Aloha, Harry!  
  From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner
Article from the April 2003 edition of the GACH newsletter 

--Hank Bruckner

Aloha, Harry

I wonder how many of us share a similar, brilliant and indelible memory of a first flight with Harry Clark in the DC-3.  Mine, as did most, started before dawn, loading stuff up hill in the back of the –3, culminating in a takeoff just as the sun was rising over Moloka'i.  The day was sparklingly clear and smooth.  Harry had the left window open to vent his cigar smoke outside (worked just fine).  The combination of the glorious dawn and the throaty rumble of the big radial just behind me to the right produced an unforgettable sense that all was right with the world.  Hawai'i aviation legend Harry Clark went west on February 14th, just shy of his 78th birthday. 

Harry was one of those rare individuals who not only embraced aviation, but helped as many people as he could to get into flying—flying as it used to be (and, some would say, was meant to be).  There are a lot of pilots in a lot of cockpits who cut their teeth flying with Harry and GENAVCO.  Harry was a staunch supporter of General Aviation (and GACH), as evidenced by the name of his company.

Harry had a well-oiled and copious sense of humor.  I remember, on my first flight with him, he had me land the big bird back at Honolulu, talking me through to an acceptable touchdown and rollout.  I said to him, “Harry, if I’d been you, I’d have never let me land the airplane.” His answer was a classic. “Heck, what’s the worst that could happen? A ground loop? Did I tell you about the time I ground-looped at Kahului right at the intersection of Two and Five?  Shut down the whole airport! Boy, were they mad at me!”

On March 1, local aviators paid Harry a fitting tribute with a fly-by at Mokuleia for family and friends, during which his ashes were scattered from Dave Bettencourt’s C-170, appropriately wrapped in a Hawai'i Sectional chart. Frank Baker led the procession in his Navajo, followed by Bob Justman and Willy Schauer in RV-4s, a Cadet from HCC/UND, two Skyhawks, the C-170, Howard Word’s Luscombe, and my CAP-10.
In a sense, Harry’s passing marks the end of an era in aviation, especially here in Hawai'i.  But, deep down, that era lives on in all the lives Harry touched. Blue skies, friend.

The Great Hawaiian Air Race 2003
Twenty-two aircraft and crews competed for prizes, trophies, and fun in the Fifth Make-A-Wish Great Hawaiian Air Race.  Race day dawned wet and dreary, with the promise of clearing later.  It did, and the racers lifted off the Reef Runway just before 11 am on Saturday, February 15, for their windy, bumpy, and challenging trek to Hana.  This was the fewest number of starters since the race began, five years ago, due to a combination of factors, including the economy, illnesses, competing venues, and the like.  

The race can be flown for Proficiency, in which the pilot estimates the precise amount of fuel and time to complete the course; in Speed, in which the pilot competes against the handicapped speed for that specific aircraft; or both.  Thus, there are major prizes for the top finishers in Speed, Proficiency, and combined, known as Top Gun. In addition to the main race, there was an optional Lana'i Rally on Sunday and a Mystery Race around Kaua'i after the race ended on Monday at Dillingham.  

Many of the Mainland racers that flew the GHAR in the past were unable to make it this year, and local pilots more than stepped up to the challenge. Especially gratifying was the continued and energetic participation by the HCC/UND flight program, and they captured their share of awards.  This was also the first year without an Australian contingent, although the Queen’s English was ably represented by Wilfred Bagnall, an engaging Brit who kept the international flavor of the event.  I still haven’t figured out how to get more local pilots to participate, especially those who own all or part of their aircraft.  Any ideas will be most appreciated.

As has become a tradition, handicapping was done at Hana.  In the evening racers met at an informal Saturday night reception, held at the beach, since the Hotel Hana Maui declined to host their Manager’s Reception this year.  Sunday was available to racers to tour the many attractions of the area or compete in the Lana'i 300 Rally.  In the evening, racers gathered at Coila Ead’s magnificent estate for the traditional luau and air show.  This year Clint Churchill’s excellent aerobatic routine was the entire show, since I wimped out of flying the CAP-10 in rain and the Coast Guard had higher priorities for their available helicopters.

Monday dawned clear and bright, except for a few showers and the racers took off on the final leg, ending at Dillingham Field on O’ahu.  A few, who hadn’t had their fill of flying then launched on the Mystery 300.

