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Scilly Isles Route

Old 19th Jun 2012, 07:50
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The British Antartic Survey Dash 7 landed on St.Marys 4 years ago for a crew change.

The Brymon Dash 7 never landed at St.Marys.
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Old 19th Jun 2012, 13:22
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What do you mean "the Brymon Dash 7"?

Brymon operated THREE Dash 7's!!!
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Old 5th Jul 2012, 09:22
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Hi, found this thread whilst trying to do some research into possible alternatives to the Twin Otters operating out of St Mary's.
The local authority have just published a report on works at the airfield (primarily to resurface the main runway) but they investigated extending the runway to 1000m (not going to happen).
I remember being told that a Dash 7 would in theory be able to operate if the extensions at either end of the runway were widened to full width - bringing the runway length to 690m.
Having done some more reading (and speaking to someone that had Dash 7s advertised for ACMI lease) it seems its just not an option (not least because there just aren't any in the EU - but also because they would likely need to apply EASA-OPS meaning they would need 1000m anyway)

If anyone is interested, the report is here. (note I am NOTHING to do with either the authority, the airport or the airlines, just a resident who relies on the transport link to commute.

http://committees.scilly.gov.uk/mgCo...px?ID=629&T=10

As an aside, someone did bring a Dash 7 in for an Air Show when I was a kid, they landed it and it stayed most of the day for people to look at and left in the afternoon. I believe it was a Brymon one (they were still operating the Twin Otters on the route at the time).
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Old 7th Jul 2012, 10:06
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Ah, yes. Is was before the days of the tarmac runway.

Would be interested if anyone has any info on the minimum runway for a Dash 7 (assuming you could source one) - if you had, say, 700m, would it be doable for passengers? would you need to reduce the payload? or is it just impossible with current regs?
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Old 8th Jul 2012, 09:53
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Get the Missionary Air Fellowship from PNG on the route - those guys can land anywhere
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Old 8th Jul 2012, 09:57
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They also have quite a few crashes as well Harry.

A beech 1900D could more than likely get a decent load out. But they are extremely expensive compared to the twotter.

Let410 although slow (but a bit faster than the twotter) could also be an option.
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Old 8th Jul 2012, 10:05
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yes but the Scilly islands aren't anywhere as basic as upcountry PNG - no 10,000ft mountains IIRC
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Old 8th Jul 2012, 14:29
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So what if a 25+ year old DHC7 were able to shift a week's worth of ISC punters inside an hour or few ..... what would one(s) then utilse the (215kt cruising speed) flying combine harvester for when compared to it's (Q400) modern day 'child' that enjoys a cruising speed of some 360kt?
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Old 9th Jul 2012, 16:09
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To be honest, it's more about whether there are options for larger/more efficient/faster/longer range aircraft that could use an (extended) runway that is more feasible than the 1000m in the report. The reason for asking about the Dash 7 is it's one I remember being mentioned in the past (another someone has mentioned is the Dornier-228).

As far as the age and availability of the aircraft, fair point, but the otters and S61 on the route currently aren't exactly spanking new either as far as I understand it (and at least you can get parts for the DHC aircraft now Viking have the type certificates, I am not sure you can say the same of the S61)

Utilisation? yeah would be a problem, but I don't think you would be shifting everyone in a couple of flights a week, certainly in the summer - and if the S61 stops, there are a significant number of passengers that I am not sure could be shifted with the otters and islanders even running flat out all day.

Of course, that is only looking at existing numbers, I doubt there are many that opt for the Bristol - IOS route currently as it costs 'from' 115 each way vs 'from' 60 if you fly from lands end (although 180 and 80 respectively seem more 'usual') - if there were an aircraft that could do it cheaper, maybe there would be more interest.
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Old 9th Jul 2012, 20:22
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Dooby,

The DHC6 'Twotter' is what it is, it can fly from wheels, floats, ski's etc. and atleast it is back in production so one may acquire new one(s).

The DHC7, with little more than 100 manufactured, was hardly a roaring success however it had it's day when turboprops such as F27's, HS748's, HP7's, VC8's had their cruising speeds at circa 200-240kts with the DHC7's own cruising speed of circa 215kts.

