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St. Helena Service

Old 4th Dec 2015, 15:40
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: 50+ north
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Ddraig Goch


Are you sure they were moving the navaids? If this is correct it must be a world first, who's foreign aid budget is paying for it? I hope that its not the UK!

I cannot understand why a VOR is required, especially considering the terrain and the availability of RNAV. Must have been a very persuasive salesman!

If a ground based en-route/holding navaid is required an NDB will suffice, if necessary supplemented with a DME, one hell of a lot cheaper!
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Old 11th Dec 2015, 11:59
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
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With reference to today's St Helena Independent, some news about the next calibration flight:

The second round of Calibration Flights is planned to take
place between Sunday 13 December and Sunday 20 December
2015. The calibration flights are essential to calibrate
navigational aids at St Helena Airport in order that Instrument
Flight Procedures can be flown safely.
The calibration tests will be undertaken by Flight Calibration
Services Limited who will travel to St Helena on an aircraft
leased from TAB in South Africa.
Whilst final confirmation on timing is still awaited, the aircraft
is expected to arrive on the afternoon of Sunday 13December,
subject to suitable weather conditions and other factors.
Further updates, particularly on the timing of the flight, will be
provided in due course. Interested members of the public are
asked to listen out for radio updates.

Lets hope that the navigation and landing aids are in the right position this time!
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 00:14
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: West Midlands UK
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Deluxe airport navaids for St Helena?

I too wondered about the provision of navaids for St Helena's new airport. It's got a localizer, DVOR, DME, NDB and GBAS (augmentation for GPS). About all they seem to have missed out is a VDF.

You could argue that the GBAS is all that's required but presumably they didn't want to limit operations in the event of GPS problems - it is in the tropics after all with the higher likelihood of ionospheric effects. And they're starting 1000 feet closer to the cloudbase with it's cliff-top location. Add in the fact that it's a shortish runway, quite a crosswind most of the year and probably severe turbulence as you approach the cliffs, pilots will need all the help they can to land safely.

Oh, and I forgot the high terrain all around - you'll want to remember to turn away from that smartish in the event of a go around!

All I can assume is that the engineers planning the airport played it safe and threw in every possible navaid that might be useful. After all, the navaids were probably quite a small percentage of the £250m of UK taxpayers' money that went to build it. (They shifted 8 million cubic metres of rock to fill in the ravine at one end of the runway - that didn't come cheap!)

It's a pity that the navaid siting was wrong. I am not sure why, but both the VOR and Localizer antennas have been moved. They no longer illuminate the sea - I suspect that there was severe cancellation of the signals at some distance/height due to reflection off the ocean. Another possibility is that the DVOR was located just metres away from Bradley's Camp - all metal buildings - used for the construction crew but also going to be converted into long term tourist accommodation.

So the choice of some navaids which may be unnecessary has come to bite them - the airport opening is delayed due to the reworking necessary on the VOR and LOC.

Incidentally, a second round of calibration flights is due this week (13 Dec 15) but I have not heard if the aircraft has arrived on island or not. Let's hope all calibrates OK this time.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 21:14
  #64 (permalink)  
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Second Round Calibration Flights

The aircraft for the second round of calibration flights has arrived on HLE Sunday 13 December. According to radio reports the aircraft unexpectedly landed on runway 02 (South-North). Calibration flights are expected to last for one week.
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Old 18th Dec 2015, 09:26
  #65 (permalink)  
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Update from St. Helena Government 17 December 2015

Following discussions between Basil Read, SHG, DFID and Air Safety Support International (the aerodrome regulator, ASSI) - the visit by ASSI originally scheduled for the end of January 2016 has been rescheduled, and will take place at the earliest opportunity that suits all parties. The revised date will be announced once agreed.

This week, the second calibration flight will complete checks on the navigational aids, which were repositioned to ensure better signal quality and compliance with international regulations The data from these calibration flights will be sent to the UK and due to the complexity of the analysis and verification of the results, the final approved flight procedures for St Helena Airport (needed for commercial flight operations) may not be ready for publication until the latter part of January. In the interim, ASSI have also recommended that a second desk-top exercise be conducted in January between the Basil Read team located at St Helena Airport and the ASSI team in the UK. This will identify any outstanding certification issues prior to ASSI’s rescheduled visit to St Helena.

This information has naturally been shared with the air service provider, Comair, who will now look to reschedule their implementation flight to coincide with ASSI’s visit - as one of the certification requirements is to examine air traffic control procedures with an actual aircraft in operation.
This rescheduling of the ASSI visit will allow further time to ensure full operational readiness of St Helena Airport prior to their arrival on-Island.

17 December 2015

Last edited by volare7266; 18th Dec 2015 at 11:01.
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Old 31st Dec 2015, 14:46
  #66 (permalink)  
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2nd Calibration flights.

