02 August 2013

More Problems for Real Tonga's MA60

The latest issue of Travel Memo has more on Real Tonga's MA60 saga

This week the Real Tonga MA60 aircraft got into the air locally for the first time, with Chinese pilots... doing circuits, but it is understood Real Tonga did not want it leaving the ground because it does not have proper supporting documentation for its type acceptance certificate.
But other issues have arisen including...
  • The training captain sent from China has refused to fly it into Ha’apai because of its short downhill strip, which is far shorter  than anything the MA60 is designed to fly into...
  • Vava’u is the route the government most wants it used on and here the Chinese have only just learned that the runway is also too short (being less than 1200m) so they are seeking Beijing’s permission to fly the 52-seat turboprop there...
  • Another significant concern that has surfaced is the standard passenger weight to be used in operating the plane. The MA60 weight and balance sheet used for calculations is geared to the standard Chinese weight of 75kg per passenger, which is said to be about 20kg under the Tongan standard weight.
The full article can be found on page 11 of http://www.travelmemo.co.nz/memos/20130802.pdf 

One wonders why these basic sort of issues weren't sorted out before and just when the Tongan government might regret losing Chathams Pacific


  1. Been in and out Ha'apai several times with Chathams in ZK-CIF and that was fun!

    Don't know the performance data of the MA60 compared to the CV580 but, I personally might start to get nervous in that scenario!

    On the 08 Approach to Vava'u you have about 1400 meters usable. On the 26 approach there is 1196 meters usable.

    26 is the prevailing approach.

    On a number off occasions we have landed well short of the displaced threshold on the approach to 26.

    Going to be interesting.

  2. kind of on a parallel with Air NZ saying they are short of pilots really

  3. Same Here Peter. The Ha'apai Landings in the 580 were fun!

  4. The Convair can easily get in and out of short strips, big props, bigger engines. All Chats Convair's are also equipped with Water injection for that extra power headroom.