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St. Helena Service

Old 9th Jun 2016, 14:26
  #281 (permalink)  
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St Helena: The airport with a very wide short runway; if you insist on landing into wind.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 18:49
  #282 (permalink)  

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It won't open as it sets off the aircraft's windshield [sic] warning system

St Helena airport too windy to open - BBC News
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:11
  #283 (permalink)  
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I must be naive, but for many years I actually believed what I read on the BBC website to be (vaguely) true!? I'm not sure which is worse: not being able to transcribe the Afrikaans accented pilot, or writing an aviation article without knowing the difference between wind-shear and windshield.

The longer (text) article is even more incomprehensible: St Helena airport delayed due to danger of high winds - BBC News
However, the National Audit Office said the delay - due to high winds on the remote island - could add to the cost.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:34
  #284 (permalink)  
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Let me ask a dumb question: whilst the site could be surveyed in great detail, until the land was shifted and levelled, would it have been possible to accurately predict the winds? As an onlooker, I would doubt it since the wind can only react to what is actually there, not what is predicted to be there after construction. So, I would have thought more leniancy by the committee might have been in order.

As to the purchase of the 738 (ER or whatever) one can well imagine that Comair would not have wanted to purchase anything else but their standard equipment - to keep the costs down the profits up.

If more rotations by smaller a/c might now be needed, it will be the only viable route for them. I would still say that it is a great achievement and one that was bound to have large unknown factors.

So, how do/did they predict the winds? Are there any similar, newly constructed fields of this type in the world?
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:38
  #285 (permalink)  
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"wrong kind of wind on the runway"

Only the Brits will understand; even then.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:41
  #286 (permalink)  
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To be twinned with Leeds/Bradford? :-)
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:42
  #287 (permalink)  
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Send them to Leeds Bradford for a few weeks and the fuss will die down . . .
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 19:43
  #288 (permalink)  
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I expect all bonuses have been paid so no real problem.
Old 9th Jun 2016, 20:02
  #289 (permalink)  
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Well, that worked a treat, did it not?


Assessing meteorological observation
requirements for a new airport
Case study:
St Helena Airport
Met Office
FitzRoy Road, Exeter
Devon, EX1 3PB
United Kingdom
From the UK tel: 0370 900 0100
From outside the UK tel: +44 1392 885680
Fax: +44 1392 885681
[email protected]
Aviation services - Met Office
Produced by the Met Office.
Crown copyright 2015 15/0245
Met Office and the Met Office logo
are registered trademarks
St Helena is a unique and beautiful small volcanic island located in the South
Atlantic Ocean, where trade winds are prevalent for most of the year making
the weather changeable on a daily basis. It is one of the most remote locations
in the world. In 2011, the St Helena Government contracted for the design,
construction and operation of an airport to provide air access to St Helena for the
first time from 2016.
The Met Office was asked by the Department for International Development
(DFID) to provide a report for the St Helena Government on the meteorological
requirements for the future airport. They wanted a detailed assessment of the
existing weather observing equipment, followed by guidance and advice on the
additional sensors and instrumentation required to provide aeronautical reports
in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and
recommended practices defined by the ICAO.
We worked closely with the St Helena Government to produce a detailed analysis
of the weather observing equipment in place, focussing on the requirement of
developing the capability of the Airport to deliver accurate operational weather
observations for aviation in the future. Accurate observations are also very important
to ensure accurate forecasting for the airlines using the airport.
Based on our analysis, we gave advice on the best locations for siting meteorological
instrumentation that measures wind conditions, visibility, cloud, temperature,
humidity and air pressure, including the data they should supply in order to
generate the aviation observations.
We were able to provide a detailed report as a result of this assessment for the
St Helena Government. This included recommendations for best practices to deliver
safe, compliant and accurate weather observations for a new airport based at a
remote location.
We were able to incorporate other findings arising from our analysis to highlight
other risks that were not previously anticipated. We identified that the approach to
St Helena was likely to lead to aircraft encountering significant crosswinds and low
level turbulence on occasions, and advised that a mechanism for relaying accurate
crosswind and tailwind information was required, for both pilots and air traffic
control units.

Good quality weather observations will provide confidence to airlines in terms of the
data provided and improve the efficiency at the airport.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 20:16
  #290 (permalink)  
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Broken Biscuits, my subjective recollection was that wind speeds rarely got below 15kts throughout our time there. The problem isn't windspeed or direction, it is the topography. Any Westerly wind is circulated by the hills, not least the biggie which is about 2-3nm right of track on final to 20. Easterlies/Northerlies/Southerlies are all affected by sea cliffs etc. It really is quite tricky - think a combination of Funchal and Gibraltar in that you think you have it sussed and then everything changes. I can't comment on 02 being any easier than 20 as we didn't do much on that end.