Hi, I haven't been able to get any photo's or news of how the flights have gone. Anyone out there with info please post

Follow this link for the latest photos in and around the airport:

Happy New Year to all and sundry
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Old 27th Jan 2016, 12:42
  #67 (permalink)  
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Over a month has now passed since the second round of calibration flights. Still no word if the problems with the navigational aids have been corrected and operations would be safe. Are no news really good news in this case ?
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Old 29th Jan 2016, 11:53
  #68 (permalink)  
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Atlantic Star news

Hot off the press from The St Helena Independent an update from Atlantic Star:

Dear Friends,
Thank you to those of you who have been in touch regarding
progress with our UK to St.Helena charter flights for 2016.
We have been quietly working through the necessary
permissions that are required by the UK Civil Aviation Author-
ity, UK Department of Transport, and St.Helena Government,
and we are now in a position to share a little more of where we
are in the process.
We have now established precisely what will be required by
each organisation and have agreed a means of providing the
necessary documentation for each of them. This has taken a
little longer than we would have liked but naturally the regula-
tion of a new airport in such a remote location means that
each step forward is taken with a good deal of caution. None-
theless we are confident that all of the necessary permissions
relating to our charter programme will be in place within a few
weeks from now.
This will allow us to release flight dates and times with cer-
tainty, but we have been advised that we will not be able to
commence ticket sales until the St.Helena airport certifica-
tion process is complete.
As many of you will know there has already been some de-
lays to the airport certification process associated with the
need to move some of the ground based navigation equip-
ment necessary for pilots to make safe approaches at
St.Helena. We are in contact with the Air Access Team at
St.Helena Government and are confident that all the hurdles
to certification will be overcome.
Based on the complexity of the certification process and the
work still to be done on the airport it would be premature to
give a precise date for certification and therefore we are not
yet able to announce the date that ticket sales will start.
We fully appreciate how frustrating this waiting period is for
those of you who wish to finalise 2016 travel plans. We share
that frustration and naturally we would love to be on sale right
now. We are certain that certification will be successful and
equally certain that our flights will take place as planned.
We have a provisional programme in place with TUIfly to pro-
vide two flights in late May and early June, a further pair in
October and a final pair around Christmas. We will provide
precise dates once our approval to operate from St.Helena
Government is in place.
We will provide more information by email and on our website
and social media channels as soon as the flight permissions
are in place. In the meantime thank you all for your continued
patience and support.
Warmest Regards
Richard Brown
Principal, Atlantic Star Airlines
A little more about the calibration process later in the paper:

Basil Read is currently taking part in a further round of desktop audits with the regulator, Air Safety
Support International (ASSI). Alongside this, work is progressing well on a number of fronts in relation to
preparation for Airport operations.

The outcome of the desktop audits is expected in February, and this will inform next steps, including the
requirements for an on-Island audit - needed in order to certify the Airport.

Last edited by Ddraig Goch; 29th Jan 2016 at 12:08.
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Old 14th Feb 2016, 10:01
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: St Helena
Posts: 2

Just posting to receive notifications. Im currently going through ATC application but I live on St Helena so its all of great interest to hear different view points and how a professional group is viewing the whole situation.
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Old 14th Feb 2016, 20:15
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Posts: 507

Ha ha ha ha ha St Paul's!

Then you know and I know all there is to know. You will know my Auntie. Pika is her hash house harriers name.

I left the island to join the RAF. I am now a proud Aussie. But a true Saint. When I post SHG advises me to unpost. As it were.

Do drop me a line.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 18:45
  #71 (permalink)  
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Independent (UK) 13 February 2016

Further delay of the airport opening on St. Helena reported by the Independent (UK)

Janet Lawrence, Saint Helena airport’s project director, said the construction of the airport had hit a snag because of the lie of the land. “Due to the unknown nature of building an airport on the island’s uneven terrain, changes in design had to be made to facilitate that,” she said.
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Old 16th Feb 2016, 19:45
  #72 (permalink)  
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"Janet Lawrence, Saint Helena airport’s project director, said the construction of the airport had hit a snag because of the lie of the land. “Due to the unknown nature of building an airport on the island’s uneven terrain, changes in design had to be made to facilitate that,” she said".

You survey the "lay of the land" and consequently " the unknown nature of building an airport on the island’s uneven terrain" no longer becomes unknown, before any construction starts.

Would Ms Lawrence now cease the "spin" and tell everyone just exactly what the nature of the problem is? Something of an apparently fundamental nature that would delay opening the airport at this late stage could be seen as the sign of a enormous c**k up!
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 13:09
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Possible misinterpretation.

