Hemmeter Aviation arrived in Kahului in 1986 after acquiring Ware Fuller and Carl Schirm's Maui Flight Center. The MFC was primarily a flight school but sold fuel and just started to provide into-plane fuel services to airlines. Hemmeter did not take on the flight school but further developed the operations into a premier FBO. Check out the photos and stories below.
When first acquiring the Maui Flight Center it was clear we need more space. The neighbor was Pacific Air Express and operated an air cargo business. They had a much larger foot print on the ramp. The above photo shows a yellow line between the hangar (warehouse) and MFC on the right. Hemmeter was fortunate to acquire the space within a year. See more on changes below.
< Hemmeter Aviation prepares for the arrival of numerous TEAMSTER executives arriving in multiple private aircraft. We always provided impeccable service and on occasion we even surprised ourselves.
The group requested Lincoln Continentals for each couple. Rounding up numerous luxury autos from the car rental company's in 1987 was not easy. The union made it very clear ... "Absolutely no Cadillac's"
How was the drive to Hana?
Maui Flight Center initiated the fuel storage facility on the east ramp.
One of the first Jet-A tanks came from Primo Beer Brewery at Aiea, Oahu. Hemmeter made upgrades which included block wall, lighting, etc.
A happy delivery driver from Haleakala Transportation & Warehousing
The aerial view above shows the various buildings that makes up the Hemmeter Aviation complex. The biggest change would be the airport security. Notice the 4 foot fence separating AOA and public space. Also the parking areas on either side have been eliminated. The entire footprint is on a revocable permit with DOT-A.
Laurie Kamura & Vicki McIntyre
Leased Hawaiian Airlines 8,000 gal refueler
Jim Straube has come along way since 1985. Check out >
Hemmeter Aviation started its operations with the acquisition of 2 companies, Maui Flight Center and General Aviation Services. They both had older used fuel trucks. We decided to refurbish the current equipment. Preston Basia took care of the mechanical and Jim Straube to care of the body and paint. They both allowed our operation to meet the high standards and look good while doing it.
With the acquisition of General Aviation Services, Hemmeter Aviation had several 1967 GMC 4000 Consolidated Diesel R-9 fuel trucks to refurbish. It was decided to acquire additional R-9 units. Bill Damolin from Santa Rosa assisted us bringing in a few more. The ones already in Honolulu were in pretty bad shape but we had a plan. The 1967 GMC 4000 has a big b;ock V-6 351 cu. in. engine and they were hard to come by. We found that the government was disposing of a number of Garbage Trucks and we picked them up real cheap. We only wanted the engines as well as the cabs. We contracted, good friend, Harry Clark ( Genavco DC-3 guy) to assist with the cab and engine changes. Hemmeter now had 5 "R-9" 5,000 refuelers in service. Kaiser Air in Oakland, CA also ran "R-9's" and we provided each other with support.
Chris Hemmeter's Lockheed JetStar
Bob Murdoch and Eddie Madeiros
United Airlines D-8 along with Western Airlines DC-10... the first direct flights to Maui in 1986.
Preston Basia & David Gregoire
The Kahului Heliport back in the early days 1987. "Oly" Olsten from the T-Shirt Factory built the very first hangar with Sunshine Helicopters and Hemmeter Aviation building the next two . The photo above left shows part of the heliport terminal that was utilized by operators that were currently at the t-hangars and awaiting approval to build their hangar. The photo on right shows a small structure (in circle) that was utilized as Hemmeter Aviation's heliport fuel ops. Hot refueling became an approved procedure to assist operators with quicker turn-arounds.
General Aviation Services, Inc. was obtained by Hemmeter Aviation in 1987. We knew that the equipment was below our standard but we didn't expect it to break on its first movement.. When the tanker was being relocated, (to transfer the fuel so we could start a full inspection) the trailer separated from the tractor and cracked the tank. A fuel spill cleanup was the exercise with this piece of equipment. This tanker never saw service with Hemmeter.
Kahului Airport later '80's
da phone booth
It's hard to imagine, just over 30 years ago, that communicating between individuals was tied to the wires of a land line. The phone booth at Hemmeter Aviation Maui was just outside by the office door. People would park in the parking lot and drop coins in like it was a one-arm-bandit. I was always surprised at how much it got utilized. The phone company came to empty the coins on a regular basis. On a number of occassions, I would recognize individuals using the phone and invite them in to use my office phone. I remember Barbara Sinatra (Frank's wife), Mike Love (Beach Boys) and Michael Eisner (Disney CEO) to be just a few making a call.