• Wednesday, February 23, 2022 9:07 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Scott Dyer

    Have you thought about flying south to watch a NASA launch with your airplane?  Taking the Cirrus, Bonanza or Cessna down the coast to see the launch from the air?  I have, and I've been daunted by the day long trip each way to the Cape Canaveral area, perhaps joined with a delay of a day, or two, or three, or more, as the launch is on hold for weather or mechanical reasons. It just seemed too complicated unless I was otherwise going to be in Florida and could do a one day roundtrip within the state.

    COVID adds another wrinkle, with the NASA passes for launch viewing being suspended indefinitely.

    But...we found another solution!  Wallops Island, Virgina on the Eastern Shore is home to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility where sounding rockets and International Space Station (ISS) resupply missions among other things are launched.  It's a relatively short flight from HPN, maybe 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours depending on winds and your aircraft, with good refueling at Salisbury Regional Airport (SBY) in Salisbury, Maryland or Accomack County Airport (MFV) in Melfa, Virginia.  Some launches are during the daytime, others are in the evening or at night, so you'll have to take your pick and make your plans.


    If it wasn't already obvious, I'll reveal now that we took this very trip in February 2022 for the Cygnus NG-17 ISS Resupply Mission Launch.  Oh, and did I forget to mention this viewing was inflight?  

    The launch was scheduled shortly after noon with only a 5 minute window for launching...we'd know pretty quickly if the launch wouldn't happen that day.  Yes, there are TFRs, and you have to watch the Restricted Areas over Chesapeake Bay, but there is plenty of room around V1 near Wallops (WAL) to loiter and wait for the launch - when we were there no other airplane was in sight at our 4,500' altitude. We were about 8 miles away under clear blue skies when the rocket ignited and lifted off.

    You can pick your future launch by looking at the NASA Wallops Launch ScheduleThis link also shows the best locations to watch from the ground, if you want to land and rent a car for viewing at Salisbury.  

    Watch the video of our February launch excursion from HPN.

    Have a great trip!

  • Monday, January 17, 2022 7:38 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Scott Dyer

    Photos courtesy of Scott Dyer and David Montiverdi

    The snow started falling at Westchester County Airport a little after midnight, light at first but then picking up in intensity around 2 AM to a solid “moderate” with steady accumulations.  As of about 12 hours earlier, the NWS forecasters hit it right on the head for time of onset and intensity increases. So far, so good. 

    With the snow starting to accumulate, the HPN snow removal operation swung into the high-energy dance of clearing our taxiways and runways for the start of morning flight operations, a dance that had been planned months in advance and fine-tuned the previous afternoon for the oncoming storm.  

    We rode along with the HPN Ops snow team one January night to see how they get the airport surfaces clean for our use during and after a storm.  It's a year-long operation to get ready for snow and ice events, with planning and equipment acquisition in the warmer months through the summer.  

    Equipment to Move Snow

    The airport has been active in securing all the winter equipment that can be funded by the FAA, and then some more with other funds so that the job gets done properly.  Westchester has at its disposal 5 Sweepsters, each a 15 foot wide behemoth of rotating brush powered by a 485 horsepower diesel engine.  They can individually push 7,500 tons of snow per hour, aided by a compressor that blasts air at 300 miles per hour to get the snow away from the surface being cleaned. Those brushes wear out, as the bristles degrade from snow and surface contact after 80 to at most 100 hours of use.  It’s a four hour job for 2 mechanics to change the bristled part so this is best done before a major snow event if the bristles are getting to be marginal.

    These Sweepsters suffice for up to about 6-8” of accumulated snow on the runway. For more than that, the County has in its stable 4 Oshkosh heavy plows of various plow sizes  between 14 and 22 feet, plus 4 Snow Blasters that make a home Toro snowblower look laughable.  The blowers are critical in moving piles of snow well away from the shoulders of runways and taxiways, and away from areas that could affect ILS integrity.  There is a whole squad of low-tech orange markers in the ground in front of the glidseslope antennas to help technicians to determine if enough snow is on the ground to deleteriously affect the glideslope signal (not usually a problem, most winters, at HPN).

