Monday, June 15, 2009

Today at KBDR

When I arrived at KBDR about 1030 local time this morning, this was parked in the expansive grassy area that lies between the approach ends of Runways 6 and 11.

Sikorsky Memorial is often used by airship operators as a base. It's fascinating to watch them wrangle the things especially in anything more than a trivial wind.

You can see in the photo that the morning was overcast. The METAR that was current as I landed put it this way:

KBDR 151352Z 09010KT 10SM OVC008 16/14 A3007 RMK AO2 SLP183 T01560139

The ILS approach for Runway 6 was on offer and I did in fact break out right around 800 feet. Having the runway appear like that is really one of life's most satisfying events.

As I was departing around 1700 local time last Friday I heard KBDR tower working an FAA Flight Check aircraft that was tasked with an examination of the health of that ILS approach. This was getting done because early that morning, in dense fog and with a 5 knot tailwind, a Pilatus PC-12 overshot and got acquainted with the blast fence at the far end. Fortunately the seven occupants all walked away (although there is substantial damage to the fuselage and wing, and the engine and prop are toast).

The fence is rather infamous. One night back in 1994 eight occupants of a Piper Navajo that went through the same fence died in the post-crash fire. In 2001 a Hawker HS-125 landing in a snow squall did the same thing, but that time there was no fire and the two occupants were not seriously injured.

There is now a plan in existence to remove the fence and install a safety overrun that would be filled with frangible concrete to arrest the motion of an encroaching aircraft. This would entail moving the street that the fence protects slightly to the northeast.

Unfortunately this sensible move has been mired in local politics for years. It seems that while the airport is located in the Town of Stratford it is owned by the City of Bridgeport. For far longer than I can remember (I started flying in these parts in 1993) the two municipalities have been at loggerheads regarding what one side calls "expansion plans" and the other calls "safety improvements".

Perhaps the most recent incident can serve to get the runway overrun protection project off of top dead center...but I shan't hold my breath.

1 comment:

Comrade E.B. Misfit said...

I got my PPL at BDR in `72-`73, when there were three runways and when you landed on 34, you came right over those houses.

Stratford and Bridgeport were fighting even then. Nothing much changes.

(Word verification: gumin, the chewable GPS.)