From the South Ramp

--Hank Bruckner: 

December 1999

Wow!  Last Airscoop of the century! Just think--this could be a collector's edition.  Folks will collect just about anything, of course, even parking tickets.  What did you collect this year?

As you read this, final preparations are being made for the last GACH Christmas Party of the Century--December 10th, 6:00 - 10:00 PM.  Like last year, we'll be in the HATS hangar (99 Mokuea Place, at HNL), and we will again have great live music!  We ask that you bring a dish and whatever you want to drink.  GACH will have soft drinks available.  Also, bring an inexpensive gift for the traditional GACH gift exchange.   Hope to see you there to share some fellowship, hangar flying, and just good fun.

It makes you proud.  Proud to be an American,  proud to be a pilot.  Proud to be a friend.  Proud.  With the precision that comes from extraordinary competence and a great deal of hard work and practice, the USAF Thunderbirds wound up their 1999 season with a superb airshow at Nellis AFB, Nevada.  Carol's son, Major Dennis Malfer, was finishing up his final year with the 'Birds as the Lead Solo, and Carol invited us to the event.  The weather was clear and the team flew an absolutely flawless show in their F-16C's.  Every member of the Team, from the commander to the most junior enlisted member, performs his or her functions with a sharp-edged professionalism and pride that is nothing short of inspirational.   This season-closing show is for friends and family--to honor those closest to the team for their support and sacrifices during the year.  That gave it a personal touch, and it was gratifying to be immersed in the pride emotion that flowed through the spectators as the jet fuel through those engines.  The Thunderbirds perform an invaluable service to the country.  They represent the heights to which we can rise through dedication and unity of purpose.  As those six fighters shred the sky in a kaleidoscope of light and color and sound, you know, deep down, that there are indeed things that we can do right.  Thanks, Carol.

Our Vegas trip was just part of a two week jaunt that also included New Jersey/New York and Boston.  Our arrival on the east coast was marked by three days of solid fog, low ceilings and visibility as a cold front became partially occluded and stalled in our vicinity.  It was the kind of weather that we just don't get here in Hawai'i very often, weather in which a pilot could easily run out of options if weather at the destination were too low to land, and nothing else better was within reach.  I was to fly in the Boston area with my brother, who is now a student pilot; however, the weather gods just didn't cooperate.  His flight school is at Hanscom Field (formerly Hanscom Air Force Base),  and there are three competitive flight schools in the former terminal building.  I did have the opportunity to chat briefly with Mike Goulian, who is based there (Executive Flyers).  Those of you at Oshkosh this year likely saw Mike in his new CAP-232 during the CASPA Challenge.  His routines were excellent, especially considering he only had about 15 hours in his new plane.  (You'd get to see him on my Oshkosh tape, if you  go to Wings safety meetings.)  The front finally moved on, with a temperature drop of over 30 degrees in the span of a few hours.  That's another thing we don't get here (unless you climb really high)--temperatures in the 20's and 30's.  Wind chill factor was 12 degrees Fahrenheit on the morning we left!  Lucky you live Hawai'i, eh?

Nineteen Ninety-Nine was a year in which some things changed for the better and some for the worse, and some that should have changed, didn't.  The civilianization of Barbers Point went ahead with few glitches (other than the name change to Kala'eloa), and the airport has seen heavy use by training flights, mostly from Honolulu.  As we develop operational experience with the field, it becomes more glaringly apparent that the shortening of Runway 4 Left was unfortunate in the way it hampers the field's flexibility.  So, too, does the prohibition of using the crosswind runway (11/29) for landing.  As the state develops facilities to permit the permanent basing of aircraft there, it could become an attractive alternative for some.  Everything rides on just how the transition is structured.  Enticing is good, forcing is unacceptable.

The closing of Ford Island to civil use was lamentable, mostly because of the special historical significance of that place.

As you travel through the island chain, there has been little in the way of positive change for General Aviation.  Hangars are still in desperate short supply at Hilo and Kona, and restrictive policies continue to discriminate against GA.  There are some positive signs developing at Kamuela, but the latest master plan proposes to reduce the number of GA parking spots for transient aircraft.  GA parking throughout the state is always at the far ends of the airport, and the trend is getting worse, if you look at the various master plans.  Kahului still reigns as an aviation-unfriendly place, though mostly due to the refusal of Century Aviation to treat its GA customers with the respect they deserve, and transient parking is a real slap in the face.  You can still buy their gas--just don't ask to use a phone or rest room.  And Lihue still boasts not so much as a pay phone available to the transient pilot who doesn't have the combo for the Commuter Air Terminal door. At least visiting pilots no longer are treated to an interrogation upon taxiing in to park. 

On the positive side, the State's commissioning of AWOS/ASOS is proceeding slowly, but is at least moving forward.  The ILS at Lanai is proving to be a valuable training alternative, especially as it offers a DME arc, lead radial, and an important DME switch from the VOR to the localizer during the approach.  Once we get AWOS there, GA will be able to actually use the approaches when the clag moves in.   That would be nice, eh?  The State DoT Airports Division and the FAA have worked well to integrate civilian operations at Kala'eloa, and has instituted a helpful series of meetings with the consumers--us.  It would be nice to see airport managers at LIH, OGG, ITO, and KOA do the same

A very positive thing was the First Great Hawaiian Air Race this past February.  A lot of aviators did a lot of aviating and raised a lot of money for Make-A-Wish and cast General Aviation in a very positive light.  We're going to do it again next century, from February 18 - 21, only better.  We'll have more participants and more time and the advantage of lessons learned from the first one. (I also don't plan to be on crutches next time around!)  What we really need is to get more of you aircraft owners involved. 

I don't know why it is taking the powers that be so long to recognize the importance of General Aviation to the overall well-being of the state in terms of the economy, jobs, quality of life, essential services, and the overall transportation infrastructure.  At a time when aviation on the mainland, reflecting the general economic upsurge, is bursting at the seams, we still plod along, picking our way among the bureaucratic hurdles and roadblocks scattered in our path.  Let's start this next century right!

As this year, century, and even the millennium draw to a close, I should recognize some folks that have really made a difference in the practice of aviation.  There is a large group of professionals working at ATC and Flight Service that have largely gone out of their way to make things work smoothly in our skies, and they deserve our thanks.  There are professionals working in Flight Standards who have worked tirelessly to enhance safety in real terms, especially Scott Allen and Jim Hein who run the Aviation Safety Program.  There are all the Aviation Safety Counselors who have worked with them to get the word out to the rest of us.  I'd like to thank Morris Tamanaha, the State GA Officer, for his work on our behalf.  I'd like to thank those of you who maintain and service our aircraft. I'd like to thank all those who volunteered to support the GHAR last year and made it such a success, especially the CAP and EAA folks who did so much of the scut work.  And, importantly, there are you folks who support GA in so many ways, including by flying safely and considerately and smartly.  Finally, I'd like to personally thank all you who have flown with me this year.  I hope you got near as much out of it as I did. 

Time for New Year's Resolutions, especially as it's also New Century and New Millennium (although actually, the new century and thus, the millennium begins in 2001).  Here goes:  First,  I resolve to try to fly smart every time I fly.  Second, I resolve to try to consider others every time I operate an aircraft.  Third, and this relates to the First one, I resolve to abide by the prime rule in aviation: Do Not Scratch The Paint.

Be careful out there.


GACH needs you to express yourself on these pages.  Don't wait for others to say your piece--say it yourself!  We especially urge you folks who don't live on O'ahu to contribute your thoughts and ideas, and share with us all.  The easy way is to e-mail me at; but you can also fax, mail, or even dictate over the phone. 


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