Max Q
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St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:01 am

Day after day we see pictures of all different types of Aircraft, from the smallest up to 747's flying as low as possible, barely clearing the fence before touching down.


This is completely unnecessary and downright dangerous.


The runway is not that short and, in any case flying a very shallow approach more often results in a long landing. A normal three degree approach angle and touching down in the touchdown zone is what is required.


It amazes me that professional Pilots would put so much at risk just to look 'cool'



One of these days there will be a price to pay.
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ak907
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:12 am

What makes you think the pilots do it to look cool?

Also, I like how your little quote on the bottom fits your post!
 
spink
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:55 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):

The runway is not that short and, in any case flying a very shallow approach more often results in a long landing. A normal three degree approach angle and touching down in the touchdown zone is what is required.


a 3 degree approach is what is used. Do you know how shallow 3 degrees is?
 
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77west
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:34 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
This is completely unnecessary and downright dangerous.

The same could be said of many, many airports around the world. If flown properly there is no issue. I hardly think they do it to look cool, it is just another destination for them.
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Klaus
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:14 pm

The distinction is only that there are no approach structures close to the runway but a public beach.

May matter to the bathing people but not necessarily to the safety of the approach.
 
rfields5421
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:35 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
Day after day we see pictures of all different types of Aircraft, from the smallest up to 747's flying as low as possible, barely clearing the fence before touching down.

They do fly a three degree approach.

What you are seeing is basically an optical illusion because of the runway placement.

The threshold is only 285 feet from the roadway. The touchdown zone just 1,000 ft past that.

As a comparison - LHR 09R has 2,500 ft from the road to the threshold.

But yes, I do agree that someday someone is going to land short and hit people on the beach/ road.

I've been a couple places in the world with roads on military bases that close to a runway - and they stop traffic when planes are landing/ taking off. Anything in the area of the beach would be restricted / off limits.

But at SXM - that road and beach make a lot of money. And money talks.
 
PITrules
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:48 pm

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):

I couldn't agree more.

Quoting spink (Reply 2):

a 3 degree approach is what is used. Do you know how shallow 3 degrees is?

About 55' over the threshold if touching down 1,000' down the runway. With the beach about 300' from the threshold, this should put aircraft at least 75' above the top of the beach if following a 3 degree glide path to the fixed distance markers.

Certainly not the case with these:


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Photo © David Takahashi

Quoting 77West (Reply 3):
If flown properly there is no issue.

That is the issue.

Quoting 77West (Reply 3):
I hardly think they do it to look cool, it is just another destination for them.

I've met plenty of pilot personalities who do things because they think it is cool, even though it's not.

Insel Air has a reputation for putting on a show at SXM. How else do you explain taxiing on unusable pavement (the chevrons) simply to increase the jet blast affect on beach goers? JetBlue did the same several months ago, which resulted in a serious injury on the road.


Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 5):
But at SXM - that road and beach make a lot of money. And money talks.

And still will make a lot of money if the few that feel the need to put on a show follow a 3 degree glide path like everyone else. How much money do you think the island would lose if someone clips their landing gear on the fence or a vehicle (or worse) causing the runway to be closed, even if for a short period?

[Edited 2013-07-08 07:50:55]
FLYi
 
vikkyvik
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 6):

Insel Air has a reputation for putting on a show at SXM. How else do you explain taxiing on unusable pavement (the chevrons) simply to increase the jet blast affect on beach goers? JetBlue did the same several months ago, which resulted in a serious injury on the road.

Do you have links for those? Just curious as I hadn't heard about that.
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817Dreamliiner
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:33 pm

Every time a topic about SXM's low approaches comes up I always remember these:


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Photo © Trent R Sellers

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PITrules
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 3:34 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 7):

Do you have links for those? Just curious as I hadn't heard about that.

Here is a video of the JetBlue injury:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CGqx1Y2T8c

As for Insel Air, there are photos of them in the database taxiing on the chevrons (unauthorized for aircraft movement) to get closer to the fence.


