From The South Ramp --Hank Bruckner:

Article from the November 1997 edition of the GACH newsletter

Winter flying here can really spoil you, especially if you've ever looked out the window at low leaden skies, wondering if it's worth it to scrape all the ice off the plane to go flying, if you can find someone with a preheater for your engine. Hawai'ian winters are quite different--by a few dozen degrees. Winter brings two things to Hawai'i: whales and wind. In a normal year, we also get our share of cold fronts, but, typically, and with some very notable exceptions, they dry out before reaching us, and all we're left with is a temporary change in wind direction and a slight change in temperature. In a normal year. This one is an "El Nino" and could prove quite different. We've been promised a drier winter this year, but some promises are hard to take seriously. But, you can probably count on wind. Those of you who haven't flown here when it is really windy should talk to someone who has. Each area has its own micro weather, and local knowledge can be invaluable. Here on Oahu, for example, if the wind at 3,000 feet is over 25 knots, I need a compelling reason to fly. Both the Ko'olau and Waianae mountains will produce a wicked turbulence that's difficult to avoid, especially on the Freeway Three departure. If the wind at 3,000 feet reaches 30 knots, you can anticipate down drafts that will easily surpass your best rate of climb in most GA aircraft. A 900-foot-per-minute descent from 1,500 feet over Honolulu, while at your best rate-of-climb speed in a Cessna is discouraging, and quite likely, uncomfortable (been there, done that). Winter trades can drastically alter the nature of your favorite airport. Ever see a wall of seawater in front of you as you lift off from Kala'upapa? How about that sinker about 1/4 mile out on final to runway five at Moloka'i? If you haven't already done so, now is the time to master the cross wind landing. Remember, wind brings orographic lifting which brings mauka showers and can make life even more interesting at places like Kamuela and Hana. Takeoff and landing should command our full attention year round, but especially in winter. Winter in Hawai'i is more subtle than on the Mainland, but no less deserving of respect. Winter also brings the return of the Humpback to our waters. It used to be patently in violation of the FARs to fly within 1,000 feet of one of these magnificent animals. It still is illegal, but it's no longer specified in the FARs. Bottom line, don't go chasing whales by air, please.

Our Poor Man's Fly-In at Port Allen was fun for those who made it. This is the second year we've held the Poor Man's at Port Allen instead of Dillingham, and the increasing participation suggests we'll continue. In fact, next year, we're planning to hold an accuracy landing event, complete with trophies. We had eight aircraft this year, from across the state. Even though Marylin Haymore couldn't make it, Kelly did, in their C-172-180 (first time in recent memory she wasn't at one of our fly-ins!). The Big Island was also represented by Elliot Merke and Sporty's Twin Comanche. (Next year, y'all have to park with the rest of us...) It was very pleasant relaxing under the wing of the Seneca and watching the clouds roll by, eating our lunch, and talking story. Next year, I'll make time for the beach...

Here's a tidbit for you instructors. Did you know that a 400-horsepower airplane does not necessarily require a high performance endorsement? True fact, if no one engine is rated at more than 200 HP. So a twin like the Seneca, with two 200-horse engines, does not require the endorsement. Go figure.

October 14th marked the fiftieth anniversary of Chuck Yeager's supersonic flight. Hard to believe it's been a half century! Although he rightly gets most of the credit--he did fly the mission, after all--a lot of other people were working on the problem, some of whom died in the process, including such notables as Geoffrey DeHavilland. It was the brilliant insight of one of the Bell engineers that made Yeager's flight work. The all flying tail (stabilator) replaced the conventional elevator and was still effective through the onset of the transonic shock wave, eliminating the dreaded "Mach tuck" and control lock that others had experienced. Note that all modern fighters have stabilators. Of course, so does my Seneca, although I suspect that was for a different reason. On October 16th, 1997, a British team made the first supersonic two-way run on the ground, in a car. Can you just imagine what it must have looked like out the cockpit window to see the ground rush by, inches from your body, at over 760 mph? Bet the drive home afterwards was anticlimactic.

