From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner: 

November 2000

RV-8!

With sprinkled water and prayers in Hawaiian and English, Rev. Kaina blessed Scott Allen and Mike Robertson’s newly-completed Van’s RV-8.  Flanking the new bird were two RV-4s, Bob’s YAK, the Dragonfly, Baby Great Lakes, Ron’s Jodel, and many friends. Scott and Mike turned the event into a real party in Bob’s hangar, with a great deal of excellent food and drink for all who came. (If you haven’t tasted Fred’s steak and ribs, you’ve missed out on a good thing.) The Hawaiian tradition of blessing a new project was a fitting way to launch something that has taken so much time and effort as this RV-8. 

This airplane polishes the concept of the personal aircraft to a high sheen.  It is not only nimble and fast and attractive—it’s also highly individualized.  The instrument panel is superb, with some state-of-the-art displays and avionics, and the stick grip is a marvel in functionality with its many buttons.  The military pioneered the concept of HOTAS—Hands On Throttle And Stick—to allow a highly-tasked pilot in a challenging environment the ability to perform a variety of critical functions without removing hands from the flight and power controls by festooning them with a multitude of switches and buttons.  Combine that with a HUD (Head Up Display), and aerial combat becomes almost intuitive. 

Although it looks and feels like a personal fighter, this RV-8 won’t be actively engaging bogeys. The scaled-down HOTAS stick, however, will allow the pilot to trim, talk, switch comm frequencies, ident, turn on/off landing light and taxi light while controlling the delightfully crisp ailerons and elevator.

It’s also equipped with a GARMIN 430 GPS/COMM/NAV/ILS color moving map set, a second Comm and a new, digital transponder.  The multi-function, liquid crystal engine display combines many instruments/gauges into one easily interpreted set, including tach, cylinder and exhaust gas temps, and oil pressure and temperature.  Trickle-down technology at its finest. 

One of the things that immediately impressed me about this RV-8 was how beautifully it was constructed.  The level of craftsmanship that went into building this aircraft is truly admirable.   Scott, when you commute to work in this chariot, try to suppress the big grin once you step into the office.

Time for Action

We’ve long suffered under the oft heavy thumb of the Hawai'i Administrative Rules that govern what we can and cannot do with our aircraft in this state.  Some of these rules are ill conceived and some are just plain archaic, and several need to be changed. We are soliciting your input as renters of T-Hangars and tie-down spaces at any and all Hawai'i airports. Specifically, tell us which rules you find onerous and want changed or thrown out.  Also, and this is very important, we are cataloging all practices you find objectionable.  There are wide differences in the way the rules are interpreted and enforced and the manner general aviation facilities are managed at the various airports in this state.  We have periodically surfaced issues to the state DoT over the years and responses have often been incomplete, at best.  There are some major issues at play, and as your organization, GACH intends to press forward actively. We need your input. You can call me at (808) 836-1031 or toll free (877) 316-2261, or email me at  acrobat@pixi.com, or fax me at the above phone number, or mail me directly to my office: 99 Mokuea Place, Honolulu, HI 96819.

Safety Record

The following is excerpted from AOPA’s ePILOT, an on-line aviation magazine:
 

                 “General aviation is maintaining its continuously improving safety record. In fact, 1999 was the safest year since record keeping began in 1939. The trend in 2000 is even more positive. Despite a substantial increase in GA flight hours and number of flights this year, the year-to-date number of GA accidents is down 5.5 percent and the number of fatal accidents is down 6.9 percent. Last year, there were more than 40 million flights, 342 fatal accidents, and 1,908 total accidents of all types. Since the end of World War II, the GA fatal accident rate has been cut fivefold, and the total accident rate has decreased by a factor of 10. Since 1970, the GA fatal accident rate has been cut in half. However, instructional accidents
are on the rise, according to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, which analyzes data from the NTSB, FAA, and other sources. A large increase in instructional activity may contribute to the increase. Another area of concern is an increase in midair collisions, a number of which have involved CFIs.”
What would cause instructional accidents to increase in the face of the general downtrend in accidents?  Is it just the increased number of training events or are there other factors such as the CFI population becoming less experienced due to the recent hiring of many of the more seasoned instructors by the airlines?  Obviously, without the specifics at hand, it would be foolhardy to speculate.  However, the mere fact that there’s been an increase in accidents during instructional activity should cause you CFIs to reexamine your own practices and procedures. 

When I took my CFI check ride, the Inspector asked for my Sectional chart, then used it to cover the entire panel. His terse remark, “I want you to fly the airplane.  You should know how it feels and sounds in any given attitude.  I don’t want you and your student both staring at the airspeed indicator and no one looking outside.”  We did slow flight, steep turns, and a landing that way.  All too many midairs involve at least one aircraft involved in dual instruction.  When you are doing instrument instruction, there is a strong tendency to spend way too much time looking at the panel, making sure the student is holding altitude and heading.  Fact is, most midairs are not survivable.  They really do ruin your whole day.

