Runway cleared for historic first flight to St Helena

The first aircraft ever to fly to St Helena is expected to land on the island within days.

St Helena Government has announced that the first test flight is expected to take place between Sunday 13 and Thursday 17 September.

Temporary use of the runway on Prosperous Bay Plain has been granted to allow a series of calibration flights to take place, to test airport equipment such as communications systems.

Traffic controls are being put in place to cope with the large numbers of spectators expected to gather at vantage points such as Woody Ridge. The airport construction side will remain closed to the public.

A Beechcraft King Air 200 aircraft has been leased for the test flights.

It will set off from Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg, fly to Namibia, then to Angola and on to St Helena, taking approximately four hours for the final leg of the journey to the island.

It will remain on the island for around a week, making several flights each day if weather permits.

The aircraft is expected to arrive between mid-morning and early afternoon and approach the northern end of the runway, from the direction of The Barn. It will then carry out an initial low-level pass of the runway before coming in to land.

Efforts will be made to alert the public when the time and date of the plane’s likely arrival is known.

The test flights are required for the airport to be accredited for commercial flights.

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