Race Results, Aloha, Don Frost, and More
  From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner
Article from the April 2002 edition of the GACH newsletter 
 

And Da Winnah Is…
The sound and the fury have dissipated, trophies awarded, tales swapped, and the 2002 Great Hawaiian Air Race eases into the pantheon of Things Done.  Forty-two teams flew, and, as ever, the competition was keen.  They came from Australia, England, Canada and Spain, and, of course the USA. They flew everything from a Cozy to a Bonanza and all the Cessnas and Pipers in between. It took many, many people to make it all work, and work it did. Also, for the fourth year in a row, the weather was near ideal. Those who missed it missed out on a great adventure. 

Results:
Twenty-one teams competed in both categories this year—the most ever.  This category combines points earned in both Speed and Proficiency categories.  Our own Willie Tashima and his copilot, Les Hirahara took Top Gun honors in his pristine Bonanza. 
 
 

Combined Speed and Proficiency (Top Gun)
Overall
Place
Race # Pilot Co-Pilot Aircraft
1  3  Willie Tashima  Les Hirahara  Beech A36
11  Art Mott  John Dawson  C177RG
35  Lynn Krogh  Victor Bonfiglio  C172N
27 Perry Taylor  Viv Taylor  PA28-200
Jerry Barto  Eric Barto  PA32-301
Bill Mertens  John Hirashima  PA24-180
52  Merce Marti  Aimee Kuprash  C177
Linne Holmberg  Brianne Holmberg  PA28-140
24  Chris Ferrara  Whit Callahan  PA32-301
10  31  Bill Swears  Harlon Hain  Cozy

Twenty-three racers competed in the speed category, again a record for the GHAR.  Here, aircraft are handicapped and then must try to beat their handicap speed.  The first day was quite windy, and therefore bumpy, and the speeds reflect the effect of those bumps.  Also, on the last day, the trades faded into Kona winds, tailwinds became headwinds again reflected in the overall lower speeds than the handicaps would suggest.  Arthur Mott and John Dawson won this category in a Cardinal RG.  Note that the speed score differential between the first six places was under 2 knots.
 

Speed Category
Place  Pilot  Copilot  Race#  Acft  Handicap 
Speed 
Score
Arthur Mott  John Dawson  11  C177RG  136.85  -4.66
Tony Toscano  Roy Johnson  16  PA-28-140  115.17  -5.04
3  Lynn Krogh  Vic Bonfiglio  35  C172N  114.07  -5.78
Willie Tashima  Les Hirahara A-36  171.10  -6.07
Perry Taylor  Viv Taylor  27  PA-28R-200  141.89  -6.52
Linne Holmberg  Brianne
Holmberg 
PA-28-140  116.55  -6.57
Jerry Barto  Eric Barto  PA-32-301  146.22  -6.93
Merce Marti  Aimee Kuprash  52  C-177  126.71  -7.46
Mary Rawlings  Clancey Maloney  28  C152A  103.97  -7.49
10  Jackie Siegel  Mike Mattes  10  PA-28-180  124.47  -8.10

Every year, the accuracy of the proficiency racers in nothing short of amazing.  This year, the winning team of Jeff Allen and Jon Murakami (HCC/UND) came out exactly on their projected time—to the second—after 525 nautical miles, and were off only 0.65 gallons on their fuel estimate.  Of the top ten finishers in proficiency, five were under a gallon off on fuel and three were within a minute on their times. In fact, one fifth of all racers were within a minute, and half within five minutes, and almost two thirds were within five gallons on fuel burn.  Not bad figuring (guessing?), especially for those who were also in speed category.  Aircraft manuals don’t have performance figures for full throttle/RPM flying. 
 
