From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner: 

  • Summertime - June,2001

  •  Hana Fly-In
    In all the years I’ve been plying the local skies, I’ve seldom seen as nice a day as we had for the Hana Fly-In this year.  Unfortunately, only eight aircraft made it—four from the Big Island and four from O’ahu.  Eliot Merk brought his fiancée in his gorgeous Mooney.  Others representing the Big Island were Steve Bobko in his new New Piper Archer; Larry Volz in a Cardinal, and John Bernath in a 172. 
    The O’ahu contingent featured Bob Justman in his RV-4, Rob Moore et al in the Cherokee Six, Addie and Jim in a 152, and the rest of us in Chris Ferrara’s Saratoga.  After chowing down, teams fired up for the accuracy landing event.  Bob Justman took home the First Place trophy with a distance of 27 feet.  Second went to Jonathan Bernath, with a 32-foot score, and third went to Steve Bobko.  As ever, Hana Airport was immaculate, and Darryl Ribao and Mel deserve a big mahalo for their good work and their help. 

    Remember the Poor Man’s Fly-in at Port Allen in September! 

    Seeing the Light
     Keith Ferris got his start in aviation on Luke Field (Ford Island), in 1929, where his dad was a pilot. Unable to follow precisely in his father’s footsteps, he evolved into the world’s foremost aviation artist.  In the process, he’s accumulated some 300 hours in virtually every jet the Air Force has flown since the F-100 (including the B-1!).  I was privileged to meet him, hear him and see some of his art first hand at a recent show at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel hosted by General William J. Begert, Commander, Pacific Air Forces. 
     As he puts it, however, Keith doesn’t so much paint airplanes as he does capture light—the light that envelops, highlights, and reflects off airplanes.  His subjects are depicted correctly to the most minute detail, of course, but it’s the light that really sets them apart.  If you’ve ever been to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, you’ve seen his spectacular 75-foot-wide mural of B-17’s in the WWII exhibit room.  Keith designs his pictures to be viewed from a specific distance, and keys the perspective to that point with great precision.  The 3-D effect when the perspective is just right is astounding.
     The Air Force Art Program began over fifty years ago, as a means to preserve the ongoing history of the Air Force in a personal and striking way.  Artists travel the world over, often flying missions, to gain the knowledge and perspective they need to render their paintings, which are donated to the collection. Keith Ferris has been plying his trade for over 55 years, and has some 53 paintings in the Air Force Art Collection. 

    Kamuela EAA Fly-In
     EAA Chapters 1182 (Hilo) and 1191 (Kona) are hosting a fly-in at Kamuela on June 29th, from 9 o’clock to 2:30 in the afternoon. Come and fly Young Eagles, enter a spot landing contest, and partake of a free lunch.  Contact Eliot Merk at 808 961-4755, or toll-free 888-GET-MERK.

    Here It Comes Again!
     If you thought we were out of the woods regarding privatized ATC, well, think again.  The Administration recently issued a statement to the effect that ATC is not an inherently governmental function, at least opening the door for another round of attempts to privatize our Air Traffic Control system.  The fact is, it is a governmental function and one that absolutely must not be guided by the need or desire to generate profit.  Virtually the only place in the world where privatized ATC services is more or less working is Canada (debatable), and you could fit the entirety of Canadian air traffic into one small corner of the U.S.  Clinton and Gore tried, unsuccessfully, to privatize our ATC, and Senator McCain has long been a champion of the cause—no doubt influencing the current Administration. 

     ATC is a public service that benefits the whole country.  Originally conceived to benefit the airlines, we are all forced to use its services if we expect to get any utility out of our aircraft.  ATC, simply, was designed to keep IFR aircraft from swapping paint.
     What happens if you have to pay for ATC services?  A lot of things, few of which are good.  First, of course, the price of flying goes up for everyone.  Of course, those who can afford it will get more service.  Airlines can pass the costs on to the public.  The personal aviator cannot.  Guess whom the system will favor?  We’re not talking about the efficiency of a capitalist system where there is competition and the best, most cost-effective, well-designed product wins.  ATC would be a monopoly—a highly politicized monopoly, because the stakes are so high.   How many of those do you know that work for the public good?

