Last night, the WAA hosted a meeting with approximately 30 pilots, airport operations, FAA personnel and controllers to maintain open the lines of communication at the airport. The conversation was flowing for topics ranging from runway incursions and safety, control instructions in the pattern, IFR routings and the changing nature of TFRs in the area. Leading the meeting were WAA Board Member Scott Dyer, Mike Wold (HPN Air Traffic Manger), Vladimir Vallejo (Air Traffic Controller) and Ben Struck (FAA Safety Program Manger, FRG FSDO).
Although not scheduled yet, please watch the website for the next quarterly meeting date.
Below are highlights taken from the meeting to recap some significant information:
· HPN tower continues to have many trainees among its staff.
- There are daily and sometimes more frequent changes to the TFRs in effect over and near HPN. Pilots are urged to get the latest information immediately before flight commences. The current UN General Assembly related TFR includes a cut out for HPN; other Presidential TFRs do not....don't assume there is a cut out for your departure from or arrival at HPN. Often (but not always) having a VFR flight plan on file for the operation, but not activated, is sufficient, provided that you obtain any necessary transponder code BEFORE leaving the ground or arriving within the lateral boundaries of the TFR. Often (but not always) having an IFR flight plan on file but not activated IS NOT sufficient, it must be active at the time of the operation within the TFR. The expectation is that later in the Fall the VIP trips to Bedminster will diminish in number.
- IFR routings for light general aviation aircraft leaving HPN, that would usually be routed over SAX and along V249 to the Southwest (e.g., routings to Trenton, Philadelphia, Lancaster, BWI, Dulles, etc.) are changed when the Bedminster TFR is in effect. In that event, aircraft are being routed over JFK V16 DIXIE. Routings thereafter may be along V276 RBV (for Trenton/Philadelphia area) or V1 CYN V16, or V1 LEEAH , depending on destinations. Plan for different/sometimes longer routings when the Bedminster TFR is in effect.
- The Runway Safety Action Team ("RSAT") meeting, which is held annually, was held at our September meeting. Traffic operations at HPN continue to grow at the rate of about 5% per year, with Calendar Year 2016 seeing 165,356 total airport operations; 169,448 Tower Operations (including overflights); 48,694 VFR itinerants (i.e., non-closed traffic); and 14,548 touch and goes. These numbers are not including aircraft operations when the tower is closed.
- There were 2 runway incursions since the last RSAT meeting in May 2016. One involved a Cirrus SR22 that crossed runway 16 without a clearance. The other involved a Cessna 421 that did not hold short of runway 11 at C taxiway
- There were 29 events in which jet or turboprop aircraft were issued a go-around due to preceding traffic not having cleared the runway in timely fashion, at the rate of approximately 2 per month. It is important for landing aircraft to clear the runway expeditiously, consistent with safety
- Other runway issues involved flat tires resulting in the aircraft needing to be cleared from the runway, and aircraft excursions on the grass off runways
- Tower suggests the following best practices for pilots:
-Focus on readbacks to ensure proper understanding of ATC instructions/clearances.
-Readback all runway hold short instructions, including the runway number.
- Study the airport layout prior to arriving or taxiing.
-Ask for clarifications if unsure of the clearance/instruction
-See the whole picture, have good situational awareness of what is going on around your aircraft and the route that you will be taking.
-Be alert to the locations of the FBO's with multiple locations: Signature/Ross East/West. Know which direction you'll be turning off the runway.
- The Tower suggests the following best practices for its controllers:
- Minimize the number of runway crossings when issuing taxi clearances
- Issue taxi instructions slowly
- Seek to have ATC be involved in the planning for airport construction projects
-Coordinate with the airport operator for familiarization trips in airport vehicles
- Use of tower cab simulator
-Invite/encourage users to visit the Tower and interact with ATC personnel
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