One final point, I see some are commenting on the runway QDM being 70 deg out from the normal wind direction. I don't think this makes too much of a difference. The problem is turbulence and in some respects, a wind hitting a cliff at the upwind end of a sub-2000m runway would bring equally significant challenges.

I'll bow-out now as this is about getting CAT into an airport. Perhaps enough real data could be gathered such that simulators can be programmed for training? I'm not an expert there - my experience is in the sub-5700kg charter/taxi/aerial work/calibration world.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 20:19
  #291 (permalink)  
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Maybe this helps:

St Helena: a meteorological viewpoint: Claire Bartholomew, applied scientist at the met office, explains how meteorological observation requirements were assessed for the soon-to-open St Helena Airport. - Free Online Library


Note: The text has been edited and changed the last few days (or hours) !

The original statement was:


Assessment of the wind shear risk was found to be relatively low. However we were able incorporate other findings arising from our analysis to highlight other risks that were not previously anticipated. (Screenshots are available).

This is a clear indication that something is terribly wrong. SAMS / The Sentinel reported that some wind measuring instruments were moved and installed at wrong locations, not by the runway but 3 km away. The installation and maintenance reportedly also have been sloppy. The Met Office - at least for some time - was fed with useless data from a wrong location.

I am not a metereologist, but I can imagine measuring wind conditions in the approach to runway 20 with balloons from boats could not have cost a fortune.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 20:35
  #292 (permalink)  
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You steal a sausage roll at Heathrow and get put in the slammer for a week. You design and open an obscenity of an airport such as this and people just discuss it. Oh to be back in Roman times where the galleys would have been crewed by these muppets.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 20:56
  #293 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by garpal gumnut View Post
You steal a sausage roll at Heathrow and get put in the slammer for a week. You design and open an obscenity of an airport such as this and people just discuss it. Oh to be back in Roman times where the galleys would have been crewed by these muppets.
Classic PPRuNe comment

Here's the Met Office blurb on their case study.

Is there anywhere else on the island to put an airport, though? Even this site required some significant landfill, the rest of the island is even lumpier.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 21:20
  #294 (permalink)  
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Was involved in the peripherals at a very early stage of this project. My comment = "You're going to put the runway where?!!! Good luck with that, I want no part of it!"

But I don't have letters after my name......
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 21:21
  #295 (permalink)  
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Give it 6 months and this will all 'blow over' and 738's will be there.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 22:17
  #296 (permalink)  
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From other thread
"Building an airport which doesn't favour the most common wind patterns? Sounds remarkably similar to Falkland Islands Mount Pleasant Airport....."

An interesting observation from someone who hasn't lived there for 2 years whilst they built it.
The East/West orientation suited MPA very well, thankyou. Sure, there can be significant wind situations, and yes, in certain situations the wind comes from the North and then you can get a very interesting roll effect off the terrain 5 miles to the North.
Nothing that a pilot with manual skills can't handle.
I never saw an approach that so wind affected it needed a go around. Some flights were delayed though even after take off, with a return to their starting point.

I can find you some properly challenging airfields if you want.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 22:23
  #297 (permalink)  
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Seems the mainstream press have picked up on the story now:

The 285m airport too windy to open
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 22:29
  #298 (permalink)  
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One word: Cork.
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Old 9th Jun 2016, 22:38
  #299 (permalink)  
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Nothing that a pilot with manual skills can't handle.
I never saw an approach that so wind affected it needed a go around
I beg to differ, parts of the world where experience and wind data (with wind "roses")
is essential to avoid mechanical turbulence that could spoil your day.
Greenland, Iceland, Faroes and the fjords of Norway spring to mind.

Starting descent to an airport in a tight fjord one day, tower reported: "Wind variable 10 gusting 80 knots". Needless to say, I diverted and landed two fjords away in 10-20 kts.

As with the above locations, St.Helena which I worked briefly on for an operator in the bidding would provide some interesting wind scenarios.
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Old 10th Jun 2016, 00:07
  #300 (permalink)  
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Perhaps I'm over simplifying, but would it not have need a good idea to do a few 'test runs' of aircraft flying approaches to where a would be runway would be built before 260,000,000 UK tax payer Pounds were jeopardised?

It's an absolute disgrace that this went ahead to serve a tiny isolated town whilst UK mainland aviation infrastructure is at near braking point.
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