Designing new instrument approaches and departures from a not yet built runway presents some very unique challenges. This was the case for the new Baffinland Iron Mines runway project at Steensby Inlet on northern Baffin Island.
In conjunction with the engineering firm of Hatch Mott MacDonald which is doing the airfield work, Direct Approach was commissioned to design new GNSS approaches and departures for the planned new aerodrome at Steensby Inlet, Nunavut. Construction of this aerodrome is slated to begin in 2013, with completion anticipated towards the end of 2014. The new aerodrome is part of Baffinland’s Mary River project, which will include a new deep water port and 150km rail line.
Because of the length of time required to process new instrument approaches and have them ready for the anticipated opening in 2014, the design and flight check needed to be completed before the end of the normal 2012 flying season at this very northern site.
Careful coordination between the engineers, site personal, and Direct Approach were required in order to ensure an on-schedule and successful design and flight check. A helicopter from Mary River was required to airlift large markers to the new site, which then needed to be positioned on the precise planned runway threshold locations. This provided a visual check of the future runway location and approach alignment.
On September 4th, using a Summit Air Dornier 228 based in Mary River, a full flight check was successfully flown for the GNSS approaches to the planned Runway 14 True and Runway 32 True, as well as GNSS and standard “1/2” diverse departures. The approach limits are planned to reach as low as 280 ft above the aerodrome as the engineers are able to design the aerodrome to meet non-precision standards. This will ensure maximum all weather access to this remote region.
Direct Approach congratulates Baffinland Iron Mines and Hatch Mott MacDonald on their expertise and dedication to ensuring safe and effective all weather air access to their future Steensby Inlet aerodrome!
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