photo credit Tom Anusewicz
Honolulu Star Bulletin - July 15 1970
Tom Hanchett served as airport manager at Kahului, Maui for 16 years. I had the pleasure of working with him for a year before he retired. I enjoyed my meetings at his office in the old terminal. He sat behind his desk with his legs stretched out with his cowboy boots on the desk. We talked about airport operation but the conversation always turned to some of the by gone years in aviation.
A few more stories and articles below.
Tsunami May 7, 1986...almost
The word was spreading quickly of the pending tsunami. The airport was closing and being evacuated. The multitude of cars were heading up Haleakala Highway. I was on the east ramp and had just released the staff and was taking care of two private jets, one departure and one arrival. The departure went quickly. The arriving aircraft was coming to pickup passengers that were not going to be at the airport anytime soon. When the G-III came to a stop, I quickly went on board to advise of the approaching tsunami. They asked for my advise... I said get back up in the sky. They needed a bit more fuel which I hastily provided and as the door was closing they asked "What about you?" They said Get on board, we have never been to Hawaii, how about a tour!"
The G-III was flying at low level around the islands for over an hour or so. It was awesome! We circled all islands except for Kauai. Once we confirmed the little ripple of a wave had passed, we went back to OGG. Upon our return with clearance from Honolulu, because the Maui tower was closed, we were met by a very angry airport manager for landing at his "closed airport" Tom Hanchett was standing by as the airstair came down and was shocked as I came down off the aircraft. It was just a couple of hours ago we were communicating regarding airport operations during the airport closure. I told him that we had the "all clear" and approval from Honolulu to land. We shared a bit more of the afternoon events and left the airport to return the next day for more aviation adventures.
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.