    There’s also a tanker of 3,000 gallons capacity for Potassium Acetate runway deicer (CH3COOK, a potassium salt of commonplace acetic acid) that can deal with freezing rain conditions sometimes as an anti-icer before the rain starts, and more normally as a deicer for freezing rain and some compacted snow.  The Potassium Acetate has a freezing point of roughly -50°C to power through anything that’s frozen in a zone of 90 feet either side of the centerline.  

    There are also spreaders on the plow trucks that can lay down sand 60 feet either side of the centerline when slippery conditions prevail. It is not just any sand, but (don’t laugh) special FAA approved airfield sand, material that is free of any corrosive substances and debris, specially sieved and sourced from a mine in Delaware that produces this good stuff.  Rounding out the equipment are a Loader/blower for ramp work, and the command Chevrolet truck that includes a small plow for touchups, that finish out the list.

    Seasonal Planning and User Involvement/Communication

    With the equipment in hand, there is the planning. It’s a crew of about 30 that makes the snow removal happen, sometimes with people brought in for placement overnight before the snow starts falling.  That crew complement, which changes some each year, needs to be assembled and trained in all aspects of winter snow and ice removal.

    Airport Operations runs an all-user snow planning meeting in the Fall, a meeting that comprehensively runs through the plan of attack and what users can expect.  Among other things, that meeting highlights the priority areas for snow clearing, including Runway 16/34 and the major taxiways of A, C, part of G, K and L. This priority ensures that runway access is available for all aircraft, the runway exits at either end are available, and the perimeter road and the emergency access adjacent to Taxiway C are among the first cleared of snow and ice. 

    This doesn’t mean that Runway 11/29 and other taxiways are left in the deep freeze; but it does provide a focus to the snow ops forces about what to do first.  Often, the crosswind runway is brushed, plowed and snowblown for opening the same day as an overnight snow event, even if it is not the first priority.  For major events, it may reopen the following day.

    Hours Leading Up To The Snow/Ice Event

    In the 12-18 hour period before a snow or ice event, another meeting is held for all interested parties to go over when and what will be happening, to respond to user (GA and airline) needs and to answer any questions. Special operations needs can be identified and taken into account at this meeting, and it is here that the latest information about suspension of airline operations, overnighting of aircraft and the expected schedule of snow/ice clearing can be exchanged. Interested parties can be put on the list for email distribution for Veoci airfield alerts through Airport Operations that include notifications of snow alerts, when this pre-event meeting will be taking place, runway condition reports, and the like.  

    Another great source of much of this information, with Notams, runway closures, public advisories of meetings, and the like is the Airfield Status page that can be found at https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/wxs3wx.

    It's Action Time

    With the snow starting to fall, the plans coalesce into action.  That’s what we wanted to see when observing snow clearing operations in the wee hours one January morning.  

    The on-field operations are run by the Airfield Supervisor driving the “Ops 39” command vehicle.  This job was being done by Dave Montiverdi, a veteran of several years in the role.  He’s a busy person, monitoring a number of different radios and frequencies, cell phone communications and occasional glances at a smartphone app showing weather radar.  Ops 39 runs the snow removal team, determines what tactics to use, measures runway surface friction for the ever-desired reports to pilots (more on that to come), coordinating runway closures and openings and contributing to Notams on runway condition.  

    The goal is a black pavement, albeit it may be wet, something that is challenging to accomplish when a gusty wind is blowing dry snow over the runway surface.  It takes continuous trips of snow removal vehicles when it is still snowing or blowing. Those snow removal priority areas (e.g., Runway 16/34 and the critical taxiways) get continuous attention from the snow removers, as the runway will close if there are Pireps of Nil braking, several consecutive Pireps of poor braking, one-half inch of wet snow or slush, or 2 inches of dry snow.

