November 2012 Archives
Until its new and only airport is completed in early 2016, this Royal Mail Ship is, and always was, St Helena's only connection with the rest of the world.
But actually it's not going to be easy to aviate there, even when St Helena has a runway. More of that later.
For most people who've even heard of it, St Helena is notorious as the British Dependency to which Napoleon was exiled because they knew he couldn't leave without someone noticing. The Brits were right. His grave is there.
This is why Napoleon couldn't leave
Now Thales has just won the contract to provide the airport's navaids, which will include an instrument landing system for precision guidance on final approach to the 1,550m (5,100ft) runway, a Doppler VOR for bearing, and a DME to provide range information.
St Helena has been awaiting an airport for a long time and it's still three years away. This mountainous island is Lat 16ºS, Long 5º 40W, and the nearest land - the also-remote Ascension Islands - is 700nm away to the north-west. The Angolan coast is almost twice as far to the east.
The island's mountainous terrain will make the new airport's location - Prosperous Bay Plain on the island's east coast - a challenging place to operate into. It isn't a plain for a start, it's hilly. Early work is about levelling and filling. No-one has offered accurate runway orientations yet - that will depend on terrain and approaches as much as prevailing winds.
St Helena's distance from its nearest potential diversion airports - the US air base in Ascension Island (if the Yanks will allow it to be named as a diversion) and Lubango in Angola mean that carrying diversion fuel will constitute a payload penalty, and extended range twin-engine operation (ETOPS) regulations will apply to the s or Boeing 737-700s that have the performance to land there.
It's a beautiful island with a population of about 4,000. It's fragile in all ways. Aviation will change it, maybe bringing relative prosperity, with tourism as the planned main earner.
Jamestown, the capital
AND CLEM HAS ALREADY CORRECTED ME AS FOLLOWS:
I should clear up a couple of points from the text below.
1) BChE is not a necessary enzyme for neurological function. It is just a good biomarker protein.
2) I don't know if the tri-tertbutyl phenyl phosphates have good lubrication properties. Only Eric Piveteau [Nyco Oil] will know.
3) While naringenin can block the in vitro conversion of TAPs into toxic esterase inhibitors, we should not push the concept that it can protect against exposures without important follow-on in vivo experiments.
It is important not to claim progress that industry could easily refute or criticize. The generation of potent enzyme inhibitors from D125 and from tri-p-cresyl phosphate are indeed important contributions. The naringenin inhibition needs in vivo follow-up experiments. It will be great if it blocks the toxicity of the exposures, but it is important to demonstrate in vivo.