Pilots: Dominican Republic Exposing Itself to Air “Catastrophe”(Update 3)
SANTO DOMINGO – The Dominican Republic is exposing itself to an air “catastrophe” if it does not correct the existing deficiencies with the radar at the eastern Punta Cana international airport, where several planes have passed too close to one another in recent months, pilots said on Monday.

The country’s National Pilots Association, or ANP, accused the aviation authorities of hiding the real condition of the radar at the Punta Cana airport, a radar unit that they said is unable to determine an aircraft’s altitude, speed and flight direction.

“We deeply regret that a situation of this kind is being continued by hiding things in an irresponsible manner and, above all, that the said lack of responsibility is being fostered by those who have been designated to maintain and preserve healthy and safe air travel,” said the entity in a statement.

The ANP said that the Punta Cana airport is one of the most active terminals in the country with an average of 200 flights per week.

In the communique, the organization said that the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute has had the “repeated attitude” of “hiding” the situation of continuous too-close approaches of aircraft to one another and the resulting danger that represents.

“In the face of that situation, we have decided to take the case before the International Federation of Airline Pilots Associations so that it sends to the country a commission of experts that will evaluate the case and prepare a report on the ... Punta Cana radar,” the ANP added.

In accord with the measures taken by the pilots association, the Attorney General’s Office of Santo Domingo province scheduled the ANP representatives to appear before it on Tuesday to provide more details regarding their complaints.


News Update June 5th 2010

Incidents turn Dominican airspace “hair raising”

DominicanToday.com -  The security of Dominican airspace has fallen to a critical point in the last few months, with 307 incidents just in January resulting from among other factors, inadequate procedures, repeated airspace violations, and lack of coordination with military aviation.

A report by the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute’s (IDAC) Incidents Prevention Unit (ATS) quoted by news source diariolibre.com reveals dangerous events, such close calls between four aircraft in the airports Las Americas, San Isidro Airbase, La Romana and Punta Cana in January, as well as incidents caused by the Dominican ATS system.

The National Pilots Association (ANP) calls the situation "hair raising" and warned of a “terrible” and imminent air disaster in the country, while the air traffic controllers grouped in ANACDA blame the aeronautical  crisis on fatigue and lack of experience among personnel.

In January the ATS report cites 63 "operational deviations" in the North sector, 32 in the South sector, 32 in Punta Cana, 28 in Las Americas, 57 in Higüero (AILI), 6 in Puerto Plata, two in the Samaná tower and 57 in the Punta Cana tower.

Other cases

The entity also reports other incidents in January such as the dangerous lack of separation between two airplanes in Higüero, when the pilot of the first was practicing NDB approach while the second was authorized to land.

Also reported was the close call, as near as 4 miles, by two planes flying at 6,000 feet in the same direction, near the Punta Cana Airport.


News Update June 5th 2010

Pilots call for independent evaluation of air traffic safety in Dominican Republic

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Dominican pilots are calling for international experts to evaluate the country's air traffic control systems.

Pedro Dominguez is chief of the Dominican Association of Pilots. He told reporters Wednesday that his group is urging the government to hire independent experts to analyze threats to flight safety in the tourism-dependent Caribbean nation.

Dominguez asserts that local officials have too many economically driven concerns to properly evaulate air traffic safety.

In a statement, the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute dismissed the pilots' concerns, saying "security of the Dominican airspace is totally guaranteed."

A Dominican air traffic control group says local safety systems were never better.

source: AP - The Canadian Press

“Hair raising” Dominican airspace scandal explodes

DominicanToday.com - The National Pilots Association (ANP) on Wednesday accused the head of the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) of trying to bribe them to silence their denunciation that more than 300 alleged air traffic incidents occurred just in January, as the scandal over the “hair raising” airspace explodes.

ANP president Pedro Dominguez, in a press conference with other member pilots, affirmed that IDAC director Jose Tomas Perez offered him 100,000 pesos to desist from making the allegation on alleged close calls and other incidents attributed to air traffic.

He revealed that IDAC officials pressed people linked to aviation and tourism to reject their concerns. In a press conference, and stated the pilots’ willingness to go to court and prove the 307 alleged incidents. “We are going to make these accusations regardless of their threats.”

Aviation chief responds

Yesterday, Jose Tomas Perez called ANP’s charges of a “hair raising” Dominican airspace irresponsible, while warning that the agency will take to court those who spread information without a technical base.

Forum comments from a profesional pilot flying in and out of the DR:

Written by: JimHarrington, 4 Jun 2010 9:34 AM
From: United States
Altitude Encodeing, having all VFR flights operate under a designated squawk code in their transponder and finally proper training and not having drunk ATC employees would be a great help in fixing this problem.
Written by: JimHarrington, 4 Jun 2010 10:14 AM
From: United States
You already had a major accident on 06 FEB 1996 Puerto Plata because of untrained staff haveing the pitot tube covered in tape of Canada 3000 a commercial airline. How many dead, 200!
Written by: JimHarrington, 7 Jun 2010 8:06 AM
From: United States
PLD Lies so that they can borrow more money and pass the debt onto the Dominican public.
The airspace over the DR is not safe it is in peril due to the lack of seperation of VFR and IFR flights and not having altitude encoding capabilities by ATC.



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