From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner:

November 2003

Expedition Seven
    After about 185 days in space, Ed Lu and Yuri Malenchenko returned to earth from the International Space Station.  Ed came back a little younger, relatively speaking.  As near as he can figure it, he aged about 0.007 seconds less than the rest of us over the same time frame. It’s called time dilation.  Einstein first postulated it and Ed, of course, understands it and can explain it so the rest of us can comprehend it, too. Those of you who know Ed recognize that he is, among many things, a deeply intelligent person with a wit matched in keenness only by his insightfulness.earthlimb
    Ed’s stay aboard the ISS was characterized by his easy style, grace, curiosity, and humor.  He periodically wrote Letters From Space, which were available to all to read on NASA’s Human Space Flight web site, and also emailed to some of us.  Through his observations, I gained insight into such varied topics as orbital mechanics, living in microgravity, relativity, and, of course, Ed.  Ed can take a complex subject, distill its essential elements, and then explain them in a clear, personal and non-condescending manner in a way that even a technically-challenged person like me can understand.  It is a real gift, and one day, he’ll make a superb flight instructor.

    One of my daily routines, while Ed was on the ISS, was to log on to the web site for an update.  Ed took many pictures, and several were posted periodically for us all to enjoy.   A highlight for me, of course, was when Ed called me from the ISS.  That made more than my day!

    Among the pictures he took and sent down were shots of Oshkosh before and during AirVenture, and he spoke to the enthralled crowd at the Theater In The Woods.  He took some riveting shots of Hurricane Isabel, the California fires, Honolulu, the Pyramids, and many, many more. You can see some at

    I was very disappointed, however, in the media coverage of his deorbit and landing. Ed, Yuri, and Pedro came back in the Soyuz TMA capsule right on target and recovery helicopters were orbiting the descending capsule even before it landed. The lack of national TV coverage was bad enough, but for the local TV news to also ignore the event was astonishing, especially given Ed’s ties to Hawai’i. Auwe!  A column did run in the next day’s newspapers, several pages in.  Have we become that jaded?

    Ed is an aviator, astronaut and scientist and a superb ambassador for NASA and the space program. He’s also going to be married next spring, out here, which is cool.  I’m sure he’s happy to back with family and friends, but I can’t help but think he will miss the incredible view and the ability to move some distance with the tiniest push.  By now, Ed has probably stopped dropping things that only days ago would have stayed right where they were released.   Welcome back to Earth, Ed!    Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Is there anyone out there who doesn’t believe that we are at war?  The harsh, unpleasant reality is that things changed forever after September 11, 2001. Increased security at major airports like HNL is something that will be with us and we need to accept it and live with it.  For the fourth time this year, someone compromised the cipher combination to the gates at the T-hangars by posting the numbers on the gate, prompting yet another change in the combination.  Moreover, tenants have given out the combination to persons not authorized unescorted access to the t-hangar AOA area.  According to State DoT officials, HNL TSA has threatened to recommend "lock down" of the t-hanger pedestrian gate by imposing tighter entry control procedures.

    Here’s the deal.  If you are on the ramp, you need to be in possession of an appropriate badge or be with someone who has one.  You don’t want to be stopped and not have one.  The Airports Division is requesting cooperation from the GA community users of the gates to maintain vigilance and to report to Airport Security any unauthorized persons in the AOA.  Aircraft owners/operators and tenants can call airport Security Dispatch at 836-6641, Ramp Control at 836-6603 or the Airport Duty Manager at 836-6434.  This really is important, folks.  If we are trying to convince all that we are in fact responsible and trustworthy people, we need to behave accordingly.

    The President’s recent visit highlighted the fact that we-GA-are still considered a real threat by those making security decisions.  The fact that we have insufficient kinetic energy or payload to inflict much damage and that there are so many cheaper and easier ways to create mayhem and havoc than using a small aircraft seems to carry little weight (pardon the pun).  Our local FAA tried hard to mitigate the TFRs that were imposed during the visit to minimize impact on the aviation community-obviously without success.  There just has to be a better way than to summarily ground all GA, including non-scheduled Part 135.  Hundreds of passengers were stranded, creating much more than mere inconvenience for many, especially those that had to miss medical appointments or important meetings.  Moreover, all this happened with very little advance notice-for security reasons-and folks had little opportunity to make alternate arrangements. 

