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St. Helena Service

Old 4th May 2016, 06:34
  #201 (permalink)  
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Comair problems with licence.

Another possible problem with the airport and flights to St Helena has raised it head with reports that Comair could loose it's operators licence on May 11th. See this link for further info:
Is St Helena?s Airport about to face another issue because of Comair?s licensing conditions? - Info related to St Helena, forum, news, Information and some Airport updates.
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Old 5th May 2016, 19:06
  #202 (permalink)  
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St Helena navaids relocation

I wonder if anyone knows definitively why the VOR and localizer positions were moved on St Helena? I kind of initially assumed that it was due to terrain reflections, and specifically for the VOR the fact that it was sited metres from the metal buildings at Bradleys construction camp.
However, I saw a comment on facebook from someone in South Africa that the problem was due to reflection off the sea.

I looked up the FAA document "Siting Criteria for VOR etc" (search for FAA doc 6820) and it specifically says that Doppler VORs are not affected by cliff top locations. (This is due to the fact that the circular earth counterpoise tends to cut off radiation below the horizon.) So my guess is the the VOR on St Helena was affected by the close proximity to the buildings.

(I know of DVORs on elevated locations which appear to work normally, e.g. the Praslin VOR in Seychelles - so this tends to support the above analysis.)

However, the localizer looks to me to be a prime candidate for sea reflections. Localizers are usually located at the far end of the runway they serve, so a "cliff top" position is difficult to achieve. However, on St Helena, because of the offset approach, it was located on a raised embankment near runway 20 threshold, so clearly illuminated the sea. The new location is lower down and so I think that it doesn't have such a view of the sea and this probably means there are no significant reflection problems.

Incidentally, in its new location the VOR is adjacent to the middle of the runway, and, unusually, the counterpoise is mounted on the ground (clearly visible in the recent videos of the 737-800 landing). The equipment shelter is located a few metres on the western side so this will have a significant effect on the radiation patterns, I should think. This is besides all the other buildings, terrain and fences etc around. The aerodrome info clearly states that the VOR is unreliable in the western sector so I wonder if it will ever provide a useful guidance aid?
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Old 6th May 2016, 00:18
  #203 (permalink)  
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Old 6th May 2016, 07:44
  #204 (permalink)  
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Has the RMS St.Helena ship service been extended and the extension announced?
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Old 6th May 2016, 08:37
  #205 (permalink)  
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A good question ritjrt. The saints await with bated breath to find out from the new Governor " what are we going to do now?" . The plan was to take the RMS out of service in July, she is actually up for sale at the moment with London shipbrokers CW Kellock if you fancy a bid!
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Old 6th May 2016, 16:23
  #206 (permalink)  
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Some answers to my question!

Reading today's wonderful St Helena Independent there is a little more info from SHG about the wind shear problem and to what is happening with the RMS :
St Helena Government announced on Tuesday 26 April 2016
that the Official Opening of St Helena Airport, originally planned
for 21 May 2016, had been postponed whilst further opera-
tional and safety work is undertaken. The Comair Implemen-
tation Flight on 18 April experienced turbulence and wind shear
and further work is now underway to gather additional data
and put in place mitigation measures to ensure the safe op-
eration of passenger flights to and from St Helena Airport.
The safety of aircraft and passengers is, of course, para-
There have been several successful landings at St Helena
Airport - the Calibration Flights in September and December
2015 and Execujet (Certification) and Comair (Implementa-
tion) in April 2016. Each landing has provided us with infor-
mation that will be used to inform our work.
This work has been progressing rapidly and this press re-
lease outlines what is being done.
Current Actions
· Planning is underway to ensure continued access to
St Helena. As part of this process - and although there are
no current plans to extend RMS operations - this is being
kept under review. We are also examining ways to ensure
medevac flights are enabled
· Specific steps are being taken to address turbulence
and wind shear
· This work will include analysis of all available and new
data, including weather data, plus formal reports from pilots
of all aircraft that have landed at St Helena Airport. Reports
on wind conditions will be maintained and regularly updated
and consideration will be given to installing specialised equip-
· Computer modelling is also being developed to test dif-
ferent scenarios. Calibrating the model against actual condi-
tions experienced at the Airport should aid in predicting turbu-
lence and wind shear in different wind conditions. Some wind
tunnel work may also be carried out
· All of our findings will be carefully documented so that
all potential flights to St Helena (not just Comair flights) have
access to this information and can plan accordingly. Ultimately,
information on landing conditions will be included in the Aero-
drome Information Publication
This data collection, analysis and modelling - and subsequent
work to develop new operating procedures and share this in-
formation - will take some time. It is too early to tell how long
it will take to complete this work, but we are looking at the
timescales that might be involved and working flat out to com-
mence commercial flights at St Helena Airport at the earliest
possible opportunity.
Certification work is not yet quite complete, but will not be
affected by the decision to delay the Official Opening of the
Airport and the work which flows from this.
The public will be kept fully informed as this work progresses.
3 May 2016

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Old 6th May 2016, 16:35
  #207 (permalink)  
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Clearly the windshear issues that could have contributed to the FlyDubai Crash in Rostov on Don have caused a re-evaluation of operations.

