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Madeira

Old 4th Jan 2021, 12:14
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Madeira

Sorry if this has been asked before but why are there so few landings on 23 at Madeira? You'd have thought it would be preferred as having a less constricted approach than 05.

Also are approaches to 05 strictly visual - from which point in the approach do you have to be able to see the runway?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 14:35
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The prevailing conditions usually dictate that 05 is used more often. Yes, it's a slightly trickier approach but both ends have their own 'gotchas'.

The point at which you have to be, and remain, visual for 05 is just after the VOR.
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 17:20
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The point at which you have to be, and remain, visual for 05 is just after the VOR.
Actually it depends which approach you are doing to 05. The VOR approach requires you to be visual by the time you get to 3.6nmls after passing the FUN VOR which is about abeam the runway, however the RNP AR approach brings you right round onto short final before you have to be visual.
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 17:48
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We went to Madeira a year or so ago. Tried one approach and went around, then tried the opposite direction and got. It turns out that I knew the Captain, who explained that this happens quite often.
Although they get METARs before departing and en route, on a four hour flight from the UK conditions change. I was told that, had we not got in off the second approach, we would have had to divert to
Porto Santo, another island close by. This has a massive runway, built, I think by either the US or NATO? If you have to go there, it's a reasonably long boat trip to Funchal.

Whatever, Madeira is a lovely pace to visit!
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Old 4th Jan 2021, 19:20
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The weather minima required for 05 is better than for 23. In any case, the wind normally favours 05.
Iíve diverted during Winter into Porto Santo from FNC several times, waiting for the gales to subside. Only two large Hotels on the Island, a fantastic welcome from the locals. Shops, and the few restaurants, opened especially for us unexpected visitors. I can recommend the Dorada. The ferry between the Islands is frequent, even in bad weather, how their Captains operate in those conditions I donít know.
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Old 5th Jan 2021, 17:59
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Originally Posted by bobward View Post
...we would have had to divert to Porto Santo, another island close by. This has a massive runway, built, I think by either the US or NATO? If you have to go there, it's a reasonably long boat trip to Funchal.

Whatever, Madeira is a lovely pace to visit!
Yes, I'm in Madeira on hols just now. Went on the boat to Porto Santo the other day. The weather was duff yesterday morning and some of the flights to FNC diverted, though whether to PS or back to Lisbon, I don't know.

Thanks to the others for the replies. I understand now that conditions usually favour 05 over 23. I wondered if perhaps 23 was never used but understand now that is not the case.
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Old 5th Jan 2021, 21:53
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I've flown to Madeira twice. The first fight diverted to Lisbon after one approach. Another aircraft flew from LGW the following day to take us where we thought we were going to and thankfully landed. As thankfully did the aircraft which took us home a week later. It all seems a bit hit an miss which is strange when you consider the significant improvements to aviation safety in the past two decades. Needless to say I and my family won't be going back.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 09:20
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At least Funchal has viable diversion points. Try Easter Island. As I understand it no diversion point at all. They depart Santiago and get to a point where a decision has to be made at which point they either continue or return to Santiago. The island has a stonking great runway - I believe NASA extended and widened it as a place for the Shuttle to go in certain circumstances. However the parking in front of the terminal is very restricted so a problem keeping a plane on the ground can cause a turn around for an inbound.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 09:31
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Easter is now 2 miles long and 150' wide - probably room for five or six larger aircraft on the two ramps if push came to shove. If NASA had ever needed to recover a Shuttle from Easter, I presume some form of ship would have been necessary, I seem to recall the 747 was range limited with the Shuttle in place and they needed some fancy kit to mate/de mate it. Sorry, thread drift of intercontinental proportions, so to speak...
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 11:09
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Since we're on this major thread drift, I'll throw in my two penn'orth. They do have something in common however, since they are both undulating and it is difficult to find space to build a runway, though in Easter Island's case, there was a little more flat land. I've been there and there is a plaque on the wall of the terminal building, which commemorates the visit of a group of astronauts, (can't remember which ones now), presumably for training purposes. I agree with treadigraph that the logistics would be challenging, particularly since there is no conventional port on Easter Island. The topography reminds me in many ways of Ascension Island, which was also NASA-designated and also does not have a conventional port. I have often wondered precisely what would have happened if the space shuttle had been forced to land at one of the the many such designated airfields around the world.

Back to Madeira and of the two islands, I actually prefer Porto Santo, though there isn't a lot to do there.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 12:59
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Flew in to Funchal years ago on a 757 hoping for a 05 arrival and just my luck... we went straight in for 23
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 15:00
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Originally Posted by Hartington View Post
At least Funchal has viable diversion points. Try Easter Island. As I understand it no diversion point at all. They depart Santiago and get to a point where a decision has to be made at which point they either continue or return to Santiago. The island has a stonking great runway - I believe NASA extended and widened it as a place for the Shuttle to go in certain circumstances. .
Continuing the drift just one more time....as I understand it Easter Island might have been a shuttle "go to" in the event of an abort out of Vandenbergh (Pacific coast, used by the USAF for launching "interesting" objects into polar orbit). The whole USAF/Shuttle/Vandenberg was binned as a result of the Challenger accident.

Yes the ferry range would have been a problem, I've read somewhere that it would have required an emergency fitment of AAR capability to the 747 and as mentioned upthread there would have been major engineering issues simply mating the shuttle with the 74.
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 17:40
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The last time I was there, the apron in front of the terminal at Easter Island could take 2 787's comfortably with H&S observed, and as Treadigraph mentioned in a push with creative parking you could probably get several others in Tetris-style ;-) and there's a hardly used military apron that could squeeze a few in. The issue as I see it would have been slowing the Shuttle down enough not to have gone into the drink at either end and the same at Madeira, bearing in mind the lengths of runway involved in comparison to Edwards. On both landing and taking off my aircraft used all available runway, though not Russian/Ukranian all available. The Shuttle would have most likely have been compromised in some way in needing to divert, which would add another level of limitation to stopping within the allotted runway length. Add in the time-lag in getting NASA technicians/recovery crew to the location and you'll forgive me if I'm a bit pessimistic about the astronauts chances back then. That said, the Canadian A330 that did the near impossible across the Atlantic at night to land at Lajes managed it, so who knows!
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Old 6th Jan 2021, 19:27
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I think John Young and others did plenty of practice aborts into the various nominated landing sites using the Shuttle sim - and also using the Gulfstream STA? - and were pretty confident about getting in if they needed to. Young pushed for a lot of other potential diversion runways to be included on the list without much success. The thought was that ditching was unlikely to be survivable but perhaps a modest overrun was acceptable.

You'd be pretty pissed off if you'd gone for broke on the flight from Santiago and the Shuttle nipped in ahead and blocked the runway! If they had used Vandenberg, I presume the Lan Chile flights would have been flown to avoid potential conflict.
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