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Aircraft should have no problem landing at Argyle – Expert

Aircraft should have no problem landing at Argyle – Expert

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The wind data collected from over five years of monitoring the site of the Argyle International Airport (AIA) show that the prevailing winds will not be a problem to any type of aircraft landing there when the airport is completed.

This assurance has come from Glendell DeSouza, Science and Technology Officer at the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) during an interview which was conducted by the Agency for Public Information (API){{more}} of St Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday October 29, 2015.

DeSouza said that he analyzed five years of wind data (2007 to 2012) that was provided by the Government and the data provided indicates nothing abnormal or strange when compared to wind data from other airports in the region.

The Science and Technology Officer revealed that the data provided came from observation of meteorological elements at Argyle for every minute over a five-year period.

“…Which means that for each day, I have 1440 pieces of information and for a year, I have more than half million pieces of data…so what I did was sort the data and ran it through software that would generate wind roses, which are basically taking the individual data and putting it in a pattern that you would see where your prevailing winds are and what are your prevailing wind speeds. So you get the information both in tabular or table form or pictorial diagram.”

He said that these calculations showed that the wind speed at Argyle was constantly between six and 16 knots, which falls within the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendations.

“Your wind is never constant in direction or speed so at any point in time you will find if you were to have the wind direction and speed drafted on a chart you will see it not as a straight line, but as an oscillating graph from which you would take averages.

“So with the data being given being for every minute, that means … I am capturing not only the minute averages, but I am also getting the gusts; the stronger winds that I may have and in analyzing the data. What the information showed for the prevailing direction is that your wind is coming from the east north east somewhere around 055 degrees to roughly about 110 degrees in direction from the east of St Vincent.”

DeSouza stressed that this is not abnormal nor unusual because the wind field is generally characterized by the name ‘the north east trade winds’, “so you are going to see winds that are predominantly from the north east here and when I analyzed the wind speed it shows that most of the time, more than 70 per cent of the time, your wind speed is between 6 and 16 knots.”

He noted that while there are winds that are higher than 16 knots, the occurrence of such wind is not as frequent, with wind up to and above 27 knots, less than half per cent of the data points.

“… So most of the wind is going to come from north east to slightly south of east and it is going to be between 6 and 16 knots,” said DeSouza.

In relation to crosswinds, the Science and Technology Officer said that data observed falls within ICAO recommendations.

“For airports like the AIA they gave recommendations for crosswinds and those crosswinds deal with aircraft and the ability of the aircraft to stop a certain length and it ran from the lowest being 10 knots to the highest being 20 knots.”

DeSouza said when the analysis of the crosswinds at Argyle for the period 2008 to 2012 was done, it was found that the crosswind component was between 4 knots and 14 knots, well within the recommendation of the ICAO.

He said that none of the airports that he knows in the region have the same orientation as Argyle, but that is not a problem.

DeSouza said that the strength of crosswinds varies because the high pressure that is creating wind flow is located in the North Atlantic, “but other than that, all airports throughout the region will have crosswinds and the magnitude or strength may differ from time to time but they will fall in the same range.”

He opined that crosswinds are never a problem for pilots as they are taught how to get around them, “and it is generally not an issue.”

“What will happen if you have very strong crosswinds, which is not the case in Argyle, the country dealing with that airport has to publish it in a publication that is available to all airport users. In this case the crosswind is well within the limit.”

He said crosswinds are most problematic on landing and pilots are taught how to land in both normal and high crosswind situations.

“…they normally put them down properly 99 per cent of the time and we have not had any accidents here in the region.”

“Argyle may have some problems which you may call teething problems initially, but as you constantly use the airport and people .

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