Last night, the WAA hosted a meeting with approximately 20 pilots, dispatchers and controllers to maintain open the lines of communication at the airport. The conversation was flowing for two hours on topics ranging from procedures and projects at HPN to severe weather avoidance plans and alternative routings. Leading the meeting wer WAA Board Member Scott Dyer, Mike Wold (HPN Air Traffic Manger), Devon Browne (HPN Front Line Supervisor), Jon Norris (NY Tracon), Brian Seavey (NY Tracon) and Ben Struck (FAA Safety Program Manger, FRG FSDO).
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 tower has had two of its controllers in training become certified recently, with more in process.
- Controller staff shortages continue to limits the availability of "line up and wait" as a procedure to expedite the flow of departing traffic (extra staffing is required when line up and wait is used).
- The next major airport project will be a resurfacing of 16/34, which will occur in the fall of 2018 and require that the runway be closed for an expected 3 days.
- A directive from the FAA has now removed the terminology of "Climb Via" from clearances for IFR departure procedures that do not include altitude crossing restrictions on the procedure but have only a Top Altitude. Thus, "Climb Via" terminology will no longer be used in clearances for the Westchester Five SID.
- Runway 29 is now available for landings between sunset and sunrise, but aircraft of more than 12, 500 pounds are restricted from landing on Runway 29 at any time. Another NOTAM indicates that the approach ratio for Runway 29 has been raised, due to the trees on the ridge on short final.
- The recent presidential TFRs were discussed. The TFR centered on Bedminster, NJ, when active, removes the availability of BIGGY, LANNA and PARKE for departures from the HPN, with alternative routings to be given. Arrival routings from the south and southwest can expect IFR alternative routings over Allentown (FJC) when the TFR over Bedminster is active, and note the V249 routing between SBJ and SAX will not be available in that event (affecting southwest-bound piston arrivals and departures from HPN). The Hudson River Special Flight Rules Area ("SFRA") was expressly excluded from the Bedminster TFR, although the language was not clear if the Skyline Route (between 1300' and 2000' in the Class B airspace over the Hudson) was excluded as well as it does not lie within the SFRA. Ben Struck said he would check to clarify the status of the Skyline Route during such TFRs. Note that the NJ-based TFR changes when the President moves through Morristown Airport (MMU), so be sure to check current TFR status immediately before departures. There is no available information about the possibility of any upcoming presidential trips to homes and businesses in Westchester County.
- Severe Weather Avoidance Plans ("SWAP") have been put into effect several times already this season. ATC is aware that non-airline operators may be willing and able to take departure clearances that involve many more flying miles than the airlines accept, in order to expedite their departures. Such operators should make that willingness known to Clearance Delivery on initial contact as CD needs to check each routing with Tracon counterparts during SWAP operations and the acceptability of non-standard routings can be conveyed at that time. SERMN routings (Severe weather Escape Routes Metro New york) can be used as well, either on an elective or mandatory basis, when usual departure fixes are not available. SERMN routes are useful for departures to DCA, RDU, ORF and as far south as SAV, as well as BOS and New England destinations, BUF, PIT, etc. SERMN routes require that the aircraft remain at low altitude (8,000' or 10,000' maximums, depending on the destination) for the entirety of the route--don't expect to negotiate higher. The routings are very similar, if not identical to the low-altitude victor-airway preferred routes usually given to piston singles departing from HPN.
As always, the Tower at KHPN welcomes visitors. Visitors must have a 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
Finally, the Tower folks love to be asked to go along on local flights for familiarization.