From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner
Article from the May 2001 edition of the GACH newsletter 

 We have a great opportunity to hear, interact with and learn from some of the best in our business at the upcoming Wings/AOPA Weekend (June 9 and 10—see flyer elsewhere in this issue).  AOPA is well known for the dynamism of its presentations throughout the country and we are fortunate indeed to have them at our sessions.  Most pursuits and disciplines provide for continuing education and ours is no exception.  Staying current and getting better at aviating involves more than just flying every so often.  It really requires us to get our heads into the game in ways we may not do on a regular basis, revisit things we’ve put aside, and look in new or unfamiliar directions. 

In aviation, we learn by doing, but also by accident.  When one occurs, as happens with all too much frequency, it is useful to delve into the causes and see if there’s anything there that might keep us safer.  And, when doing that, conjecture won’t do.  You really need the expertise of the experts.  And that’s precisely what you have available at the seminars.  Often, the actual cause may be quite different from the apparent one, and preliminary accident reports, in which the cause is listed as “failure to obtain/maintain adequate clearance from…” or “failure to obtain/maintain sufficient airspeed” really do little to educate us.  George Pettersen of the NTSB brings true insight derived from thorough investigations and his presentations are always fresh and very informative.

And there’s more—much more.  Timely piloting and maintenance topics abound and time you spend at the event will be well worth it.

Beautiful Wings

Have you ever had the opportunity to study a wing at work over an extended period of time?  A wing is a thing of function, and sometimes of real beauty.  Who among you isn’t struck by the grace of a Spitfire’s elliptical wing?  It’s not just beautiful—it’s efficient and exhibits marvelous flying characteristics.  I imagine that’s why that shape was chosen for the wing on my CAP-10. A wing has to be many things.  It must produce the right combination of lift and drag to suit the aircraft’s mission; provide adequate support and geometry for various flight controls; and it may also need to be strong enough to support engines, landing gear, fuel tanks and even ordnance.  If the range of functions it must perform is broad enough, it may even need to change its shape, and thus, characteristics in order to meet seemingly incompatible requirements of take-off, climb, cruise and landing phases of flight.

The wing of the Boeing 767 is truly a thing of beauty--an absolute marvel, functionally and esthetically.  I just came back from a trip to the mainland on a very new Boeing 767-400 and had several hours to while away.  I was seated by the window right over the wing (in what was one of the most miserable excuses for a passenger seat I’ve ever experienced—but, I digress).  Having already seen the movie on the way out, I opted to watch the wing do its thing.  And this wing is high tech.  Unlike the wings of most airliners I’ve seen, this one is flawlessly smooth with no visible rivets at all on the upper surface, and all panels, flight controls, slats, and spoilers fit almost seamlessly.  The smoothness is broken only by seven relatively small vortex generators just aft of the leading edge slats.  The wing is swept and tapers to a slender tip, arcing gracefully upward as it develops lift.  It’s a large wing for a large airplane, but it evokes a glider’s wing as you look out along its considerable span.  At the tip is a semi-winglet to modify the flow of the tip vortex and thus, reduce induced drag. 
As this wing develops the excess lift needed for a climb, it puts on quite a show for the casual observer if there’s moisture in the air.  It near-instantaneously develops a misty cloud about a quarter span aft of the leading edge that will dissipate just as quickly.   If the sun angle is just right, it’s further enhanced with a rainbow.  It’s a quick show, but a memorable one. 

Is there a down side to this beautiful wing? Only if you are following too closely.  The 757/767 series aircraft have developed a well-deserved reputation for putting out a powerful set of vortices—much more so than the weight of the aircraft would suggest.  As the airlines try to cut operating expenses, many older “heavies” are going to be replaced by 757/767’s.  Delta, TWA and soon, Hawaiian will all be shedding their DC-10’s and L-1011’s for the big twins.   Watch out!

Recent research shows that the vortices do not always descend and move away from the aircraft’s flight path.  Sometimes they maintain their altitude, and they are even known to “bounce” off the runway back into the air.  The ugly fact is, they are actually a bit less predictable than previously believed, and more caution is clearly advisable.  When operating anywhere near one of these beautiful birds, be ready for the bite and have a plan in hand.  Some upset training wouldn’t hurt, either.

