|Article from the May 2002 edition of the GACH newsletter
She’s just a few short years younger than I am, but shows few
signs of pushing past the half-century. She’s seen many of the places I
have, but so many more as well. When she was young, she trekked the
frigid mountains of Korea. Later, with more practiced eyes, she weaved
her way through the misty karst towers of Laos and the sweaty jungle valleys
of Vietnam. Now, in her fifties she goes to fly-ins and tugs gliders
aloft with the same, simple elegance and competence she has always shown
those that got to know her well.
I first met one of her sisters over thirty years ago when I needed
to get some pictures of some people I didn’t want to meet, and struck up
a short, though memorable acquaintance. Since then, I have always
wanted to get to know her better. Thanks to Willy Schauer,
I got my chance. N5074B was born in 1951 and last served with the
Hawai'i Historic Aviation Foundation. Previously, she towed gliders
commercially after serving with the Civil Air Patrol for a number of years.
She’s going to the Military Aviation Museum of the Pacific, and this was
a last chance for me to get to fly her.
We probably couldn’t have chosen a worse day—quartering tail winds—but
it didn’t really matter. What counted was just getting to fly this noble
bird, especially with Willy. In the air, 74B is sweet. Combine
a high-lift wing, 213 horses, superb visibility and generous control surfaces,
and she climbs and turns like a dream. Lower some flaps (you have
up to 60 degrees available) for slow flight, and you can remain within
a couple of wingspans of a spot on the surface. Of course, if you
want fast, you’ll need a different mount; that’s not the L-19’s strong
suit. The L-19/O-1 is an addictive airplane. The more you fly it,
the more you want to fly it. What does demand full attention, of
course is its ground handling. With tall, springy gear legs
and a castoring tail wheel, the Birddog will easily swap ends, especially
in a quartering tailwind, where rudder authority is slim. I was happy to
have Willy’s quick hands and feet available in the fluky winds to keep
us heading in the intended direction.
Born for the serious business of war, the Birddog is one of the
most fun airplanes I’ve ever flown. Wish I could take one home
Hit My Smoke!
The Forward Air Controllers Association held a reunion here in mid-April,
in which about 300 members participated. Many flew the L-19/O-1 (it
was designated the O-1 in the ‘60s). Others flew the OV-10, OA-37,
OA-10, and even the F-100 and F-4 as Fast FACs. Being a FAC wasn’t
a glamour job like flying a fighter. A Birddog and a Phantom II couldn’t
be more dissimilar. Yet, without the guys flying the former, the
latter would have been of little help in interdicting enemy forces and
helping out friendlies on the ground. With call signs like Nail and
Sundog and Tillie and Tum and Raven, FACs found and marked the targets
and guided in the attack aircraft, and then often hung around to assess
and pass on damage inflicted. When you fly low and slow—a must for finding
the bad guys—you’re a great target, easy to see and within range for a
relatively long time. You were always outgunned. Over 200 of the roughly
3,000 FACs in Southeast Asia died on the job. We still have FACs,
though the nature of the job has morphed along with the weapons now in
use. Ground FACs were the unsung heroes of the Afghanistan campaign,
getting and staying close enough to enemy forces to identify them and bring
weapons to bear.
Willy Schauer and Dave Grey did a memorial fly-by in an O-1 (74B) and
a Skymaster (civil version of the O-2), respectively, over the National
Cemetery at Punchbowl and brought back floods of memories to those watching.
There are a lot of former FACs among us, many flying civil aircraft.
Talk to some of them. Find out more about a much-overlooked chapter
in our air history. And, if you want a really good read, try A
Certain Brotherhood by Col. Jimmie H. Butler, USAF (Ret).
It’s a novel, but guys that lived it like it.
General Aviation Forum
Right up front, I want to commend the DoT Airports Division for hosting
the General Aviation Forums. It is also appropriate to remind everyone
that the meetings happened because of GACH’s urging. That seems to
have been overlooked on the state side. Also to be commended is Morris
Tamanaha, the General Aviation Officer in DoTA. He has taken his
job seriously and is one of the most effective GA Officers in recent memory.
Probably more functionaries than pilots made it to the April 11th GA Forum,
although there were quite a few of you there. This meeting was billed
as a direct follow-up to the January 10th meeting, at which issues were
raised and noted.