 
 

Proficiency Category
Place  Pilot  Co-Pilot  Aircraft  Time Error  Fuel  Error
Jeff Allen  Jon Murakami   PA28-161  0:00:00  0.65
Clint Churchill  Ryan Churchill  Extra 300L  0:01:31  0.50
Bill Swears  Harlon Hain  Cozy  0:02:03  0.39
Randy Cislo  F.Daniel
Sharon Cislo 
PA30 Twin Comanche  0:00:06  1.70
Willie Tashima  Les Hirahara  Beech A36  0:01:20  1.00
Jim Phillips  Bill Phillips  Taylorcraft  0:00:18  2.20
Bill Mertens  John Hirashima  PA24-180  0:02:06  1.30
Perry Taylor  Viv Taylor  PA28-200  0:05:31  0.20
Barbara Clever  Bruce Gustafson  C172N  0:01:14  3.00
10  Don Johnson  Sharon Biloff  C172K  0:05:23  0.40

Lana'i Gourmet 300
 After arriving in Hana on Saturday, we handicapped all the speed racers in relatively calm air north of east Maui, giving most racers time to unwind from the first leg and prepare for the optional Sunday rally to Lana'i, where a gourmet meal and golf were available at the Lodge at Koele.  This was a rally, rather than an outright race, and involved correctly identifying features at checkpoints.  Lynn Krogh and Vic Bonfiglio won the rally.  Bruce Kaufman and Nick Carter came in second, and Randy and Sharon Cislo and Frank Daniel took third.

Aloha 300 Mystery Race
 Not content with three days of flying, five teams entered the Aloha 300 race around Kaua'i on Monday.  This one had either speed or proficiency categories, but no combined.  The Australian team of Perry and Viv Taylor won in speed, followed by Arthur Mott and John Dawson in second and Merce Marti in third.  Bruce Kaufman and Nick Carter won proficiency.  Don Johnson and Sharon Biloff placed second, and Arthur Mott and John Dawson came in third.

The Planes and People
 Most of the aircraft have raced before, as did many of the people, although we did have some new and interesting mounts this year.  Bill Swears’ Rutan-designed Cozy made its debut, with one of the deans of fast flying, Harlon Hain as copilot.  Harlon used to fly the SR-71 (among his many credits) during its heyday, and knows life at Mach 3+ and Flight Level 800 plus.  The aptly named Cozy, powered by just 118 horses, had a handicap speed of just under 152 knots! 

The fastest aircraft of all was Bob Justman’s new (to him) RV-4, with a handicap speed of a shade over 175 knots.  Bob’s copilot, Mac Lanzas, is also an A&P/IA and was a great guy to have along. 

An event of this magnitude requires huge amounts of help from many people and agencies, and each plays a pivotal role in bringing it all off.  A small overlooked detail can derail the whole train. Some examples:

 The Honolulu Control Facility provided superb assistance in developing and refining procedures for clearance, taxi and takeoff from HNL as well as en route transponder codes. This year, we were given individual Class B clearance strips the night before, and were able to activate them with one radio call on race day, saving a tremendous amount of confusion and radio congestion on race day. Thanks to Craig Arakaki and Rick Sullivan and Jackie Loui for working so hard for us!  Craig also helped immensely with our over flight of Kaho’olawe—a potential showstopper.

Flight Service again processed all the flight plans, both out and back and gave us our pre-dawn weather briefing at Island Seaplane base.  Morris Tamanaha, the state GA officer, provided excellent handouts for all racers on the new VFR arrival and departure procedures and the Pearl Harbor TFR.   Mahalo for that and everything else you did for us, Morris!  Bobby Peru and his staff at HNL again provided a parking lot for the racers to use, as well as a vehicle to get the starters out to the Reef Runway for the start.  And, once again, the Airlines Committee graciously granted us a 20-minute window on the Reef Funway for our mass takeoff.  Thanks to John Thatcher for his help in coordinating with the airlines.

Registering forty-some-odd teams in a limited amount of time is daunting, at the very least. Our Linda, with expert support from GACH members Jan Dawson and Gladys Weisbrod, handled the task with grace and efficiency.  Mahalos to them and to Anderson Aviation for hosting us again.

Tom Brehm developed and almost single-handedly implemented the parking and taxi plan, helped resolve last minute issues, and organized the Civil Air Patrol, who did their ramp control thing for us both at HNL and Dillingham, as well as provide great sandwiches for the tired racers as they finished. 