But technology has moved on with modern day turboprops enjoying cruising speeds of circa 350kts so a DHC7 would be pretty much unfavourable with operators and passengers alike unless in and out of short strip airfield(s) where nothing faster could operate.

But unless they are to build hotel complexes etc. on the Scillies then how could a 50 seater 'museum piece' be utilised dusk till dawn for six or seven days per week?

It was great technology to develop a 50 seater that could land on a sixpence, it would keep the spotters entralled for hours, but for this day and age it's a slow and somewhat uncomfortable to ride in museum piece.

You mention the Do228, like the DHC6 the Do228 is also back in production, similar size to the Twotter but faster cruising speed with wheels that go up and down ... but it needs circa 800m of runway!
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Old 9th Jul 2012, 21:55
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It goes without question that the airport on St Marys is need of modernisation but even my friends in high places are unsure why plans have been considered for a runway extension. A seaward extension will never become a reality, the duchy won't allow that eye saw on a site of natural beuty, never mind the residents. Although European funding looks to be available and if so the extension will go ahead.

As your aware the airfield is shut on a Sunday giving an oppurtunity to explore the site. The runway is and always has been in need of resurfacing to bring it upto speed with some of the latest friction and grip techniques and at a small price that can be acheieved, the same with the cross runway, asphalting the grass end has always been on the cards, according to my sources, improvements to the runway at a cost of 400,000 would significantly increase aircraft performance.

My idea with the extension would be to allow the interest of a certain Let410 operator in the UK to expand their network but given the exclusiveness of the airport I cant see the council or locals ever allowing another operator in the, same with having based aircraft as the report mentions about Twin Otters and new hangerage. Looking out from the Hugh Town pier, I'm sure a new RFS wouldn't look to pleasing!

Last edited by PlymouthPixie; 9th Jul 2012 at 22:09.
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 16:36
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Phileas,
"unless in and out of short strip airfield(s) where nothing faster could operate" So, an airfield like St Marys then?

Yes the speed may be only around 200kts, but what is the Twin Otter? around 100-150? OK, only marginally faster, but faster all the same.

I realise it may be a stretch to fill the aircraft to capacity dawn till dusk 6 days a week, but the passenger numbers aren't that small at present, and if the S61 route was to go there is certainly scope.


PlymouthPixie,
My first impressions of the extension in the report were that it looked like the report was written by someone wanting to make the idea of an extension seem utterly ridiculous and put in the most extreme example to make it look laughable. The aircraft used in the example still couldn't land (or rather take off) on the 1000m runway. I would have hoped to have seen examples of what *could* land and take off at 700m, 800m 900m as examples, and not be restricted to aircraft currently flown by operators in the region, why not do something that would allow Skybus (or even BIH) to operate larger or more efficient aircraft?
The point about it being a bit 'closed shop' is very true, there is no space for a 'rentable' check-in desk etc for a third operator, so the best we could hope for would be some sort of sharing of resources between an operator wanting to come in from further afield on one of the existing ones (as used to happen with Brymon and the helicopter service iirc)

The runway is most definitely in need of a resurface, that much is very clear, you don't need to walk the runway to realise that, you can feel it. I am not sure if the grass runway will get replaced with asphalt or whether they will just renew the 'hardening' grid they have currently.

One of the other interesting parts for me is the potential instrumentation, fairly sure full-on ILS is out of the question, but hopefully they will be able to introduce some form of GPS landing (I am not sure what they are looking at, but I have seen reports of systems used in similar situations where you have a 'known location' GPS station on the airfield which relays corrections via VHF (basically DGPS) and that can be used for a form of ILS approach with the advantage it covers about 30miles with increased accuracy, hopefully something would allow flying in more borderline conditions and reduce the number of days when there is no flying at all (which has happened pretty frequently over the last month or so)

It is interesting you mention the Let410, according to the report that can already use the main runway - I am not sure the council would be the problem, but rather pressure from the other operators not to 'cannibalise' their trade.

