From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner:

April 1999

It's Spring, the wind is raging, the leg is healing, and things are sort of getting back to normal, whatever that is. It really feels good to be flying again.

Ford Island The State DoT held another informational meeting on Kalaeloa (Barbers Point) and Ford Island. As we mentioned previously, Ford Island will close to civil air operations on June 30, 1999. Kalaeloa will open to civil air operations July 1, 1999. Initially, we were told the State didn't want to spend the money to maintain Ford once Kalaeloa was open, and now it seems the Navy wants Ford back. Regardless, an incredibly historic airfield is going to be allowed to fade away. I feel a tremendous sense of privilege every time my wheels touch that weathered tarmac and a connection to all aviators past who have landed there. To most, Ford Island evokes Battleship Row and the heroism and carnage that occurred there that December morning. But to those of us who fly, it is that and so much more. Ford was an active airfield long before World War II erupted; Amelia Earhart even crashed there once. While the Cessnas and Pipers, and even my CAP-10, are a far cry from the PBYs and SBDs that trundled across its length, they've maintained the aviation tradition that has been part of the fabric of Ford Island for the better part of this century. Certainly we cannot save everything from days gone by, but we should think long and hard before messing with the aina of a place of such significance.

Kalaeloa (Barbers Point) The transition to Kalaeloa is planned for two phases. Phase I--the current one--will have some of the people who have asked to move do so. There are limited GA facilities--some tie-downs and limited hangar space in Hangar 110. The Property Management people are hoping to come up with rates in about three weeks. An appraisal apparently has to be completed, although if it is similar to the ones done for Honolulu and Kahalui in the past, it will be meaningless in the truest sense of the word. F'rinstance, if you're figuring how much to charge to park an airplane out on the ramp on a former Naval Air Station, what do you compare it to in your appraisal? At HNL, the appraisal for the T-hangars looked at warehouse rates in the vicinity, as if warehouses and hangars were even vaguely similar. If you want in the hangar, send in your request. Should be interesting. Phase II will include six FBO lease lots and an unknown number/type of T-hangar. Phase II begins after Phase I, and I believe Phase III will follow Phase II. In the meantime, there will be an Air Traffic Control Tower in operation from 0600 - 2200 hrs, local time, seven days a week. It will be staffed by Air Guard controllers. The first floor of the tower building currently houses base operations--an ideal flight planning space for GA. The State won't staff it, however, so if we want to use it, we'll have to run it ourselves. Shouldn't be impossible, once a number of folks move out there. The airport will be open 24 hours a day, with pilot-controlled lighting after the tower shuts down, and crash/fire rescue will also be available 24 hours a day. Two non-precision instrument approaches will be published on July 15--an NDB (using EWABE) and a VOR based on HNL. If you need a precision approach, the PAR/ASR will be in operation 8 hours a day, five days a week. Still to be decided are the pattern altitude, precise patterns, and VFR arrival/departure procedures. We will be sharing the airspace with Guard and Coast Guard helicopters, so some careful planning is in order. IFR departures should be published along with the IAPs. An ASOS is already in place and should be commissioned soon. Of course, like all the other ASOS in the state, it will lack the voice capability that would make it even vaguely useful (to be fair, you will be able to call the ASOS on the phone--hard to do legally while flying). ASOS may play on ATIS--for which you'll need 25Hz spacing on your radio. You folks with the older 360 channel sets will be SOL (somewhat out of luck). Oh, and there is no fuel yet available at Kalaeloa.

CART Race The CART race scheduled for 11 - 13 November at Kalaeloa won't shut down the airport entirely. Runway 4R will remain open, and we are being invited to fly in and watch the race. The race course, as currently configured, is only going work as long as there aren't too many tenant aircraft there due to the immense displacement required. This, too, should be interesting.

It Really Is Round! Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones finally got the brass ring. They made it around the globe in 19 days, 1 hour and 49 minutes in their balloon, the Breitling Orbiter 3, seizing the last major aeronautical milestone and some well-earned money and acclaim. It was gratifying to see Piccard carry on the family tradition of exploration and adventure. His grandfather, Auguste, was the first to enter the stratosphere in a balloon, and his father, Jaques, was the first to go to the Earth's deepest spot in the Mariana Trench. Wonder what his progeny can aspire to? Jones, a former RAF pilot (and in proper English fashion), called his wife after landing and then had a cup of tea. Well done!

Going Up? Speaking of records, Wayne Handley recently smashed the time-to-climb in a propeller-driven aircraft, reaching 3,000 meters (that's about 9,700 feet) in one minute, nine seconds. That comes out to about 8,400 feet/minute! That adds to his other record of 67 turns in an inverted, flat spin. Wayne's new aircraft, the Turbo Raven, sports a Pratt & Whitney 750 HP PT-6A 25C turboprop up front, weighs 1,600 pounds empty, is stressed to +/- 15 Gz, has a max rate of climb of 7,500 FPM, a cruise climb of 4,500 FPM (at 215 KIAS!), and a top speed of about 260 KIAS. Neat numbers, eh? Then imagine this one: it also has a sustainable vertical speed of 60 KIAS and 4,000 FPM, straight up! His new show routine includes a 3-point take-off, followed immediately by a vertical climb. He can actually climb vertically, stop, then resume the climb. Wayne Handley, incidentally, is the guy that taught Sean D. Tucker many of his gyroscopic maneuvers. Can't wait to see him at Oshkosh this year. Wouldn't you love to be able to call Honolulu Clearance Delivery and request the Hang Ten Departure? (used by HANG F- 15s--a near-vertical climb out of the Class B.) Cool.

Going Up, Even Higher Ed Lu, GACH member extraordinaire and NASA Astronaut, is going back into space on or about October 14, 1999 on board the Atlantis for STS-101. This mission should last about ten days and will involve the International Space Station. Way cool.

GHAR 2000 We've already got 48 race numbers accounted for the next Great Hawaiian Air Race. GHAR 2000 will be limited to 60 race teams, so get your spot reserved soon! By popular demand, we'll spend two days in Hana and give everyone more time to do all those things that Hana is so good for. We are considering adding more of the Big Island to the race, possibly as an option, as well as an Aloha 300 race immediately following the GHAR. We also hope to expand the number of Hawai'i-based entries and can use organizational help. Remember, too, it all goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Hawai'i. If you are interested in lending a hand, give me a call or email. Kalaupapa '99 Our annual Kalaupapa Fly-In is April 17, from 1000 - 1400 hrs. Bring your own food/drink.

Be careful out there.