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Photo © Cary Liao - AeroPX

FLYi
 
rfields5421
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:10 pm

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 8):
Every time a topic about SXM's low approaches comes up I always remember these:

Those are three different pictures by three different photographers of ONE aircraft landing short on ONE day - July 2, 2006.
 
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Stitch
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:27 pm

How long as SXM been open?

How many landings per day does it see?

How many planes have hit the fence while attempting to land?
 
roseflyer
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:47 pm

The biggest danger at SXM is the terrain avoidance on departure not the arrival. There’s no ILS, which makes it more challenging, but there are hundreds of airports in the world that receive large jets without an ILS. The uniqueness is a relatively short runway with the public allowed so close to the threshold. If you stand 300ft from the threshold of any 7500ft runway that has large jets, you will see the same low approaches.
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vikkyvik
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:51 pm

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 12):
There’s no ILS, which makes it more challenging, but there are hundreds of airports in the world that receive large jets without an ILS

Even airports that have ILS will do visual approaches when able, like LAX and SFO. Although one can back up a visual approach with an ILS, it shouldn't be a necessity by any means.

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 12):
relatively short runway

I wouldn't call 7500 feet "relatively short", but I suppose that's my opinion.  
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B777LRF
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:03 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 13):
Even airports that have ILS will do visual approaches when able, like LAX and SFO. Although one can back up a visual approach with an ILS, it shouldn't be a necessity by any means.

You should have qualified that statement by starting with 'In the US ...'.

The main airports of the world outside the US will not, generally speaking, offer you a visual approach when an ILS is available. You may ask for it, and they might even give it to you, but you should expect radar vectors to an ILS - regardless of the severity of CAVOK.

It is my firm belief one main reason visual approaches are so common in the US, is to pass a large portion of the separation bucket to the pilots.
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Mir
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 8:48 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 14):
It is my firm belief one main reason visual approaches are so common in the US, is to pass a large portion of the separation bucket to the pilots.

That is one reason. It also allows pilots to take more direct paths to the runway. Both of those help move traffic faster.

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danvs
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:25 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 14):
You should have qualified that statement by starting with 'In the US ...'.

The main airports of the world outside the US will not, generally speaking, offer you a visual approach when an ILS is available. You may ask for it, and they might even give it to you, but you should expect radar vectors to an ILS - regardless of the severity of CAVOK.

Exactly.

Quoting Mir (Reply 15):
That is one reason. It also allows pilots to take more direct paths to the runway. Both of those help move traffic faster.

It also reduces workload on air traffic controllers during peak hours.
 
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:35 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 10):
Those are three different pictures by three different photographers of ONE aircraft landing short on ONE day - July 2, 2006.

And you don't think I know that??? I posted all three to show how low and how short that particular aircraft landed...
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77west
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:55 pm

Looking at those pics more closely I will admit they seem a bit low on the 3 degree angle. I would think more to maximize available runway on a short field, rather than putting on a show. They should NOT be on the chevrons though! Seen planes sink through as the pavement is not always strong enough. Perhaps an ILS should be installed for this approach. Probably to expensive though.
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:07 pm

Quoting B777LRF (Reply 14):
The main airports of the world outside the US will not, generally speaking, offer you a visual approach when an ILS is available. You may ask for it, and they might even give it to you, but you should expect radar vectors to an ILS - regardless of the severity of CAVOK.

Not that uncommon at airports that have PRM approaches to be given a visual when conditions are CAVOK.
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roseflyer
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:18 pm

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 13):

I wouldn't call 7500 feet "relatively short", but I suppose that's my opinion.

I agree. For a 737 it isn't short. For a 747, it is.
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vikkyvik
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:35 am

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 20):
I agree. For a 737 it isn't short. For a 747, it is.

Would depend on how heavy it was, I would think.

