First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#41

Post by great dane » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:48 am

Bell 407 wrote:
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:

Doesn't add up to me, but then I am also not smart enough to run an airline. How can a 737-800 with 80 pax be cheaper than a full Embraer 135 as mentioned in article :scratchhead:

Although I don't see how a full E135 would ever make it there even with a stop at Walvisbay.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#42

Post by Bell 407 » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:15 am

Safety fears over fluctuating winds blowing across South Atlantic island

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An explosive end to a foreign aid shambles? Mountain top could be BLOWN UP to stop freak winds which prevent planes from landing at a £300m South Atlantic airport funded by British taxpayers

It was labelled the 'worst foreign aid project in living memory': a £300 million airport funded by British taxpayers – where planes couldn't land.

Now, in a bid to solve the problem of wildly fluctuating winds at the clifftop airfield on the tiny island of St Helena, desperate officials plan to blow the top off a mountain to make the airport safer.

The drastic move is one option being discussed to counter wind shear – vicious changes in wind speed and direction – at the airport on the British territory in the South Atlantic.

In a bid to solve the problem of wildly fluctuating winds at the clifftop airfield (pictured) on the tiny island of St Helena, desperate officials plan to blow the top off a mountain to make the airport safer

Authorities had hoped the problem could be fixed quickly, but engineers are now understood to be considering blowing up King and Queen Rock, a peak on the side of the northern approach to the runway, to reduce the danger risk.

This would take months and involve moving thousands of tons of rock.

Last night the Department for International Development (DFID) said it had appointed an internal expert to review the project, though it refused to confirm or deny whether dynamiting was a viable option.

Daily Mail



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#43

Post by Bell 407 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:34 pm

Is Atlantic Star The Solution To St Helena Airport Wind Shear?

AIR TRAVEL IS AT ST HELENA’S DOOR | Darrin Henry

Islanders on St Helena starved of information for more than six months concerning the fate of air access, saw despair brushed aside by the heroic, entrepreneurial spirit of Atlantic Star’s commercial airline ambition, when they coolly landed an AVRO RJ100 jet plane at the island’s much maligned airport.

Flying A Big Jet Into St Helena

The four-engine, British made aircraft designed for short take-off and landing operations completed the 700 mile, two hour flight from Ascension Island, landing first time on runway 02, the southern approach with a tail wind of approx 6 knots. The flight is actually being operated by Tronos Aviation Leasing. From the perspective of an untrained eye the landing looked as smooth as you could wish for, confirmed later by Atlantic Star Director, Richard Brown.

“It was pretty straight forward actually. We got visual of the island about 10-15 miles out. …then we had the opportunity to remain over the sea and we could just fly straight round onto the final for runway 02 and it was fine. Nothing much really to say about it.”

Fifteen minutes later, having disembarked most of the 13 non-commercial passengers, the aircraft taxied back out onto the runway, took off, circled round and this time landed from the opposite end, on runway 20, the northern approach which has been plagued by wind shear. In cross winds of approx 18 knots this was also completed without a problem.

“…we were completely on the published profile for the runway and it was fine.”

One witness became quite emotional as we looked on. I completely understood. The gloom that had descended around us over the last six months was suddenly lifted; the dream was on again it seemed.

The Wind Shear Factor

A little over a year ago, islanders had finally dared to believe that air travel was possible when the first ever airplane landed at the brand new St Helena airport; a small, twin prop, Beechcraft King Air 200.

Six months later, barely a month before the official grand opening, a commercial aircraft test flight by a Comair operated British Airways 737-800, dramatically wobbled and bobbled on final approach before aborting the landing just a few feet from the runway. A second attempt was successful; however, the phenomenon of wind shear had raised its ugly head in front of an audience that reached around the world via YouTube.

Everything was put on hold as problem solving began. But islanders who had been urged for years to start businesses and prepare for the age of air travel and an influx of tourists have been left in the dark as to the progress of this problem solving. Wind data was being collected and analysed – that’s been it, just about.

Of course there have been plenty of rumours.

Any suggestion the airport is not open is quickly quashed by the St Helena Government who insist it is indeed, open. However, when Saints and friends of St Helena voted, campaigned and even marched in London for air access, none of us envisioned an “open” airport to be one that none of us could afford to use.

So poor has been the flow of information that during a formal sitting of Legislative Council in July, Councillor, Lawson Henry, delivered a stinging criticism of the government’s failure to communicate honestly with elected members and thus the public. “The morale on the island could not be any worse,” said Mr Henry, in reference to the effects of poor information sharing.

Such has been the ongoing ramifications of wind shear.

But today, 21 October, 2016, hope is alive again following the successful arrival of Atlantic Star and the Avro RJ100 jet.

Who Is Atlantic Star

In 2005 when Captain, Richard Brown, a British Airways pilot, heard about St Helena’s airport ambitions he was intrigued and spread a map on his kitchen table to learn more. The Atlantic Star adventure had begun.

Recruiting like-minded aviation and travel enthusiasts, a team was formed and the idea developed further.

