Showing posts with label Melfa Airport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Melfa Airport. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Aircraft Test Landings At Melfa Airport

The Melfa Airport Commission met to hear a presentation from the United States Navy regarding the prop aircraft test landings on Tuesday night. Mark Anthony, who was in the Navy for 30 years, gave the presentation at the Melfa Airport to give the guides for how the process would work.

Melfa Airport is one of 6 airports in the radius the Navy is looking that is currently in the process, which could grow to more.

These aircraft tests that the Navy would run will be for experienced pilots who are entering the final stages of their training. The exercises will mirror an actual landing on an aircraft carrier and will be run by E-2C Hawkeye aircraft and C-2A Greyhound aircraft. These planes will make touch and go landings at the airport chosen approximately 15 hours a week for the duration of the contract. The planes will generally spend about 3 hours in the area at a time and will mainly do night runs which will begin 30 minutes after sundown. Anthony said no weekend runs will be done under normally circumstances. However, unforeseen situations, such as inclement weather, could force the Navy to conduct weekend flights.

Anywhere between 2-5 planes will come at a time, each containing 8 pilots. The first plane will make a touch landing, take back off and then begin a "race track" like path back to the runway approach. During this time, the other aircraft will complete a touch and go and begin their circle. While in their circle, the pilots will rotate. The first plane will make a total of 8 landings, one for each pilot, per trip. The "race track" path the planes will take can be altered to exclude certain areas, such as the town of Melfa.

The planes will generally fly at about 600 feet. Anthony said the sound volume between these planes and the much larger jets is "vastly different." Noise of larger jets is about 124 decibels at 600 feet, while noise of the E-2 and C-2 is roughly 92 decibels. Anthony added the noise is doubled every time the decibel amount rises by 3.

The Navy will hold open hearings for the public of the Eastern Shore to attend, where they will provide a test run of the aircraft that will be landing here for people to be able to see for themselves what exactly these test landings will entail and how much noise they will bring.

Other airports currently interested in allowing the Navy to use their airport include Emporia, Suffolk, Franklin, Dinwiddy and Chesterfield. Any other of the 10 airports which are in the zone and did not ask for more information can enter the bidding process at anytime.

As of right now, it will be up to the Airport to Commission whether they would like the Navy to use the Melfa Airport. If that is the case, the Melfa Airport will make an offer to the Navy. If the offer is made, the Navy will decide between the Melfa offer and all other offers made by other airports. Also, if Melfa wins the bid, the money paid by the Navy will only be able to be used by the Melfa Airport.

The Navy hopes to touch the first plane at the winning airport by January of 2012. After the airport is chosen, a small amount of equipment will have to be installed at the airport. This will all be paid for by the Navy, Accomack County and the Melfa Airport will incur no costs.