From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner: 

  • June,2000

  • Beyond the sky…

     Daniel was a  French fighter pilot and also earned his silver wings with the U.S. Air Force.  He was the French Unlimited Aerobatic Champion in 1972.   He had over 15,000 hours, 8,000 of which were aerobatic and was the most experienced formation pilot in the world.  Montaine was an aeronautical engineer.  She had over 8,000 hours, over 3,000 doing aerobatics and was the single most brilliant instructor I ever had the good fortune to fly with. Together, they came to the United States in the early ‘70s to market and demonstrate the CAP series aircraft for Mudry Aviation, and started flying together as a team. Together, they mesmerized, enthralled, and inspired hundreds of thousands of people with their graceful, majestic precision flying.  Together, they taught others the techniques and art of aerobatics. Together, they touched the hearts and minds of countless people. Together, they were the French Connection.  Together, on Saturday, May 27, they died while preparing for what would have been their 28th airshow season.  Together, and individually, they will live on in many of our hearts and minds and lives. Montaine and Daniel, adieu and aloha. 

    Formation Flight

    All the colors of the horizon melt into the earth,
    The mountains illuminated and guard with exhalation,
    The sky seems endless, above, beyond, and below,
    The earth dances as we soar towards it,
    Immortal men, that's who we are,
    We have the wings of a gull, the hopes of a 
    poor man and the goals of a God,
    We form wing to wing, becoming one mind,
    anticipating each other's moves, 
    A feeling of so much closeness, a bond as strong
    as the universe,
    I'm actually floating, the person behind me
    is just as high, I'm so happy,
    No other time could be so perfect,
    If this moment lives forever, I will live forever....

    your daughter, Michelle


    Montaine would recite this poem, written several years ago by a 19 year old student of hers, to the spectators during every French Connection air show. 

    Another Passing…
     Bill Klopp, who served us all as the state’s General Aviation Officer for some 20 years until his retirement in 1990, recently went West after a long illness. Aviation was a major part of his life, and he worked diligently to support the flying community that he cared for so much.   Bill soloed in 1949, and flew 40 missions in Korea in a C-54 (military version of the Douglas DC-4).  He settled in Hawai'i after turning down an assignment to Maine, and stayed involved in the flying business, joining the State DoT as the GA Officer.  With a strong sense of right and wrong, as well as a sense of humor, Bill used his exquisite command of the English language to great effect.  A man of compassion and joy, he will be missed by all who knew him.  Our deepest sympathies go to his wife of 49 years, Dorothy, and son, Jim.  Blue skies, Bill.

     As you read this, the insurance industry is choking the life out of flying in Hawai’i.  The number of underwriters willing to insure aircraft used for training and rental has decreased to the point where available coverage is so expensive that operators are closing their doors and going out of business.  Rather than market forces shaping the aviation industry, it is the arbitrary dictums of the insurance industry.  Hawai'i is especially vulnerable because of our status as a “deep pocket” state—one of very few left in the country.   Essentially, what that means is that the party most able to pay, will, regardless of degree of fault. That is usually the insurance company, and, increasingly, they are unwilling to face the risk in a fairly small market to begin with.  All talk of insurance reform in this state is vapid and meaningless until this fundamental issue is addressed. Where are you going to go for flight training so you can get that airline job, support your business or personal travel needs, or just plain enjoy the sky?  If you don’t own, how will you stay current if you can’t rent?  What about the numerous lives that depend on aviation in one way or another here?  And so we all lose.  And I mean all.

    Wings Weekend
    Where were you all?  About 75 or so of us attended some or all of the recent Aviation Safety Program Wings Weekend, but it should have been in the hundreds.  Those who missed it missed sharing in some of the most important and exciting times in aviation history—the golden age of test flying at the dawn of the jet age.  Bill Dana flew the X-15 for NASA and earned his astronaut wings by taking the rocket plane to over 300,000’ and over Mach 6.  In those days, a test pilot wasn’t confirming what the computer said the aircraft would do, as is often the case today; rather, they strapped themselves into some aeronautical device or other and discovered just what it would or would not do at the sharp edges of  the unknown.  Living history.  George Petterson, one of the NTSB’s real experts, shared some invaluable insight into several accidents.  Kevin Clover, Regional Safety Program Manager, and Kathleen O’Brien, Long Beach SPM, put their considerable educational skills to work for us on Human Factors and other key topics.  And there were other speakers and more good stuff.   Scott and Jim bring them out here, and you all don’t take advantage of it.   Pity.