Europe-bound 747s take off and land on BOS's runway 9-27 (7000 feet) and 4L-22R (7860 feet) fairly routinely. Whereas the transcon A320s and 737s on which I've traveled seem to usually use 4R-22L (10005 feet) or 15R-33L (10083 feet).
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Viscount724
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:07 am

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 20):
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 13):

I wouldn't call 7500 feet "relatively short", but I suppose that's my opinion.

I agree. For a 737 it isn't short. For a 747, it is.

For the shorthaul routes operated by KLM 747s from SXM, 7,500 feet is more than enough. If memory correct, KL operated nonstop from AMS to SXM, but the aircraft then continued to other points in the Caribbean before returning nonstop to AMS from airports like CUR with longer runways. SXM-CUR is only 478 nm.
 
802flyguy
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:12 am

Aviation Blvd in LAX is very, very, close to the end of the 25 runways (don't know the exact distance). Close than Sepulveda to the 24s) But there is no beach, just an ugly four lane street.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:50 am

Quoting 802flyguy (Reply 23):
Aviation Blvd in LAX is very, very, close to the end of the 25 runways (don't know the exact distance)

It's about 360 feet from the threshold of 25R (about 1300 feet from the displaced threshold), and about 1250 feet from the threshold of 25L. So aircraft taking off from 25R are quite close, but there's a big blast fence between the runway and the road.
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Max Q
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:15 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 9):

As for Insel Air, there are photos of them in the database taxiing on the chevrons (unauthorized for aircraft movement) to get closer to the fence.

Pretty amazing an Airline crew would not know this, not, perhaps the most brilliant Pilots..
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ptrjong
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:56 am

Isn't SXM governed by the Dutch CAA? I'd be surprised if they allowed the public so close to the threshold.
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Starlionblue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:04 am

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 26):
Isn't SXM governed by the Dutch CAA? I'd be surprised if they allowed the public so close to the threshold.

That would be EASA now, but ignoring the particular authority, I have no doubt there are strong local interests at play. Maho Beach is a big tourist attraction. Many people choose Sint Maarten as their vacation destination partly or entirely because of Maho Beach. I have been one of those people.

Give or take in the political process, no doubt.
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ptrjong
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:07 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 27):

I guess you're right.
The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:31 am

A compromise solution:
- Block pedestrian access to the parts of the road that are directly behind the runway, plus the flat parts of the beach beyond the road, with fencing. This would decrease the risk of injuries to onlookers by an order of magnitude since the "fence-hangers" would be eliminated.
- Install crossing lights and booms for the vehicular traffic, like at a railroad crossing, and block passage when aircraft are on approach or departing. Perhaps install something like a cow-grate around the booms so passing with cars is fine but walking is difficult.
- Fine people steeply for passing the booms on foot, or getting off cars between the booms. The cost of one officer on duty would more than pay for itself just in fines.

Pilots would/could still come in low, but at least there would be fewer people and cars in the way right on the extended centerline. Onlookers could still stand right under the aircraft, but on the beach, which slopes downward relatively steeply a short distance from the road.

Handing out fines to airlines when their pilots use the blast pad wouldn't be a bad idea either.

[Edited 2013-07-09 04:37:59]

[Edited 2013-07-09 04:43:07]
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JRadier
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:20 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 6):
Insel Air has a reputation for putting on a show at SXM. How else do you explain taxiing on unusable pavement (the chevrons) simply to increase the jet blast affect on beach goers?

While I agree with you with the part that one shouldn't taxy on the chevrons, but why assume this is to increase the jet blast effect, and not for performance reasons?
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Starlionblue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:18 pm

Quoting JRadier (Reply 30):
Quoting PITrules (Reply 6):
Insel Air has a reputation for putting on a show at SXM. How else do you explain taxiing on unusable pavement (the chevrons) simply to increase the jet blast affect on beach goers?