It would probably be a very similar type of operation with same aircraft type, long sector to fly and then probably lightly loaded (low pax numbers) aircraft that is slippery to fly in a 2 engine missed approach.

I would be thinking that all operators of the B738 are eagerly awaiting more information on what caused the pitch over on that accident.
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Old 7th May 2016, 09:06
  #208 (permalink)  
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Picture and comments from Herc flyby from 10 years ago.

Just found this picture of a test fly by from 10 years ago:
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Old 7th May 2016, 14:38
  #209 (permalink)  
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I'm quite convinced that some key mistakes were:

- Choosing Comair over Atantic Star
- Atlantic star ditching the 757 for 737

I don't think the 738 is really the best A/C out there for this, I really do think the 757 is what they need... Maybe the A319neo might offer something looking forward, outside of that it's a Hercules or C17 with seats in... A lot of aircraft can work and can do it, but it's about doing it with the right margins, and doing it reliably and regularly, not doing it every other flight day when the wind's alright and you haven't run out of fuel on go-arounds and end up backtracking 3 hours to Walvis Bay.

If the government's were to back Atlantic Star, help them source a nice 757 they can do up and look after themselves (there's plenty going, and who cares if it's 20+ years old, the kind of operation ASA's after - medium/long haul, couple of times a week, lots of downtime - it could have another 10-20 years in it providing it wasn't a high cycles frame) then I could see it being a very successful operation, 3 class 757 about 180-200 seats shouldn't have much problem, if they were a bit strict and limited it to 120-150 pax they might just be able to make the Falklands like they wanted to, maybe even with a meaningful amount of cargo onboard.

How is the 757 in winds and rough weather, I'd assume it's probably closer to the "tank" end of the scale rather than the "penny floater" 738
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Old 7th May 2016, 15:42
  #210 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by rog747 View Post
any s/h 757's in good nick knocking around?
one nice 1992 build ex AA 757 for sale 38k hrs 12k cycles with winglets


Ex AA, Rolls Royce Engines 535E4: Cycles Remaining: 3,340 & 2,861, 2 Class LOPA, Flat Panel Display SYS, EGPWS, MMR, ILS, GPS, TCAS 7.0, Eicas Computer and Display, ACARS, Landing Gears good until 2020, Location: USA
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Old 7th May 2016, 17:39
  #211 (permalink)  
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Ask D.Trump if he will still need his after - hopefully- having his backside tanned heavily in November. Perhaps he'll try to buy St.Helena and trump Comair or Atlantic Star into the first scheduled flight to Trumpcot, the capital of the real 'never never' land.
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Old 7th May 2016, 18:57
  #212 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by EK77WNCL View Post
if they were a bit strict and limited it to 120-150 pax they might just be able to make the Falklands like they wanted to, maybe even with a meaningful amount of cargo onboard.
You'd so get hold of tourists like me if it was possible to do St Helena and the Falklands together. Who wouldn't want a holiday like that?
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Old 8th May 2016, 17:19
  #213 (permalink)  
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I went to St. Helena (by RMS St.Helena, touring to Tristan da Cunha too) few years ago when I knew about the airport plans...the emotion to reach this magic historic place would have been lost by going on a plane, that was my feeling.
By that time, the works to prepare for the airport were in progress and I visited the site.
As a (retired) captain, I had the feeling that the location was not the best one...due to the place orography, but then I still followed the project progress.
Having known the initial results of the familiarization flights, my first doubts had some phenomena, like windshear and low clouds (on the particolare place), can't be avoided just changing planes, Airlines, flights frequency and other human made solutions.
On all the approach charts, the note about "to expect moderate to severe turbolence" it's just "a killer"...apart from the "commercial" point of view (making money on a kind of "regular service"...or being subsidized by government..more likely), which pilot would not fly there, considering the "missed approach" (and therefore "turn back home") the first option and "landing at destination" the second option?...
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Old 8th May 2016, 19:51
  #214 (permalink)  
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I'm not sure if that was a joke or not because I'd actually quite like to visit them both (Helena much more than the Falklands) but I would enjoy flying St Helena-Falklands just for the pure aviation hell of it... There must be some kind of link, ASA said it was a proposed destination
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Old 9th May 2016, 13:52
  #215 (permalink)  
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Sentinel 05 May 2016 and Twitter 07 May 2016

“Comair, together with relevant stakeholders, are committed to operating a scheduled air service between St Helena and OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg,” Shaun Pozyn, a British Airways spokesperson, told The Sentinel.
On island, Airport Project Director Janet Lawrence says, “we are trying our utmost to commence operations as soon as we possibly can.”
But, she says, the problems with the wind could limit the type of aircraft that can land at the airport.
Comair’s fleet consists entirely of Boeing 737s, so it’s unclear if they could provide a different plane to fly the route. When asked if the government were talking to other providers, Ms Lawrence said “we are in discussion with various parties about what might turn out to be contingency measures,” but stressed the South African company’s commitment to the route.
On twitter Andreas Spaeth (@SpaethFlies) posted flights would be pushed back to August. Probably just rumors started at Indaba by speculating attendees

