First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#21

Post by Bell 407 » Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:47 pm

And here is ZWG landing on St Helena today. Pics from Greg De Klerk on AvCom :champion:

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#22

Post by Bell 407 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:17 am

Some more :running: :running:

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#23

Post by Bell 407 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:54 am




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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#24

Post by Bell 407 » Tue Apr 19, 2016 8:56 am

Just watch that video again - I tell you what, you need to have your finger out (or in) for those landings. Going to always be interesting me thinks :thinking:



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#25

Post by 87Juliet » Tue Apr 19, 2016 9:08 am

Bell 407 wrote:Just watch that video again - I tell you what, you need to have your finger out (or in) for those landings. Going to always be interesting me thinks :thinking:


Was thinking exactly that whilst watching the vid now.... That wind is hardcore and looks like it swirls properly in the threshold area...

Also looked like they had a little power loss on the first fly by... Those wings were flapping properly to get going again!


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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#26

Post by Moertoe Pilut » Tue Apr 19, 2016 4:18 pm

Was this an official inaugural flight or just like a test run? When will Comair start the schedule service?


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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#27

Post by Bell 407 » Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:31 am

Moertoe Pilut wrote:Was this an official inaugural flight or just like a test run? When will Comair start the schedule service?

It's a proving run Moertoe to see how all the stuff works and to give the locals some practice. Also they would be doing touch-and-goes to get a feel for the roller-coaster landings that are to be expected.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#28

Post by Bell 407 » Thu May 12, 2016 8:04 am

St Helena Airport is now certified

Another major milestone for St Helena Airport was achieved yesterday afternoon, Tuesday 10 May 2016, when Air Safety Support International (ASSI) issued an Aerodrome Certificate to St Helena Airport – having been satisfied that the Airport infrastructure, aviation security measures and air traffic control service complies with international aviation safety and security standards. This follows a final inspection of the Airport by an ASSI team last month.

Airport Certification is a significant achievement for any airport and even more so for a brand new airport. But it is an ongoing process. St Helena’s first Aerodrome Certificate is valid until 9 November 2016, at which point the Airport will need to be re-certified.

Airport Certification from ASSI and operational readiness are parallel processes – so wind shear and turbulence mitigation is a separate issue which does not affect the certification of St Helena Airport.
The commencement of flights is an operational readiness issue. Work is continuing in parallel on operational readiness at St Helena Airport, including the work that is now underway to manage issues of turbulence and wind shear experienced by the Comair Implementation Flight.

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#29

Post by bmused55 » Thu May 12, 2016 12:22 pm

First jet?
Weren't RAF Vulcans and Victors gathered there for that awesome assault on the Falklands?



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#30

Post by Bell 407 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:04 am

The £250m island airport where jets can't land because it is too windy

An airport built with £250million from the ballooning foreign aid budget risks becoming a white elephant because it is too windy to land there safely, it was claimed yesterday.

A royal opening at the airport on the remote island of St Helena has been postponed indefinitely after test flights raised safety concerns.

The cliff-top landing strip was built with £250million from the Department for International Development to help boost the tiny island in the South Atlantic, which is Britain’s most remote overseas territory.

It is home to around 4,000 people. It was due to be opened by Prince Edward last month but the start of commercial flights has been delayed after trials with a Boeing 737-800 revealed a problem with turbulence and windshear on the runway approach.

Windshear is a sudden powerful change in wind direction which can destabilise or even flip large aircraft and has been responsible for crashes around the world. Former Tory party treasurer Lord Ashcroft said he was recently forced to abandon a planned visit to the island because of ‘serious concerns that the airport is too dangerous to use’.

Writing on the Conservative Home website, he said: ‘Although aviation experts are working hard to try to find a solution to the windshear problems, there is a real danger that the airport could become a hugely expensive white elephant and a terrible embarrassment to the British Government.’

The airport had been touted as a lifeline for residents and businesses on St Helena, which is about a third of the size of the Isle of Wight and lies in the South Atlantic, some 1,200 miles west from the African mainland and 1,800 miles east from Brazil.

It can currently only be reached by sea, and the ageing Royal Mail ship St Helena is to be retired, leaving the islanders cut off. It was hoped the airport, with a weekly service from Johannesburg and a monthly flight from the UK, would boost tourism and prevent job losses and population decline.

But video of the first test flight by Comair, a British Airways subsidiary in South Africa, shows the 737 lurching from side to side and it was forced to abort its first attempt at landing.

