|Article from the April 2003 edition of the GACH newsletter
Dr. Ed Lu was supposed to go up to the International Space
Station (ISS) on the first of March of this year, to spend some five months
on board. Those plans changed, of course, after the Columbia disaster.
Ed will be launching, however, on a Soyuz on the 26th of April, along with
cosmonaut Colonel Yuri Malenchenko on Expedition 7. Ed and Yuri have
flown before, on STS-106, and they both performed an extended EVA.
They’ll now get to spend several months together. As Ed put it, “I
got to build it; now I get to live in it.”
Ed is studying hard, since he will be the second crewmember
of a two-person crew on Soyuz, and will need to qualify as Flight Engineer.
Ed will be the first American to qualify as Flight Engineer on a Russian
Soyuz, which is quite an honor and challenge. He should be able to log second-in-command
time. Now, that would look good in a logbook! Let’s see…C-172, PA-34, Pitts
S-2A, CAP-10B, RV-4, T-38, Soyuz.
This is Ed’s third, and longest, trip to space.
His first, STS-84, docked with the MIR in May of 1997, and lasted a little
over nine days. His next flight, STS-106, launched in September
2000, and lasted for almost 12 days. With all that’s going on here
on Earth, it is comforting to know that GACH-member and pilot Ed will be
circling above, floating free, doing some serious science, and furthering
the human cause.
Ed will be emailing us from space, and we will set up some sort of interactive
media event while he’s in orbit. Godspeed, Ed. We’ll
be thinking of you.
Meanwhile, On Earth…
A sparsely-attended GA Forum was held last month, wherein
the State and those present reviewed the status of issues and concerns that
had been raised at prior meetings. Some progress has been made, but
much more remains to be done. Progress has been glacial, reflecting
political and fiscal constraints. Hopefully the new leadership will
be able to pick up the pace a bit, though I wouldn’t bet on seeing a lot
of money spent on GA facilities for a while. Several of the issues, however,
really have been management items, rather than fiscal, and should be workable
even in a world of very limited funds.
Davis Yogi, the new Airports Administrator, indicated
a willingness to push for projects at several airports, and noted that he
has an “open door” policy and will answer queries within 24-48 hours.
He also indicated he would personally follow up on some of the outstanding
issues. Maybe we’ll resolve some long-standing irritants soon.
The state hasn’t yet buried the idea of privatization
of some airfields, and they really need to. It’s a bad idea, bad policy,
and won’t result in any worthwhile savings. This is an issue we will continue
to fight strongly and loudly.
The DoT will be sending out minutes of the meeting to
the aviation community. The next Forum is scheduled for June 26th,
from 6:30 – 9:00 pm at the Interisland Terminal, 7th Floor conference room.
HNL Master Plan
The state is in the process of updating the HNL Master
Plan. It’s supposed to be done every five years and the last one was
done in 1994 or so. The Master Plan process looks out to 20 years,
which increasingly is hard to do. Traffic counts are down considerably,
both in terms of flight operations and passenger counts. Operations
have decreased from a high of about 400,000 in 1992 to a 2002 total of about
325,000. Interestingly, most of the decline has been with the air carriers—no
surprise. GA has seen a decline as well into 2002, though not as steep.
The only sector that showed a recent increase was in Air Taxi operations—likely
reflecting the decline in Interisland Total passenger count declined from
a high of almost 25 million in 1996 to under 20 million in 2002.
Of the almost $79 million in current projects at HNL,
some $36 million are security related, and another $32+ million involve intra-terminal
transport—i.e. the Wiki-wiki bus, etc. Expect some things (not security,
of course) to get deferred. Speaking of security, I would expect things
to change to some degree on the South Ramp, as new security measures are
mandated and implemented for the larger charter operations.
The previous Master Plan was built on projected growth in passengers and
operations, and the new one will have to account for the recent declines.
New projections should be completed this summer, and we will be very interested
in seeing them, and their methodology, since they form the foundation for
airport planning across the state. The airlines have found it nearly
impossible to make long-term projections, given the current widespread uncertainty
that plagues the industry. Thus, the planners have their work cut out
for them to create a sensible and realistic master plan without good projections
as a basis.
We hope to play a role in insuring our voice is heard
throughout this process, not only here, but throughout the islands.
Temporary(?) Flight Restriction
The March Wings Meeting at HNL featured Commanders Ben
Goslin and Norman Messinger from Navy Region Hawai'i, to discuss the TFR
over Pearl Harbor and Hickam. We have long maintained that as it currently
exists, the TFR has significantly increased the likelihood for aircraft swapping
paint (a mid-air, for you technically-oriented folks). Departures and
arrivals are funneled through a narrow channel between the freeway and the
mountains, separated vertically by a mere 500’, weather permitting.
The TFR is also hard on aircraft and passengers due to the frequent need
for arriving aircraft to maintain 2,000’ until the downwind and then having
to make a steep descent and a tight turn. Engines don’t like the chop
and drop, and pax don’t care for steep banks and high rates of descent (at
least, most don’t.)