    Working with Ops 39 is an Operations Supervisor with a broader mandate of ensuring the safe, efficient and secure operation of the airport as a whole (including rescue and firefighting, and the landside snow removal contractors charged with making the airport safe for passengers and employees).  A Snow Bridge (Ops base station overlooking the airline ramp) that coordinates Notams and other team activities rounds out the structure.

    While we mentioned earlier the individual snow removal capabilities of the Sweepster monster brushes, they aren’t used alone.  They are deployed often in echelon formations, first simultaneously clearing a zone left and right of the runway centerline, and then moving to the sides of the runways for the next pass.  The idea is to maintain 15-20 miles per hour or so, being slow enough for the brushes to do a good job but also fast enough that passes down the runway don’t take forever. Lather, rinse, repeat. It takes many passes to keep the fast-accumulating snow in check and the runway grooves clear of packed snow, one trip down the runway after another with the vehicles doing a choreographed turn on taxiways at either end of the runway before starting their run in the other direction.  Visibility is often down to ½ mile or less; blowing snow from wind and from the vehicles in front make this a hard job for the drivers who have to keep just a bit of overlap with the truck in front for the best cleaning.  The last driver on the side also has the most snow to move as the preceding vehicles push or brush it over to that side.

    The cleaning gets interrupted when a departure or arrival needs to use the pavement, with Ops 39 coordinating with ATC on how that is best accomplished.  Then it is all equipment off the runway, including those working on taxiways that may be coming close to or over the hold short lines, until the aircraft operation has taken place.  Then it is back on the runway to keep things clean while the snow is still falling or blowing in the wind.

    Fortunate, too, is that after an overnight snow event, the airport is a bit slower waking up to air operations than on a more normal morning.  It takes longer to deice the aircraft before departure, taxiing is slower, and those leaving the airport may be doing so up to an hour after the usual schedule.  All this means there is more time for the snow crew to give them the best runway possible. It is a joy to see a departure off a runway that the removal vehicles have just been working hard on and exited.

    It's All About Friction

    Many pilots grew up with the highly subjective reports of braking action, ranging from Good through Fair and Poor to Nil, and the report depending on who was at the controls, the type of aircraft, and autobraking in use, if not the phase of the moon.  Some measure of objectivity has been imposed by FAA for some contaminated runway surfaces, and a key component of that is using a µ (mu, pronounced myew) meter.

    The device, used by the Ops 39 command vehicle, is made by Bowmonk and it’s a decelerometer.  We had thought it was a simple measurement made while driving down the runway but it is a lot more sporty than that, sometimes bordering on the violent.  In each zone of the runway, touchdown (basically first 3,000 feet of Runway 16/34), midpoint (middle section, as you’d expect) and rollout (last few thousand feet of the runway), three readings are taken just off centerline.  The truck is moving about 20 miles per hour when the brakes are sharply applied, and the unit calculates runway friction.  It is the average of the three readings in each portion of the runway that is the useable value.  You can feel immediate friction, or some sliding and then grabbing, depending on the runway friction being experienced.  It is not exactly gentle but far better than trying out the braking in an aircraft. 

    µ values get added into a Runway Condition Assessment Matrix, that also factors in temperature and type of runway contaminant, to come up with a Runway Condition Code (RCC)  of 6 (clear and dry, the best) to 0 (minimal to no braking). All sorts of rules apply to when a µ reading can increase (make better) a RCC (basically the µ report can only improve a RCC of 0 or 1, not higher RCCs), but all pilots really have to know is the basic RCC number for each zone and then consult their materials to determine required runway lengths for the prevailing conditions.

    Share the Love

    Taxiways get their attention too, whether on the airline side of the field or on the west side.  While within the Priority 1 group Runway 16/34 takes the most attention, the Priority 1 taxiways get their care too especially as the snow slows.  The same echelon deployment of the snow-removers clears the taxiways.  A good leader will work an efficient pattern of turns while keeping brushes and plows in the same direction as much as possible.  There is an art to the snow clearing, not inviolate rules and procedures by any means as higher winds may cause different clearing patterns to be used, but it is a joy to see a similar finesse in the snow removal process as we see in the cockpit, with smoothness and no wasted motion.

