Aran Islands

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Tolka
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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Tolka » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:29 pm

I wonder if the islanders are aware of these restrictions. After all, the airfields were built to facilitate the locals, not a private airline. People who fly to the islands in their own aircraft have been known to visit the local restaurants (particularily on Inishmor). They also sometimes stay overnight. While it may not be "big bucks" it is still business. If the locals were to object to restrictions on people flying to the islands it might have some effect. Maybe AOPA should also try this angle.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by BDoyle » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:23 am

If you look at the Aer Arran Islands web page you will get the details. its 3 hours ppr minimum and only when the airfield is operating. a phone number is provided and email. opening times can be very limited indeed. all 3 are closed at 17.00 local, so no more evening departures in the summer.
to be fair to the Aer Arran people they are probably only operating within the IAA rules for licensed airfields ie thay must have personnel on site when aircraft are departing and landing. this is understandable for commercial use or training but surely pilot discretion could be the rule outside of commercial operating times. this works well in other countries. maybe its the IAA rules that need to be examined.
could AOPA help here?

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by RV BLUE » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:14 pm

One would be of the impression...Public Funds = Public Use.....the way it is in any other country, but then again we are talking about Ireland, infamous at times !! just a good lawyer might do the trick.......a few sheckles too

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by willo » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:54 pm

I discussed the Aran Is situation with Alan, editor of FII, & we agreed to do some research into the current situation, how it arises, why & if it is flexible.

I have had a response from the Dept of Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht, and await responses from Aer Arann Islands.

I would also like to receive any details of visits from pilots since the tender came into operaiton on March 1st. I would only request first-hand experiences only. My email is brian@flyinginireland.com

Thanks

Brian

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by shrtfld » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:03 pm

We at Coonagh are also unhappy with the development. There is in fact an outcry in our club based on an internal email thread. We have highlighted our concerns on Facebook and invite comments there too. The Islands are a popular desination for those at Coonagh.

I attach a link to the SOP as published recently.

http://www.aerarannislands.ie/index.php ... rome-sop-s" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Any efforts made by FII and AOPA to establish the facts will be welcomed
Shrtfld

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by willo » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:39 pm

Hi Shrtfld,
FII will be requesting the facts & establishing the rationale behind the situation, whilst making comment. You state this, but I don't want to muddy the waters with AOPA (& I'm sure others) who are tasked with representing the aviation community.

I have responses to date from aer Arann Islands & the Dept of Arts Heritage & Gaeltacht, but I haven't received any specific first hand details of pilots flying into the Islands. Without specific & identifiable experiences, I cannot use them as being no more than hearsay.

I would request that these experiences include:
Pilot Name:
Aircraft Type & reg:
Date & Time of Arrival & Departure from relevant island:
Was PPR given:
Was telephone for PPR answered (there are indications that this is not the case on this thread)
Was Air Ground Radio available during published opening hours:
Any other notes

I am trying to identify facts here, but to date, there is little on specifics on the thread. I will not identify the pilots in the final piece but will use their experiences & they should be prepared to stand over them if questioned, as if they are relevant, I will address them to the operator & tenderer

Regarding Inishbofin & Cleggan, the tender specifically states that the contract runs for 18 mths from March 1st, and that it is not anticipated that these airfields will be open during this period, so I will be excluding them.

vanman wrote:
Note this in the AIC in relation to Inishmaan:
[ Pilots landing there without permission could find themselves having their licence suspended.

I cannot find this in the AIC relating to Inish Meain on the IAA site. Can you forward the AIC where this stated.

Tolka stated the effect on local businesses & I think this is a good suggestion, so will follow this line also.

Regards
Brian
brian@flyinginireland.com

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Hayden Lawford » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:26 am

I have been following this thread with some interest, so herewith my 5 pennyworth. The Island airfields were established over 40 years ago to provide a badly needed air service, and this remains the main raison d’etre for their existence.

Ever increasing regulation emanating from Europe, diligently enforced by the IAA, coupled with the economic downturn is probably the reason that previous island airfield operators have thrown in the towel, and as it is unlikely that the Udaras wants to become involved in the day to day airfield operation this leaves the ball in Aer Arann’s court, whether they want it or not.

The published Aer Arann SOP’s for the Island airfields do not seem unreasonable and €10 is not an excessive landing charge. Aer Arann’s job is to operate a safe and reliable public air service to the Islands, and if an accident/incident occurs to a visiting aircraft resulting in the closure of an airfield this service can be disrupted - it has happened! The Islands have their own micro-climate - weather on the mainland can be good, but Island weather can be markedly different, and all the Island airfields have their own little peculiarities which can catch out the unwary. This probably accounts for the alleged lack of encouragement when phoning Aer Arann for PPR, especially at busy times.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Tolka » Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:22 am

Hayden,

Would you not agree that, in addition to operating a safe and reliable public air service to the Islands, Aer Arann have now also been given the job of operating the three island airfields. They therefore have a new role and this involves a responsibility to other airfield users.