Those of you who were wondering why the State raised tie-down and T-hangar fees at HNL will be pleased to know that it wasn't to meet FAA requirements, as initially claimed. Basically, it was because--ready?-- they haven't raised them for a while. The fact that the T-hangars are already overpriced and the State has an operating surplus in the DoT Airports account apparently didn't play at all. Justification on a basis of surrounding commercial property rental rates is also vacuous and inappropriate, since there are no comparable properties not on the airport. Certainly, warehouses cannot be compared to hangars due to vastly different permitted uses, access and lease/permit arrangements. So, we submitted a written protest, and await a response.

The Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission met again, and the plan still contains an airport with one 8,000' runway (4R/22L), one 4,500' runway (4L/22R), and one 6,000' cross-wind runway (11/29). Well, maybe. The FAA doesn't like the close proximity of the perimeter road to rwy 4R, and the road will either have to be closed to routine traffic, requiring another 30 acres be added to DoT control, or the threshold will have to be displaced about 1,500'. Of course, that means, no 8,000' runway--a condition for support by the Airlines Committee for listing as an alternate for HNL. Unfortunately, new members of the Commission, who didn't sit through three years' of haggling want to revisit old decisions, egged on by grandstanding politicians. Commission members who thought the DoT was asking for too much land anyway were thrilled at the request for another 30 acres. Why is rwy 4L to be only 4,500' long, when it currently measures 8,329'? To make way for a raceway, of course. There are currently two large hangars, that could house as many as 50+ GA aircraft. Unfortunately, one has been given to the City/County for the fire department and HCC flight school. The fire department has one helicopter, and it now appears that the state-sponsored flight school would go to the Big Island, rather than Kala'eloa (Barbers Point). Gee, maybe we'll get the hangar back for GA parking. Bottom line? The mass-challenged female has yet to lilt, and the journey is far from over. Stay tuned...

Flight 2000 is still alive, although not yet funded. The plan is still to equip virtually all Hawai'i-based aircraft with the GPS, ADS-B box, display, and data link. You then will have the ability to know where any potentially-threatening target is (like TCAS), avoid terrain, get weather, and have a precision-approach capable GPS. All this information at your disposal would allow you to choose your own IFR routing, since you would have the ability to see and avoid conflicts with information in the cockpit. ATC's role would become more that of a monitor and arbiter, especially en route. At the very least, your situational awareness gets a big boost, and that's a good thing. FAA buys the equipment and pays for the installation and upkeep during the two-year test period. After the test is done, the residual value of the installed equipment will be determined, against the cost to unintstall, and you would have the choice of keeping the stuff for a nominal (or no) fee, or have it removed. In return for all this gear, the FAA gets data from the users, which will be used to evaluate and shape the overall modernization of the National Airspace System in the Quest for the Free Flight Grail. The test will run about $400 million, and a Supplemental Budget Request will be sent to Congress in January. If it is approved and appropriated, implementation will likely still be slipped a few months. If full funding isn't approved or is significantly reduced, then the plan will have to change. We should know more about that in January. For it to work, in addition to funding, the FAA is going to need to change the way it goes about approving equipment installations, especially GPS, drastically streamlining the process while preserving their quality and safety oversight. Moreover, ATC will have to adapt to major changes in the way they do business, and we will have to learn how to use this equipment. All these things have to occur in parallel, especially if the test is to begin on or about the millennium. The next meeting with Dave Tuttle, the FAA Flight 2000 Program Manager will be on January 27, 1998, just a few days after the Rolling Stones' concert (absolutely no connection, whatsoever...). If any of you have any questions, I have a copy of the plan, and can at least point you in the right direction.

Well, it finally happened. Or sort of happened-- well, mostly happened. The North Ramp has been torn up, the Hawaii Country Club of the Air and Papillon hangars have been torn down, and Poly Air had to move. Len Tubb's old place is also gone. A lot of aviation memories... Be careful out there.

Come Share The Holiday Spirit at the GACH Christmas Party Saturday, December 13th HATS Hangar- 99 Mokuea Pl. 6 - 10 pm Pot Luck Bring a Cheap Gift to Exchange call Hank @ 836-1031

Be careful out there.