Lord Ashcroft said the pilot of his private jet, Larry Erd, had flown in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan but had warned against trying to fly to St Helena.

The pilot said windshear was one of the biggest causes of fatal air accidents and told Lord Ashcroft: ‘St Helena clearly has a serious problem with windshear.’ A test pilot who had made the landing was said to have described it as ‘hair-raising’.

Plans for the airport were approved by the Labour government but put on hold by Gordon Brown in 2008 after the financial crisis. The Tory-led coalition approved the scheme soon after it came to power and it was funded with £250million from DfID, the largest single investment it has made in any of Britain’s overseas territories.

Officials had hoped encouraging tourism to the island would make it less dependent on aid. It currently receives more than £25million a year under Britain’s obligations to its overseas territories. Work on the airport began in 2012.

Lord Ashcroft said delays to the project had left many of the island’s businesses struggling, and had affected the delivery of food and other vital supplies.

He said one resident, Hazel Wilmot, 60, had invested more than £2million into buying and renovating an 18th century hotel which now lay empty.

Former British Airways pilot Brian Heywood said he had warned David Cameron and the then International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell about the windshear problem, and said trying to run scheduled flights would be an ‘operational shambles’.

In a letter to the St Helena Independent, he said: ‘If an airport is built on the edge of a near-vertical 1,000ft cliff, the prevailing wind is bound to cause problems.’

He added: ‘To grumble about windshear at St Helena airport is a bit like grumbling about the heat in a newly built Sahara airfield in the summer. It is entirely predictable.’

The St Helena government said it was taking ‘specific steps’ to combat the problems with turbulence and wind shear. It added: ‘Every effort is being made to start airport operations at the earliest opportunity.

‘However, safety is paramount and we will not commence commercial operations until we are satisfied with every aspect of airport operations.’

Since 2004, Britain’s foreign aid budget has rocketed by 144 per cent to £13.2billion to meet the Government target of 0.7 per cent of GDP. This means that, proportionally, it spends almost twice as much of its national wealth on aid as any other G7 nation.

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#31

Post by Bell 407 » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:05 am

Could become a White Elephant if the wind issues can't be sorted. Even though the article is pretty dramatic, they do have an issue there.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#32

Post by Raffles » Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:45 am

I don't think they will be able to do anything about the wind....maybe Gore has a solution as he can change the planet's climate, just sayin'....



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#33

Post by 87Juliet » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:40 pm

The pilot made five safety recommendations for any crew planning to land at St Helena and concluded: “I hesitate to dramatize however it is both my and co-pilot (my colleague in the cockpit) opinion that a landing could not have been carried out by any aircraft on [runway] 20 yesterday at the time we flew…”

The pilot, a South African called Larry Beamish and a veteran aerobatics display team member, told friends that his experience had been “hair-raising” and he said of conditions “some days [are] good, others very scary!”

I have also obtained a report from Comair, a South African-based airline, whose pilot carried out flights at St Helena, also in clear weather conditions, on April 18 and 19. The pilot reported that, on three successive approaches to his first landing, he encountered significant turbulence.

In fact, he aborted his first attempted landing, later writing: “Once again turbulence started at 350 feet AGL [Above Ground Level] soon followed by significant gust, loss of airspeed and sinking feeling and minor wing drop. The aircraft triggered a windshear caution.”

The Comair pilot also made a series of conclusions including: “Approaches onto RWY [runway] 20 with any wind above 20 knots are not suitable for Comair operations. No gust should be tolerated.”

The Comair jet’s arrival at St Helena was video recorded from the ground. The footage shows the pilot make an initial approach with his landing gear up to assess the conditions. However, the pilot’s second approach, with the landing gear down, encountered such significant problems with turbulence and windshear that he aborted his landing at the last moment. His third approach to the runway resulted in a successful landing, but only after he briefed his crew that if he felt unable to land safely on that approach, the aircraft would head to an alternative airport in Windhoek, Namibia, more than 1,300 miles and three hours flying time away.

There is a military airport on Ascension Island, some 800 miles and two hours’ flight time from St Helena, but I understand that this can only be used by civilian aircraft in emergencies.

The footage of the Comair pilot’s three approaches to St Helena can be viewed on Youtube.

Comair, which has close ties to British Airways, had been due to start operating weekly passenger flights from Johannesburg, but these have been postponed indefinitely because of the safety concerns at St Helena airport. Atlantic Star Airlines, which hopes to run monthly flights from the UK, has also put its flights on hold....

commend both companies for behaving so responsibly in putting passenger safety before their commercial considerations. Sources on the island say that aviation experts are looking at operating different aircraft – those able to stop more quickly on a runway – as well as methods of countering the windshear.

