Tango-Bravo
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STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:29 am

When I recently departed St. Thomas Cyril E. King airport on an ATL-bound DL 757 carrying an 80-85% load factor, I noticed that the runway appeared to be relatively short, requiring what seemed to be a faster than usual acceleration to rotation speed on takeoff for a type known for having plenty of power to spare for takeoff and climbout.

Which raises the questions of this topic:

Are contemporary twin types such as the 737NG, 757, 767, A319/320/321 able to take off from STT on non-stop flights to the U.S. mainland (typically 1,100-2,000 miles in length) with full payload in most meteorological conditions?

Is/was the STT runway adequate for widebody operations by types such as the A300/310, DC-10 and L-1011, with or without payload restrictions?

It appears that 727s (-100s and -200s) were once the main jet type featured at STT by AA, EA and PA. Were 727s capable of consistently operating at full payload on a non-stop flights to MIA and JFK?
 
SJUSXM
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 8:55 am

One of the requirements Eastern sent to Boeing was that the 727 would have to take off without restriction from small airfields such as STT.
AT7, ER3, ER4, ER5, CR7, E70, E75, F100, M82, M83, 722, 732, 738, 752, 762, 763, AB6, 320, 321, 772, 77W
 
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mbm3
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:23 am

STT has a 7000' runway, which is pretty short, though STX is just over 10,000 feet due to a recent extension. I guess they want to grab some direct flights to/from Europe.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:26 am

Quoting Mbm3 (Reply 2):
STT has a 7000' runway, which is pretty short,

DCAs 1/19 is under 7000 feet, and 757s seem to be rather regular visitors there.

I am surprised they extended STX and not STT, since STT is the primary tourist destination in the USVI.
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mbm3
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:34 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 3):
I am surprised they extended STX and not STT, since STT is the primary tourist destination in the USVI.

I was surprised when I learned of this on a recent visit to STX. I dont know if STT is landlocked, but it looked like STX still has room to grow. While STT is more popular and has the cruise ship port, STX has a very large refinery about 5 minutes from the airport that draws business travelers to the island.
Let Me Tell You, Landing A 772ER Is Harder Than It Looks!
 
DeltaRules
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:38 am

I saw a Rich International L-1011 at STT when I was there in 1999. I was surprised it could make it in there.

DeltaRules
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cf6ppe
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:36 am

The STT runway was extended to its current length more than 20 years ago.

I visited STT several times in the early 70's when they used the shorter 4650 feet long runway**. Under the earlier airport configuration, their was a large hill/small mountain at the east end of the runway (while the west end of the runway was near the edge of the bay).

With the earlier airport configuration, EAL flew to STT from MIA and SJU. The return trip to MIA was via STX for the reasons noted above. I always returned to (MIA) via 727 to SJU and EAL line equipment - usually L-1011 - to MIA. More than once returning to SJU, the B727 took off over the hill much to my astonishment.

The former STT runway was lengthened to 7000 feet by dismantling the large hill and filling the the bay at the runways west end.

Although I haven't been to STT since the runway was lengthened, I flew over STT in 1984 on a trip from SJU to ANU and was amazed at the difference in the airport.

** http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19701228-1&lang=en
 
lat41
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:38 am

The STT runway used to be shorter until part of the hill at the end of the runway was mowed down at the 28 end for the extension to 7K'. AA Flight #625 from PVD and JFK hit that hill in a crash in the days before the expansion. I beleive it was 5500' then. In those days the flights from the mainland would routinely fly nonstop to STT then on to STX and then return to the mainland from the longer St. Croix runway. Todays higher thrust to weight ratio jets make operating from STT relatively easy.
 
BNinMSY
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:44 am

If I'm not mistaken I believe American Airlines once flew B747's to/from STT. Does anyone have information on this?
 
lat41
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:50 am

I know of AA 707s in the 1970s. Again they flew in nonstop but hopped over to STX for remaining passengers/freight and for the benefit of the longer runway back to the mainland.
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:18 am

Quoting Mbm3 (Reply 4):
I dont know if STT is landlocked,

Yes, it is. The only way to extend - in reality - is to extend it into the ocean. See the picture in this AirNav link and you'll see what I mean:

http://www.airnav.com/airport/TIST


STX doesn't have that problem, it's on a large flat plain on the south side of the island . . .

http://www.airnav.com/airport/TISX
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timz
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:25 am

Quoting SJUSXM (Reply 1):
One of the requirements Eastern sent to Boeing was that the 727 would have to take off without restriction from small airfields such as STT.

Then Boeing didn't meet the requirement.

Quoting Cf6ppe (Reply 6):
The STT runway was extended to its current length more than 20 years ago.

More than 20 years ago it was extended from 4650 to 5350 ft (as I recall). It was sometime in the 90s that they extended it to 7000.