Not there yet at #StHelena @British_Airways #Comair, wind shear, runway issues push flights to August #INDABA2016

Last edited by volare7266; 9th May 2016 at 14:18.
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Old 9th May 2016, 20:16
  #216 (permalink)  
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RMS and B757

Further to volare's report the same article says :

T he government has reassured people that
the RMS will continue if it’s needed as Co-
mair reconfirm their commitment to providing
an air link to St Helena.
After an uncertain week full of rumours the
government have finally confirmed that the
RMS St Helena will continue in the event that
an air service fails to start on time. Keen to
stress that islanders would not be left stranded
on St Helena, or abroad unable to get home,
Councillor Lawson Henry said “if the situa-
tion arises that the life of the RMS has to be
extended, that’s the decision we will take,
we will not be left without access.”
But the decision will not be taken immediate-
ly. “There’s no reason why at this point in time
that we should be extending the RMS beyond
mid-July” Assistant Financial Secretary Dax
Richards said.
As to the use of a B 757 what would the restrictions on payload be incoming and outgoing due to runway length and the distance from Jo'berg or other airports?
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Old 10th May 2016, 19:53
  #217 (permalink)  
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Breaking News (SAMS)

News just in:
We have just learned that Air Safety Support International (ASSI) has granted St Helena Airport certification. This comes while work is still underway to gather and analyse data and put in place mitigation measures to deal with turbulence and wind shear.
More details to follow soon.
So what does that exactly mean now ? Airport is safe, navaid, radars etc working properly BUT ... ???

And here are the details:

Last edited by volare7266; 11th May 2016 at 15:09. Reason: Link to details added
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Old 11th May 2016, 20:56
  #218 (permalink)  
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We have shared the net but now I must fold my tent and depart, the lunatics are in charge of the asylum [I do not mean PPRuNe]. Or it is a script worth of Sir Humphrey.

Ahh, the ground installations are fine, the air installations are not. The ILS quietly forgotten about, the DVOR likewise, not a cheep about GBAS so we have RNV only procedures drawn up by ASAP and promulgated by ATNS. All bases covered nicely...

After you Claude, NO after you Cecil. The captains and the Kings depart and any mess left over can be cleared up by someone else. Parallel activity?? If this is how the new Governor intends to lead then heed the sayings of the Saints.... bad go, worse come. This is how things are done on St Helena and it will never change.

Shame on you ASSI, SHG, DFID. You make us a laughing stock and I thought that the days of spin doctoring were over. Yet some like badly tailored pants will be taken in.

I have decided to go sailing. Six months ought to do it.
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Old 11th May 2016, 22:53
  #219 (permalink)  
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This is a fine mess you've got me into...

Well, the thick end of a quarter of a billion spent and what have we got for it? A lavish airport terminal, fancy control tower and 14km of new road but only virtual aircraft arriving and departing at the moment.

I feel sorry for Basil Read - they have, it seems to me, performed a minor miracle of civil engineering, 8 million cu m of rock blasted and shifted into Dry Gut and the buildings and infrastructure built - all done with a supply chain extending over a couple of thousand miles and with several weeks lead time. A logistical masterpiece. All this perhaps spoilt by now being associated with what could become a white elephant.

It seems there has been some bad decisions made of a fundamental nature regarding the exact location of the runway. Perhaps the solution would be to spend another £100m and fill in the rest of Dry Gut to make the runway longer. You could chop off the tops of the King and Queen rocks which would probably make the turbulence/windshear less. (I'm joking, of course!)

There is now talk about keeping the RMS St Helena running. Well, the airport could be used with smaller aircraft (possible using runway 02 and accepting the tailwind penalty), so perhaps a weekly service would just about replicate the passenger capability of the RMS. This would allow the all important access for Saints to get to and from the island. The place is not really ready for an increase in tourists anyway, so instead of the £5m per annum subsidy going to the RMS, why not, in the short term, run some charter flights as an RMS substitute?

Of course, the heavy cargo element of the RMS needs to be covered - hopefully the new wharf at Ruperts and associated infrastructure will soon be available to allow new shipping arrangements to commence.
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Old 12th May 2016, 02:39
  #220 (permalink)  
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Broken Buscuits wrote:
....There is now talk about keeping the RMS St Helena running.....
I would be very pleased to see RMS St Helena continue.
I have always wanted to do a tri on her but so far not been able to.
The small passenger ship is an entrancing prospect (rather than the enormous cruise liner getto).
I wonder if the RMS St Helena could make a profit of subsidise its costs by running other routes such as Sub Antarctic journey to South Georgia/Falklands, or to Tristan de Cunha, etc with passengers?
It is the antithesis of a cruise liner, and desirable as such. The last Royal Mail ship and being a small ship even more desirable (maybe there is still a RMS Queen something on trasatlantic as well).
A small, working ship that carries passengers and sails on sometimes rough seas is very enticing to me, and perhaps others.
Long may RMS St Helena last.
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