Trying Times

From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner: 

Oct 2001

 Liberty and The Price of Freedom
 The horrific events of September 11th shook this great country to its very core and we found that core to be rock-solid.  As lives and structures were being shattered and our perceptions of the world forever altered, we coalesced into a unity and strength that is profoundly moving to behold. 

As aviators, we witnessed the grossest and most evil misapplication of our beloved avocation and we all died a bit and lost a lot. The vivid images of those beautiful Boeings merging into the WTC towers and erupting into fire and mayhem and destruction will remain burned into our minds.  How long will it be before the sleek, graceful lines of a 767 will again appear to us as just that, sleek and graceful and not somehow menacing? In a flash, that very precious liberty that we hold so dear and that distinguishes us from almost every other country in the world—the freedom to get in an aircraft and fly it wherever you wish—was snatched away.  In a flash, we found ourselves suddenly at war with a shadowy, immoral enemy who is adept at turning our very way of life into a weapon against us and whose goal appears to be the ultimate destruction of that way of life. It promises to be a long and difficult campaign, but one in which we will—must—ultimately prevail.

We have had a lot of people and organizations working to limit the damage to the freedom to fly and return us all to a rational semblance of normalcy.  Foremost among them is the Aircraft Owners and Operators Association (AOPA).  If you are not currently a member, JOIN!  AOPA has been representing and defending us all in a most outstanding manner and keeping its members informed by the hour. Much the same can be said for the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) as well.  If you ever wondered what you get out of these organizations beyond a nice magazine, wonder no more.  Even your own GACH was involved, sending letters and faxes and point papers to officials.  The Lieutenant Governor used our point paper on the daily losses battering our flight schools and other operators throughout the state in talks with Norman Minetta, the U.S. Dot.  Know that things will never be entirely the same again for civil aviation, including GA.  Also know that your interests are being looked after. 

Our local FAA has been exemplary during this crisis.  Starting at the top, with Tweet Coleman, who never lost sight of GA as she dealt with local, regional and national authorities. The ATC folks have also been working overtime on our behalf, as have the folks at the AFSS.  We’ve been well served so far.  Please remember that.

As we go to press, however, normal VFR operations within the Enhanced Class B (ECB) are still forbidden, except for flight training, including solo.  Illogically (astoundingly so), a student pilot can take off from within the ECB and fly solo, but his/her instructor, or any other certificated pilot, cannot. All aircraft are under positive control within Class B airspace, so why does it matter who is flying it?  Many business flyers are grounded, as are many who fly for other personal reasons.  Authorities cite concerns over the lack of control over who flies our aircraft and what they might carry when they fly. The concerns are legitimate, but not insurmountable, and workable solutions must be found.  Sooner or later, the lack of GA activity is going to sink many small businesses that depend on GA. If this isn’t changed soon, call/write/fax/email your Representatives and Senators.

How we help?  As I said, above, join or renew your membership. And--this is absolutely crucial-- fly akamai! Don’t do nothin’dumb.  This isn’t the time to circle over any military installation. Think before you take off and as you fly. Check NOTAMs before every flight. AFSS will have any current NOTAM, and the AOPA Online website ( will have the full text of the latest FDC NOTAMS. Be patient and considerate as changes filter down unevenly to all concerned.  If you just go back to business as usual you are going to find yourself with a fighter escort. It has already happened here. An aircraft departed Lana’i, squawking VFR (1200) and got a fighter escort to Honolulu.  Exciting, but not fun! Remember, we’ve never been under such close scrutiny. The last thing we need is for the National Command Authorities to decide that GA can’t be counted on to play by the rules. Stay informed. Fly Smart!  If in doubt, call the Honolulu Control Facility at 840-6201, 24/7, or the Flight Service Station.