All airfields/airports can be disrupted if there is an incident or accident. This is no different from the country's roads. Pilots are licenced to fly but incidents do sometimes happen. The main runway at some of the country's national airports have been closed for very short periods due to such incidents. I don't think that this is a valid reason for placing restrictions on visiting aircraft. The evidence would suggest that such events are very rare.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Hayden Lawford » Fri Apr 27, 2012 11:45 am

Tolka,
I can well understand the frustration of the aviation community re-use of the Aran Islands airfields, but unfortunately GA in Europe seems to suffer from more and more over regulation and 'fings ain't what they used to be. As far as I know Aer Arann has been responsible for the operation of EIIM for some time now, and now has to look after the smaller island airfields, formerly operated by the island co-ops, in order to maintain a service to these islands.

Obviously GA movements can easily be accomodated when the airfields are fully staffed for Aer Arann flights, but is it reasonable to expect them to be staffed outside these times awaiting the odd casual visitor? Who pays the cost?

Re- the accident/incident situation, don't forget that we are talking about islands where access becomes more difficult if an airfield is closed. Small airfields, fickle weather and visiting pilots with varying experience can cause problems.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Tolka » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:39 pm

I don't see the reason why the airfields need to be staffed for visiting private GA flights. Such flights can legally land at unlicenced airfields. If the airfields were to revert to unlicenced status when the staff are absent it would not cause a problem for such private GA activity. Normal radio calls can be made by approaching aircraft and they can just fly a normal circuit and land at their discretion. This happens all over the world. It is common practice in the US and other places for pilots to remotely turn on the runway lights when landing if no staff are available (although this wouldn't be required in the Islands). If the pilot is prepared to land at an airfield without staff why should he be prevented from doing so. Its perfectly legal.

Public Transport flights do need to land at licenced airfields so staff would need to be there at those times. This is what is happening at present.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by BDoyle » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:47 pm

they are given in excess of €540,000 per annum of our money to operate these airfields. they should get on with it. they were not given a monopoly.
i understand that they can't be expected to have staff in attendance 24/7 however. perhaps the IAA rules could be altered to allow use at pilots discretion outside of operating times.........then everyone is catered for including us who own the facility as taxpayers.
i did take up the matter with the Minister when i was refused access to InishMann. i was given the Yes Minister treatment.................and Aer Arran were subsequently given the other two islands to add to their empire. soon the will get Inishbofin and Cleggan as well.................unless we do something about it.
the Ministers adress is
Dail Eireann
Dublin 2
if enough of us make an issue it will be addressed

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Hayden Lawford » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:48 pm

Even if you don't require a licenced airfield, you do still need the owners/operators permission. Here's a hypothetical scenario - aircraft is damaged by debris on the runway outside hours, owner seeks compo, who pays? This could be a factor in Aer Arann's reluctance to allow operations outside hours.

As to the €540k grant chasing up the politicos may well be the right course of action. I presume that this grant was subject to fulfilling certain minimum requirments

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Pilot » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:51 pm

I don't see the reason why the airfields need to be staffed for visiting private GA flights. Such flights can legally land at unlicenced airfields. If the airfields were to revert to unlicenced status when the staff are absent it would not cause a problem for such private GA activity. Normal radio calls can be made by approaching aircraft and they can just fly a normal circuit and land at their discretion. This happens all over the world.
Just to make it aboslutely clear, this isn't something that just happens all over the world 'outside Ireland'. It also happens at the vast majority of Irish airports too!

There is no ATC at the islands, and I can't see what difference the lack of admin staff would make to a visiting GA pilot.

The only difference from a GA pilot's prospective would be the lack of a fire service when unlicenced, but this is no different from the last majority of Irish Airports, where there is no fire service anyway.

This is how the islands have operated for years without issue. Why should there suddenly be an issue with out of hours flights because the operator had changed?

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by Pilot » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:53 pm

Hayden Lawford wrote:Even if you don't require a licenced airfield, you do still need the owners/operators permission. Here's a hypothetical scenario - aircraft is damaged by debris on the runway outside hours, owner seeks compo, who pays? This could be a factor in Aer Arann's reluctance to allow operations outside hours.
This is no different to the vast majority of Irish airports which operate without ATC and without a licence.

The pilot is wholly responsibe for ensuring themselves that the runway is free of obstruction before landing, and are entirelly responsible for any damage to their own aircraft if they fail to properly check for FOD before landing.

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Re: Aran Islands

Post by amish » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:45 pm

P.M
Last edited by amish on Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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