    Wait for the Movie 

    Our visit with the snow removal crew was highly informative, and we cannot thank John Starace (who spent hours educating us on what his crews do), Dave Montiverdi and the Operations staff enough for their unstinting sharing of time and the warm welcome that we received.  Steve Ferguson, Assistant Airport Manager, provided support and jumped on the suggestion for this article.  Pilots and FBO denizens do not often have occasion to interact with the folks in Operations but they dedicated, hardworking, love aviation and are critical to our success as an airport. 

    This video is a tribute to the HPN Snow Removal Team.  Enjoy!

  • Saturday, November 20, 2021 12:51 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Scott Dyer


    In mid-October, I was fortunate to resume my Angel Flights post-pandemic by taking an Afghanistan veteran and her mother to visit the vet’s son in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  This was what we call a “compassion” flight, one principally for family unity for a deserving passenger, rather than for medical treatment.

    I’ve been doing Angel Flights since sometime in the mid-1990s when WAA Member Andy Alson asked me to fly right seat with him on a wintertime Angel Flight from Rochester to New Haven.  We had a Baron that evening and Rochester was a true winter wonderland with poor taxiing sightlines due to piles of snow.  But it was a good trip and I was hooked. 

    Since that first Rochester trip I’ve done hundreds of these flights in my Cessna 210, and almost every one was very rewarding as a way to use my aviation skills to help people in difficult times.  I’ve flown in 2001 a 9/11 first responder NYC firefighter so he could have a short vacation with his family in Peoria, Illinois where they were temporarily relocated; repeated trips with a little girl and her family so she could be treated in Pittsburgh (she sadly  succumbed, ultimately); a middle of the night trip for another little girl from Farmingdale to Allegheny County Airport so she could receive a liver transplant (landing just behind the aircraft carrying her new organ at 1AM); and many trips with a disabled Marine who was shuttling weekly from NYC to his home in Maine as he went through an HVAC apprentice program on Liberty Tower.

    Most of the trips though, have been adults and children going to medical treatments or evaluations around the East, from Toronto and Montreal as far south as Raleigh-Durham.  Many times, the destination or start of the trip is BOS.

    This most recent trip started out as a request for staffing to us Angel Flight pilots as a two leg trip, from Fryeburg, Maine to Fayetteville, North Carolina, with a break between flights in the mid-Atlantic.  Two pilots and planes were sought, one for each leg.  Knowing this was a veteran flight, I signed up for both legs so that she wouldn’t have to coordinate with two different pilots and be subject to differing views on weather or mechanical problems. 

    My main passenger was in her mid-50s, and she was accompanied by her mother who is caring for her (she suffered brain injury as well as losing a limb in an accident while she was stationed at Ft. Bragg in 2018).  The mother and I coordinated the trip about 10 days in advance, specifically knowing that it always possible it could slip due to weather.

    A day before we were going to depart,  a northeast/southwest cold front that I had been watching was scheduled to come across the east coast in mid-afternoon and into the evening on the day of our flight.  Thunderstorms would be popping up across northern New England around the time we’d be departing Maine, and then a squall front followed by the main cold front would harry us on the route to Fayetteville all day.  I decided to push the flight to the next day, when no significant weather was forecast for the route.

    And so we flew.  The passenger and her mother were a joy to meet.  The FBO at Fryeburg and a friend of the family were most accommodating in our loading up and we flew the first 3 hour leg, passing directly over JFK, and then over Delaware Bay to Easton, Maryland for refueling.

    The Easton FBO was likewise wonderful, quickly refueling and helping us assist our passenger with egress/ingress of the aircraft and use of a golf cart to move her into the FBO.  There must have been 4 people helping us get into the FBO and then on our way.