    LAHSO or not
    A while ago, the ATC side of the FAA, along with industry, came up with an idea to increase the capacity of the nation’s airports: provide for simultaneous operations to intersecting runways by having one or more parties agree to hold short of the intersecting runway.  Thus, an airport with runways that cross could still have simultaneous approaches to land or departures or a mixture.  To do this safely, there were established limitations to acceptable runway lengths (by aircraft model), surface conditions, wind strength and direction that had to be met before a land-and-hold-short clearance could be issued, and the pilot-in-command always had the authority to decline.  Following a couple of incidents on the mainland where separation was almost lost during a go-around by one aircraft while another was operating to an intersecting runway, the pilot’s unions, especially ALPA, decided they didn’t want to do that anymore. After protracted negotiations with the FAA, the number of airports where LAHSO was allowed was reduced by 90%, and a host of new procedures were implemented, including canned go-around procedures for each runway.   The tower controller, thus, lost the authority to prescribe a go-around procedure for each specific situation.  The airlines also decided they wouldn’t play with non-air carriers.  GA and military were no longer authorized to be issued a LAHSO instruction if an airliner was involved with the intersecting runway.  Thus, the aircraft most able to hold short weren’t asked to.  A recent revision to the LAHSO procedures was to be implemented on May 27, that would have allowed air carrier and non-air carrier operations to again be mixed, as well as foreign operators.  However, ALPA and other pilot unions have objected and the revised order has not been implemented.  Seems the “professional” pilots can’t bring themselves to trust other pilots to follow land and hold short procedures.  So, what does it all mean to the rest of us?   Basically this.  Anticipate delays getting into and out of Honolulu International.  Be ready for a go-around.   At any time.  Do not relax, concentrating on one more good landing—be ready to go around.  Also, revisit your techniques for a short approach.  Sometimes the local controller will need you to get down quickly.  Sometimes the best-conceived plan to make it all fit together won’t, and you must be ready to react promptly and accurately as the controller wrestles with rapidly-changing circumstances.  Listen up; don’t make the controller repeat an instruction.  If you don’t feel up to it, get with a good instructor and sharpen up those skills. 

    Wheeler Transition
     Ray Laughinghouse, of the Wheeler Army Air Field control tower, is asking pilots transitioning to the north and south to make that transition over the ends of the runway (northbound, over the east end at 2,000’ MSL and southbound over the west end at 2,500’, when able) to avoid conflicting with departures out of Wheeler.  Moreover, he asks that southbound transitions head direct to the H-1/H-2 Interchange after passing Wheeler to avoid flying through the oft-crowded South Practice Area.

     We Have Not Forgotten
     Fifty years ago, this month, North Korean forces, spearheaded by tanks and artillery, streamed south of the 38th Parallel, beginning the Korean War that raged for four years.  June 25th marks the official kickoff of the Korean War Commemoration nationwide, and it will last into 2003.  No longer “the Forgotten War”, it marked a huge transition in warfare, forever changing the face of combat (though not the faces), especially in the air. The war heralded the widespread use of the turbojet in combat along with the continued use of such WWII aircraft as the P-51 (renamed the F-51), F-4U Corsair, A-26, AT-6, B-29. Tacticians learned the hard way (as they always do) that the tactics of the last war were often no longer valid, and developed new ones.  Political and military leaders learned the pitfalls of fighting a far-away conflict without popular support at home, a lesson that unfortunately didn’t take.  And the guy in the foxhole and cockpit did heroic things as a matter of course.  Freedom is not free and it is high time the country remembers.

     Summer Break
     Your GACH editorial staff will be taking July and August off.  Our next issue will be September.  Please, be careful out there.

    Don't forget the Hana Fly-In and Aviation Event! Saturday June 12, 1000 - 1400, and admission is FREE!