In 2013, Director, Andrew Radford visited St Helena spreading a positive message about the company’s ambitions.

Atlantic Star went on to submit a bid to operate the scheduled air service from the island to Johannesburg but were unsuccessful, losing out to South African airline and British Airways’ franchisee, Comair.

Disappointed but still determined, Atlantic Star pushed on, partnering with TUIfly Airlines to ‘borrow’ a Boeing 737-800 and announcing a set of charter flights to St Helena, direct from UK, with a technical stop (refuelling) along the way. This direct option appealed to many Saints and a lot of bookings were made.

When the Comair, 737-800 test flight in April 2016 encountered severe wind shear, everyone’s plans were dashed, including Atlantic Star’s.

But they didn’t give up. Through contacts and business links, Atlantic Star seized on an opportunity to piggy-back on an Avro RJ100’s delivery flight from Europe to Chile and divert from the route for two days to come to St Helena.

Against all the odds this relentless team have boldly seized the initiative; they’re replaced six months of despondency with hope by parking a large white and red Avro RJ100 outside the airport terminal – twice!

The AVRO RJ100 Landing On St Helena

Two very experienced captains from Atlantic Airways (yes, a similar name) based in the Faroe Islands were at the controls today: Captain, Hjalgrim Magnussen and in the role of first officer for this flight, Hans Christian Petersen. Both are natives of the Faroe Islands giving them a real empathy for St Helena’s isolation.

Captain Magnussen told me although they did notice wind shear today it wasn’t much, it would need to be “more windy conditions” to compare to what they experience back home.

“If you have an airline that is set up for ‘normal’ conditions then they will have criteria that they will have to adhere to which will make the operation into a special place like St Helena a problem for them,” said Captain Magnussen.

He went on to explain that, like the Faroe Islands, St Helena’s airport requires specialist pilots used to flying in windy conditions. “They will be more adaptable, and it would be easier for them to get an operation up and running into a place like St Helena.”

I asked: Would you be confident that, with that type of plane it is possible to provide a good air service.

“Yes, absolutely.”

I also asked Richard Brown about the stopping distance of the Avro RJ100, as it travelled the length of the runway before turning around, albeit at a continually slowing pace.

“I think the rule breaking distance we calculated was 780 metres, against 1550.”

He compared their stop to how we stop a car at a junction, gradually rather than hammering the brakes.

“We feathered the brakes. We could have stopped much quicker than we did, but why would you heat the brakes up that way? So the raw distance was 780 metres, it would be more than that with 50 passengers on board. But bear in mind the aircraft weighs about 20 tons empty.”

Richard ran through a few rough calculations demonstrating the tolerances were very good.

“That’s why this aircraft is great for this. It’s small, it’s rugged, it’s got great braking. It’s got everything you need for this mission.”

What Happens Next?

This particular Avro aircraft is actually being delivered to a buyer in Chile, South America. The owner, Adrian Noskwith, was enthused by the idea of the St Helena project and has supported this little excursion.

At a public meeting at the Consulate Hotel tonight, the visiting team were greeted with applause from a large crowd who came to hear them speak and answer questions.

Although the flight was able to come via Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island, permission was a one-off affair; despite being a British island, the runway is an American military facility and not open to scheduled commercial operations.

Atlantic Star reported an enthusiastic welcome and superb assistance from everyone on Ascension, including from the Americans. However, if our neighbouring island is to become a hub as part of St Helena’s air access solution, a more permanent agreement needs to be reached soon.

In terms of a service schedule, Atlantic Star’s initial proposal is to establish a twice weekly shuttle flight to Ascension Island, carrying approximately 50 of the Avro’s 100 passenger capacity. This reduced number allows good safe margins landing at St Helena in tail winds up to 15 knots. The idea is for connections to be made with the RAF passenger flights to the UK.

This is just a starting point; there would be plenty of scope to then develop the service with more frequent flights and also acquiring a second, modified aircraft for longer range links to both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Increased flights mean more efficient use of the aircraft.

The aircraft would be based on St Helena and therefore available as a 24/7 medevac option if required.

If the go-ahead was given today, Atlantic Star says they could be operational by the (northern hemisphere) spring.

I asked about fares, but the team were reluctant to give a figure at this moment, except to say prices will match market expectations. A multitude of factors make it impossible to nail down a figure this far out.

There is a clear buzz of excitement with people for the first time since that ‘wind shear day’ in April. The demonstration of commitment from Atlantic Star to provide an air service to St Helena has been extremely impressive.

Who Is Paying For The Atlantic Star Flight?

Last week, via email, Atlantic Star had agreed to my request to photograph the interior of the aircraft for our blog. I was excited. But with a couple of days to go, SHG stepped in to put a stop to this on the grounds of security. They had decided, however, they would go on board to take pictures themselves for distribution to the press.

This exertion of control led me to assume SHG had financed the flight. Reporter’s due diligence and all, I asked Richard Brown how much SHG had contributed to the visit.

“Nothing, not a penny,” was the surprising reply. “Not a single penny. We’ve paid full price for the fuel. We haven’t had to pay immigration fees because we’re all crew. But no, it’s completely unsupported… most of it is Adrian. This is us doing it off our own back.”