    The last leg was a 2 hour flight to Fayetteville, with the same excellent service from the FBO.  Watching my passenger meet her son, who she hadn’t seen since she was injured a few years ago, and his new wife, I was touched by the joy on all sides.  I had been impressed on the way south by the gentle strength of the family in dealing with my passenger’s injuries and needs; now there was a happy reunion of mother, son and grandmother where only a few short years before there was likely little hope of my passenger’s survival.

    Following the late afternoon drop off in Fayetteville, I headed on the short flight to Raleigh for an overnight (and dinner!) before heading home the next day.  The trip home was unexceptional with some unforecast moderate turbulence on final to HPN Runway 34 making me work a bit harder just before landing than at any time on the flight north.

    All told, this was “just another” Angel Flight, and in a way it was.  As I pulled into my tiedown back at HPN about 27 hours after leaving the previous day, I felt satisfied and happy at using my skills for a greater good.  What I remembered, too, is that each patient flight is special and this one won’t be soon forgotten.

    (Scott Dyer is a WAA Board member, and a CFI/II based at HPN, who flies his Cessna 210 for both Angel Flight NE and Patient Airlift Services.)

  • Monday, August 23, 2021 8:44 PM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Michelle Judice


    Vladimir Vallejo has worked at Westchester County Airport since 2015 and chances are you may have spoken with him without even realizing it. He is an Air Traffic Control Specialist at “Westchester Tower” who admittedly loves his job because everyday is different. His career is taking off and he leaves us in August to continue his role at one of the busiest airports in the nation...LaGuardia Tower. The move is a career enhancement that will provide a fun challenge and what’s more, his new “office” offers a view of the Manhattan skyline and NYC bridges from the state-of-the-art facility.  

    It all started when an airline pilot friend suggested he become an Air Traffic Controller.  He didn't know anything about the profession but moved ahead full throttle and applied to Vaughn College and was accepted into the ATC program. Essential skills for a controller are the ability to listen and talk at the same time, absorb a lot of information at once, quickly organize your thoughts and develop a plan and most notably, work under pressure. Although that may seem overwhelming to you and I, Vladimir assures me that experience and repetition enable him to prioritize which makes the job less stressful. Besides, he doesn’t think about this because he’s too busy!

    The best part of his job at HPN was meeting and working with a great group of people. He's been known to pop into an FBO to talk with the pilots of a particularly cool airplane. I am told by an anonymous source that the coffee might have something to do with this as well. Kidding aside, his favorite aircraft are the HondaJet, Cirrus Vision SF50 and the Cessna 208 Caravan with floats.  

    Vladimir has also appreciated the support that Airport Operations provides to ATC. They facilitate dialogue, answer any questions thrown their way and in general, have been an ally to his team. This may explain the good friend he found in Airport Operations Supervisor, David Montiverdi who speaks highly of "Vlad" and his character. He says, "If you ask around, you will find plenty of pilots who can speak to how well liked and accommodating he has been over the years. Very cordial, he often makes conversation with the many familiar voices in and out and even makes a point to know the names when he can."

    Not surprisingly, assisting with Tower Tours was a highlight during his time here. He enjoyed the chance to educate pilots about useful information but more importantly, explain why controllers issue these instructions or restrictions. There is a reason and it usually relates to flow control, entrail spacing, weather or the controlled chaos of coordinating the arrival and departure of everything from light aircraft, helicopters and flight students to scheduled commercial flights all at the same time. Tower Tours are not currently available but will resume when safe to do so.

    Good luck Vladimir from your friends at HPN!  Maintain your best forward speed.

  • Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:38 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    by Dan Shamir


    What’s better than a flight in a single-engine airplane on a beautiful spring day? A flight in a single-engine airplane to a special destination! Whether your flight mission be the $100 ($300) hamburger, a Pilots N Paws dog rescue flight, or flying someone who has never flown in a small airplane before, having a great destination can elevate your flying experience exponentially. 