ATC hates the TFR as it drastically reduces the airspace
they have available, and thus, their flexibility to keep things moving smartly
and keep us from swapping paint. Surprisingly, it appears the Navy
also favors shrinking the size of the TFR (though not eliminating it).
So, with the FAA, the GA community and the military all favoring cutting
the TFR down significantly, why hasn’t it happened? Seems the tie up
is with the FAA, in Washington or somewhere.
Since I don’t want to wait until we actually rain aluminum and body parts
down on the unsuspecting public, we should try to shake this thing loose
by contacting people who might be able to help. Let the Administrator know
that we need to change that TFR
Aviation Safety Program
The Aviation Safety Program is languishing. Not
for lack of effort on the part of the FAA, but rather because we, the aviation
community, aren’t doing our share. It’s not about earning little wings
to wear (although there’s nothing wrong with that). It’s about staying
tuned into what is going on and keeping your mind in the game. I soloed
31 years ago, this month, and still learn something each time I go to one
of the Wings meetings (of course, I could be relearning something that I
once knew and subsequently forgot.) The point is, that we need to revitalize
this essential program. Each meeting should be crammed full of students,
new pilots, and their instructors, from each and every flight school.
Aircraft owners, especially those who fly infrequently, should attend, too.
The big Wings Weekend is scheduled for June 21 and 22. Contact Jim
Hein, the SPM, for details at 837-8335.
Mimi Tompkins’ famous and most excellent CFI Renewal
Clinic will again be in session this June. It’s a great way to renew your
certificate, especially those of you who instruct only occasionally.
The class runs June 28 and 29 at the HCC/UND center off Lagoon Drive on Iako
Critical Incident Stress Management
The Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines ALPA MEC’s
are sponsoring a two-day certification course on April 29 and 30 for aviation-specific
critical incident stress management. Once certified, you can provide
support and education following an incident or accident that can be extremely
beneficial. If you are interested, contact Mimi Tompkins at 781-6464
or Tim Wheeler at 371-8869.
Spring and Summer Flying
This past winter presented more that the usual amount
of challenge with more than the usual amount of junk weather, even though
I remember hearing that it would be drier than usual since we were in an
El Nino year. Systems moved through the islands with great regularity—often
more than one a week—and brought heavy rains, thunderstorms, lousy visibility,
low ceilings and weird winds. Sadly, the winter also claimed the life
of a young student pilot.
We get very spoiled here. How many times have you
thought how poor the visibility was because you couldn’t see Ilio Point from
Koko Head, and only picked it up at mid-channel? That’s still over
12 miles—visibility that pilots on the East Coast would love to have. Now
that Spring is here, it is also tempting to put the past nasties out of our
minds and make unwarranted assumptions about the weather. Fact is,
each island affects local weather in unique ways, and some of them pose real
As the winter storms out of the north abate, tropical storms out of the south
will come into play. Their nature tends to be quite different than
the winter fronts and shear lines, and will require retooling our thinking
a bit to deal with the tropical storms and depressions that may work their
way into our neighborhood.
The whales were plentiful and playful this winter, putting
on a wonderful show throughout our waters. I’ll miss them as their
time with us draws to an end over the next couple of weeks and they begin
their long trek back to Alaskan waters. Y’all come back, now, hear?
There are a couple of major aviation events for the young
folk of Hawai'i coming up over the next few weeks. On April 25th and
26th, from 9 am to 2 pm, Kalaeloa Field will host a major open house, titled
“Youth In Aviation”. Major sponsors are the Pacific Aerospace Training
Center, HCC/UND, Civil Air Patrol, and EAA, and will feature Young Eagle
flights and static displays.
On May 24th, the Kona and Hilo EAA Chapters are hosting
a Young Eagles event at Waimea airport at Randy Douglas’ hangar. Prizes,
fuel, food and fun will abound, and EAA members from all over the state are
urged to participate. Contact Eliot Merk at 961-4755; Wes Brown at
325-7477; Merle Martin at 323-2221 or 939-7069.
I was asked to pass this on to you all some time ago.
It just surfaced again so here it is (meaning, I forgot…):
Many students file IFR from Honolulu to Kahalui and then Hilo and return
to meet their IFR cross country requirement. The only problem is that
the preferred IFR routing from PHNL to PHOG (Mkk 4 Departure, V8 to
Blush, V6 to OGG ) takes you north of Kahalui and the only approach that
PHOG will give you is the ILS RWY 2 approach which requires a long
vector to the South of the airport. PHOG generally won’t give training aircraft
any approach from the North because our slow speed ties up the airport and
Center won’t let you file for anything except the preferred route.
PHOG suggests the following solution: File for the preferred IFR route but
when you check in with Honolulu Center, tell the controller that you want
the ILS approach to PHOG and ask for a reroute direct LNY and the CAMPS 2
Arrival to PHOG. This positions you perfectly for the ILS. Will it
Work? At least one PHOG Approach Controller says it will and if it does it
will save a lot of time and fuel. . It would be simpler to just
file the LNY Transition, CAMPS 2 arrival, but sometimes you’ve got to play
the system. Good luck.
Be careful out there.