Perhaps the quote from Janet “Due to the unknown nature of building an airport on the island’s uneven terrain, changes in design had to be made to facilitate that,” refers not to the construction ie hard stuff like the runway, buildings etc. but to the terrain surrounding the airport and their interaction with nav and landing aids, which because of where St Helena is and the position of the runway require more sophisticated equipment than your bog standard airport. I have been asking SHG for the results of the 2nd calibration flights without success for ages, there seems to be a conspiracy of silence with much that happens there!
I am afraid that many things run by the SHG tend to end up being not quite right! I hope I am wrong and the Airport does open as promised in May.
If the airport doesn't open perhaps it could be used a penal colony for all the civil servants involved in the scheme, to be sent there to break up the concrete etc by hand
Well done volare7266 in finding the piece from the paper!!!
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Old 17th Feb 2016, 20:19
  #74 (permalink)  
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St Helena navaids still no good?

I take the deathly silence from the St Helena Government and their contractors Basil Read over the second round of calibration flights to mean the navaids still don't come up to spec, despite having been relocated. You would think that, if the calibrators had found all reasonably good that some sort of positive statement would have been made. Instead they talked about it all having to be analysed in London very carefully...

I wonder if they are considering certifying the aerodrome with limited navaids, e.g. NDB/DME approaches, or just using the GBAS (augmented GPS) system.

There might be big discussions going on about who is liable for the costs of the delayed opening, which may explain the public silence. There was one comment on a facebook page that one of the problems was due to reflections of the VOR and Localizer signals off the sea, which looks likely given that they appear to have moved both facilities back inland so that they don't significantly illuminate the sea. Now if that is the case, then it's a pretty basic failure of design. Perhaps it was because the appropriately skilled engineers didn't actually make a site visit (difficult with only access by sea)? We can only speculate given the news blackout from the project team and Government.

There's now about 90 odd days before the opening ceremony - I wonder if there'll be a plane on the apron to add some authenticity to the celebrations? Could always send an RAF C-130 I suppose...
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 13:23
  #75 (permalink)  
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The lack of access for technical design staff must have been an issue.

I doubt that Basil Read have on their staff people who can specify and design navaids as part of their contract, they will have been just working as installers on something ordered separately. That's what you do in construction with technical equipment specified directly between the client and a specialist, you just programme in for it to be installed, it's known as a "nominated" supplier, ie the client says who it is, and is legally responsible, not the contractor.

It's surprising in a way that there haven't been further flights bringing in technical staff to identify and fix the problems, but I guess even a private charter would not get insurance to somewhere so remote with no navigation kit working. I always thought that as soon as the basic runway was done the rest of the project would be expedited by airfreighting labour and materials in by commercial C-130 from South Africa.

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Old 18th Feb 2016, 19:06
  #76 (permalink)  
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A team of engineers from THALES has been on the island when the naviaids were installed. The THALES team then left and I am not sure if they returned at the time of the second calibration flights.
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Old 18th Feb 2016, 21:32
  #77 (permalink)  
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Island blogger

I blog about St Helena and write for the St Helena Independent - a paper that relies partly on volunteer supporters. This forum seems to have been the trigger for stories in the UK national media. The Indy (on the island) is digging to find out what's going on.
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Old 19th Feb 2016, 10:25
  #78 (permalink)  
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Keep up the pressure

Welcome Islandwatcher to PPRuNe. I'm glad to hear that this thread is of use to the Islander's of St Helena viz a viz the UK media and hopefully it will lead to you being better informed by SHG. How they manage to both keep people in the dark and run the Island beggars belief. They seem to try to run things as if it were the 19th century. I hope things get better when the new Governor arrives, looking at her record she seems to be quite normal and not of the usual civil service type, fingers crossed!

The SH Independent does a good job in trying to expose some of the worse excesses but they have been thwarted in many investigations by SHG legal restraints put on them as you will know.
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Old 20th Feb 2016, 00:48
  #79 (permalink)  
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VOR probably no longer affected by reflections from the sea but I think they had to take metal security fence down to avoid interference. So I guess it will need re-calibrating when they put the fence back again?

Localiser probably better placed but decision height may be affected which might explain the silence from Basil Reed, SHG and DFID i.e. do they now put it back again?!

GBAS will help but may not be working for some time?

NDB/DME and GPS should suffice to get a/c to the island and on a visual approach...hence issue with higher d/h as well as a difficult approach, high terrain and possible cloud base issues (which I believe effect that area)?
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Old 21st Feb 2016, 09:06
  #80 (permalink)  
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Hi BettyRubble and welcome to PPRuNe. Some very interesting info there, have you had some inside info or have you got a deep throat within SHG? I noticed in the latest edition of SH Independent some quotes from this thread about the going's on at the airport and how they had brought them to the notice of some of the UK Press - lets keep up the good work
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