    One such destination that I frequent is Cherry Ridge Airport (N30) in Honesdale, PA. Located just 75 miles straight-line distance northwest of HPN, Cherry Ridge is close enough, yet far enough to constitute a satisfying day of flying. Once you take-off from HPN, head west to the Hudson River for a nice view of the Tappanz...I mean Mario Cuomo Bridge. From there you can practice flying a VOR needle on the 128 degree radial inbound to Huguenot (HUO). Once you reach station passage over HUO, track the 294 degree radial to N30. Of course you can also stop pretending that it’s 1981 and dial in N30 on your new (and expensive) GPS panel or iPad and fly directly to the field. Either way, remember to look out the window for some exciting scenery like the Delaware river and the High Point Monument located to the south as you fly overhead HUO. 

    Cherry Ridge airport is located about 6 miles due north of beautiful Lake Wallenpaupack. The lake is a good size and becomes an easy landmark to find while airborne. Surrounded by sprawling fields of grass with a few wooded areas, a 2986’ paved runway awaits you in good condition with the numbers 36 and 18 freshly painted on the pavement. The airport is actually a fly-in community with a connecting taxiway that leads to a number of houses with hangars. There’s nothing tricky about flying into Cherry Ridge airport but the simplicity is much of the charm and allure. Located on the field is a genuine mom and pop restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. The huge paved ramp area in front of the restaurant makes parking a breeze even on the busier weekend days. The restaurant offers fresh, wholesome food at very reasonable prices. Almost every seat in the joint has a good view of the runway for a pleasurable dining and airplane spotting experience. 

    Another benefit of this airport is that the restaurant is open on Mondays, which is a rarity. Be advised that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, however there is a small lounge in the building that remains open, providing access to a seating area and bathrooms. 100LL fuel is available via a recently updated fuel pump located across the ramp from the restaurant. There are also a couple of maintenance shops on the field, which make the possibility of having a maintenance issue a little more palatable. 

    Cherry Ridge airport can also be more than a day trip destination. In the quaint town of Honesdale, you’ll find antique shops, motor lodges, restaurants, and more. In the summertime, nearby Lake Wallenpaupack offers all the attractions of water sports and boating. In the winter time, there are some small ski resorts in the vicinity. Cherry Ridge airport has been one of my favorite “fly-in” destinations for years. Check it out for yourself and it may become a favorite of yours, too!

  • Monday, March 29, 2021 9:00 AM | Michelle Judice (Administrator)

    75 Dogs Transported to Westchester as part of Valentine’s Day mission


      

    Top: The SATO Project volunteer holds new arrival from Puerto Rico. Middle: The Levene family of Chappaqua greets new dog Zena.

    WEST HARRISON, NY (February 13, 2021) – Million Air Westchester, the luxury FBO at Westchester County Airport, hosted The SATO Project in an emotional day that united rescued dogs and their new families over Valentine’s Day weekend. 

    The Sato Project collaborating with Wings of Rescue airlifted 75 dogs to the FBO’s hangar where they were received by loving families. The flight was part of the “Love is in the Air” mission to save more than 500 at-risk shelter pets during the week of Valentine’s Day with support from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the spirits company’s Vodka for Dog People program.

    All of the dogs were rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico, saved from a severe hoarding situation, abandoned, or pulled from overburdened animal shelters impacted by recent earthquakes. The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 dogs to the Northeast.

    “We were very grateful for the opportunity to host The SATO project and provide the space for this loving union between Westchester families and their new pets,’’ said Roger Woolsey, CEO of Million Air. “The work that this organization does is nothing short of miraculous and we were proud to play our small part in this effort.’’

    Dozens of volunteers arrived at Million Air on Saturday, Feb. 13 to help unload the animals, complete paperwork and unite them with their new families who eagerly awaited their arrival. 