While I agree with you with the part that one shouldn't taxy on the chevrons, but why assume this is to increase the jet blast effect, and not for performance reasons?

There should be no need to do it for performance reasons, especially in that aircraft. The runway calculation is done based on the distance available, not including the stopway and includes quite a bit of safety factor already. Furthermore it is hardly a 747 or 340 and should have more than enough runway. While more runway is of course always a plus, an extra 100 feet won't make much difference in this case.
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northstardc4m
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:00 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 29):
- Block pedestrian access to the parts of the road that are directly behind the runway, plus the flat parts of the beach beyond the road, with fencing. This would decrease the risk of injuries to onlookers by an order of magnitude since the "fence-hangers" would be eliminated.
- Install crossing lights and booms for the vehicular traffic, like at a railroad crossing, and block passage when aircraft are on approach or departing. Perhaps install something like a cow-grate around the booms so passing with cars is fine but walking is difficult.
- Fine people steeply for passing the booms on foot, or getting off cars between the booms. The cost of one officer on duty would more than pay for itself just in fines.

Except the government of Dutch St Maarten would rather keep the tourism money coming. That road is narrow and busy enough as it is. It's not the US to lawsuits against the airlines or airport aren't going to get alot of traction from people ignoring the huge and multiple signs warning of jetblast. It's an attraction and it's not going anywhere.

People have already been injured from jetblast and "fence surfing", no real changes have occured.

YYZ's runway 23 is only about 700' from Airport Rd, where alot of great pics come from:

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Photo © Nigel Harris-CYYZ Aviation Photography



[Edited 2013-07-09 11:08:27]
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ptrjong
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:18 pm

Quoting NorthStarDC4M (Reply 32):
People have already been injured from jetblast

I read on Wikpidedia (Dutch) that the lawsuit of a Swiss woman who got injured by the jetblast of an AF 747 is still going on after the Dutch Supreme Court dismissed her case.

http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetblast-arrest
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roseflyer
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:28 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 22):


For the shorthaul routes operated by KLM 747s from SXM, 7,500 feet is more than enough. If memory correct, KL operated nonstop from AMS to SXM, but the aircraft then continued to other points in the Caribbean before returning nonstop to AMS from airports like CUR with longer runways. SXM-CUR is only 478 nm.

I was considering landing and on a wet 7,500ft runway at sea level and no wind, a 747 is limited to about 565,000lbs. That is not far off what an inbound 747 from AMS should be, so there isn't a whole lot of margin if the plane is coming in high.
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mandala499
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:50 pm

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 34):
I was considering landing and on a wet 7,500ft runway at sea level and no wind, a 747 is limited to about 565,000lbs. That is not far off what an inbound 747 from AMS should be, so there isn't a whole lot of margin if the plane is coming in high.

Is that factored landing distance required as per dispatch, or actual advisory landing distance (unfactored) as per QRH?
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roseflyer
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:05 pm

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 35):
Is that factored landing distance required as per dispatch, or actual advisory landing distance (unfactored) as per QRH?

The ACAP for airport planning.
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mandala499
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:37 pm

Quoting roseflyer (Reply 36):
The ACAP for airport planning.

Ah, that'll make it the dispatch numbers, ie: factored landing distance required... which is 1.66 times the actual required landing distance (includes 50ft over threshold).

Still enough margin for a slightly screwed up landings in wet conditions then.   
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
flynlr
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:43 am

I have never understood why folks want the government to protect them from their own stupidity .
the need for nanny-ism is very strong these days, unfortunately to the detriment of society.
in the past the gene pool was adjusted accordingly as needed.
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hivue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:25 pm

Quoting PITrules (Reply 6):
How else do you explain taxiing on unusable pavement
Quoting JRadier (Reply 30):
While I agree with you with the part that one shouldn't taxy on the chevrons

You can't (legally) land on the chevrons. If you can't taxi on them either, why the heck are they even there? If the pavement is unusable, remove it. Then no one can use it to try to "show off" blasting people at the fence. And it's also not a temptation to pilots landing (I strongly suspect the infamous incident with the KLM 747 landing on the chevrons after nearly clipping the fence would never have happened if that pavement hadn't been there). On the other hand, if it's legal to use the chevrons for a little extra takeoff performance, then don't second-guess the pilots' decision, and don't begrudge a landing pilot who screws up the approach and doesn't go around that little bit of extra pavement.
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flyingturtle
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Aug 05, 2013 5:22 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 39):
f you can't taxi on them either, why the heck are they even there?

