Did You Know? The History of Kahului Airport’s OGG Code

September 15, 2014

589740_1Hawaiian Airlines is unveiling an exhibit featuring an aviation pioneer whose name explains Kahului Airport’s three-letter code.

The airport’s OGG code has stumped travelers who are unable to figure out what those letters have to do with Kahului.

Starting Monday, an exhibit on Bertram James “Jimmy” Hogg will give travelers some clarity about the code, while giving them a bit of Hawaii aviation history.

Hawaiian’s archivist and former airline pilot Rick Rogers says the code was named in Hogg’s honor because of his role in helping aviation authorities with new radio equipment on Maui.

Maui District Airports Manager Marvin Moniz said the question he’s asked most often is where the OGG code comes from and what does it have to do with Kahului. While many codes stand for the city an airport is located in, it can also stand for the person an airport is named after.

The Civil Aeronautics Authority established the code in 1957 in honor of Kauai-born Hogg, who helped aviation authorities with new radio equipment on Maui. Hogg decided on OGG instead of HOG, said Rick Rogers, Hawaiian’s archivist and a former pilot for the airline.

Hogg started as a mechanic helper when he was hired by Inter-Island Airways in 1930, Rogers said. The airline became Hawaiian Airlines in 1941. Hogg flew the first interisland airmail flights in 1934 and even trained other pilots, Rogers said.

At one point, Hogg was the only pilot in the company to be rated to fly with instruments, which regulators required at the end of the 1930s, Roger said.

Hogg went from piloting the “most primitive airplanes” and in the “lowest position possible” who eventually captained DC-9 jets, said Peter Forman, Honolulu Community College aviation program coordinator.

By the time Hogg retired in 1968, he was flying jets with more than 100 passengers.

A few days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Hogg moved important passengers such as plantation bosses and military officials from island to island. He flew without instruments because navigation aids were disabled after the attack.

Hogg continued to fly into Kahului Airport even after the code in his honor was established, but he didn’t make a big deal about it, Rogers said.

Hogg died at age 84 in 1992 in California, where he moved to after living on Oahu.

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