|East Hampton Town
To Pat Mansir, Aviation 101
1 August 1999
Councilwoman Pat Mansir
Dear Councilwoman Mansir,
I find myself in the unenviable position of having to clarify the public comments of a fellow aviator, Mr. Richard Krause, made during a public hearing on July 16, 1999, in relation to requirements associated with an installation of a "precision approach" to the East Hampton Airport. I address these comments to you as the Airport Liaison, as the person to be informed of such matters and not towards any type partisanship of which we have both participated in the past. I hope you receive it in this spirit of cooperation.
Firstly, after viewing the LTV replay of the board meeting, it was refreshing to hear what seemed a moderate degree of skepticism from you toward Mr. Krausse when discussion was directed towards the issue of Daniels Hole Road. Your instincts serve you well. The re-location of this road is a key part of a wish list of those parties interested in the installation of a ground based precision approach (ILS) or a not-yet-developed precision GPS approach. Let me explain how, I believe, a precision approach does not meet (A) a cost-benefit analysis, (B) a supply and demand theory and (C) any progressive noise reduction plans.
(A) Three specific components are required for any approach to be classified as a "precision approach" whether it be a Precision GPS Approach (still in development) or the currently in use ILS (Instrument Landing System):
(1) Continuous Directional guidance (left and right).
This component is called a "localizer" on an ILS system and would be effective out to about 13 miles WSW of the airport. As you know at East Hampton Airport most times that weather is very poor the wind would be generally from the east. Since aircrews prefer to land into the wind the most likely scenario for a precision approach, should one ever be installed, would be to runway 10. The location of the equipment needed for the "localizer" would be in too close proximity to Daniels Hole Road and would require this road's movement along with the reconstruction of the airport perimeter fencing.
(2) Continuous altitude guidance (up and down) .
This ILS component is called a "glide slope" and is accurate to within about 5 miles from the airport and down to exactly 200 feet above the beginning of the approach path lighting 1/2 mile from the threshold of runway 10. The equipment for this (still presuming a runway 10 precision approach) would be located at the western end of runway 10 and angled typically at a 3? up-slope. On a precision GPS approach, this would be called the "glide path" and will require a GPS correction signal (called a WAAS, for wide-area-augmentation-signal) to meet the same degree of ILS accuracy. This system is still in development. Concurrent with enabling this "altitude guidance beam", tree cutting would be required at the western end of the airport to prevent signal distortion. Additionally, the existing "clear zone" at that end would also have to be dramatically increased potentially involving dozens of acres being clear cut.
(3) Approach path lighting.
There are many kinds of precision approach lighting. Each depend on the type of approach and the margins for error allowed on each. Presumably East Hampton Airport would use the ALSF-1 (see enclosure 1). Still presuming a runway 10 approach, this presents another issue. Most lighting systems require 2400'-3000' of land beginning immediately west of the runway threshold. This requirement would put the last light well within the Town of Southampton on the west side of Town Line Rd.
Switching this around to assume a Precision GPS Runway 28 approach, this requirement would demand that Daniels Hole Road be moved 2400'-3000' east of its current location impacting the Buckskill initiative along with ARF and EH Indoor Tennis. The issue of clear cutting appropriately sized clear zones would again need to be revisited.
Any cost benefit analysis needs to compare what we have today against what may or may not be derived from the alleged improvement. So what do we have in the way of precision approaches today at East Hampton Airport? None. However, we do have several non-precision approaches:
(1) VOR Approach. This relatively accurate
instrument approach uses an omni-directional radio beam emitted from a
facility in Bridgehampton located exactly 3.5 miles SW of East Hampton
Airport. This procedure will bring an aircraft directly over the
airport at a height of 504' above the ground. 1-mile visibility is the
minimum required. See enclosure (2).
Those are the facts to be considered in a cost/benefit analysis. In short, a precision approach, either ILS or GPS will deliver an aircrew to 200' above the ground. The installation of such an approach will require, (1) the movement of Daniels Hole Road up to 3000' east, (2) relocation of ARF and EH Tennis, (3) clear cutting dozens of acres of trees for clear zones, (4) reconstruction of the airport perimeter fence, (5) in the event of a runway 10 scenario, purchase of land in Southampton to accommodate approach lighting and (6) the cost of the equipment itself.
So now the questions:
Current non-precision instrument approaches at East Hampton Airport can deliver an aircraft to within 413' of the ground with 1-mile visibility and in a position to land. A not-yet-constructed precision instrument approach would deliver this same aircraft to 200' above the ground with 1/2-mile visibility and in a position to land. Does the benefit derived from a 213' difference between the two types of approaches warrant the reconstruction of a road, relocation of 2 businesses and a couple of miles of perimeter fencing, the clear cutting of many acres of trees, possible infringement in the Buckskill project, and the possible purchase of land in another town to accommodate lighting?
(B) The supply and demand theory. In this example I'll use supply to equal the number of days that the weather in East Hampton was such that the cloud bases were lower than 600' and the visibility was less than 1 mile. Then you must subtract from those days all days when the cloud bases were less than 200' or visibility less than 1/2 mile because even with a precision approach aircrews would be unable to land even in the reduced weather minimums a precision approach allows. To be relevant to the discussion there also had to be an aircraft that wanted to land on that day. I do not know the answer to this but I'm sure Pat Ryan does. To have an impact to the discussion you need to ask Mr. Ryan: How many summer weekends (when the demand is) was the weather such that an aircraft flying a non-precision approach was unable to land at East Hampton Airport? Then ask on how many of those days would the airport have been below user minimums with a precision approach. The difference is the impact of not having a precision instrument approach.
(C) Noise patterns. At the Town Board meeting, Mr. Krausse stated that when flying the non-precision VOR approach a pilot would be flying low, gear down, full flaps and with high power. Procedurally this is a statement of poor flying. The flight procedure that should be used when flying the VOR approach is to keep gear and flaps up, reduce power over the facility in Bridgehampton, descend rapidly (1000'/minute) to 560', then increase to just less than normal cruise power and look for the airport. When the airport gets in sight, enter a normal traffic pattern (over Wainscott if using runway 28), put the gear down when abeam the airport and deploy flaps incrementally until landing. With a precision approach in use, the traffic patterns would be exactly the same as they are today except on those days when weather is below circling minimums. On those few poor weather days that would require a precision approach an argument can be made that the precision approach would add to total airport noise as compared to being without the precision approach as those using it would have landed in Westhampton Beach.
Thank you for taking the time to review this document. It's my goal and my obligation as member of the aviation community that town representatives, such as yourself, be given absolutely every piece of information available in order to make informed and responsible decisions for all residents of the town and not be coerced by a select group of non-resident activists. If you require any clarification or would like to execute a VOR approach in a small aircraft just to get the feel, please don't hesitate to ask. I'd be happy to go flying with you.
Barry W. Leach