the South Ramp
It's November, frost is on the papaya and Christmas is only weeks away. I was kidding about the frost, of course, but this is the season our winter, such as it is, comes rolling in. Typically, we'll have storm lows marching across the North Pacific, displacing our trade-producing high, and their trailing fronts will periodically swing through the state. By the time they get here, they usually only have some rain, but the temperature gradient is usually a little steeper, as is the pressure gradient, and our winds will pick up. Occasionally, an upper-level trough will accentuate the low and we'll get a wet and wild doozy. With the winds, of course, come the bumps and the crosswind landings. When a strong low gets close enough, we can end up with strong Kona winds that make life interesting for aviators and controllers alike. At Honolulu, the Kona winds wreak havoc on arrivals and departures as all the airliners have to line up for the LDA to 26 Left. Instrument training goes by the wayside. On Maui, the standard arrivals don't work very well and similar challenges occur across the state. You should be especially mindful of which side of that mountain or ridge the bumps and downdrafts will live when the wind isn't coming from its usual place. Those of us in the training business have to be patient and inventive to get the most out of the system without overtaxing it. Still, the icing level rarely gets below 10,000' and we don't have to deal with frosty wings. Lucky you live Hawai'i.
GACH Christmas Party December 10, 6 - 10 pm!
The annual GACH bash will again be at the HATS hangar, and we will again have the great live band that we had last year. Those of you who didn't make it really missed a treat! These folks are very good. Bring a dish and a cheap gift for the gift exchange and enjoy!
Kala'eloa, at First Blush
We have almost a half-year of general aviation operations at Kala'eloa (John Rodgers Field), and for the most part, I would have to consider the airfield a success. The controllers have been doing a good job, especially from that cramped little box they operate from until the tower is revamped. The shortening of 4 Left was unfortunate as it really is too short for proper twin training. However, it works well for singles, allowing a nice, tight pattern. The key is to fly the base down the canal and not stray over the Tesoro refinery and its flare tower. This little device is over a hundred feet high and aperiodically will emit a flare that can rise another 300 or so feet. Not the place to be on a base leg!
Because of the proximity of the two 4's, there are no simultaneous operations if a heavy--C-130 or P-3--is on the right, and that can sometimes cause extended patterns and delays. Since there's no parallel taxiway for 4 Right, you may have to delay while a 130 taxis back down the runway. It is hard for the tower folk to see all of us all the time and they rely on position reports. If they ask you to report the mid- field downwind, it's because they really need you to do so. It's also a great idea to make sure you have a landing clearance before doing so.
Early on, a group of us met at the FSDO to iron out recommended ingress and egress procedures to keep folks from violating that primary rule of aviation: Don't Scratch The Paint. If you are headed toward JRF from Honolulu, the route is along the H1 westward at 1,500' MSL. Report in at Harbor View, but continue to Makakilo--over the freeway--before turning left to enter the pattern. Don't enter from Harbor View as you'll be headed right into departing traffic.
Departing JRF for Honolulu is a little complex and requires a little common sense. The Honolulu Class B extension that covers the approach to HNL's 8 Left overlies JRF, and departing aircraft have to be careful to remain at 1,000' until past the overlying B. However, the FAR's tell us we can't fly over a congested area below 1,000' AGL, and that means you need to climb to 1,500' MSL before reaching the Sugar Mill or the Interchange. Harbor View (the intersection of Kunia Road and the H1) is at about 200' elevation right at the freeway, as is much of Waipahu. The terrain rises as you go north, too. If you're still at a thousand feet MSL, you are too low. I turn left after departing, and fly along the utility poles avoiding the housing areas. It doesn't take long to clear the overlying Class B and then climb to 1,500 MSL prior to reaching the Sugar Mill. If they ever dismantle the chimney, we'll be hard pressed for a landmark. Remember, a controller cannot ask you to violate a FAR. That ball, however, rests solely in your pocket.
With the Super Prix a super dud, runway 11/29 will eventually be restored; however, it will remain a departure only runway due to properties on the approach. So, the Fours will remain crosswind runways, in every sense of the word.