Runway Incursions

Gert deCouet writes about a really close call at HNL (see below).  Regarding where to hold, there is no controversy.  You hold on the solid side of the hold line.  There’s nothing left to interpretation.  If the two solid lines are on your side, stop.  Several years ago, you could hold between the Fours at Honolulu in a small aircraft and not foul either one. The distances from runway centerline were re-measured and it turned out the clear zones overlap.  Coming off 4Left, you must hold short of the first line and it is still your runway.  If you do not know for a fact that you have been cleared to cross, don’t until you do.  And, regardless of what you’ve been cleared to do, look first.  I was once cleared across 4R, looked and saw a DC-10 on short final and refused the instruction.  The controller just said, quietly, “Thanks!”  After leaving the active, cross the runway hold line before you stop (on the dashed side) short of Charlie.  Make sure you clear the line, though, to not block 4R.

Weather or Not

Lucky you live Hawai’i!  Balmy weather, cool trades, gentle VFR showers.  We seldom get thunderstorms here, and most of the time you can fly through a rain shower, rinse the salt off your airplane (and some of the paint), clean the windshield and not worry about getting trapped in a very nasty place.  Most of the time.  These last few days, we’ve had a combination of unstable upper-level troughs and trades to bring it all through and hold it around and we’ve experienced some significant rain, thunder, lightning, turbulence, and flooding.  Twelve and a half inches of rain at Hana washed out roads and stranded tourists. That storm created a most magnificent light show over Haleakala—magnificent to watch, if you weren’t in it. The system also closed out the Kaua’i Channel to VFR traffic for a while, prompting AFSS to issue a VFR Not Recommended advisory, only to have the channel clear with 60-mile visibility only minutes later.

We’re used to tradewind showers marching through from time to time, and it is easy to omit taking a closer look at the subtle signs of change.  Are the normally-cloudy mountains unusually clear today? We’re likely going Kona.  What are the upper-level winds doing? Are they westerly or more southerly than usual? Could be an upper low.  Check it out before assuming it’s going to be another beautiful day in Paradise. Flight Service’s new NEXRAD displays can help you assess how much wet crud is out there, and the satellite pix can give you an idea of the extent of what’s lurking out there.  We get less ugly weather here than most places (that’s why many of us live here, right?), but when it comes, it is often unforecast, volatile, and challenging, and sometimes, unflyable.

GACH Christmas Party December 2, 6 - 10 pm!

Plan now for the annual party.  We’ll again have it in the HATS hangar at 99 Mokuea Place, from 6 – 10 PM.  Bring a cheap gift for the gift exchange and something ono to eat or drink. 

Be careful out there.
 


 
Runway Incursion

by H. Gert de Couet, CFI

Are you tired of reading about runway incursions? Do you believe it is unlikely to ever affect you? Read on. My belief in the integrity of the system was first shaken when I had a discussion on the subject of hold short lines and runway environments of HNL 4L and 4R with a seasoned CFI about 15 months ago. The individual would not accept that the short taxiway segments between runways 4L and 4R at HNL effectively belong to both runways, e.g. a hold short instruction for 4R means you have to stop at the first hold short line. To clarify the point, the CFI called both the FSDO and HNL Tower, and received -- two different answers! This very anecdote was again the subject of a discussion only a few months ago among several flight instructors and aviation professionals. Surprisingly, even some of these experienced individuals were unclear about the point.

Whilst an airplane sitting between the two parallel runways legally blocks both, it arguably may not represent an imminent danger to a small aircraft during take-off and landing operations (as was legal operating modus until about three years ago). The situation is different, if the aircraft wanders onto the neighboring runway without a clearance and into the flight path of a landing or departing airplane. 

The scenario I am about to describe began one early morning during preparations for an instructional flight with a student pilot. We had been waiting for a few minutes for a take-off/taxi clearance at taxiway Foxtrott. The traffic was unusually heavy that morning and the tower controller was very busy catching his breath between calls. We were instructed to position and hold on 4R. With two airplanes moving in and out of 8L I anticipated a further delay.  I was making some operational comments to the student pilot when I overheard the landing clearance for another light airplane on the parallel runway. Incidentally, the airplane N-number shared two letters with that of our ship, and I thought of alerting my student to the potential of confusions caused by similar tail numbers. I elected to postpone this lecture until after the flight in order not to violate the sterile cockpit concept.  The traffic on the parallel was instructed to hold short of Four Right and we finally received our take-off clearance a moment later. My student reiterated the runway check items and firewalled the throttle. He called out the numbers as we were accelerating, when he abruptly rotated the aircraft. For a split second, I saw the tail of another aircraft below us, crossing the active Runway at taxiway Delta. I guess everyone knows the feeling when the adrenal glands deploy their entire load of adrenaline at once and it reaches its targets with a three-second delay. It is called "excitement". My student became momentarily transparent for lack of hemoglobin in his face but maintained the airspeed and direction. A brief discussion followed between a very unhappy ATC controller and a pilot who maintained that he had received a clearance to cross the runway. 

