You’ve got to be joking, Olo Fiti

Dear Editor,

As a compass rose has four points of degrees to indicate North, South, East, West, and so as an airport can certainly lay out towards any directions.

Just because Faleolo International Airport is laid east to west does not mean every airport is built only for that direction. Keep in mind the fiercest wind, the Tua’oloa in Samoa, blows from the south while the To’elau attacks from the northern direction.

Hence, Ti’avea being located in the east of Upolu thereby the runway would most appropriately got to be laid north to south. Even for cross blowing north easterly or south easterlies, which are common in that part of Upolu, it is still safe for aircrafts to land or take off at Ti’avea Airport when complete.

As it is in Wellington New Zealand, where the Wellington International Airport runway is lying north towards south. There are many other airports in the world that are laid north towards south.

I have not heard of any airplane accidents in Wellington or Faleolo International Airport. So honourable member Olo Fiti, here are some facts to help update your ageing memories about airport matters, as you have been away for quite sometime since you became a politician.

And of course no doubt, it’ll help capitulate your scaremongering comments to allay fear amongst the travelling public, who may in the future intend to utilise Ti’avea airport. As you may have known already, airport runways are numbered based on the Magnetic Azimuth compass bearing, in which a runway is oriented.

But just in case that you never had known, now you know.

As we all have learned from our Sunday school teachers about the 360 degrees on a compass rose; the essence of course, airports can either laid north south east and west.  Therefore Mr. Editor, Olo Fiti and all, kindly note airport runways are numbered and are being determined by rounding the compass bearing, at one runway end, to the nearest 10 degrees and truncating the last zero.

 Such as, 1 to 36 with letters E for east, S for south, N for north, and W for west. They also are numbered from 9, 18, 27, 36 as truncating the last digit of course.

Then there are L for left with a number, and R for right with a figure, as well, so says the Faletua of my village Fesoasoani, as I am a Catholic parishioner.

Accordingly, in multi runway airports, if one is located in the middle of two runways, the middle then is noted as C for centre. Regarding Faleolo International Airport with just one runway, it’s supposedly painted on the west side the capital letter W with figure 9 (W9). Same on the east side with E27 supposedly painted on it; east being 270 degrees on the compass rose.

So please don’t ask me if that is the situation at Faleolo International Airport runway; I didn’t see it; I have not seen it. (Not that is not painted but not able to see from cabin).

Perhaps, honourable Olo Fiti must have seen it but had no idea what they were. Now he knows. And that so, is what the Faletua ole Fesoasoani had told me and my Sunday school class, once up on a time; of so many moons ago. Along her analogy: The opposite end of the runway always differs by 180 degrees.

So if a runway is marked W9-E27 that represents 90 degrees to 270 degrees being oriented on an east-west layout.  However, if an airport runway, it being laid north towards south, then of course it’ll be marked as N18-S36 as the case with Wellington International Airport.

And that of course, is domineering by the wellknown fierce southerly that Wellington the windy city. Most runways can typically be used in either direction, depending on the prevailing winds.

So, if an aircraft is taking off towards the east, then that is on runway W9-E27 when the wind is blowing from the east. But in much more larger airports with parallel runways, which requires further designation of each runway.

Take for instance Logan International Airport in Boston Massachusetts that has two pairs of parallel runways. One is runway 4L-22R and the other 4R-22L.

The ”L” and ”R” are designated at their relative positions of left and right on each runway respectively when approaching or facing directions.

In an airport traffic operations, the runway number designations are pronounced individually. Such as in an approaching Virgin Australia Flight 92 to land on runway 4L-22R. A traffic controller would call:

“Flight VA 92, you are cleared to land on runway Four Left”.

Or alternatively, if it’s runway 22R-4L, then traffic control would call:

“Flight VA92 cleared to land on Two Two Right.”

This level of enunciation ensures clear communication to enhance safety.

Some smaller airports in the world have three parallel runways with a runway in the middle. That would get a “C” for centre. It’s all depending on which direction the runway is laid.

There you are honourable member Olo Fiti, an airport runway can be in either directions north, south, east or west and is depending of course on the prevailing winds at an airport locality.

So Olo Fiti, Mr. Editor and all, it would be silly for my government not to include Samoa BOM office to make a contribution in the Ti’avea airport runway planning for they are the professionals who’s bread and butter is the weather forecast.

But I have no slightest doubt in my simple mind, the Ti’avea airport layout is a result of the Samoa BOM experts advise in which honourable member for Salega Olo Fiti, has no idea in weather forecast.

So Mr. Editor and all, next time you travel by aeroplane, when the pilot announces that you’ll be taking off on runway 27, you’ll know that you’re flying from west as the prevailing wind is blowing from east. But at Faleolo International Airport, only East or West I heard the call.

Always Sir, the aircraft takes off and landing into the wind to make the liftoff easy, and the landing smoothly. But, don’t take my word for this Mr. Editor. Instead, speak to an airline pilot or the tower to confirm the teaching of my Sunday school teacher.

I will be very surprised if I am wrong. But if ever I am, in aircrafts and airport mathematics, it’s at the margin of error of 180 degrees right or wrong.

Hence, I am 180 degrees right; which is a huge margin. While the honourable member Olo Fiti is 180 degrees wrong. By far, the worst comments ever by Olo Fiti. With my utmost respect,


Tofaeono Misātauveve Iosefo Joseph Hollywood 


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