In this blog I will try to breakdown to the best I can the current situation, the option at hand, and the other possibilities. Like many I have yet to fulfill one of my bucket-list items and have already missed witnessing the arrival and departure of the KLM 747 so this topic is most defiantly frustrating on so many levels.
One of latest buzz currently among Pilots, Aviation Enthusiast, and Travelers is the future of what is know by several names, TNCM, SXM, St. Maarten, or Princess Juliana International Airport.
By now I am sure you already know of the place I am talking about in this blog. It is well known for not only it’s amazing food such as burgers and it’s drinks but the beach location by the name Maho Beach. Sitting off the end of runway 28 is one of the most desired hot spots in the world for Thrill Seekers and Aviation Enthusiast. With one of the only places left to get close to an aircraft and not have to work in the aviation industry it thrives with visitors.
In relation to my article earlier today found here I decided to dig further and see if there were other solutions to the “problem” and if “this” idea of shutting down the road and extending the fence would really work.
So let’s begin…
Here is SXM at it’s current state via Google Maps…
The area circle in red is the main topic of this post.
How do we keep aviation enthusiasts coming, travelers/visitors safe and keep businesses open that rely on these visitors. One solution on the table that was recently presented is to shutdown the road Beacon Hill Road entirely that crosses in line of the jet-blasts that will in return allow the airport to extend it’s fencing to the beach or possibly the entire beach.
Please keep in mind that these graphs are of my own thinking and are not the final plans or those of the government.
The problem I see with “option one” is that the distance from the current fencing position to this “Possible” option one will result in stilling having the same issue. Watch the video and you will see why I say option one is NOT the solution.
How fast is jet blast?
Jet blast is the phenomenon of rapid air movement produced by the jet engines of aircraft, particularly on or before takeoff. A large jet-engined aircraft can produce winds of up to 100 knots (190 km/h; 120 mph) as far away as 60 metres (200 ft) behind it at 40% maximum rated power. Source Wikipedia
So that will leave Option Two for topic discussion.
With the current fencing that is in place I decided to dig around and see how visible these warnings signs are. Just maybe there isn’t enough of them or they are hard to find and see. Sadly using google earth I was able to count at least 4 very visible signs as seen below all explaining the dangers. With just a very simple google search on the internet I was flooded with stupid people ignoring the signs and dangers.
I would also like to point out that if we address this side of the runway at the beach we will likely have to make a fix on the other end as well.
Watch video to see why I say that….
Back On Topic,
The distance in the photo provided below is clearly not enough space for stupid people to stay clear of departure aircraft in “option one” for the beach side.
Here is what option two might look like but will also mean the closure of the road.
What if they were to go with option two??
Well as seen in the photo to get from point A to point B you will have to literally go around the field not to mention no more beach.
Clearly this isn’t the best solution for both businesses and visitors. So what does that leave us with?
Only other possible solution to think of would be to install Jet-blast reflectors. Currently used at a lot of airports worldwide. Seem pretty good right?
There is some possible hazards that could result in a standalone version such as a tire strike on the reflector with a well below low approach into the airport.
Even if you were able to make it the hight of the fence, the risk is still there.
The solution to this would be in this video…
With the current options provided at hand I stand with the best solution being some type of blast deflector because sadly you can’t fix stupid…
Would love to here your input!