaced by Michael Foale and Alexander Kaleri.
Probes were launched to Mars—Spirit is there now, as I write this, and its twin is approaching the Red Planet.
Burt Rutan and his Scaled Composites teamed with Paul Allen and are well along in a civilian space flight program with the brilliant Tier One project. SpaceShipOne will be carried aloft by the White Knight and power up to near space (62 miles). All the components have been built and are in final testing. On December 17th (fitting, eh?), SpaceShipOne went supersonic under its rocket power.
Also last February, Harry Clark went west after a long, varied, colorful flying career. He lives on in the memories of all those whose lives he impacted and efforts are underway to get the Super Three flying again.
Hans Mueller passed away December 30th. Hans was the man behind Hawai'i Air Tour Service, known to us older folk as HATS. In its heyday, HATS operated a fleet of DeHavilland Herons and Doves around the Islands. Three of them can still be seen, rotting into the tarmac along Lagoon Drive. Hans built the HATS hangar to be self-contained with his own engine, propeller, sheet metal and avionics shops. My current office used to be his, and for some time before he fell ill, he would call me every week or so to catch up on goings on around the airport. Hans also participated in training for the Apollo program and received some recognition from NASA for his efforts. Blue skies, Hans.
Also in ’03…
Last August, the USAF Thunderbirds performed at Hickam for the general public. The PACAF did a spectacular job in opening up the base and setting up the show.
NPRM 4521 National Air Tour Safety Standards
This proposed rule will eliminate the exemption that currently permits non-stop sightseeing tours that are conducted within a 25 statute mile radius to come under Part 91. The new rule would force all sightseeing operations to operate under Part 135. This is a bad rule. It is ill-conceived and unnecessary. The accidents quoted in the NPRM as rationale for the proposed changes do not support the proposed actions. This proposed rule, under the guise of increased safety, will cause greater financial hardships than stated in the NPRM, placing yet additional burdens on an already beleaguered industry, and have little positive impact on safety. By driving hundreds of operators out of business, this proposed rule would be a major disservice to the aviation community and the flying public at large. The FAA recognizes that upwards of 700 businesses will be impacted. You have only until January 20th to get your comments in. You can email them by logging on to: http://dms.dot.gov/search/searchFormSimple.cfm. Enter NPRM 4521 in the search window. You can download the entire NPRM and also click on a button to submit comments.
This year should encompass some exciting aviation events. The Rovers are on Mars, a probe is approaching Saturn, and will spend some time there, Ed Lu will get married, the Shuttle should return to flight, and SpaceShipOne will take the first civilians into space. The Navy’s Blue Angels will appear at Kaneohe on October 9th and 10th, and several local aerobatic performers will also be featured. Hopefully, I’ll also get my new wing from France and be flying N10WY (Hank One) again.
The cost of publication keeps going up. To avoid having to raise membership dues, we are going to publish every other month, rather than the ten issues a year we have traditionally put out.
New Honolulu TFR Procedures
The Honolulu TFR has been shrunk to a 2.1 nm arc vice the existing 2.5 mile arc, and the ceiling has been reduced to 5,000’ from 8,999’. The exact wording and dimensions are contained in FDC NOTAM 4/0200. More important is that we are going back to the pre-9/11 arrival and departure procedures for HNL, as published in the Pacific Chart Supplement (PCS). Thanks to the most excellent efforts of the Honolulu Control Facility folks, the Red Hill Three and West Loch Three Departures are again in effect, replacing, respectively, the Tripler and H-3 Departures. The West and North Arrivals replace the Kahe Power Plant Arrival and H1/H2 Interchange Arrivals, respectively as well. Traffic arriving from the north will contact HNL Approach prior to reaching the H1/H2 interchange or the Sugar Mill and will be cleared to the Navy/Marine Golf Course for the left downwind for 4L or right downwind for 22R, depending on conditions, and directed to cross Ford Island at or above 1,500’. West arrivals can expect clearance from the Kahe Power Plant direct to the H1/H2 interchange and then to the Navy/Marine Golf Course, crossing Ford at or above 1,500’.
The Red Hill Departure is as before—runway heading until the Freeway, then following the Freeway to the northwest and maintaining 1,500 until leaving the Class B. The West Loch Departure also has not changed—right turn as soon as practical until north of Runway 26R, flying directly to the center of West Loch and maintaining 1,500 feet while in Class B.
Read the PCS for the exact wording. It is imperative that all arrivals and departures follow ATC instructions carefully and obtain clearance prior to reaching H1/H2 or the Sugar Mill.
Be careful out there