By Rob Moore
Aloha Fellow Pilots, Mechanics and Aviation Enthusiasts,
Again your GACH Board of Directors have been VERY busy this past quarter meeting with various legislators, DOT senior officials and AOPA staff personnel to help make Hawaii a better place for GA.
Coming off of another fun-filled Hana Fly In June, GACH’s Board of Directors designed and planned a first ever Air Expo at Kalaeloa Airport. The Board recognized that there were no major air events this year open to the general public and want to keep the people of Hawaii engaged in aviation. So the BoD planned and executed the first Air Expo by GACH on September 24 where aviation businesses, pilots and aviation supporters could gather and “show off” what and who they are. We had over 350 of the general public attending the event to see 19 aviation businesses and 18 aircraft and be able to ask directly what it takes to become a pilot or mechanic. Also present at the event were several Hawaii Senators and Representatives who could see first hand what GA is and how they are being treated by DOT. I personally want to recognize and thank Barry Redmayne and his staff of volunteers in organizing this great event. We will have another one.
Don Machado. Bill Plum and I met with Ross Higashi, Deputy DOT Director for Airports, recently to discuss trying to improve GA to DOTA relationships and treatment. The meeting ended with a commitment from DOTA to work jointly with GACH in rewriting many of the regulations that airport tenants must abide by. This rewrite will be in the form of a airport tenant users guide to eventually replace the Airport Hawaii Administrative Rules (HARs). Also we requested to Ross not to have sheriffs present during airport inspections unless a violation was discovered during the inspection that was significant and the situation required police present (like a gun in the hangar). What we did not want was criminal violations issued again for “parking” or other non-criminal violations. GACH insisted that DOTA could use administrative actions such as warning letters and cancellation of permits as a viable option for non-criminal violations. Our request appears to have reached someone’s ears since sheriffs were not present during the recent Honolulu Airport inspection at the end of August and only two administrative actions were taken.
GACH recently assisted the FAA and Hawaii DOTA in making a runway safety video to help mitigate runway incursions at Honolulu Airport. As you know, HIA leads the US in the numbers of runway incursions—not a good thing. GACH wrote a CFI lesson plan and a kneeboard briefing sheet plus reviewed and posted the runway safety video—please see the video at http://flyinginhawaii.com/honolulu-runway-safety-video-from-the-faa/ . We all need to see this video and keep reviewing it to help reduce runway incursions.
For next year, GACH is addressing several bills with Hawaii Legislature. WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP IF WE ARE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Don, Bill and Ti Nguyen are working to introduce legislation to reduce criminal offenses on minor airport violations, supporting an airport authority that supports GA, and reviewing other bills that affect GA in Hawaii. YOU can help by contacting your representative on GA issues when we ask for your help. Also for next year, GACH is planning on a Pancake Breakfast in early spring, the Hana Fly In, and an aviation event in the fall on the Big Island. GACH is also working with AOPA to have their presence in Hawaii for legislative assistance and fun aviation events.
GACH had a visit from Melissa McCaffrey, our AOPA Regional Representative, at the end of October. She met with the GACH Board of Directors and Airport Support Network individuals to discuss the state of aviation in Hawaii. Melissa and I spent two days visiting businesses, FAA officials, State DOTA officials and State of Hawaii legislators. The big points she was making with everyone was the need to stop issuing criminal citations for minor airport violations and to form an aviation caucus in Hawaii. Details are in a separate article in the newsletter.
Please also help us financially by either joining GACH or keeping your dues current. We also could always use the help of volunteers for our activities—Ti, Barry and Natalie Smith were great assets this year for running several events.
Fly and maintain safe and keep the shiny side up,