    AOPA and other organizations, including GACH, are working the TFR issue at both the national and local levels, with mixed success.   There has long been a move to reduce, if not eliminate, the Pearl Harbor TFR that has been in place since September 11, 2001.  This TFR is unnecessary and unsafe and probably ineffective.   David Lemon, one of our local CFIs, has been working to bring public pressure to bear through the neighborhood boards and the legislature, and has succeeded in raising awareness among public officials of the unpleasant potential of the TFR.  Ultimately, the decision to lift or even modify the TFR rests in Washington, and public pressure will surely help the cause.  Have you done your part?

Angel Flight   
    Saratoga-owner Steve Bobko-Hillenaar has become deeply involved in Angel Flight, an organization that matches pilots and people needing transportation for diagnosis and/or treatment and who lack the financial resources to pay their way. Angel Flight does not compete with the various air ambulance operations; rather, they supplement them.  Angel Flight is always looking for more pilots and aircraft.  Pilot requirements are very reasonable:  300 or more total hours, 75 cross-country hours, and 25 hours make and model.  If you are at all interested, contact Steve Bobko-Hillenaar at (808) 329-7979 or email him at It’s a good thing to do.

Hawai’i Aviation Celebration

    The Centennial Celebration is just around the proverbial corner.  The major events will occur on December 13th and 14th at Kalaeloa Airport (JRF), including an airshow and static display involving military and civil aircraft.  We will be showcasing all aspects of aviation, from ultralights to the heavies, and much in between.  Note: The flyby, originally slated for December 17th, has been moved to the afternoon of Saturday, 20 December, to coincide with a Sunset on the Beach event, providing a much greater audience.  If you are interested in flying your aircraft in this event, you will need to contact me, preferably by

They’re Back!
    The lead elements of the annual humpback whale migration to Hawaiian waters have been seen.  These magnificent creatures winter here from November through May each year, and seem to favor the waters between Maui, Lana'i, and Moloka'i, although they can usually be found in all local waters. Please remember that you may not approach in an aircraft within 1,000 feet slant-range of a humpback.

 Pushing the Limit
    Five hundred of anything per second is a lot, especially when it is your roll rate in degrees.  Think about it; the horizon will rotate one-and-two-thirds times before you can say, “one and two-thirds”.  It redefines such terms as ‘roll’, ‘quick’, and ‘wow!’  It also makes me giggle.  Mark Dunkerley’s beautiful Giles 202 is possessed of such a roll rate and it needs to be approached with respect and a light touch.  Of course, one doesn’t use that entire roll rate per se-it would just slam your head against the canopy.  But the crispness imparted by the full-span ailerons is absolutely magnificent!

Those same ailerons demand much more precision and their aerodynamic effect is magnified over more commonly-proportioned flight controls.  For example, the impact of aileron deflection on the airflow over the wing is far greater with full-span ailerons and this changes the way you approach spins and their cousin, the snap roll. Big ailerons can flatten a spin in a heartbeat and can also detach more of the airflow at high angles of attack, affecting recovery.  Not bad, just different. 

The Giles 202 also has powerful elevators and rudder and is one of the most fun airplanes I have ever had the pleasure of flying.  The kits, and the soon-to-be certified production version, the CAP-222, are now made in France by Apex, the same folks that make the CAP-10.   

Yesterday and today I flew into Kalaupapa, and the wind was gusting to 45 knots.  Yesterday’s wind at 3,000’ over Honolulu was easterly at 30 knots.  These winds are very typical this time of year-well into spring, as a matter of fact.  If your crosswind technique is a little rusty, this would be a good time to hone it.  When the wind blows at a nippy rate, a variance of just a few degrees can make all the difference regarding finding smooth air.  Some days, there just isn’t any around.  You can generally get some idea from the winds aloft forecast, plus the AIRMET or SIGMET for turbulence that invariably is generated when the winds blow, and by visualizing the flow over and around the terrain.  Downdrafts tend to be exaggerated and can exceed your climb rate in certain areas.  None of this is news, of course-just a reminder.

Be careful out there.