Landing Big Boys in Bonacco

January 12th, 2012

[private] v10-1-Our IslandsAll the good things that were supposed to happen in 2011 have not. The politicians in this country have left us with a lot of promises hanging in last year’s stockings.

The projects considered to foment tourism in Bonacco are the construction of the road and modernization of the airport. The road is supposed to connect the east end of the island to the airport, crossing the island from the south and running down the north side of the island.

The government agency responsible for protecting the environment (SERNA) has cleared the way for construction of two kilometers of the proposed road. Permits are one thing, but without money not one inch of road can be constructed.

The promise to lengthen the Guanaja runway in order to accommodate a Boeing 737 has not begun, but what has started is construction at the terminal building.

As is the custom in this country, things are being done backwards. They are building an international arrivals building and they have not touched the runway.

These small gestures are designed to placate the populace. The coming year will be a political year; and appeasement with promises and false starts is the name of the game.

The ongoing consensus is that the runway can be lengthened by 500 meters and this will be enough for the purpose at hand. Currently the runway is about 1,200 meters. By adding 400 meters on the south and 100 meters on the north it should become adequate for a Boeing 737.

In my opinion the runway should be shifted about 5 or 6 degrees so that the north end of the runway terminates at Jim Bodden Beach. This would change the direction of the runway on the south side from its present 115 degrees to 121 degrees, which would have a huge effect on the landing pattern when an aircraft comes in from the north. At present when approaching the runway from that direction one must go over the hill at Wilmot Bay. Even for small aircraft the approach is too high, not to mention the ever present turbulence created by the pinnacle. An aircraft landing or taking off from the runway in Bonacco can always do so into the wind. With hills on each side funneling the wind from one or the other end of the runway, the direction the wind is blowing does not matter.

It must be remembered that the Boeing 737 comes in different models and the takeoff field length at maximum take-off weight is different for some models. Models 100 through 500 require from 2,026 to 2,600 meters. The newer models 600 through 900ER require from 1,600 to 3,000 meters. If the air strip is changed as stated before, it could have a total length of 2,175 meters.

To accommodate all models would take a lot more money and a lot more work, but the results would be a world class landing strip.

All this is probably just wishful thinking, because the present central government is at best very confused and at worst headed by idiots. [/private]

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