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Thread starter):
Were 727s capable of consistently operating at full payload on a non-stop flights to MIA and JFK?

I suspect nobody scheduled a 727 or anything else STT-JFK nonstop before the runway became 7000 ft. Nonstops to anywhere on the mainland were rare.

Quoting Lat41 (Reply 9):
I know of AA 707s in the 1970s.

Can you find a timetable showing a 707 at STT?
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:30 pm

Quoting Timz (Reply 11):
Can you find a timetable showing a 707 at STT?

Yes. AA's March 2, 1980 shows no less than three daily 707 departures from STT; the routings are:

STT-STX-EWR-YYZ
STT-STX-JFK
STT-STX-JFK-BOS

Quoting Timz (Reply 11):
I suspect nobody scheduled a 727 or anything else STT-JFK nonstop before the runway became 7000 ft. Nonstops to anywhere on the mainland were rare.

Indeed non-existent based on what I can find in timetables when doing further research on the subject. In timetables dated 1989, 1991 and 1992, EA, PA and AA (respectively) routed their flights into STT non-stop from MIA and JFK/EWR; all return flights to the U.S. mainland were one-stops routed via STX or, in a few instances, via SJU, including EA's 757 services in and out of STT. By 1998, AA was flying non-stops from STT to MIA and JFK with 757s.
 
crownvic
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:34 pm

Back in the 1970's STT was actually 4400ft before the extension to 4650ft. I highly doubt that anything larger than the 727 was ever scheduled into STT during this period, nor do I recall anything larger. AA, EA, PA and TC would route their 727's on the outbound through either STT or SJU. I frequently flew the EA 721's out of this airport during this period and although there were minimal payload restrictions, the flights would only carry enough fuel to get to these neighboring islands.

There were two very fatal accidents at this airport, both involving 727's of AA and TC. After the last AA crash, the airline brought in CV-440's and banned jet operations there.

Another interesting fact of the danger at this airport, LIAT, the Caribbean carrier that flew HS-748 equipment was forbidden by their management to use 9 for T/O's because of the dangerous terrain at the departure end. It was fun watching these birds T/O with 20 knot tailwinds. They would roar almost as loud as the 727's!

For many years, STT was one of the world's most dangerous, but exciting airports.
 
timz
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Mon Oct 16, 2006 10:35 pm

As I recall, for a short time (maybe 1988 or so) Eastern did schedule a 757 out of STT nonstop to-- was it MIA, or ATL? (I'm not home now to check.) But that's all, before the extension to 7000 ft.

Quoting BNinMSY (Reply 8):
If I'm not mistaken I believe American Airlines once flew B747's to/from STT.

Somebody was pulling your leg. But they did have A300s.
 
787kq
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:33 am

Quoting BNinMSY (Reply 8):
If I'm not mistaken I believe American Airlines once flew B747's to/from STT. Does anyone have information on this?

Never, never, ever.

Quoting Timz (Reply 11):
I suspect nobody scheduled a 727 or anything else STT-JFK nonstop before the runway became 7000 ft. Nonstops to anywhere on the mainland were rare.

Correct. All flights to the mainland headed to another nearby destination first: SJU or STX.

Quoting Timz (Reply 11):
Can you find a timetable showing a 707 at STT?

Regardless of what the timetable shows, it never happened. This was about the time (1980) the extension was occurring and 707's flew to STX then passengers transferred to Convair pistons to STT.

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Thread starter):
Is/was the STT runway adequate for widebody operations by types such as the A300/310, DC-10 and L-1011, with or without payload restrictions?

Very doubtful. But 767's make it back to the mainland from STT if I am not mistaken. I believe a DC-10 has landed there maybe once and an L1011 never.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 12:45 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Thread starter):
Are contemporary twin types such as the 737NG, 757, 767, A319/320/321 able to take off from STT on non-stop flights to the U.S. mainland (typically 1,100-2,000 miles in length) with full payload in most meteorological conditions?

Current and upcoming nonstops from STT (commerial pax jet aircraft):
AA: JFK, MIA, BOS, SJU- all 757
UA: SJU-A320 (ORD/IAD ops nonstop to STT, stop in SJU on return)
CO: EWR-73G
US: CLT, PHL- both 757
DL: ATL-757 (JFK in 2007)
NK: FLL-A319 / A321
SY: MSP-738 (seasonal - shows non-stop. Possible SJU tech stop.)

Any I missed?

Quoting Crownvic (Reply 13):
Another interesting fact of the danger at this airport, LIAT, the Caribbean carrier that flew HS-748 equipment was forbidden by their management to use 9 for T/O's because of the dangerous terrain at the departure end. It was fun watching these birds T/O with 20 knot tailwinds. They would roar almost as loud as the 727's!

