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Bradley Pacific Aviation
Kona, Hawaii
The Start Up

The entire inventory of fuel for the Kona International Airport  came out of the Tesoro and Chevron fuel facilities in Hilo. It was trucked in 8,000 gallon tankers and moved along the Humakua Coast through Waimea, down the hill and south to the Kona airport. Once it arrived at the airport it was put into storage. The only storage was owned and or operated by the competition Century Aviation and Circle Rainbow Aviation. The Century tanks were acquired with the purchase of Hemmeter Aviation  in 1990 The other tanks were owned by Hawaiian Airlines but operated by Circle Rainbow  which was a contract that Bob Yosatis and I put together when we both were at CRA.

In order to be in BUSINESS in Kona, Bradley Pacific needed to find a way to have inventory of Jet-A. We could not offer services to transient aircraft without having fuel. Century and Circle Rainbow were convinced that we would not succeed .

We immediately started discussions with HI  DOT-Airports to develop a new Jet-A  fuel storage facility. We purchased 2 - 30,000 gal tanks and related pumps, valves and filtration. Even though BPA recognized the fuel facility would give us the best opportunity to expand our business we did not want to wait the many months before we were operational.

BPA had already open in Lihue (see BPA-Lihue)  and we were still waiting on additional newly manufactured fuel trucks.  The first additional trucks went to Lihue and freed up refueler BP-1.  

BPA got together with our good friends from Action Fuel (Maui), Nick Pechin and Jim Baker. Action Fuel transported Jet-A  from Kahului harbor to the airport and we discussed an operation on the Big Island that would put BPA in business sooner rather than later. We also needed Sunshine Helicopters to take on a key role on making this happen.

Another good friend, Mike Clark ( Clark's Petroleum Parts & Service) refurbished a military fuel transfer pump and filtration unit and we relocated it to Sunshine Helicopters Hapuna Heliport. Action Fuel operated their tanker from Hilo to Hapuna and BPA operated BP-1 between the Kona Airport and Hapuna.

The Hapuna Heliport was not the easiest to access, being a good ways up the hill, at the end of a winding road. 

We will always remember BP-1 as being that old beast of a truck that got us up and running. BP-1 was an old yellow military surplus fuel truck that sat on the south ramp in Honolulu for years with no interest by airport operators... until Bradley really needed a truck soon. Mike Clark took it in and did his magic.


BP-1 did well in Lihue being able to stay primarily on the airport ramp with access to the Tesoro airport fuel facility.  Kona was the long run (52 miles r/t) to Hapuna along Queen Ka'ahumananu Highway. The highway was one lane in each direction with many areas of no passing. BP-1 going out empty wasn't to bad. The refueler almost was able to get up to the 55 mph speed limit (going down hill) the return with 5,000 gals was something else. Most of the return trip was at 25 miles an hour with many miles done in the shoulder lane and in some cases just pulled over to let the frustrated motorist get on with their day. Terry Mooney was the primary driver making the fun run.

This exercise took hours to perform. Not only to drive the route but to transfer the fuel at the heliport. The transfer pump gallon per minute rate was far less than desired  but it allowed BPA be in business and for that we were grateful.

So we begin with BP-1, new fuel storage being constructed and we are in need of facilities that basically do not exist. 

The Kona Airport's Commuter Air Terminal was located just south of the cargo building. The building was made up of trailers (10' x 50') BPA was able to secure a 10' x 10' office from the DOT-A under a 30 day revocable permit. (revocable permits can last for many years but may be revoked with 30 days notice). We were able to secure additional 10' x 10' space at the CAT until we were able to secure a better space.

When United Airlines started.


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