Last night, the WAA hosted a meeting between approximately 25 pilots and dispatchers at HPN and the control tower staff to maintain open the lines of communication at the airport. With great dialogue and wonderful interaction from the group, many questions and concerns were addressed. Leading the meeting was WAA Board Member Scott Dyer, and Demisha Vega (HPN Front Line Supervisor). Vladimir Vallejo, Air Traffic Controller, was present and spoke as well.
Although not scheduled yet, please watch the website for quarterly meeting dates.
Below are highlights taken from the meeting to recap some significant information:
· HPN has a significant short staff situation and as a result, impacts the operations at HPN, which limits the availability of "line up and wait" as a procedure to expedite the flow of departing traffic.
- The good news is that the ATC trainees at HPN have all progressed to the point that they are checking out on the Local (Tower) position. Several more trainees are expected to join the Tower staff in coming months.
· There are no major airport projects on the immediate horizon that are expected to affect the flow of traffic into and out of the airport.
· A current listing of the low altitude preferred routes out of HPN to hundreds of different city pairs has been posted to the WAA web site (see http://westchesteraviation.org/resources/Documents/HPN%20TEC%20PREF%20ROUTES%20JAN%202017.pdf ). These routes pertain mostly to piston singe and twin aircraft. This is a far more extensive listing than is available in the Northeast Chart Supplement or on the FAA's preferred route database (https://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/nfdc_preferred_routes_database.jsp ) . Note that while filing these routes will more frequently result in "as filed" clearances prior to departure, the routing segments outside of the NY area may have some route discontinuities as NY ARTCC and NY Tracon have not updated many of the routes to take into account airway realignments and VOR decommissionings (e.g., in Western Pennsylvania).
· The December 2016 Callback newsletter of the NASA ASRS project was distributed, highlighting potential CPDLC-DCL problem areas. See https://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/cb/cb_443.pdf The program is working reasonably well at HPN although there are some reports of glitches. If you experience problems logging on or receiving CPDLC clearances, please contact the Tower. Note that if there are problems receiving CPDLC clearances, the clearance cannot be issued through the PDC process but will be given via voice transmission).
· Concerns were raised about the circuitous low altitude routings into HPN from southeastern Pennsylvania, with routings via FJC HUO and IGN adding many miles to more direct options. Even Citations are being given these routings at 5,000' with resulting high fuel burns. This is pursuant to a letter of agreement between Allentown and NY Tracon for avoidance of traffic congestion. WAA had attempted on numerous occasions to work with NY Tracon in prior years to obtain routings closer to the former FJC STW SAX V39 BREZY routings, suggesting among other things a new parallel route offset to the north by 10 miles based on GPS waypoints, but we were unable to make that happen. Continuing to ask Allentown approach to seek one-off relief from the NY Controller in real time remains the best option to avoid the much longer IFR routing even before reaching Catskill airspace. Or, if conditions warrant, cancel IFR and proceed inbound on the Sparta routing under VFR being mindful to remain well below the EWR arrivals crossing southbound in the vicinity of SAX around 6,000'. IFRs transitioning to VFR may be able to obtain radar advisories to assist in traffic avoidance.
· The Tower at KHPN welcomes visitors. Must have your passport and be a US Citizen. Call Mike Wold at 914-948-6520 if you would like to schedule a visit. Because of the cramped quarters, limit the group to about 5.
· The Tower folks love to be asked to go along on local flights for familiarization.