Without the timers, the race would not happen, and again we are deeply indebted to the indomitable folks who got up before the crack of dawn and dragged themselves to the Reef Funway or Wailea Pier or Haleiwa Pier or Hana or Dillingham Field:  Norm Emerson, Mark and Dawn Duensing, Mark Waterson, Dave Cowan, Randy and Donna Ashley, Dave Starbuck and Art Chenoweth.   Mahalo to you all!
Of course, none of the results would mean a thing without the exceptional efforts of Willie Tashima.  Only a few of us realize just how long and hard Willie worked on this race, in his inimitable, organized and extremely effective way. 

This year the U.S. Coast Guard put up C-130s to fly high cover during the bulk of the racing, augmented by the Coast Guard Auxiliary (who also launched extra early to give us a route weather report) to insure our safety.  They also flew an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter over to Hana to put on an impressive rescue demo for the assembled multitudes.  The helo arrived on station at exactly the appointed time and departed exactly on schedule as well, making way for the aerobatic air show to begin.  These folks are good and thoroughly professional. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Darryl Ribao and the superb job he does in maintaining Hana airport and preparing it for over 40 aircraft.  The grounds and facilities are immaculate and we always feel more than welcome there. 

The luau at Coila Eads’ spectacular place on the cliffs just south of Hana is a traditional highlight of the whole event, and this year was better than ever.  The grinds were way ono and the local hula hala’u put on an excellent exhibition of their graceful craft.

After weeks of scurrying around and intense hours of stamping out potentially devastating fires, worrying about the weather, getting people registered, briefed, into their aircraft, out to the starting line and off the ground, I couldn’t help but ask, “Is it really worth it?”  And then, with the first day done and all racers accounted for, over a cold Kona Lager at the Manager’s reception at the Hotel Hana Maui, talking and laughing with other racers and their families, I realized that it was indeed worth it. 

This year’s theme was “take back the skies”, and we did just that.  Low-flying aircraft ruffled some feathers, but with few exceptions, it came off very well indeed.  The HCC/UND crews displayed the enthusiasm and spirit that has now become a tradition, and add a very welcome flavor to the event.  We’ve had many repeat racers from the Mainland, and their generosity is greatly appreciated.  They’re part of the family, now.  We also had several newcomers to the islands from the U.S. and abroad.  The three Australian and two British entrants added a wonderful, classy dimension, which, too, has become a tradition with the GHAR.  GHAR 2003 is slated for February 14th-18th. I would like to see more local pilots enter their aircraft next year for several reasons:  it’s fun, educational, exciting, and helps a very worthy cause.  What more can you ask?

Just When You Thought Things Were Getting Better…
Since Kalaeloa was designated a GA airport, people have been trying to obtain use of or space in one of the two big hangars made available by the Navy when they transferred control to the State. Hangar 110 has the potential to house over two-dozen aircraft as well as serve other aviation purposes.  At the January 10th meeting, we were told that it might be available for occupancy by May (“four months”).  In what has the hue, cut and fit of a low blow to GA, the state Department of Transportation has decided to lease the hangar to a contractor to build modular homes.  Claiming that there are liability issues regarding lead paint, asbestos, lack of separate electric metering, fire suppression deficiencies, and noncompliance with ADA access requirements, that preclude renting or leasing the structure for aviation interests, they are nonetheless going to issue a permit to Quality Homes of the Pacific, LLC, who wants to use it for at least one year.

The state claims they don’t have the money to fix up the hangar for aviation use, and that this deal will provide revenue and time for them to budget the improvements.  The $9K plus in monthly rent is slated to go only to improve the hangar.  In the meantime, all those who not only wanted to put the building to appropriate aviation-related use, but also were reportedly willing to fix it up are left twisting in the wind. 

I am disturbed that the DoT failed to mention their plans to the aviation community at the January meeting or subsequently notify us in any way. Rather, I had to chase down rumors and allegations and ferret it out.  I don’t know if it is politics, arrogance, or just a lack of common courtesy; it certainly is distasteful.

