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Take off direction at PJIA #59855
06/27/2015 12:09 AM
06/27/2015 12:09 AM
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Posts: 143
Reston
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DnCnVA Offline OP
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Every flight we've been on at St. Martin the past 10 years has arrived eastward over Maho and departed eastward toward the mountain. Last Wednesday the 24th, as our plane got ready to taxi for takeoff, I saw another airliner land eastward toward the mountain. However, our plane turned left, taxied to the east end of the runway, and departed westward over Maho. I had read somewhere that about 98% of takeoffs at PJIA are to the east, based on prevailing winds. I could see palm trees blowing to the west, consistent with the landing approach of the other airliner I saw. Could a sudden change in wind direction cause a sudden change in take-off direction ?

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Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59856
06/27/2015 12:41 AM
06/27/2015 12:41 AM
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Boynton Beach, FL
EdB Offline
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Every day there usually are a few aircraft that take off the ''other'' way. Have never seen any rhyme or reasoning for it.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59857
06/27/2015 07:55 AM
06/27/2015 07:55 AM
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Western MA
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SandS Offline
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We have taken off the other way a few times. I thought it was because of wind.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59858
06/27/2015 08:29 AM
06/27/2015 08:29 AM
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Eric_Hill Offline

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We have taken off the opposite way and have seen quite a few take off the opposite way. Always thought it was the wind, but many times only one plane takes off the opposite way and the very next takes off the normal way.

Just speculation, but wonder if it is a pilot that is not cleared to take off the normal way yet. Or maybe it is just convenience if there is no incoming traffic that they have to be concerned about.


Eric Hill
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Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Eric_Hill] #59859
06/27/2015 08:44 AM
06/27/2015 08:44 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,822
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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I have heard, and I don't remember now who said this but it made sense, that the pilots prefer to take off over the water; so if the wind isn't significant one way or the other, the tower will allow that.


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Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Eric_Hill] #59860
06/27/2015 08:44 AM
06/27/2015 08:44 AM
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Posts: 4,433
Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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For USA flights if there is no incoming traffic it probably saves fuel eliminating the 270 degree turn towards their destination

I have seen aircraft wait on the tarmac for a departing flight to leave and then go to the east end of the runway for a westerly departure...so wind didn't seem to play a part in the decision

That's my vote...

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: boucharda] #59861
06/27/2015 09:14 AM
06/27/2015 09:14 AM
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Dolphinsarecool Offline
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I was told by a Jet Blue pilot that they take off the "wrong" way if their computer doesnt pick the proper flight path over the mountain. I'm also sure there are times wind comes into it. One time the wind was so strong from the SW (tail wind when landing) that AA had to divert to San Juan as they couldnt be sure of braking in time!!

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Dolphinsarecool] #59862
06/27/2015 12:55 PM
06/27/2015 12:55 PM
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Posts: 1,956
DC Area and sliding southward
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DC Area and sliding southward
United used to allow passengers to listen to cockpit transmissions onboard. I have heard several pilots request the westerly takeoff a number of times. It is not always granted. I have taken off a few times over the water, usually in the late afternoon (5pm or so). This makes sense since there are not a lot of planes making their approach from the northwest to worry about.