Al Agor, the Federal Security Manager here (now with the new Transportation
Security Agency) kicked things off with a briefing on the security situation
to put current measures in some context. The bottom line for us is that
security checkpoints are here to stay. The issue of standardizing
ID requirements at all airfields was again raised. Nationally, an
airman’s certificate along with a government-issued photo ID (i.e. driver’s
license) is deemed sufficient for GA operations. The security number to
call at OGG has apparently finally been posted in the GA parking area,
so you can get out. A work order to install a PAX line to security
has been initiated.
The state reported that airfield improvements underway at Kalaeloa (JRF)
include runway paving and various airfield markings. A means to obtain
approvals for construction of hangars and other projects has been developed
with the City and County (don’t get me started…I still can’t figure out
why we pay C&C property taxes on state land that we rent); however,
the state still has no plans to build T-hangars in the near or even mid-term.
An ILS is still in the works; a survey was done in February but a target
date for installation was not available.
Airfield improvements at Kona include preparation for the new GA area
and fuel site. I guess the good news is the new GA area is still
on the airport. At Lihue, FBO lots will enter bidding in June. Now,
if they’d only open the bathrooms in the CAT so that we could use them….
We were also informed that it is OK to wash aircraft on the grass at Dillingham
until appropriate wash facilities are built. DoTA is planning to
address wash facilities at all airports. Rust never sleeps.
The Property Management representative noted that rates are set by doing
an appraisal by two independent appraisers every two years. The fact
that the appraisal compares hangars to area warehouses and is therefore
invalid was raised, yet again. We were invited to come up with an
appropriate set of comparisons. We shall. Déjà
vu, all over again.
At HNL, the state GA Officer will look into changing the current $5Million
insurance requirement for a golf-cart or similar vehicle—five times more
than is required for an aircraft.
Discussions with many of you who both went and didn’t attend revealed
generally low expectations for the meeting, and thus most were not overly
disappointed. Action has been taken or promised on the “easy” issues.
The larger issues, of course, remain as intractable as ever.
Those of you wishing to do something for GA in the political arena,
please contact me. Elections are coming up.
It’s a Gas
Air Service Hawaii has set up a self-serve fuel station for avgas at
Kahului (OGG) on the east ramp, providing 24-hour service. More importantly,
there is now an alternative to Century’s obscenely high gas. Air
Service also added a second avgas truck to the line at HNL, which should
cut delays significantly.
June heralds two major fly-in events for Hawai’i aviators: The
annual GACH Hana Fly-In, on June 8th, and the EAA-sponsored Waimea State
Wide Fly-In on June 29th. The GACH Hana Fly-In will again feature
an accuracy landing event, complete with trophies and runs from 10:00 am
‘til 2:00 pm. The Waimea Fly-In starts at 9:00 am with aviation workshops,
followed by Young Eagles flights at 10:00, lunch at noon, and a spot landing
contest at 2:00 pm.
Y’all come, y’hear?
Mimi Tompkins’ famous CFI Refresher Clinic will happen on June 22nd
and 23rd at the Pacific Aerospace Training Center (HCC/UND building), 140
Iako Place (off Lagoon Drive) on the south ramp at HNL. Mimi’s Clinic
is an excellent way to renew the CFI ticket and get you recurrent in a
wide range of subjects from a wide range of instructors. For information
or to sign up for this 16-hour program, contact Mimi at (808) 781-6464.
Chacy Eveland has been a fixture of the General Aviation community
here in Hawai'i for well over three decades, operating the state’s oldest
flight school, teaching folks to fly and renting aircraft. He is finally
hanging up his slippahs and will head off to the Mainland to retire in
Connecticut in June. In addition to the Harleys, he takes with him an immense
store of knowledge and experience that will be surely missed. It’s
impossible to sum up the contributions he has made to aviation here over
the years in the short space available. He is passing the baton to
his hard-working nephew Clayton, who will continue to run Eveland Aero.
Come wish him a smooth ride east on Sunday, June 9th at the hangar—99 Mokuea
Place, at Honolulu Airport. Call Clay at 833-2113 or me at 836-1031.
May marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Charles Augustus Lindbergh’s
solo flight across the Atlantic in a Ryan monoplane. His grandson,
Eric, is recreating the flight symbolically in a Columbia 300 in homage
of that courageous and world-changing deed. Good on ya’, Eric.
Be careful out there.
Congratulations to the following Kaimana
Jason Ott CFI Spins
David Kress CFI Spins
John Isenberger CFI Spins
Stephen Soares CFI Spins
Don Mobley CFI Spins
Francisco Agtarap CFI Spins
Thomas Roche CFI Spins
Michael Oshiro CFI Spins
Kathleen Veatch CFI Spins