New Procedures at HNL
The old Red Hill Three and West Loch Three departures from HNL are gone, as are the West and North arrivals.  We have a new Temporary Restricted Area over the Pearl Harbor area that runs from north of the approach to 8L, west to Fort Weaver Road, east to the Navy-Marine Golf Course and north past Kamehameha Highway.  The new procedures are:
TRIPLER DEPARTURE:  Departing RWY 4, maintain runway heading to Moanalua Road (Hwy 78), departing RWY 8L, turn left and fly parallel to RWYs 4 to Moanalua Road.  Then, turn left, fly over/north of Moanalua Rd northwest bound, then intercept the H-1 Freeway, then intercept and remain north of Kam Highway to the H-1/H-2 Interchange.  Maintain 1,500’ while in Class B for opposite direction inbounds.  Departure control frequency 119.1.  In short, depart, get beyond Moanalua Road and stay north of all the big roads until you reach the H-1/H-2 Interchange.
H3 DEPARTURE:  Departing 22/26.  After departure, turn right as soon as practicable until north of RWY 26R.  Then fly direct to the Inter-Island Terminal, then direct to the H-3/ Moanalua Freeway interchange, maintain 1,500’ while in the Class B for opposite direction inbounds.  This replaces the West Loch departure.
KAHE POWERPLANT ARRIVAL:  Proceed direct to Sugar Mill, north of the final approach course to RWY 8L, then direct to the H-1/H-2 Interchange.  Remain north of Kam Highway, north of the H-1 Freeway, and north of Moanalua Road to enter the downwind over the Tripler Army Hospital.  Maintain 2,000’ until advised.  (Outbounds opposite direction at 1,500’). DO NOT OVERFLY THE KAHE POWERPLANT.
INTERCHANGE ARRIVAL:  Proceed direct to H-1/H-2 Interchange, remain north of Kam Highway, north of the H-1 Freeway, north of Moanalua Road to enter the downwind over the Tripler Army Hospital.  Maintain 2,000’ until advised. It’s the exact reversal of the Tripler Departure.  Stay north of the big roads until reaching Tripler.
NOTE: On a Kona day (Rwys 22/26), expect a direct-to-base entry to one of the 22s from Tripler.

These new procedures put departures and arrivals into a constricted corridor up against rising terrain that is typically shrouded in cloud.  Spotting traffic early, which is important to speed the flow, has become more of a challenge because of the backdrop of terrain and cloud.  There is also less wiggle room for ATC to use in juggling the inbounds and outbounds, so expect to hold further away and then be asked to comply with a set of changing and possibly challenging instructions.  The new TRA includes Hickam AFB, and you’ll be required to enter the downwind to the 4’s east of the Interisland Terminal.  That makes it a tighter downwind and a steeper turn to final, especially for 4L. Moreover, with restricted use of 8L for landings, more big guys are landing on 4R, and ATC has lost some flexibility.  Twice, today, I witnessed a pilot on short final to 4L being asked to do a right 360.  The first pilot was at no more than 100’ AGL.  The second pilot (me, actually) was at about 150’ AGL.  It’s an interesting maneuver, dirty and slow, especially for a low time pilot.  More than ever before, really paying attention and flying with precision are an absolute must.

Enhanced security is now a way of life on or about any airport, especially HNL.  Expect to see an armed presence most everywhere and long lines. Now is not the time to have anything in your vehicle you wouldn’t want to have examined by someone with a badge and a gun.  Good excuse to clean out the trunk and/or back seat!  It’s going to take a lot longer to get to the airport for the foreseeable future.  An increased awareness of what’s going on around you is probably a good thing to have.

Busy Times...
Giving them all the benefit of the doubt, I’m willing to assume, at least for a few more days, that the Director of Transportation and Airports Division chief were too busy to answer or even acknowledge receiving our letter requesting an informational meeting to discuss GA issues across the state.  I guess it won’t be this month.  Stay tuned and we’ll let you know.  In the mean time, this might be a good time to review any issues you believe ought to be raised with the state.

Port Allen
The weather couldn’t have been better for our annual Poor Man’s Fly-In at Port Allen.  Attendance, on the other hand…where were you all?  Shall we just forget it next year? 

Trying Times
I suspect that flying in this country will never return to where it was before September 11, 2001.  Nor will many other things.  Ugly things are going to continue to happen for some time, with inevitable fall-out.  It is important to realize that once freedoms are lost, they may be difficult if not impossible to regain, and the process must be very measured and very, very well considered.  As aviators, we’ve always been somewhat outside the mainstream and we are going to have to be increasingly vigilant to insure our rights are not sacrificed for the sake of expediency.  Tell people they cannot drive their cars, and millions upon millions of screams will be heard.  Tell people they can’t fly, and a few hundred thousand, tops, get excited.  More than ever, if you want to continue to be able to fly, you will have to become engaged and active on your own behalf.  It’s really up to us.

Be careful out there. Please.


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