      If the system is affordable to only the wealthy and powerful, the rest are squeezed out, and GA withers away.  Take a look at virtually anywhere in Europe to see what happens to GA when fees are imposed under whatever guise.  It isn’t pretty.

    Worse, however, is the likelihood of a directly attributable body count.  People are going to avoid keying the mike if they are going to get billed for it, and sometimes they’ll die as a result (and possibly take someone else with them).  Some people are already reluctant to declare an emergency out of embarrassment or the possibility of FAA enforcement action.  Will having to pay for it help?  Not just in emergencies, either.  I sometimes will cross the Kai’wi Channel a dozen times in a day.  On at least some of those crossings, Center or Approach has called traffic that would have posed a collision threat.    I use flight following.  Would I do that if I had to pay each time I keyed the mike?  Nope. (Do you get a refund if ATC misses a potential threat?) 

    Ours is widely recognized as the best system in the world, for all its flaws. Rather than break the whole thing, weak spots need to be identified and fixed and controllers need to be given the support they need in terms of work environment, conditions and equipment to continue to provide excellent service.  Bringing some order and continuity to the budgetary and acquisition processes would be a big step in the right direction.  Modeling it on failed examples is not a good strategy.

    Stay involved and support those who are trying to help, such as AOPA and EAA.  For an excellent article on the subject, log on to AVWEB ( and read Rick Durden’s The Pilot’s Lounge column.

    State GA Forum
    The next in the series of meetings between us and the State DoT will be July 18th, 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the Airport Conference Center, 7th Floor, Interisland Terminal, HNL.  We’ll be working on the agenda, so if you have any inputs, get them to me soonest.  It would be very useful to have folks from all islands attend!

    Aviation Issues and Politicians
    With the election for Governor approaching, GACH hopes to approach the leading contenders for their views on a number of aviation-related issues, and we need your help.  Contact me by phone or fax: (808) 836-1031; email:; or in person: 99 Mokuea Place on the south ramp.

    The Sounds of Silence
    The VFR En Route Frequencies test has been in progress for some time now, and things are still rocky and confused out there.  On the positive side, there is less frequency congestion.  On the negative side, some people have just stopped talking entirely.  More disturbing, though, is the continuing elevated level of risk surrounding our uncontrolled airports, especially Kalaupapa and Hana.   People are flying near, over, and around the airports while on the en route frequency.  Worse, they are taking off and landing on the en route frequency instead of 122.9.  Often.  Every day. 

    The fix?  First of all, use 122.9 when near an uncontrolled airport! Perhaps the test should be redesigned to return all the shorelines to 122.9 and have the discrete frequencies for Haleakala, Kilauea, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.  This would still provide some frequency relief for the more heavily-flown tour areas and lessen the chance of a mid-air near an airport.  One thing is clear.  If we do not do something soon, someone will die.

    It’s Not Just an Airplane, Is It?
    “He passed his fingers along a steel rib of the plane and felt the life that flowed in it; the metal did not vibrate, yet it was alive.  The engine’s five-hundred horsepower bred in its texture a very gentle current.  Once again, the pilot in full flight experienced neither giddiness nor any thrill; only the mystery of metal turned to living flesh.”
    --Night Flight, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

    Summer Break
     The GACH Board takes the summer off, so your next Airscoop will be in September.  See you at Oshkosh.  At any rate, we hope you all have a good and safe summer, full of flying.

     Be careful out there.

    Hank’s Ratings:

    Gavan Muramoto    CFI Spins
    Gary Merrill    CFI Spins
    Glen Tanaka    CFI Spins
    Dave Ryon   Tailwheel Endorsement
    Peter Bruckner  Tailwheel Endorsement
    Benito Chavarria  Phase One Aerobatics

    UND PA28-161 For Sale
    UND Aerospace Foundation is upgrading its Honolulu Community College aircraft fleet and will be offering one or more of its Piper Cadets for sale. The airplane selected for local sale will have a mid-time engine and approximately 10,000 hours on the airframe. Avionics include a King KX 155 nav/comm, KMA 24 audio control system with intercom, and KT 76A Transponder. If you are interested and want more information please leave your name and telephone information for Ed Helmick at the HCC/Und Flight Training Center telephone number 837-8099.