KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 22, IWN – The required five years of wind data will be collected by the time the majority of the work on the Argyle international airport is completed in December, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Parliament on Thursday.
“For the last time, for heaven’s sake, let us stop beating this wind issue,” he said in response to a question from Northern Grenadines representative, Dr. Godwin Friday, an Opposition lawmaker.
“… I have answered it after three years; I am answering it after four years. I answered it when you dealt with breeze,” Gonsalves said.
“Just accept that the Unity Labour Party government, led by Ralph Gonsalves is doing something which no government since universal adult suffrage — for 50 years, despite the fact that everybody has been talking and studying it, we are doing it.”
He told Parliament that Venezuela donated three winds stations, which were installed at each end and at the centre of the area where the runway will be built.
The wind station at the southern end of the runway was installed 86 meters above sea level, the one at the northern end at 38 metres above sea level, and the third, at the midpoint of the runway, at 16 metres above sea level, the Prime Minister said.
“By the end of December 2013, the targeted date for substantial completion of the airport project, IADC (International Airport Development Company) would have collected over five years of wind data,” Gonsalves said.
He added that based on the opposition New Democratic Party’s proposal, construction of the airport should have been beginning in December, when the wind study is complete.
Gonsalves said data from the centrally located station are typical to those collected from the other stations.
“You haven’t seen any real variations to talk about,” he said, adding that data collected by approximation from E.T. Joshua Airport had given an idea of what the wind was going to be at Argyle.
“But we had to put the stations there and to satisfy ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) absolutely,” he added.
Data from the centrally located station show average wind speed was between 9 and 14 knots and the predominant wind direction was east-northeast and east, with wind gusts between 24 and 38 knots.
Frequency of winds from the east-northeast reaching between 5.5 and 10.8 knots was 41.6 per cent of the time.
Winds between 10.9 and 16.2 knots was 50 per cent
The frequency of winds from the east with speeds between 5.5 and 10.8 knots, was 8.3 per cent of the time.
“Given the orientation … of the Argyle airport runway, the most critical, the most adverse wind direction, is the wind from the East. When the average wind speed from the east is higher, about 14 knots, the wind speed and direction will give a crosswind component of between 10 and 11 knots. … And this is the crosswind component that will be adverse to the safe operation of the smallest planes using the Argyle international airport. That is, aeroplanes whose reference length is less than 1,200 metres,” Gonsalves said.
“If after doing more than five years of wind data collection that the results suggest that we need to build a crosswind runway, for these cross planes, the government’s policy, as stated in August 2005, is to build one. And this policy is based on the ICAO recommendations,” he said.