I am sure a takeoff to the west would be preferable to most pilots in terms of time and burning fuel to make the turnaround. On the other hand, I have also taken off directly over Cole Bay Hill and turned left to fly over Dawn Beach and around over Anguilla to return to The States, as well.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59863
06/27/2015 08:15 PM
06/27/2015 08:15 PM
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We sat on the taxiway for 3 hours several years ago and finally took off to the west-this was a JetBlue flight. I asked a friend that is a commercial airline pilot what would have caused the delay? He said that weight-wind and temperature affect a planes lift and that when over weight you either remove people, bags or go out to the west. Going out to the west requires lower wind speeds from the east or you don't get the lift. He noted that during regatta you will see most airlines using the larger Airbus or Boeing aircraft to avoid weight-wind or temperature delays. Lastly he said that when going out to the west pilots have to get a special clearance from air traffic control in the states as they will be entering air traffic routes from a different path. Confusing to me.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59864
06/27/2015 09:34 PM
06/27/2015 09:34 PM
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Posts: 143
Reston
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DnCnVA Offline OP
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Thanks for all the input ! Sounds like take-off direction can vary for a number of reasons. I'd always thought wind direction is the primary factor, but apparently there are other factors the airlines take into consideration.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: dane] #59865
06/28/2015 08:37 AM
06/28/2015 08:37 AM
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Quote
I have also taken off directly over Cole Bay Hill and turned left to fly over Dawn Beach and around over Anguilla to return to The States, as well.


They used to do that all of the time, it was a great view.

Have not gone that way in years now and have not seen any planes going that way in a long time. Maybe some do, but sure have not seen any. All turn right now, assume it is for fuel reasons.


Eric Hill
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Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: DnCnVA] #59866
06/28/2015 12:56 PM
06/28/2015 12:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,549
originally Long Island, NY/now...
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When we left for home on June 20, our plane took off over the Maho Beach. I believe we've done that twice before over the 10 years we've been visiting the island.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: irish1223] #59867
06/28/2015 02:52 PM
06/28/2015 02:52 PM
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january Offline
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I have also wondered why a left turn after take-off would not be the preferred route, especially because of the hills. I could only come up with two reasons. Interference with traffic at Grand Case and Anguilla and departures having to cross the inbound routes to SXM. The hazard would have been worrisome before the air traffic control radar was in operation. Not as much now with it in operation.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: january] #59868
06/28/2015 03:32 PM
06/28/2015 03:32 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,001
sebastian florida
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In the 70's the departure was often straight up the hill without the right turn, it was pretty cool to watch as it was visually deceptive as to how close they were to the mountain. My ex was a FA and didn't much like the SXM flights for that reason.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: silverfox82] #59869
06/28/2015 05:12 PM
06/28/2015 05:12 PM
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Those were probably four engine Boing 707s and Douglas DC-8s with water alcohol injection during take offs. Their climb was calculated with a single engine out. Today that would be 50% of your max. power instead of 75% of theirs. Still I don't think I'd like to try it. I remember my first time between Christchurch NZ and Sidney, Australia via Canberra. We off-loaded in the middle of the night in Canberra and had enough fuel to make it to Sidney so we cranked up with out going into flight operations and departed. We didn't have good charts of the area so we were oblivious of a hill aligned with the runway. I was pitch black out. We climbed straight out and cleared it without knowing what we did. After a few day we had to go back to Canberra, pick our cargo of two helicopters and fly to Darwin. We were now heavy with fuel and the "whomp-whomps". When we lined-up on the runway we saw "Mt. Everest" out there and asked the tower how far it was and how high. We took off and could tell that at that with the extra weigh we were not going to clear it so we had to jog around it. Made it no sweat but I learned a good lesson that day that I never forgot

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: january] #59870
06/28/2015 09:36 PM
06/28/2015 09:36 PM
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Posts: 2,001
sebastian florida
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It was, ONA was flying "baby eights" into SXM, one had a couple of missed approaches and ran out of fuel after diverting to SJU (I think). After a bird strike at JFK with a DC10 that she was deadheading on that crashed and burned she stopped flying.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: silverfox82] #59871
06/28/2015 09:44 PM
06/28/2015 09:44 PM
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Posts: 837
Florida
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Saw 2 planes take off using runway 28 today. Pretty early in afternoon too, around 2-3 pm. Usually not used to see them do that until late afternoon or early evening.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: wilsonck] #59872
06/29/2015 07:04 AM
06/29/2015 07:04 AM
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Take-offs to the west over Maho Beach are not uncommon and the following is the main reason. Twin engine aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 have to have the capability to clear the Cole Bay Hills if they lose an engine on take-off. When they are heavily loaded, some of them do not have that capability and therefore they request a runway 28 departure over Maho Beach, even with a tail wind. Note that the tail wind has to be below 15 knots or they cannot use 28. I have never heard a request denied by the Controllers at Juliana - they are very accomodating even though a runway 28 departure gives tham lots of work. I watched 2 US Airways flights this past March stuck at PJIA because they were too heavy for runway 10 departures and the tail wind for 28 was almost 20 knots. They sat on the taxiway for several hours hoping for the wind to slow to less than 15 knots. It didn't and they returned to the Terminal and waited for the next day