I haven't looked in detail at the hanger, but my understanding is it would replace the existing fire shed over the far side of the airfield which is kind of tucked away, and also starts to disappear below the 'hump' in the airfield when viewed from the quay.

Last edited by Dooby; 12th Jul 2012 at 18:35.
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 17:16
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FARNBOROUGH: Viking evaluates market for DHC-5 Buffalo relaunch
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 17:34
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That's interesting... I was wondering earlier about the other aircraft Viking have type certificates for, and the, given they already restarted making the Twin Otter, whether they would start up production of some of the other aircraft as the original airframes became too old to keep using, but there isn't any 'modern' equivalent.
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 21:08
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You could operate a dhc8 -100 or -200 comfortably from 1000m.
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 21:24
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but the runway isn't 1000m ( and I very much doubt it ever will be), its currently 600m - but an extension to around 700m may be more likely
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Old 12th Jul 2012, 23:58
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dooy,

The Twotter cruises at 150kt which is bl00dy slow due much due to it having a fixed undercarriage, the Twotter is also only favourable for short strip, water, ice/snow operations where other types may not operate.

The DHC7 was Canadian built primarily for the Canadian market, many Canadian airfields/airports are/were short (ish) gravel (or similar) strips, DHC products were in their element in Canada, operators could operate far and wide short strip operations utilising the aircraft dusk till dawn daily.

DHC products only became present in SW England due to PLH, ISC and LEQ and their short and/or grass runways and one isn't going to utilise a 50 seater STOL airliner dusk till dawn 6 or 7 days a week on an ISC route network!

Another problem on ISC is the lack of fuelling facilities, apparently Skybus have their own limited supply on the island, I guess for unforeseen circumstances, but without a common fuel supply there aircraft need to tanker in the fuel for their outward legs thus limiting their range and limiting any ISC route network.
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 00:11
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For heaven's sake people, in Alderney we would die for a Twotter. You're lucky you aren't confined to BN2s. You think 150kts is slow! Try 120kts with the engines at highest economic cruise setting and so much noise you can't hear yourself think. Yes, we love our Trislanders but wouldn't DHC6s be nice... yes, they would. My advice is stick with the Twotter and don't faff about with any serious runway extensions; any more than 700m of tarmac and you start eating up the island. If it ain't broke...
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 07:58
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Phileas,
The fuel issue is one that is already called out in the report. As for the 'you wouldn't fill a DHC-7, again, maybe not all the time, but the idea would be to make the upcountry routes more practical, bringing in passengers that aren't currently accounted for - and again, the potential loss of the helicopter service would result in a significant increase in the number of passengers needing to be carried by an already busy fixed wing service.
It wasn't that long ago people insisted that there wasn't capacity for a couple of islanders flying in and out of lands end either.

Aero,

The runway is currently only 600m, whether extending it to 700m would help is the point. Yes, the Otters are great, however they do tend to be used primarily for Newquay and the upcountry flights, with the islanders being the main ones on the Lands End route.
Many would argue the system IS broken, due to the relatively high cost of the short flights, with the flights to Bristol etc being even worse. The main reason for looking at larger aircraft or more efficient ones would be in the hope that could bring prices down - if they couldn't then so be it, but it's at least worth looking.
Extending the runway (or other improvements) to allow larger/more economical aircraft to operate is one thing the authority could do to help bring prices down.
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Old 13th Jul 2012, 08:12
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Dooby,

"Upcountry routes"?

First there is the fuel issue, in Brymon days, once they'd started the BRS route, they'd tech (fuel) stop en-route in NQY, additional operating costs, landing/handling fees etc, I guess Skybus similarly tech stop in LEQ.

To fill 50 seats, except on a minority basis, it would need to multi and multi sector ... perhaps BHX/BRS/EXT/NQY/ISC and return ..... would this be an improvement upon a Twotter operating, moreso, direct services?

This is the quaint and beautiful Scillies we are talking about, it's not a 50 seater destination, there aren't 50 ISC punters getting off each train that arrives in Penzance nor Newquay nor Exeter etc. etc. etc.
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