If the state is serious about getting GA to move to Kalaeloa, then getting Hangar 110 fit for aviation occupancy should have been a high priority. Obviously not.  And, by their own admission, it will be at least five years before any T-hangars are built—also a low priority.     These are mercenary times. This isn’t how I’d go about building a spirit of trust and cooperation. The follow-up GA/State meeting on April 11th (6:30 pm, Interisland Terminal, 7th floor) ought to be interesting indeed.  In the meantime, check six.

Frequency Fix?
As anyone who flies here knows, the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency of 122.9 is often so congested as to become unusable.  This especially affects the air tour industry, whose aircraft are required to make position reports and are often unable to do so. As a result, the FSDO and the tour industry have developed a plan to establish island-specific frequencies.   For a five-month test period effective 1 March, all air tour operators will begin using the following frequencies for the various islands, and it is “strongly recommended” that all other VFR aircraft use and monitor these frequencies as well:
 

Kaua'i  127.05
O’ahu  122.85
Moloka'i  121.95
Lana'i 122.9
Maui  120.65
Big Island (west of the ITO R215) 127.05
Big Island (east of ITO R215) 122.85
NOTE:  Unicom frequencies for island airports remain the same.  Kalaupapa and Hana airports are still on 122.9 for advisories, as are Princeville, Port Allen, Lana'i, Upolu and Waimea-Kohala (Kamuela).  Kapalua is still 122.7. Changeover would be at mid-channel in most cases. 

During this test period, it is vital that everyone be especially alert as the potential for opposing traffic being on a different frequency than you are may be considerably higher.  Feedback during the test period is vital.   This is intended to enhance safety, and if it doesn’t, let someone know. Contact Don Hamilton at the FSDO, 837-8360, or the AFSS, or even me (836-1031, or email at acrobat@pixi.com).  Most importantly, FLY THE RECOMMENDED ALTITUDES, especially in the channels between the islands.  They are: 500’, 1,500’, 2,500’ eastbound and 1,000’, 2,000’, 3,000’ westbound, below 3,500’MSL.

Humpback Whales
Again we remind pilots not to approach within 1,000’ of a humpback whale.  The proscription is contained within Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 224, Paragraph 103a.  Don’t ask me how I know that.  And you thought that you were only responsible for complying with the contents of the Federal Aviation Regulations, contained in Title 14 of the CFR, right?  Title 50 relates to Wildlife and Fisheries, something that a typical aviator would have no reason to know or even suspect. Cleverly, the FAA included the Hawaiian waters humpback whale restriction in Part 91 of the FARs several years ago, and then, not cleverly, for some reason removed it.  Very helpful.

This is the heart of the whale-counting season, and there’s an army of volunteers and others who are actively counting whales and reporting any vessels or aircraft that get too close, by their estimation, to a whale.  This is especially true in the Pailolo, 'Au'au and Kalohi Channels between Moloka'i, Lana'i and west Maui.  Fly akamai.

Code of the Day
As you’ve probably discovered, HNL is now issuing a VFR transponder code of the day for aircraft departing the Honolulu Class B.  This is designed to mollify the air defense folks who still get excited if an aircraft is squawking 1200 within 50 miles of Honolulu.  It seems really silly to me, frankly, but it may be a step toward going back to the 1200 code that is accepted everywhere else in the United States outside of Class B or C airspace. 

Kalaupapa Fly-In
Remember the GACH Kalaupapa Fly-In on March 16th.  Our fly-ins run from 10:00 to 14:00, but if you want to go on the tour, you’ll need to be there before 09:30.  Arrangements can be made through Damien Tours at (808) 567-6171.   Remember to park in transient parking and not right in front of the terminal.  Bring your lunch.  Kalaupapa is still on 122.9.

Aloha, Don
Don Frost, a longtime member of GACH, passed away on February 24th.  Don retired after a very distinguished career with the FAA, during which he was head of the local FSDO (then GADO).  He was a Designated Examiner for years, including as a Glider Examiner.   Don had an incredibly colorful aviation career and when pressed, could spin a most entertaining selection of  stories of his experiences.   He was solo’d by none less than the famous Tony Levier.  Don was a cornerstone of aviation here in Hawai'i,  so many of us have fond memories of Don.  He was a man and aviator of class and grace and will be hugely missed.  Blue skies, Don.

Be careful out there