Tiedowns and hangars are in the overall plan, but will take some time. It seems to me that you folks at Kona and Hilo have been waiting a long time for hangars and it would only be fair for the state to take that into consideration when they prioritize. Plus, there really is no operational need to accelerate the move from HNL to JRF. HNL is busy, but nowhere near capacity, and won't be for a long time
Bottom line? JRF is a good airport and a valuable training site. It could and will get better. It does require some heads-up flying and a dash of situational awareness as well as some patience.
Bob Justman's YAK-52W has arrived and will be flying by the time you read this. This one differs from the other (Mark's) Hawai'i-based YAK in that it has hydraulic brakes and inches-feet-knots rather than pneumatics and percents and klicks. I happened by as the wings were going on and got to see some of the primary structure. If the size of the main bolt that affixes the wing spar to the fuselage is any indication, this is one sturdy airplane. Gene Wilke painted it a deep Navy blue with white checkerboard cowl and rudder, that looks quite stunning. The -52W is also equipped with a composite 3-blade prop, vice the wooden two-blader and is reputedly some 300 pounds lighter. It will be interesting to see how they compare in performance. I'll let you know, after I get to fly it (Bob, that's about as strong a hint as I can drop without hurting myself).
Got any Extra?
As long as we're talking aeroplanes, I got to spend some real quality time in Clint's Extra 300L. That is truly a magic carpet. Two full vertical rolls, with two aboard and more than enough energy to hammerhead off the top. The whole airplane is one class act. It's fit and finish is matched only by it silky smooth (effortless?) control response. Those full-span ailerons are direct and to the point, but smooth, and produce eye-watering roll rates. We spent the whole time doing things I can't do in the CAP-10-- gyroscopics and lots of vertical rolls and the like. If you want a real E-ticket ride, see Clint. Oh, for a spare quarter mill or so...
This is where you could be reading about other issues that affect us all or in part, especially those of you operating on Maui, Kaua'i, and the Big Island. Of course, it would help if you sent us something to publish...Remember, GACH represents all of you, not just O'ahu.
Speaking of Which...
Some key legislation is working its way through--stuff you really need to know and react to. The House and Senate are working a compromise to funding. The House version (AIR-21) included language to take the FAA off-budget in order to stop playing politics with the aviation trust fund. Those of you who belong to AOPA no doubt received a mailer urging you contact Senator Inouye on the subject. Of perhaps more importance to us here are the proposed restrictions to overflying the Grand Canyon-- essentiallly barring all overflights below 14,500'! The basis for that is in misguided legislation that mandates restoring "natural quiet" and could become the foundation for similar action over every national park in the country. You could basically forget about flying direct to anywhere, or showing anyone the great beauty of our land as can only be seen from the air. It appears the FAA is caving to the Interior Department, and the entire national air space system, so vital to the well-being of this country could be fragmented. Support AOPA, EAA and other national organizations that represent you, and also take personal action by calling, writing, emailing and educating. Also, fly friendly. Not everyone shares our love of the sky.
Great Hawaiian Air Race
We're getting close to the Y2K Great Hawaiian Air Race. We've got about 60 teams who've reserved race numbers. What we really need is for you aircraft owners to come forward and join the fun. The GHAR is a cross-country race in which you can compete in either or both proficiency and speed categories. In proficiency, you tell us just how long it will take you to cover the course and how much fuel you'll use and the one who comes closest wins. Aimee Kuprash won it this year in a C-172. Speed competitors race against their own handicapped speeds (determined by flying a three-legged, GPS-based course), so it doesn't really matter how fast your steed is. For those whose mounts are fuel-challenged, we will have an optional fuel stop at Maui to ensure comfortable margins and allow more aircraft types to compete in the speed category. This year was a real blast, as all of you who played can attest, and this next one will be even better. We've added an extra day in Hana, based on racer comments, to give you all more time to enjoy that special place. We'll also do the handicapping there (shorter, simpler, quicker).
We can also use some volunteer help. Please contact me (836-1031) or Greg Marshall (373-1889). You can learn all about the GHAR from our web site, http://www.flyhawaii.com/GHAR.html.
Be careful out there, and have a happy and safe Holiday Season.