|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…
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
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.
Lana'i Gourmet 300
Aloha 300 Mystery Race
The Planes and People
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!
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…
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.
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 email@example.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.
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
Be careful out there