Cameras were gathered, the film was developed, and the Race Board went into seclusion scoring the pictures, assigning penalty points, and coming up with the final results which were presented at the Awards Banquet at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:

SPEED CATEGORY (number is difference from handicapped speed)

#1   Mike Singer & Emily Singer (father/daughter) & Kyle Gray (HI), PA24-250 Comanche, -4.58   
#2   Jon Murakami & Kenji Salmoiraghi, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet, -5.69
#3   Kalahiki Chang & Steven "Wojo" Csigi II, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet, -5.81
#4   Daniel Sole & Colin Namba, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet, -6.95
#5   Willie Tashima & Eve Love (HI), A36 Bonanza,  -7.43

PROFICIENCY CATEGORY (numbers are time and fuel error)

#1   Steve Bobko-Hillenaar & Joanna Bobko-Hillenaar (husband/wife) (HI), PA-28-181 Archer III, 15 sec, 0.3 gal.
#2   Jim Phillips & Bill Phillips  (father/son)  (HI/CA) 1946 Taylorcraft, 26 sec, 1.6 gal.
#3   Randy Cislo & Frank Daniel, Sharon Cislo & Marci Manker (HI), C-172, 02:14, 0 .9 gal
#4   Don Mobley & Mark Jones  (HI), PA-28R Arrow, 01:14, 1.5 gal.
#5   Willie Tashima & Eve Love (HI), A36 Bonanza, 02:46, 0.3 gal.


#1   Kalahiki Chang & Steven "Wojo" Csigi II    HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet
#2   Willie Tashima & Eve Love (HI), A36 Bonanza
#3   Daniel Sole & Colin Namba, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet

#1 Bruce Kaufman & Paul Ricotta  (WI/MA), C-172

#1     Reed Rohrer & Cyndi Berwyn (HI/TN), PA-28-140              

#1   Jon Murakami & Kenji Salmoiraghi, HCC/UND Team,     PA-28 Cadet

#1   Kalahiki Chang & Steven "Wojo" Csigi II, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet

#1   Tara Eavey & Nina Vierra, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet

#1   Daniel Sole & Colin Namba, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet

#1 Vic Bonfiglio & Sarah Bonfiglio (father/daughter)   (HI), PA-28

#1   Cyndi Berwyn (TN), PA-28-140

#1   Tara Eavey & Nina Vierra, HCC/UND Team, PA-28 Cadet

Congratulations to all!

This year the weather made it very difficult to approach the handicap speeds, since turbulence robs you of speed, and there was plenty of that to go around.  However, as in past years, there were five racers whose fuel error was under a gallon, and four whose time estimates were within a minute.  That is after almost 600 miles of flying! It was gratifying to see that the HCC/UND teams spent considerable time planning the race, and took home the awards to show for their hard work.

Speaking of hard work, an event like this takes a huge amount of effort by a lot of volunteers.  In addition to the organizers, who spent many hours in planning meetings and talking to the right folks to make things happen, there were others, such as timers at HNL, Wailea Pier, Maui, Hana, Maui, and Dillingham; the judges at Hana and Dillingham; the scorers at Super Geeks; the marshallers at HNL, Hana, and Dillingham; the registrars, aircraft inspectors, and, well the list goes on.  Thanks to all!

A special thanks goes to two groups of professionals who enabled the whole thing to happen: First, the State DoT management staff at HNL who enabled parking for contestants and got the flagman and timers out to the Reef Runway and back, A special thanks to Bob Hansmeier and Skeeter Jackson, and also to Morris Tamanaha, the State GA Officer, for his assistance.  Vital to the success of the event were the FAA folks at both ATC and FSS.  Rich Sullivan and Craig Arakawa at the Honolulu Control Facility enabled the mass taxi and takeoff from the Reef Runway and the discrete transponder codes and a myriad of related details.  When weather forced a delay in the scheduled departure time, they found us another window that allowed use of the Reef Runway.  The FSS provided briefings both at Island Seaplanes on Saturday, and a briefing faxed to the hotel in Hana on Monday, as well as entering and closing all those flight plans.  Gary and Glenn, Mahalo!

Also deserving mention are the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary who provided cover during the race, to ensure a prompt response to any mishap.

Special thanks go to Pat and Debbie Magie for their superb hospitality for the evening social after the pre-race briefings and the race-day breakfast.  Theirs is a truly class act, and their support is very much appreciated.

And, of course, a major Mahalo! to all the racers who spent so much time, effort, and money for this great cause.  Without you folks, there is no GHAR, of course, and by conducting yourselves with enthusiasm and safety, you displayed the best GA has to offer.

So, what’s the point of all this effort and expense?  Foremost, of course, is to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Hawai’i, an organization that grants special wishes to children with life-threatening diseases.  For aviators, it also offers a chance to fly with as much precision, skill and luck as you can muster on a challenging course, in most cases, in a manner that far exceeds what we do on a day-to-day basis when we fly.  For visitors and kamaaina alike, it also offers unique access to the unparalleled beauty of the islands and some of its culture.  And, for everyone, it presents General Aviation in a positive light, doing positive things for the community.  It is a worthwhile endeavor.  Please consider getting involved next year.

Young Eagles
If you are an EAA member and are interested in participating in Young Eagle flights for youngsters, please contact John Gleeson at
808-942-1896.  This excellent program introduces young people to the joys and wonder of aviation.  (If you are not yet an EAA member, this might be a good reason to join.)

Be careful out there 

Hank’s ratings:

Richard Chao, CFI Spins, Phase I Aerobatics Course, Tailwheel transition
Ronnie Bautista, CFI Spins