Flower Festival. Airport wind limits?

Flower Festival Program

Flower Festival

It’s that time of year again and the Flower Festival is upon us again, starting next weekend. The full Flower Festival programme is available as a PDF here: FF programme

Pilot advocates no airport wind limits

The Diario reports today that pilot Timóteo Costa, with 26,000 flight hours and 9,000 landings in Madeira, believes that the airport should not have “wind limits” and considers that the region is being “punished” for bureaucratic reasons. The pilot, who is also an instructor and examiner,  gave this controversial opinion at a parliamentary hearing at the Permanent Commission of Economy, Finance and Tourism on the “Operational Assessment of Madeira International Airport”.
According to Timóteo, the captain of the aircraft should decide whether to land or take-off based on the conditions he is facing at that point in time, and not be governed by mandatory limits. He notes that Madeira airport “is the only one in the world with mandatory limits “fixed by people sitting in offices”.
“We are punishing Madeira and the people of Madeira with a pure bureaucratic decision,” he told the Commission, expressing the conviction that “50 to 70% of the planes that adopt a holding pattern and then leave without even trying to land, will land in full safety “. According to Timóteo, if there are no limits and only recommendations, then 50 to 70 percent of landings that are not made today will be “made safely”. “I am against the obligatory limit (which dates back to 1964 and remains unchanged despite successive expansions of the airport from 1,600 to 1,800 and 2,781 meters and new technologies introduced in the meantime).

Pilot Timóteo CostaTimóteo Costa (pictured) said that Madeira International Airport is “a toy” compared to others such as those in Innsbruck, Salzburg, Gibraltar or La Palma.
On December 4, the president of the National Civil Aviation Authority, Luís Ribeiro, said in Funchal that the review of the wind limits at Madeira Airport is “legitimate and sensible”. “We think it is appropriate to re-think the issue and the decision will always be technical rather than political,” said the official. The infrastructure is the only one in the country where the wind limits, fixed in 1964, are mandatory and not recommended, but the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) has already begun a study to evaluate the possibility of changing the situation, which in 2017 affected more than 700 flights.

6 thoughts on “Flower Festival. Airport wind limits?”

    • Yes, he would have been landing in Madeira roughly once every three hours throughout his flying career! Or he would have been landing in Madeira virtually every day of the year for thirty years. Typo, methinks.

  1. Thanks for the second item which explains when after our Finnair captain explained his breaking off a landing attempt by saying that winds were marginally above the limits he was able minutes later to make the smoothest landing I have ever experienced there.

  2. I reckon one of the problems is that planes fly past the runway then perform a tight 180° turn close to the landing point. Performing that in cross winds makes for a difficult approach. I don’t know why they can’t come in a bit further out at sea and go further past Santa Cruz, do a wider, gentler turn and then head in.

    But what do I know, I just ride the cushions.

  3. We fly in 3 times a year over past 9 years and have only twice been held off and then landed with out problems and once diverted to Porto Santo where we caught the ferry rather than go back to Gatwick. The problem apparently is the wind shear down the side of the hills, but I have had worse landings in the UK than I have at Funchal. On one occasion we were to be diverted to Canaries when we got the call to land and it was one of the best we have had. All pilots have to be specially trained for Funchal so they should be able to make the judgement call

  4. Question to Mick.

    When you took the ferry instead of going back to Gatwick, was it your own decision (and if so did you need to persuade the plane personnel to let you and baggage off); or did the airline arrange it for you; or ?


Leave a comment

Translate »