    John and Allison Levene of Chappaqua and their children, Owen, 6, and Shane, 3, were there to pick up Zena, who was rescued as a tiny pup from a plastic bag dumped by the side of the road. Zena, now four months looking healthy and happy, rewarded her new family with plenty of kisses. 

    “We lost our dog a while ago, and we are all very happy to have Zena,’’ said John Levene.  

    There is a stray dog epidemic in Puerto Rico, where an estimated 500,000 roam the streets and municipal shelters average a 94-96% euthanasia rate. For the past decade, The Sato Project has rescued, rehabilitated, and flown more than 5,000 rescue dogs to the Northeast.

    Also contributing to the cause on Saturday was Rita and Vincent Santelia of Silver Lake Pizza who donated lunch for dozens of volunteers. 

    ABOUT MILLION AIR

    Headquartered in Houston, Million Air is an award-winning network of luxury executive FBO terminals spanning four continents. Million Air has been named Best Large FBO Chain for the past nine years delivering genuine care and exceptional service to aircraft owners, pilots and their distinguished guests. Million Air also provides aircraft charter, management, sales, and aircraft maintenance as well as FBO services. To read more about Million Air, visit www.millionair.com.  

    ABOUT THE SATO PROJECT

    The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing abused and abandoned dogs in Puerto Rico. Founded in 2011, the 501(c)(3) has transformed the lives of more than 5,000 stray dogs—vetting them to the highest standards and finding them homes in the Northeast. The Sato Project is also addressing the underlying causes of overpopulation via spay/neuter initiatives in underserved communities and has serviced more than 7,000 companion animals since 2014. Since Hurricane Maria, the organization has distributed more than 130,000 pounds of food and humanitarian supplies to the island. To learn more or support our work, visit TheSatoProject.org or follow us on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter

    ABOUT WINGS OF RESCUE

    Wings of Rescue is a donation-based charity flying large-scale transports of at-risk shelter pets from overcrowded shelters and disaster areas to shelters where there is empty kennel space and where no local shelter pets are displaced by the flights. Founded in 2012, Wings of Rescue utilizes volunteer pilots flying rescue missions in their own planes as well as chartered cargo planes to “Let the Fur Fly”. Since its inception, more than 50,000 pets have flown to safety. To donate, please visit Wings of Rescue and Facebook.

Presentation created by the WAA on the Westchester County Airport and all of the benefits it brings to our community

HPN PowerPoint December 2020.pdf

11/29 Runway Closure Update

HPN Airports Operations has decided to take the advice of the WAA's very own Scott Dyer and cancel the Notam closing Runway 11/29 during tower closure periods.

Effective Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Runway 11/29 will be open during the tower hours of operation 0700-2200. Thank you, Scott for continuing to keep the lines of communication open between the General Aviation Community and the Operations team at HPN.

11/29 Runway Closure Update

HPN Airports Operations has decided to take the advice of the WAA's very own Scott Dyer and cancel the Notam closing Runway 11/29 during tower closure periods.

Effective Wednesday, October 21, 2020 Runway 11/29 will be open during the tower hours of operation 0700-2200. Thank you, Scott for continuing to keep the lines of communication open between the General Aviation Community and the Operations team at HPN.


HPN Traffic Conflict-A Teaching Moment

A traffic conflict situation we can all learn from occurred one morning recently at Westchester County Airport, when it was operating as a non-towered airfield.   We at the Westchester Aviation Association ("WAA") hope that a review of this situation can be useful in causing us to think about safe operations and how our actions can contribute to professional operations.

FACTUAL SITUATION

The field was VMC, with 10 miles visibility and a 4,600' broken ceiling.