When Does Air Travel Start For St Helena?

So, the St Helena Airport has reached another juncture in its short but eventful life. There is renewed hope. Seeing really is believing and today the whole island saw possibilities again.

St Helena has been treated to the visit of proactive, aviation enthusiasts, infectious with their belief. These guys have laid their cards on the table – put their money where their mouth is.

It would be really helpful to know if there are any other comparable solutions being considered.

Richard Brown and his Atlantic Star dream have been knocking on St Helena’s door for 11 years now. Is anyone else knocking? Is anyone going to open the door?

I hope it’s not too long before we learn the answers.

What The Saints Did Next



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#44

Post by Bell 407 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:34 pm

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#45

Post by Bell 407 » Sat Oct 22, 2016 5:35 pm

[bbvideo=560,315]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsIEmiSskMI[/bbvideo]



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#46

Post by 87Juliet » Sat Oct 22, 2016 6:20 pm

What was the wind when that RJ went through the motions?


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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#47

Post by Raffles » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:04 pm

They mustn't destroy the landscape though. (from the remark that they are looking at demolishing one of the hills)



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#48

Post by Raffles » Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:09 pm

Maybe the RJ is the right plane for the job? I dunno any of the specs.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#49

Post by Moertoe Pilut » Sun Oct 23, 2016 2:46 am

Never did get what the big deal was all about, Madeira is similar to St Helena....



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#50

Post by Bell 407 » Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:46 am

Well it seems that other types are finding it OK to fly too. Here PP-XMA Embraer ERJ-190 doing circuits yesterday. I hope Comair manage to get their stuff sorted out regarding their 738's flying there in future :thinking:

Due to the short landing capability it can land with a tail wind avoiding the turbulence on the other runway.


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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#51

Post by Bell 407 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:28 am

RAF C-130 Hercules: First Military Flight Lands At St Helena Airport

Only A Short Runway Needed

A decent crowd turned out for this early Sunday afternoon treat, lining the roadsides and regular viewing points around the Millennium Forest. We took up station a little further along, on the end of Horse Point ridge, an hour before ETA. Perfect conditions it seemed, warm with very little wind. After setting up the tripod we settled in for the wait, munching on some tasty but slightly ‘toasted’ mince pies Sharon had made this morning.

We heard the distinctive C-130 propeller growl before we spotted the aircraft itself, north, just out to sea from The Barn. Wheels up on this ‘runway 20’ approach, it was clear this was going to be a fly-by for the Herc, which it did, then turned around and made its second approach on ‘runway 02,’ the southern side. Wheels down this time, the plane did a much lower pass, not quite a touch and go, but no doubt a landing would have been a doddle had they wanted to.

Acutal landing was done on the third approach, from the north end, ‘runway 20,’ or The Barn end, as locals will know it.

From our position at Horse Point it looked as easy as you like, but then it’s what you would expect from a C-130. The aircraft didn’t touch down until half way up the runway and seemed to come to a stop almost immediately, turning directly into the taxi-way, not needing the extra length to slow down. The most difficult thing for me was tracking the plane as it camouflaged so well against the rocky background of King and Queen Rock.

HMS St Helena the Aircraft Carrier

The sight of such an iconic aircraft on St Helena will no doubt be fuel for the military conspiracy theorists. I remember first hearing opinions voiced at local public information meetings 10 years ago that this airport was being built for the military.

Following on from the recent successful Atlantic Star flight in October and Brazil’s, Embraer Aviation tests earlier this month, here’s what we know about today’s C-130 visit.

The aircraft has flown down from Ascension Island, 700 miles north-west of St Helena.

It’s a Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules, operated by the Royal Air Force.

St Helena Government and Airport authorities have informed us the flight has been commissioned by the Department for International Development (DfID) and will be here for a day, returning to Ascension tomorrow.

The purpose of the visit is to conduct an assessment of the operating and landing conditions at St Helena Airport.

The crew are not doing any media while they are here.

Keep Calm, We’re British

Back to the military base speculation.

Was St Helena Airport built for the British military? I don’t think so somehow.

Would the military make use of the island’s airport in the event of a conflict or crisis in this part of the world? Well yes, I expect they would.

St Helena’s a British island after all and supporting the military is nothing new. From the days of Napoleon’s exile to more recent times when the island’s ship was seconded to support the Falklands war effort. Saints also serve in the British forces.

What The Saints Did Next



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#52

Post by Bell 407 » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:29 am

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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#53

Post by great dane » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:19 pm

Lovely pics :cool2:

Going to be interesting to see what and when something happens on the scheduled flights.



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#54

Post by Bell 407 » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:22 pm

Probably been a good idea that such a variety of types have landed there to show that it can work. Not sure if Comair will win with this going forward :thinking:



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Re: First aircraft landing on St Helena Island

#55

Post by Raffles » Wed Dec 21, 2016 4:36 pm

Since the ships have stopped, surely their imports have to come by air? Or is the island still being serviced by shipping?



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