It is beside the point to dramatize this incident further. Everyone returned home that day and no reports had to be written.  On the other hand, it does not take too much imagination to visualize what may have happened had two different types of airplanes converged on each other that morning. A slower, heavier ship, a little less performance, etc. could have made the difference between a mere shock and disaster. 

A quick analysis of the events from the view of my cockpit reveals the following contributing factors:

* Two airplanes were operating on parallel runways with tail numbers differing by only one letter out of three. I occasionally overhear controllers misreading tail numbers and only a few pilots have the good sense to correct ATC on these minor errors. Minor miscommunications are common place in a noisy high-stress environment but they need to be corrected when they occur. It may not matter if you are 56G and the controller insists on calling you 46G as long as you are the only aircraft in the vicinity. It begins to matter as soon as another aircraft with the number 46K or similar enters the picture since we are now dealing with two confused pilots and one confused controller.

* The airplane on the parallel runway was instructed to hold short. I never heard the other pilot read back the hold short instruction and it is possible that it was stepped upon by the controller as he issued a takeoff clearance to me. Even if the other pilot did not understand or receive the instruction, he should know that hold-short lines must not be crossed without a clearance. The failure to read back the clearance he thought was issued for him deprived ATC of the opportunity to intercept, and alerting the departing aircraft to what was about to happen. Note, however, that an incorrectly read-back clearance that goes without ATC correction neither protects the pilot legally and it certainly does not relinquish the pilot from his/her obligation to watch the traffic.

* The pilot in the other airplane mistook a take-off clearance destined for another airplane as an instruction to him to cross the runway. Clearly, the standard phraseology used for either procedure is very different. The expression "cleared for" is generally used for land- and take-off procedures only. The error reflects confusion, lack of knowledge, or mere lack of concentration. Mentally, the pilot was already on the other side of the active runway dealing with matters unrelated to the flight. He was expecting taxi instructions and when he thought he heard his call sign he made the mistake.

* The pilot failed to listen to the radio communications following his decision to cross the runway, as the departing aircraft read back the clearance, including the runway used. He would have instantly known that he was about to cross paths with heavy metal.

* Finally, the pilot didn't LOOK. Even a small GA aircraft can be spotted on an even runway, less than 2000 ft. away.

* Both my own and my students eyes were momentarily fixated on the F.O.R.M. check items (fuel-flow, oil-pressure, RPM, manifold pressure) and the airspeed indicator. We both saw the runway intrusion too late to have an alternative option. Expect the unexpected!

As an epilogue to this incident I found out that the pilot in the other airplane was by no means a student or a low-time pilot.  As it turned out, he let himself be distracted in the cockpit. Moreover, in discussions with senior flight instructors the suggestion was made for GA pilots to adopt a common Part 121 operational rule, namely to turn on the landing lights as soon as a take-off clearance is received. This additional check item symbolizes to other pilots that an airplane is on the take-off roll. 
 
 
 

· The airplane on the parallel runway was instructed to hold short. I never heard the other pilot read back the hold short instruction and it is possible that it was stepped upon by the controller as he issued a takeoff clearance to me. Even if the other pilot did not understand or receive the instruction, he should know that hold-short lines must not be crossed without a clearance. The failure to read back the clearance he thought was issued for him deprived ATC of the opportunity to intercept, and alerting the departing aircraft to what was about to happen. Note, however, that an incorrectly read-back clearance that goes without ATC correction neither protects the pilot legally and it certainly does not relinquish the pilot from his/her obligation to watch the traffic.

? The pilot in the other airplane mistook a take-off clearance destined for another airplane as an instruction to him to cross the runway. Clearly, the standard phraseology used for either procedure is very different. The expression "cleared for" is generally used for land- and take-off procedures only. The error reflects confusion, lack of knowledge, or mere lack of concentration. Mentally, the pilot was already on the other side of the active runway dealing with matters unrelated to the flight. He was expecting taxi instructions and when he thought he heard his call sign he made the mistake.

? The pilot failed to listen to the radio communications following his decision to cross the runway, as the departing aircraft read back the clearance, including the runway used. He would have instantly known that he was about to cross paths with heavy metal.

? Finally, the pilot didn't LOOK. Even a small GA aircraft can be spotted on an even runway, less than 2000 ft. away.

? Both my own and my students eyes were momentarily fixated on the F.O.R.M. check items (fuel-flow, oil-pressure, RPM, manifold pressure) and the airspeed indicator. We both saw the runway intrusion too late to have an alternative option. Expect the unexpected!

As an epilogue to this incident I found out that the pilot in the other airplane was by no means a student or a low-time pilot.  As it turned out, he let himself be distracted in the cockpit. Moreover, in discussions with senior flight instructors the suggestion was made for GA pilots to adopt a common Part 121 operational rule, namely to turn on the landing lights as soon as a take-off clearance is received. This additional check item symbolizes to other pilots that an airplane is on the take-off roll.