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Enter Air’s 3.5 Hour Hold and Other Adventures in Funchal Weather

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Funchal Cristiano Ronaldo Airport, or Madeira to some, may be best known as a marvel of modern engineering thanks to its extended runway sitting on columns 70 meters above the ocean. But for avgeeks, Funchal is also known as an airport with challenging approach procedures and great photography opportunities. Flights are subject to gusting winds on a regular basis, making landings challenging at times.

When winds exceed acceptable margins, like they did for some aircraft today, aircraft either hold to wait for the winds to calm, or divert to refuel and try again. Some flights, like today’s Enter Air flight from Barcelona, end up doing both.

Enter Air 834, which diverted to Las Palmas after holding near Funchal for 3.5 hours

Zooming, in we see what 3.5 hours in a hold pattern looks like.

E4834’s holding pattern around waypoint ABUSU

And here’s Enter Air 834’s speed and altitude graph. Note the ground speed changes as the aircraft flies with the wind and against it.

E4834 Speed and Altitude Graph

Enter Air 834 wasn’t the only flight to be impacted by today’s weather, over 20 flights diverted away from Funchal and a further six arrivals were canceled outright.

The Funchal arrival board for 24 July 2017

Funchal Arrivals

Here’s a good view of a Runway 05 arrival at Funchal. You can view more from Funchal on YouTube.

If you’re looking to check Funchal off your avgeek photo list, we highly recommend it. Just remember to pack your patience on the way.


Thanks to twitter user @FrOliveira2457 for pointing out Enter Air’s endurance.


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