Let’s Try Something New: Airport Analysis

Let’s Try Something New: Airport Analysis

The Pilatus PC-12 is universally renowned for its ability to operate into airports that are inaccessible to the majority of the aviation industry. Short fields comprised of grass, dirt, and even crushed coral prove no match for the Swiss built aircraft, demonstrating another way that PlaneSense® is able to set itself apart from other business and personal travel options.

With over 8,000 airports inside the PlaneSense operating area, we often find ourselves with requests to use a field that we have not previously utilized. When this happens, we perform a thorough vetting process to ensure that we continue to operate to the high standards of safety that our owners expect. Our pilot management department, Director of Safety, and representatives from the Flight Operations Center will research the airport against proven safety standards and in many cases visit the airport in question to get a firsthand look.

The factors that are taken into account include:
Runway Length & Width
Runway Surface & Condition
Nearby Terrain & Obstacles (Towers, Power lines, etc.)
Airport Lighting and Communications
Instrument Approaches
Aircraft Services Available (Fuel, Maintenance)
Aircraft Parking Availability (Ramp Space)
Wildlife Hazards

A visit to the airport in question often involves a PlaneSense crew positioned nearby who can drive over to examine the field. Occasionally, a flight in a smaller aircraft by a management pilot allows for an even more thorough investigation of all of the above conditions.

Following this analysis, a decision is made to allow or deny flights into the airport, or in some cases, impose a restriction to increase the safety margin surrounding a trip. Restrictions would include limiting flights to day time, or possibly to just days when the weather allows for easy visual navigation to the airport.

Next time your travels take you to an area outside of our usual flight patterns, you can expect a high level of professionalism as we seek out the most suitable airport for your safety and convenience.

Note: This article is displaying as it appeared in Volume 13 of our PlaneSense: Informational Quarterly newsletter.
Photo courtesy of Greg Chag

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