Last year we departed rwy 28 out of STT in a CO 737-700. As we banked south after departing, I spotted an AA 757 out my window on final to runway 10 not too far from us...... pretty cool!!

Back to STT in 3 weeks....  sun 
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:07 am

Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 16):
Any I missed?

According to an article in the current edition of Northwest's inflight magazine which I read two days ago, NW will begin DTW-STT non-stop (presumably both ways) service during the upcoming winter season... with A320 aircraft.

Don't remember the date the service starts and ends, but it definitely coincides with peak season for Caribbean tourist travel. Also recall that it will not be daily service and may even be Saturday only.
 
kellmark
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 1:37 am

EA flew B757 eq out of STT to MIA before the runway was lengthened to 7,000. The a/c performance was phenomenal.

As I recall PAN AM may have flown A300s in there for the short hop to other islands.
 
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tjwgrr
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:34 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 17):
According to an article in the current edition of Northwest's inflight magazine which I read two days ago, NW will begin DTW-STT non-stop (presumably both ways) service during the upcoming winter season... with A320 aircraft

Good catch. NW begings DTW-STT-SJU-DTW (A320) on January 6 thru April 28, Saturdays only. (Note SJU stop on the return flight.)
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
voodoo
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 3:36 am

727-100s have a greater flap setting compared to -200s and yet their ops into STT with a 4600 ft runway were precarious enough. So I am not sure what TC was doing using their -200 into there in `71.:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willam W. Sierra


You can see how 1/2 the hill at the end of the runway had already been cut/removed. To no avail here. Later the entire hill was used to extend the runway and build the new terminal area.

In the 1960s, Caribair didn't fool around and equipped their CV340s with JATO bottles in case of inoppurtune engine failure on take-off at STT:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willam W. Sierra



[Edited 2006-10-16 20:44:31]
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787kq
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:34 am

Quoting Voodoo (Reply 20):
In the 1960s, Caribair didn't fool around and equipped their CV340s with JATO bottles in case of inoppurtune engine failure on take-off at STT:

But Caribair flew their DC9's into the same short runway as Trans Caribbean, and one overran the runway, but not a bad accident.
 
bomber996
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 7:45 am

Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 16):
US: CLT, PHL- both 757

I've been in there twice, first time in a 757 from CLT, but second time in a 762 from PHL. I've also seen A320's and A319's with US in there.

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Tango-Bravo
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:10 am

Quoting Tjwgrr (Reply 16):
SY: MSP-738 (seasonal - shows non-stop. Possible SJU tech stop.)

With 2,447 miles between STT and MSP, it would seem more accurate if "possible SJU tech stop" were changed to "highly probable SJU tech stop" in the direction STT-MSP. Even so, the Sabre flight schedule display I checked for flights in February, 2007 indeed shows SY782 (Fri only) operating non-stop from STT to MSP whereas UA and NW both find it necessary to show their shorter flights STT-ORD (2,116 mi.) and STT-DTW (1,967 mi.) respectively as 1-stop flights via SJU with A320s while showing their southeastbound flights into STT as non-stops.

Which raises the question: Is a 737-800 (the only type in SY's fleet) realistically capable of takeoff from STT's 7,000 ft. runway and flying 2,447 miles non-stop northwestbound (typically into prevailing headwinds) at anywhere near the type's maximum payload?
 
CV990A
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:56 am

Back around 1989 I flew EWR-STT-STX-EWR on CO, and the EWR-STT leg was an A300(!). I think this was an equipment sub, as the flight was fairly empty, and the crew was making a big deal out of the fact they were flying such a large aircraft into STT. The STT-STX-EWR leg was a 727-200.
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787kq
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:06 am

Quoting CV990A (Reply 24):
Back around 1989 I flew EWR-STT-STX-EWR on CO, and the EWR-STT leg was an A300(!). I think this was an equipment sub, as the flight was fairly empty, and the crew was making a big deal out of the fact they were flying such a large aircraft into STT. The STT-STX-EWR leg was a 727-200.

Continental regularly flew A300's into STT, before pulling out for a short time then returning with 737's. Although you flew a 727-200, I don't recall them ever flying that regularly (or ever) into STT.
 
Tango-Bravo
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:57 am

Quoting Kellmark (Reply 18):
As I recall PAN AM may have flown A300s in there for the short hop to other islands.

A Pan Am timetable dated Oct., 1989 confirms they operated A300s from STT at the time; departures to the U.S. mainland were routed via STX.
 
timz
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RE: STT Runway Restrictions?

Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:59 am

Quoting Tango-Bravo (Reply 12):
AA's March 2, 1980 shows no less than three daily 707 departures from STT

Look again.

Turns out it was 1988 (the first half, anyway) that EA flew a nonstop 757 STT-MIA.

The 5348-ft runway is still shown on the 8/92 airport diagram; I'm guessing it lasted for a few years after that.

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