The team from Atlantic Star Airlines and Tronos Aviation Leasing took off from Zurich airport earlier today on the first leg of their ferry flight to South America via St Helena. The Avro RJ100 regional jet will travel via fuel stops in Marrakesh, Banjul and Ascension Island, before arriving in St Helena on Friday afternoon. The total distance will be 4500 miles over 4 European and 6 African territories.
Captain Richard Brown, commenting on the successful departure stated: "Maintaining the schedule on ferry flights such as this is always a challenge but we have made an excellent start and, weather permitting, we look forward to touching down in St Helena on Friday and demonstrating the excellent capabilities that make the Avro RJ100 a potential choice for air operations at St Helena."
Subject to weather conditions, the Avro RJ100 will land on Runway 02 at St Helena Airport to demonstrate in real world conditions the excellent short runway landing capability for which this jet is renowned. Runway 02 allows pilots to avoid the wind-shear that is sometimes encountered at St Helena Airport and instead, land with the prevailing tailwind. The high-wing, 4-engined, Avro RJ100 is ideally suited to this type of operation as it has a high performance braking and undercarriage system and, uniquely, it also has a tail mounted air brake to assist with stability when airborne and with deceleration once on the ground.
The purpose of the visit is to illustrate the reliability and versatility of the Avro RJ100 in the demanding flying environment of St Helena. Atlantic Star proposes to offer services using the aircraft, initially to neighbouring Ascension Island, 700 nautical miles way to the north-west, and to offer 24/7 medical evacuation capability to the 4500 strong Island community. Wind-shear data continues to be collected to establish a framework for safe operations, and once flights are established and a long range RJ100 variant is supplied by manufacturer BAE Systems, flights to Cape Town, Windhoek, Johannesburg and Accra will become possible.
The Atlantic Star team will post further updates on progress via Facebook, Twitter and our website blog after safely touching down on St Helena.