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St Maarten Jet Blasting Fatality


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Sigh...we have similar issues here (in Australia)..."Don't go in the water - beware of sharks" or "Don't cross the creek - crocodiles in the area"...and yet people get taken all the time. I've seen surfers in the water where there are shark attacks with the attitude "we'll never stop doing what we love"...!

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The Princess Juliana Airport runway is 7546 ft, (2300 meters) long and provides plenty of length for even "heavy" jets, (4 engine B-747, A-340). The planes do spool up their engines with brakes applied to verify that all is working well. You don't want to experience an engine-out takeoff with small mountains across Simpson Bay at the end of the runway. The departure procedure requires a climbing right turn after the aircraft is cleaned up (gear up, flaps retracted to climb setting). If you lose an engine after V1, (the go/no-go decision speed) you must continue the takeoff. You don't want to be doing any steep turns with only one engine thrusting. That's why they do an engine runup at the business end of the runway. As far as hanging into the fence for a takeoff roll, consider this. The jet blast from those 2 (or 4) engines is sufficient to propel a 300,000 lb jet up to takeoff speed of 150 kts. Why do these morons think that their little fingers (or arms locked, as one suggested) will keep your puny 100+ lb body from being blown away during a takeoff ? If you are capable of holding on, how about the absolute joy of being blasted by rocks, jet fuel, sand, and anything else on the runway ? Is it worth losing an eye, or maybe a skull fracture from a rock being blown at you at 100+ mph ? As a retired pilot, who has made many arrivals and departures at SXM, I found the facility perfectly acceptable from an aviation point of view. But when I was on the taxiway, first in line for departure, and I saw all those idiots hanging onto that fence, I always had horrible thoughts of what damage my aircraft could do to someone. But the tower said "Cleared for Takeoff", I jammed those throttles full forward and forgot about it. I had a job to do, and my passenger's safety was paramount.

 

Small extra explanation for nervous passengers,

If an aircraft would lose one engine during the takeoff, even at the most critical point, there are procedures to fly perfectly safe out of SXM airport. It is not a problem at all really. As a sidenote, We normally DO NOT perform a runup on the threshhold on B747-400 unless we need to check for accrued engine icing, which will never happen at SXM 😎. We do depart sometimes with max thrust and this will result in already more than enough energy to make you go fly along the beach into your coffin.

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Sigh...we have similar issues here (in Australia)...
Here in FL we have kids ignoring "no trespassing" and "danger" signs and getting killed jumping about 75 ft into water in an abandoned open pit mine.
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Sad! And this was by a twin-engine 737. This video shows what a 747 at full take-off power does at Maho Beach.

 

Warning_sign_on_Maho_Beach.jpg?fit=758%2C427

And yes, the signage is very clear however, it has become a kind of sport to stand there and try to hang on to the fence

As a comedian once said: " You can't Fix Stupid " !

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If you are not on the flight path of the plane there is not much danger and the noise is also less if you stay off to the side.

When we were there I saw people from the fence thrown to the ground - common sense says that isn't a clever thing to do. Same as putting your beach bag down in the sand on the flight path. Don't be surprised if you have to fish your belongings out of the ocean.

We enjoy spending our time at Moho beach at the Sunset Bar & Grill chilling out with an umbrella'd table, cold local beer and a yummy sandwich. The view is awesome from there:D:beer-toast:

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Darwin's Theory applies.

 

Reminds me of a sci-fi story I read years ago about a city sized building a couple miles tall. They had a problem with people jumping off so they installed a diving board at the edge. That alone, it was said, freaked out 80% of potential jumpers enough that they went back. Painted on the board was the phrase "Think of this as evolution in action" which deterred another percentage. The rest found out there was an automated net system a few floors below.

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Small extra explanation for nervous passengers,

If an aircraft would lose one engine during the takeoff, even at the most critical point, there are procedures to fly perfectly safe out of SXM airport. It is not a problem at all really. As a sidenote, We normally DO NOT perform a runup on the threshhold on B747-400 unless we need to check for accrued engine icing, which will never happen at SXM 😎. We do depart sometimes with max thrust and this will result in already more than enough energy to make you go fly along the beach into your coffin.

 

Hi fellow pilot !! I agree. If we did lose a mill on T/O roll, after V1, the book procedure is to (obviously) continue the takeoff, but immediately setup single engine best rate climb speed, clean up the aircraft, communicate the problem to ATC (TNCM Tower or San Juan Center), and there would be no problems clearing those 1122 hills across Simpson Bay on single engine. But just for a little extra comfort, in a B-757, I always did a partial runup at the business end, once I was in position and holding. Or, if approved, I would do a rolling T/O with partial power until lined up on the centerline. Depending on loading and temperature, our calculations for V1, V2, and VR would not normally require max thrust at TNCM.

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