Aviator’s Aviator
Hang around an airport and you are bound to meet some amazing people.  Tim Ellison is one of those.  He, and his copilot Mark, had just landed his Bonanza after a seven-hour flight from Christmas Island, on his way to the mainland, completing an around-the-world journey.  Previously, he had competed in the London-Sydney air race.  All pretty amazing, even if Tim wasn’t paraplegic as a result of an aircraft accident.  Seems he was flying an RAF Harrier in a hover at about 120’ AGL when the engine had a catastrophic failure.  Ejection would have been surely fatal, so he rode it in.  Tim refused to give up on flight, and became the first paraplegic to earn his U.S. ATP certificate.  And, beyond that, he was instrumental in convincing the British Civil Aviation Authority to allow a paraplegic to fly for compensation or hire.  Thanks for the intro, Willie.

South Practice Area

The South Practice Area on O’ahu is shrinking due to encroaching development and is becoming more dangerous to aviators.  This was the topic of the last Aviation Safety meeting at the FSDO.  The participants pooled their wisdom and experience and came up with the following recommendations: 

a. Show a landing light when in the practice area if possible.
b. Announce your intentions as you check in with Wheeler; i.e. air work west of the duster strip, ground reference maneuvers along Kunia Road—and a working altitude.
c. Be where you say you are.  If you call “at the Interchange”, that’s where you should be.
d. Enter the practice area north of the H1/H2 at 1,500’ MSL and depart the practice area at 2,500’.
e. Strongly consider an alternate area to maneuver if there are already aircraft in the South Practice Area. Most present considered the area at capacity with two aircraft maneuvering.  Consider going to the north—either over land or off shore or to east O’ahu or even off the Waianae coast.
These are interim recommendations to increase safety until any more permanent procedures are implemented.   In addition, please remember that transitions to the North Shore from HNL should be at 2,000’ MSL, east of Wheeler, weather permitting, and southbound transitions from the North Shore to HNL at 2,500’, just west of Wheeler.  Instructors should insure students and renter pilots are familiar with local checkpoints.  Specifically, the pineapple stand (labeled on the Class B chart as such) is known as “Dole” and the intersection of Wilikina Drive and Dole Plantation Road northwest of Wheeler is known as “Pineapple Intersection”.  Harbor View is the intersection of H1 and Kunia Road.  We really don’t need another mid-air and it is vital to fly akamai with your head up.

Hana Happening
Hana is again upon us.  This is the premier Hawai’i fly-in, and we really hope to see all of you.  I know that isn’t realistic, but, hey, it’s worth a shot.  We intend to have another accuracy landing event, with trophies.  Y’all come, hear?

Pearl Harbor, The Movie
By the time you get this, Disney’s mega picture, Pearl Harbor, will have premiered.  In keeping with the scale of the movie, the premier involves the carrier USS John Stennis, 2000 invited guests, and aerial demonstrations by the Seals, US Army, US Coast Guard, Hawai’i Air Guard, and six general aviation “vintage” aircraft in a fly-by.  We have the HHAF L-19, two Stearmans, a Yak-52 (not vintage, but still cool), a Beech 18 and a C-47 making their way up Pearl Harbor’s East Loch for a low-level pass along side the Arizona and Stennis.  This latter effort is under the auspices of the Military Aviation Museum of the Pacific and, if all goes as planned, several Hawai’i aviators will be showcased to a national audience. Disney, in marketing the film, is being sensitive and you shouldn’t be seeing Pearl Harbor toys and drinks at your nearest fast food outlet.  Hollywood or not, there should be some great flying scenes in this flick, if nothing else.  Cool!

Oshkosh Bound?
Oshkosh, or AirVenture, as it is known of late, is just around the corner.  Bud and Gladys are planning to be there, as is their tradition.  If you are going, there’s a sign-in book at the Women’s Activity Booth for Hawai’i-based pilots so we can all link up.  We also tend to gather at air show time near where the air show aircraft park.  See you there.

Be careful out there.