The essence of the incident is that a jet departing HPN taxied to Runway 34, in the dark, shortly after 5AM. The jet had obtained a "hold for release" IFR clearance for its short repositioning flight. In the meantime, a twin turboprop under VFR flew a right base to runway 34, turning about a 2 mile final. It made CTAF calls in the blind on a 4 mile right base, and on a 2 mile final. The jet called Approach to state it was ready to depart. It was released, with a void time 9 minutes later. It requested, and was granted, an early right turn direct to DPK VOR on departure rather than flying the Westchester 7 departure. The jet reported that it was "rolling". ATC told the jet that it showed traffic on a 2 mile final, at 1,000'. The jet acknowledged the call but did not report the traffic in sight. The jet then stated on CTAF that it was departing Runway 34. Words were exchanged between the twin turboprop and the jet, complaining about the jet taking off with the turboprop on short final. The jet responded that it had a void time clearance. The jet completed its flight, and the twin turboprop landed on Runway 34.

ANALYSIS AND OBSERVATIONS

Non-towered operations at HPN require a high level of cooperation among aircrews and high vigilance in avoiding traffic conflicts.

  1. In the recent situation, the jet departed with traffic on a 2 mile final, or less, that would cover the distance to the runway in about 30 seconds. That departure clearly caused the arriving turboprop to be concerned about separation from the jet on the runway. Such a traffic situation could require a very low altitude go-around by the turboprop if the jet delayed its departure at all, or had any issue that would cause it to abort its takeoff. It can be assumed that Tower controllers would not have cleared the jet for departure with the twin turboprop on short final at 1,000' or below. While it is not known if the jet had the arriving traffic in sight, either way would counsel that the jet should have delayed its departure with no other aircraft reporting in the pattern.
  2. A void time of any duration should not have caused the jet to depart with traffic on a short final. The void time was 9 minutes after ATC release. A delay of departure of several minutes by the jet would have eliminated any potential conflict, especially since it had already been granted an expeditious routing that avoided having to fly the SID, and would have easily complied with the void time restriction. One reason ATC gave as lengthy a void time as 9 minutes for the jet may have been that the controller saw the traffic on final and planned that the jet would depart after its arrival. Even were the void time only a few minutes away, safety suggests that the departure not occur and a new void time be obtained because of the traffic situation
  3. The turboprop flew a non-standard pattern to Runway 34, flying a right based to a 2 mile final. All arriving VFR aircraft are required to observe the standard pattern for the HPN runways (e.g., left hand traffic) when approaching the airport to land, unless instructed otherwise by the tower. In this case, the tower was not operating so VFR operations should have used left hand traffic patterns. While the pattern used int his case did not seem to contribute to the conflict situation, there have been recent occasions, when the Tower has been closed in busy periods, when some traffic is flying left and right patterns, with base legs pointing aircraft at each other. Please fly left traffic unless instructed otherwise by ATC.
  4. Arguing on the frequency, either pilot/ATC or pilot/pilot, accomplishes no purpose and is contrary to safety. As understandable and right as objections to an operation may be, it is far better practice to talk about it once on the ground whether by telephone with ATC or through call to the owner/operator/chief pilot of the other aircraft. And, a corollary: profanity should never be used on the air.

We at WAA encourage all of our airport users to fly safely and cooperatively. And we hope that you will join us at the December 10 7:30 pm virtual WAA/ATC meeting, details of which are available here: Click Here to register for the meeting. 

The Northeast Virtual Aviation Safety Stand Down 

This WAA sponsored event took place on Saturday September 12, 2020 via a Webinar and was attended by 170 guests. This live event took the traditional aviation safety stand down to the next level! The event included multiple different live presentations, each followed by Q&A. The WAA would like to thank Gene Benson for his partnership on this informative session.

WAA Members are able to login to their accounts and view the recording Here.

HPN Corporate and Jet Avoidance of VFR Aircraft


Please take a few moments to watch this detailed video created by Scott Dyer, WAA Board members and CFI. The video details what corporate and jet crews need to know about avoiding VFR aircraft around Westchester County Airport, including inbound/outbound VFR routes, transition routes and practice areas. Much of the battle of avoiding conflict is knowing where the VFRs usually are.

https://vimeo.com/439404186

Westchester Aviation Association is a non-profit organization.

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