the South Ramp
January / February 1999
Happy 1999! I closed out the old year and started my new year with a bang. Well, actually, it was more of a thud. With a little snap. The thud was a hard landing under canopy, and the snap was my tibia. I now sport enough steel that I'll have to swing the compass every time I fly--something I hope to be able to do in the not too distant future. You don't need me to tell you that your whole life can change in an instant, but it can. It still amazes me how radically my priorities changed. And perspective; that's been altered as well. Things that hitherto had not even caused a ripple in my awareness suddently become paramount. Other things--things I couldn't live without--fade into insignificance. Independence morphs into dependence, and the list of acts, people and things for which I am grateful skyrockets. So, was sky-diving worth it? Ask me again, after everything has healed and I can give you a considered answer. Sure was fun while it lasted. Just be careful at whatever you do.
And that, my friends, is why you didn't get an AirScoop last month. The Editor broke 'is leg.
On July 2, 1999, Barbers Point Naval Air Station becomes Kalaeloa Airport. This is an urgent call to all of you out there to get involved, NOW. I'll explain. On January 20, the State DoT Airports held an informational meeting for all interested parties to discuss the transition. Airports Administrator Jerry Matsuda opened the evening with remarks that included the statement that the ultimate goal is to have NO General Aviation operating out of Honolulu International. I've been involved in the Barbers Point issue since its inception and this is the first time the State has openly stated the goal of having us ALL off HNL. According to the State plan, Phase 2 of the move would have most GA relocated by the end of year 2000. After presentations by Ben Schlapak, (engineer), Morris Tamanaha, (GA Officer), and Stanford Miyamoto (Acting HNL Manager) it became very evident that the majority of pilots and owners don't want to move to Kalaeloa until there are adequate facilities to house them. This is a point GACH has been making all along. Currently, in addition to some outdoor tie-down spaces, there is one large, open-bay hangar that can accommodate about 25 aircraft. T-hangars are barely in the planning stages and certainly wouldn't be ready for years. In the meantime, current occupants of the HNL T-hangars are going to be asked to move. The State has decided that Honolulu should become an international cargo hub, and to make that happen, they will want the whole south ramp, including the T-hangar area. I'm a little skeptical. We've all heard grandiose plans here before that failed to materialize in any meaningful way, and I'm not sure the trend toward larger, longer-range aircraft will support this plan. If Asian freight can go direct to/from the mainland, why stop en route? Will Hawai'i generate so much export cargo to justify seizing the entire south ramp and tearing down the relatively new $6.1 million t-hangars? Doubtful, to say the least. So what should you do? The State indicated that they really do want our input, and we need to provide it. We already have an existing organization to represent us (GACH), but you need to use it. We need to insure that no one has to move until there are adequate facilities. We need to insure that the rules and regulations governing use of the airport and its facilities are not arbitrary and onerous (as they are at most State airports). In fact, we need to review those rules in their entirety, across the state, and see if we can come up with an equivalent level of safety while actually encouraging the practice of aviation at all airports. We need to insure that those operators who really need to operate from HNL can remain there. We need to insure that the success or failure of Kalaeloa is not measured by how many GA operators move there in the first year or even the first five years. Kalaeloa is already a success inasmuch as the Coast Guard will continue to operate from their excellent facilities, the Army Guard will be able to operate there, and the field will continue to serve as a money-saving flight plan alternate for the airlines. Kalaeloa is a long-term investment, necessary for when HNL really can no longer accommodate GA. We're a long way from there now. The State will have another informational meeting in three months. We need to get together well before then and have well organized and considered positions ready to insure that we get what we need. In the meantime, the DoT will arrange for interested parties to tour the facilities at Barbers Point. Those who would like to look at the full Master Plan, can drop by my office (Kaimana Aviation, 99 Mokuea Place, off Lagoon Drive). This is serious, folks. Either get involved or accept what you get.
Those of you who fly out of Maui, the Big Island, and Kaua'i all have site-specific issues that need to be addressed. GACH can help, but to do so, we need to work these issues together where it makes sense to do so. There is still a great deal of arbitrariness in the way the rules are interpreted from airport to airport by the managers. My phone/fax/email are at your disposal, 24 hours a day.
Plans are in the final stretch for the Great Hawaiian Air Race. With about 50 teams entered, representing 22 states and Australia, it will be the biggest aviation event to hit Hawai'i in a long, long time. The organizational challenges have been monumental, to say the least, but a hard-working core team has done wonders. We've had superb cooperation from the FAA (FSDO, FSS, ATC), the state Airports people both at Honolulu and Maui, the Civil Air Patrol, USCG Auxiliary, and many businesses. In fact, there are over $15,000 in prizes--mostly products--that have been donated. Over $15,000 net will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hawai'i. If the weather holds, expect all 50 aircraft to depart the Reef Runway between 0830 and 0900, at 20-second intervals, on Saturday the 13th, for the first leg to Hana. The finish will be at Ford Island on Sunday the 14th. All three major TV stations will cover the event, plus ESPN. Best place to watch, other than from the cockpit of your favorite airplane? Somewhere on Lagoon Drive, where 8R is visible. Or, anywhere on Waikiki Beach, as the stream of aircraft heads, offshore, to the first checkpoint at Diamond Head Lighthouse. We're planning for the Great Hawaiian Air Race to become an annual event. It will be a major draw and shot in the arm for aviation here.
Be careful out there. .