From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner:
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 (http://www.aopa.org/) 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
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.
Be careful out there. Please.
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