Rainy Season: Aviation expert cautions pilots

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By Matthew Denis

An Aviation Expert, Engr. David Maurice Chinda has urged pilots to take safety precautions during rainy season to avoid plane crash.

He noted that the onset of the rainy season is always accompanied by thunderstorm,  which could be hazardous to flight.

In an interview with Pilot Aviation, the expert who stressed that the weather could be unpredictable during this season,  advised pilots operating on Ilorin route to follow instructions from the Instrumental Landing System (ILS).

Recall that NIMET had predicted March/April and May/June 2018 as the onset for rainy season in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria respectively.

Chinda, a meteorological expert and Chief Executive Officer of Safety Air Trackers said, “The weather is dynamic and cannot easily be predicted by pilots unless they monitor strictly the instruction of the Instrumental Landing System while landing and taking off.

He, however, informed Pilot Aviation that he was at the Ilorin International Airport to meet with management of the airspace to discuss areas of challenges and how to ameliorate it in order to ensure air travel safety.

While noting that airlines have right to decide on whether their aircraft can fly or not during rain, he charged them to yield to guide from the control tower as well as get weather reports through the meteorological units.

On facilities at Ilorin airport, he maintained that they are in good condition, adding that  routine check is   necessary in airspace operations.

The expert stated that pilots, operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) should collaborate, be vigilant and take their various responsibilities very seriously at this critical period.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday issued a weather hazard alert to all pilots and airline operators, urging them to be wary of danger associated with rainy season in flight operations.

The apex regulatory body said the warning was important in lieu of the outset of the rainy season that is usually accompanied with severe thunderstorm and many other hazardous weather phenomena such as turbulence, microburst, low level wind shear and hail events. The phenomena are known to pose threat to aircraft operations.

General Manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the advisory circular issued to pilots and operators was based on the 2018 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) released by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET).

According to NCAA, “The Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines, microburst or low level wind shear are observed or forecast by NIMET.

The regulatory body warned Airlines operators and Pilots over Thunderstorm as Rainy Season Sets on weekly basis.

“Pilots/flight crew members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET Aerodrome Meteorological officer prior to flight operations.

“Operators are, therefore, advised to ensure necessary measures are put in place to manage effects of flight delays or cancellations on their passengers. All stakeholders are required to ensure strict compliance with this circular as violations would be viewed seriously,” the circular read in part.

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