The two jet pilots that encountered difficult landings were apparently only the second and third aircraft to land on St Helena. The first test flight was conducted by a twin-engine turbo-prop aircraft on September 15 2015. Video recorded from the cockpit provides a fascinating insight into the challenge the runway provides to pilots. The footage has been posted on Youtube by the St Helena Government.

A short write-up, accompanying the footage, says the plane was “making history”. What it does not say is that, like the pilots of the two jets, the pilots of these initial test flight also encountered “significant turbulence and windshear”.

After making some money as an entrepreneur, I am in the privileged position of having a private jet. Larry Erd, 65, is my chief pilot and he has flown me for 25 years, including into war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet, last week, as he was trying to finalise our flight to St Helena, he had major reservations about trying to land the jet on the island. His concerns were shared by Mark Jacobson, his co-captain, who has more than 18,000 hours of flight time and who is a former aerobatics champion.

“Having looked into everything, St Helena clearly has a serious problem with windshear,” Larry told me. “The best policy towards windshear is avoidance because it claims lives. It is one of the biggest causes of fatal accidents in the air.”

Larry explained that any pilot flying to St Helena would have to take enough extra fuel to enable him (or her) to fly on to alternative airports in Africa and this extra fuel caused its own problems. “Extra fuel is heavy and it increases your landing distance,” he said.

“If you are in a boat and it is rough, you can see the large waves and the swell. The trouble with windshear for pilots is that when it hits, you can’t see it and you don’t really know exactly what you are going to encounter. The two pilots who have made their reports say it is fine approaching the runway until you get to about 350 feet and then it [windshear] can be instantaneous and severe.”

Larry, who obtained his pilot’s licence in 1969, said: “I can’t remember any other airport that I was this concerned about. I don’t know what can be done, if anything, to solve the problem. I am a pilot not an airport designer. But there has to be a question mark over whether St Helena can ever operate a viable airport in the future.”

Windshear is usually associated with jet streams, mountain waves, frontal surfaces and thunderstorms. In St Helena, it appears that the windshear is caused by the unique, rugged topography of the island.

Air Safety Support International (ASSI), a subsidiary of the Civil Aviation Authority, is responsible for aviation regulations in the British Overseas Territories. ASSI issued an Aerodrome Certificate to St Helena Airport last month having been satisfied with its security and other operational standards. However, the airport stressed that issues of turbulence and windshear were still being investigated.

A spokesman for the St Helena Government said: “Airport Certification from ASSI and operational readiness are parallel processes – so windshear and turbulence mitigation is a separate issue.”

The spokesman said that measures were ongoing to “manage” turbulence and windshear, adding: “Every effort is being made to start airport operations at the earliest opportunity. However, safety is paramount and we will not commence commercial operations until we are satisfied with every aspect of airport operations.”

Who now wants to take responsibility and declare unequivocally that St Helena airport is a “safe” location on which to land? Will enough tourists be willing to take the risk of flying to the island now that they know the major safety concerns aired by several experienced pilots?

I do not wish to get into the “blame game” over which organisation, or organisations, should have identified the windshear issues earlier and therefore carried out more tests ahead of the runway construction. Instead, my immediate concern lies with the islanders and the hardships they are facing to their day-to-day lives.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#34

Post by Bell 407 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:55 pm

First Medical Evacuation Flight Lands on St Helena

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A Baby Needs Urgent Medical Care | Sharon Henry

We are witnessing history at St Helena Airport once again. A Dassault Falcon 20 jet aircraft has landed safely for the island’s first emergency medical evacuation by air. This comes just a day after British Conservative Peer, Lord Michael Ashcroft published an article citing St Helena Airport as ‘dangerous.’

St Helena Government stated today in a press release, that a baby ‘needing urgent medical care’ is to be taken to Cape Town.

Successful Landing On First Attempt

The recently certified airport has made this service possible and the infant should reach the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town within hours, instead of five days by ship, as has been the case before now.

Gwyneth Howell, Head of Operations St Helena Airport told us, “We activated the evacuation last night (Thursday). They made a decision this morning. They flew through to Walvis (Namibia), then from Walvis through to the airport and landed successfully on runway 02 without even doing a missed approach.”

Africa’s Air Ambulance Service

The Dassault Falcon 20 jet aircraft which landed has been customised by South African air ambulance company, Guardian Air. The medical team on onboard are part of the ER24 Emergency Medical Services, also based in South Africa.