To avoid blasting sand and other stuff into areas where it might harm people or equipment. I thought the name "blast pad" would be self-explanatory.   


David
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hivue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:39 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 40):
To avoid blasting sand and other stuff into areas where it might harm people or equipment. I thought the name "blast pad" would be self-explanatory.

Here is a blast pad (or at least the barrier for one):
http://www.airliners.net/photo/South...d=2095d3ac6cf7cb5c21f75f592a0ba2c4

But I suppose if a hundred ft of flat asphalt can actually keep jet blast debris from a 747 300 ft away from reaching the road or the beach, it should stay.
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Starlionblue
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:42 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 39):
On the other hand, if it's legal to use the chevrons for a little extra takeoff performance,

They may be used for accelerate-stop distance. They may be used for take-off distance available. They may not be used for take-off run available. All in the opposite direction.

There are crucial differences.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
flyingturtle
Posts: 4590
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:39 pm

RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Aug 06, 2013 12:03 am

Quoting hivue (Reply 41):

I always understood that chevron markings at the end of a runway designated blast pads.

This is a blast fence (or blast deflector) to me:


Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runway#Sections_of_a_runway


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
b747400erf
Posts: 2011
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:33 am

RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:05 am

Quoting flynlr (Reply 38):
unfortunately to the detriment of society.

Such as?
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:23 am

Quoting PITrules (Reply 6):
JetBlue did the same several months ago, which resulted in a serious injury on the road.

The woman's own stupidity caused her injury.
What gets measured gets done.
 
hivue
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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:26 am

RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Tue Aug 06, 2013 2:33 pm

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 43):
I always understood that chevron markings at the end of a runway designated blast pads.

I believe you are correct. I looked up the same Wikipedia article -- unfortunately, after my last post.   

It sounds like the blast pad is intended as much to protect the structural integrity of the runway threshold as to prevent blast debris from harming people or equipment. I suppose at SXM whatever protection they can provide between the rumway and the beach is good. That sort of gets defeated though if pilots are using the chevrons during takeoff (for showing off or for any other reason). I wonder if the tower can recind their takeoff clearance if they see them operating on an unapproved part of the runway?
"You're sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!" ~ Louis C.K.
 
trav110
Posts: 536
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:49 pm

RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:40 am

Who cares. God forbid somebody fall and hurt themselves when they are standing directly behind a plane as it's taking off. Let them do what they want, there's no need to legislate protection against absolutely everything that could cause injury- while we're at it why don't we ban swimming in the ocean? Far more people die in it every year compared to those who die being hit by planes.
 
Max Q
Topic Author
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RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Wed Aug 07, 2013 5:32 am

The stupidity of bystanders is one thing.


The stupidity and recklessness of Pilots deliberately taxiing on part of the runway not approved for operations and exposing these spectators to a far higher level of danger by bringing their breakaway thrust much closer than planned by the airport authorities is another.


Like wise with the cowboy Pilots deliberately approaching lower than necessary just for the hell of it.


Those Pilots really are stupid, and should know better.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
FlyASAGuy2005
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:55 am

RE: St Maarten, An Accident Waiting To Happen

Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:11 pm

Quoting hivue (Reply 46):
I wonder if the tower can recind their takeoff clearance if they see them operating on an unapproved part of the runway?

The tower most likely does not care.
What gets measured gets done.

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