BA first flight to St Helena.Back to Forum
It does seem that the level of incompetence demonstrated here could only be achieved in the public sector.
I understand it has been funded from the international development budget but no doubt no heads will roll as a consequence.10 Jun 2016
JohnHarper – 10/06/2016 14:47 BST
Yes you are correct, both incompetence and the funding coming from the international development fund. I expect they will use the excuse that this project is required under international law of overseas territories.
I actually hope this ends up being successful, as there is something intriguing about places so remote such as this. However, trying to overcome mother nature is easier said than done.10 Jun 2016
The item was covered on the BBC radio “PM programme” yesterday and a local reporter stated that there is now some talk of blasting or otherwise “remodelling” parts of the local topography to address the potential for wind-shear.10 Jun 2016
conshaldow – 10/06/2016 14:53 BST
Totally agree but watching the pictures on the news of the attempted landing last evening suggests this airport is in a position that will never be suitable and there is not much that can be done to mitigate wind shear of that level.
I too would love to visit one day but my main hope now is that they don’t throw good money after bad trying to rectify something which is clearly so wrong but that they find a new site and do the work properly on the next occasion. No one involved in the current project should be allowed to work on the next one and all should be dismissed.10 Jun 2016
One has to ask why drones were not used for “flight” testing in the area during the early days of planning. Maybe long-range RAF aircraft could have visited the planned area. We also have Royal Navy ships equipped with helicopters that could have done extensive flight testing.
But, no….they just built it and hoped.
If you build an airport on the side of a hill surrounded by higher hills and cliffs in an area of consistently high wind then…..surprise, surprise…wind shear….and no reasonable diversion airfield.
Suggestions to David Cameron for its future use! Could be a total waste of £300m or more.
But it has been announced that the mail ship RMS St Helena service to Cape Town has been extended until September. Perhaps the tourists on the St Helena can see the new attraction……the white elephant airport!10 Jun 2016
It is unfair to cite this case as an example of incompetence unique to the public sector, in this case DFID.
The contract to build the airport will have gone out to tender and no doubt it will have been a private contractor which won the contract.
DFID is not an airport construction company, but a donor organisation funding a very wide range of development projects. If the airport was built in an unsuitable location, the private contractor shares responsibility with DFID. If DFID is to blame it is because the DFID project manager will have had no technical knowledge of airport construction. It is likely that s/he will have entirely reliant upon what the contractor was telling them. This is a problem common to the management of donor funds: the project manager in the donor agency has no technical knowledge.
However, this is not unique to the public sector. There’s a widespread belief in Britain that you can manage without technical knowledge: one day the manager of a nuclear power station, the manager of a hospital the next. The justification given for this is that the manager will receive advice from the technical experts. However, if you have no technical knowledge yourself, how do you know if the advice is any good?10 Jun 2016
SenatorGold – 10/06/2016 16:42 BST
I rest my case about competence – or lack of it. No one should take on a job they are not competent to complete so what you argue is IMO no defence.
Dismissals all round.10 Jun 2016
If the windshear is too much for larger aircraft to cope with per se, it will be too much for smaller aircraft to cope with (unless we’re talking F16s or similar).
I suspect it will be the certification requirements for public transport, versus air work, private flight or military use.
Regarding the tail wind component on 02, that will again be due to certification (runway length factors), which will make the LDA (landing distance available) insufficient for some types and okay for others. It will also affect take off performance calculations.
As smaller aircraft tend to need less runway length for landing/takeoff, that is more likely to be limiting to airliners (especially as there are mandatory factors for airline operation.)12 Jun 2016
I disagree, SenatorGold. Any public authority looking to do a development like this should first be doing a feasibility study, which means looking at the cross-wind situation to ensure that planes can take off and fly. I worked for the private sector on a number of airport/runway projects in my previous work life and it was always part of the risk that the public sector took. I don’t know any reputable private sector company that would want to take risk on something like that.
It is usual for the private sector to take the risk on ground conditions (which they will mitigate by doing extensive geological surveys) but they don’t pick the site of the project. That’s all on the public sector.
This sounds to me like another government mess up.
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