“It’s a fairly elderly aircraft,” said Gwyneth, “but quite reliable, especially for these long ranges. It’s quite suitable for this type of trip.”

The team on board brought their own medical equipment which was immediately taken to the hospital in Jamestown and will be used to support the patient during the flight out. This saves limited hospital equipment leaving the island with a patient.

ETOPS Calls For Overnight Stay

The Falcon 20 touched down from a southern approach at 13:53 pm (GMT). We noticed a slight ‘wobble’ just before landing. However, Gwyneth was told by the pilot, “the landing was perfect, the weather was perfect.”

As a safety precaution the aircraft won’t make the journey to Cape Town until tomorrow, Saturday, taking into consideration ETOPS and daylight flying amongst other things.

Saints’ Number One Reason For Air Access

Although certified, the official opening of St Helena Airport has been stalled because of wind shear problems. The Falcon 20 is therefore only the fourth fixed winged aircraft to land on the new runway since the very first airplane landed in September 2015.

Because of this delay, the RMS St Helena continues to be the only means of travel, to and from the island. The next call of the ship is scheduled for 28 June (3 weeks and 4 days time) as she is away on an extended one-off voyage to UK.

Many Saints will tell you their paramount reason for wanting an airport is to facilitate faster medical evacuations. This flight landing is therefore a defining moment in St Helena’s history.

“I’m very proud of the team,” said Gwyneth after today’s smooth operation. “All I can say to the Saints is well done, you’ve got an awesome airport and it’s gonna work.”

What The Saints Did Next



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#35

Post by Bell 407 » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:56 pm

And done by a Safrican bird nogal :clap: :clap: But have a look at the clip. Short finals were still a bit "woobly" :thinking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY_2VJTaKFU&feature=youtu.be



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#36

Post by Moertoe Pilut » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:36 pm

I can't see what the big whoohaa is about this place. Madeira is just as windy/crappy.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#37

Post by Raffles » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:44 pm

Moertoe Pilut wrote:I can't see what the big whoohaa is about this place. Madeira is just as windy/crappy.


Madeira has closer alternates?



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#38

Post by Moertoe Pilut » Sun Jun 05, 2016 8:54 pm

The big deal seems to be the "wind" not so much as finding a closer alternate. I know the wind really pumps in Madeira also...



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#39

Post by Bell 407 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:54 am

St Helena flights still ‘on the cards’

Although flights to St Helena are technically safe to operate, CEO of Comair, Erik Venter, says the airline cannot legally operate a commercially viable scheduled service under the landing restrictions currently placed on the airport.

After conducting a series of trial flights on April 18, the airline experienced wind shear (change in wind speed and/or direction over a short distance) on the northern approach of the runway – the ideal approach to land. “The wind shear causes too much turbulence when landing,” says Erik.


“We could land from other end of the runway (southern approach) but then wind would be behind the aircraft and this would mean we would need a longer runway,” he says, adding that, although there is sufficient runway length to land, the restrictions on the airport do not allow the Boeing 737-800 – the aircraft with which Comair has been contracted by the UK government to operate a weekly scheduled service to St Helena – to use more of the runway.


Part of the airline’s contract with the UK government is that it flies 80 passengers a week to the island.

Technically, a Boeing 737-800 could land from a southern approach, but under the current regulations it would need to be weight restricted, meaning there would be fewer passengers on board, says Ian Jones spokesperson for the St Helena government. “This then gives rise to a number of commercial considerations,” says the spokesperson.

“Flights could be operated with a smaller aircraft like an Embraer 135 with about 40 seats,” says Erik, but if the airline were to do that, cost per seat would double. “Ticket prices would be horrendous – about R20 000 – R30 000 a ticket,” he says.

Although the St Helena government is currently exploring options to put in place an interim service for aircraft that can land from a southern approach, the airport aims to commence operations from a northern approach in the long term.

“No date has been set yet for the commencement of a scheduled air service as we are currently in ongoing commercial discussions with Comair,” the spokesperson says.

Flights to St Helena were originally scheduled to launch May 20.

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#40

Post by Bell 407 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:55 am

Bell 407 wrote:“Flights could be operated with a smaller aircraft like an Embraer 135 with about 40 seats,” says Erik, but if the airline were to do that, cost per seat would double. “Ticket prices would be horrendous – about R20 000 – R30 000 a ticket,” he says.

:yikes:



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