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: torch] #59873
06/29/2015 12:38 PM
06/29/2015 12:38 PM
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The plane that ditched was a DC-9.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: january] #59874
06/29/2015 04:18 PM
06/29/2015 04:18 PM
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Posts: 2,001
sebastian florida
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Yes, ONA flew 8's, 9's and 10's. Forgot that the charter was a 9 rather than the 8's they normally used, it was a charter to ALM with ONA cockpit crew and ALM cabin crew if I remember correctly.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: torch] #59875
06/29/2015 04:26 PM
06/29/2015 04:26 PM
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Quote
torch said:
Take-offs to the west over Maho Beach are not uncommon and the following is the main reason. Twin engine aircraft like the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 have to have the capability to clear the Cole Bay Hills if they lose an engine on take-off. When they are heavily loaded, some of them do not have that capability and therefore they request a runway 28 departure over Maho Beach, even with a tail wind. Note that the tail wind has to be below 15 knots or they cannot use 28. I have never heard a request denied by the Controllers at Juliana - they are very accomodating even though a runway 28 departure gives tham lots of work. I watched 2 US Airways flights this past March stuck at PJIA because they were too heavy for runway 10 departures and the tail wind for 28 was almost 20 knots. They sat on the taxiway for several hours hoping for the wind to slow to less than 15 knots. It didn't and they returned to the Terminal and waited for the next day


When we were returning home from SXM in March on JB, we had to make a stop in SJU because the pilot wanted a full load of fuel in case we needed to divert when we approached JFK as an ice storm was expected upon our arrival there. He said he could not take off from SXM with a fuel load of fuel and I guess taking off in the other direction was not an option. Despite the annoyance of having to make a stop in SJU, we arrived relatively on time and we were not diverted.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: silverfox82] #59876
06/29/2015 06:27 PM
06/29/2015 06:27 PM
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Posts: 38
Los Angeles, CA
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When I was plane watching on Maho in march this year, I too saw the ubiquitous JetBlue flight taking off in the other direction as well. I was happy to see it happen as its not too often, I even have video evidence from it this time.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: scottsteg] #59877
07/01/2015 12:59 PM
07/01/2015 12:59 PM
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Posts: 148
Frederick, MD
sxmojo Offline
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I was told the larger/heavier planes have to take off over Maho otherwise there are concerns about clearing the mountain on the other side?? Not sure about the validity as a fellow passenger told me this one trip.



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Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: sxmojo] #59878
07/01/2015 01:25 PM
07/01/2015 01:25 PM
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Posts: 76,302
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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There are several theories represented in this thread, if you have read through it. What I will say is that in the years that we have been staying at Beachside Villas--5 or 6 years now--I have seen several planes take off the 'wrong' way. I have NEVER seen KLM 747 (or Corsair before they stopped flying 747's) take off the 'wrong' way, so the 'heavier' theory is not correct, I don't believe.


Carol Hill
Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Carol_Hill] #59879
07/01/2015 02:26 PM
07/01/2015 02:26 PM
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Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Took the words right out of my mouth <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: boucharda] #59880
07/01/2015 06:20 PM
07/01/2015 06:20 PM
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There might be times when weight and temperature cause an engine out clime rate that dictate an over water take-off. However I think that most time it is done when the lack of inbound traffic will allow a shorter flight time if it made on runway 29. Usually the wind velocity is never great enough to dictate a 10 take off.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: january] #59881
07/01/2015 07:05 PM
07/01/2015 07:05 PM
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Posts: 23
NC
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KandG Offline
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On Monday 6/29 we had reservations on the 2:25 flight from SXM to CLT. During an extensive delay at the gate, a representative of US Air (American) circulated the waiting area offering an incentive for eight (!) passengers to get off the flight: $625 pp toward a future flight plus a fully paid night at Sonesta Maho with all food and drinks: "You won't have to open your wallet." There were a few takers; we were not among them, though tempting. My wife and I silently expressed contempt about overbooking, but it wasn't that at all. After the doors to the plane were closed, the pilot explained that the plane was overweight and they needed to lighten the plane by expelling passengers. He said that under normal circumstances, they could take off "the wrong way", west over Maho, but the easterly tailwinds over 20 knots prevented that this day and that the current weight prevented the plane from clearing the mountains to the east on takeoff! At that point, more than one passenger pressed the flight attendant assistance button in an attempt to get off the plane, to no avail. Note: we cleared the mountains, as usual with room to spare. That, however, was not the worst part of the trip. The customs backlog in Charlotte was worse than it has been in the ten years we've returned from SXM. We missed our connecting flight (as did dozens if not hundreds of others) and are considering the Global Entry option for the future.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: KandG] #59882
07/01/2015 10:25 PM
07/01/2015 10:25 PM
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Y'all have talked about the Takeoff direction at PJIA, but nobody has mentioned the Landing direction. Almost 100% of flights land from over the sea, including 100% of the jet flights from the US. I've been on an a small-plane inter-island flight from St Barth, which landed in the other direction, towards the sea. I'm sure that it happens from time to time with small planes, but that was the only time that I have ever experienced it.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Bahston] #59883
07/01/2015 10:28 PM
07/01/2015 10:28 PM
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Posts: 76,302
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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You are correct--I personally have never seen a landing at PJIA toward the sea.


Carol Hill
Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Carol_Hill] #59884
07/02/2015 01:41 PM
07/02/2015 01:41 PM
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january Offline
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It would be dangerous and next to impossible for an airliner to make an approach to runway 29.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: january] #59885
07/02/2015 09:50 PM
07/02/2015 09:50 PM
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It would be like the landings at the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong. I would not say it would be impossible, just not highly recommended.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Carol_Hill] #59886
07/03/2015 10:03 AM
07/03/2015 10:03 AM
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Posts: 323
Leland, NC
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Last edited by drewmon; 07/03/2015 10:03 AM.
Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: drewmon] #59887
07/03/2015 10:18 AM
07/03/2015 10:18 AM
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wilsonck Offline
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That picture has been photoshopped.

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: wilsonck] #59888
07/03/2015 11:21 AM
07/03/2015 11:21 AM
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Posts: 1,835
Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY
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Greensboro,N.C.From Colonie NY

Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: wilsonck] #59889
07/03/2015 12:44 PM
07/03/2015 12:44 PM
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Massachusetts
boucharda Offline
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Well the previous couple of pics show the beast turning and getting ready to take of to the east...but...a lot of work to shop it for what purpose?

..and then there are the videos that confirm a similar takeoff

Whenever I post my KLM pic of a landing there is always someone who just says "photoshopped" but I was there and took the pic...

Last edited by boucharda; 07/03/2015 12:48 PM.
Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: wildbill069] #59890
07/03/2015 12:50 PM
07/03/2015 12:50 PM
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Central Florida!
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Wow, that would be something!


Carol Hill
Re: Take off direction at PJIA [Re: Carol_Hill] #59891
07/03/2015 06:11 PM
07/03/2015 06:11 PM
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Having landed at the old Hong Kong airport, it was a piece of cake compared to what it would like to land on 29.


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