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NCAA urges pilots to adhere to weather forecast

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THE Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has urged pilots to exercise restraint when adverse weather is observed or forecast and be patient enough to wait and allow it subdue or pass over the airfield before commencing flight.

 The aviation regulatory body, urged pilots, airlines to ensure that they strictly comply with the laid down regulations.

 The Director General of NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren in a circular issued to pilots yesterday said it became necessary in view of the continuous down pour in Lagos State in the past one week.

 According to him, “We are in the mid-stream of rainy season which is usually characterized by severe thunderstorm and line squall and its attendant turbulence, microbusts, lightning and low-level wind shear. Suffice it to say that such weather conditions can be deadly to aircraft on approach or departure from an airport and have been responsible for a number of fatal accidents in the world and in our country, Nigeria”.

“It is therefore mandatory for Pilots to obtain weather briefing from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) including departure, en-route and destination weather information prior to flight operations”.

It would be recalled that the torrential rains have raised fresh concerns over aviation safety in the wake of the Dana plane crash that claimed over 153 lives in Iju-Ishaga, Lagos.

There are fears that the flooding could cause aircraft to skid off the runway.

Experts said weather continues to play a significant role in a number of aviation accidents and incidents. While the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports often find human error to be the direct cause of accidents, weather is a primary contributing factor in 23 percent of all aviation accidents.

The total weather impact is an estimated national cost of $3 billion for accident damage and injuries, delays and unexpected operating costs.

A top official of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) who spoke to The Guardian on condition of anonymity said the agency had advised pilots to exercise restraint when adverse weather is observed or reported and that they should also have enough patience to wait and allow the adverse weather to subside or pass over the airfield before commencing flight.

He argued that no thunderstorm can be considered slight, adding that as a result, pilots should be aware that almost any thunderstorm can pose  severe threat to the operations of aircraft.

He disclosed that the Nigerian aviation industry had in the past experienced two runways overrun, adding that the advisory circular describes the hazards of thunderstorms to aviation as well as offers guidance to assist in preventing accidents caused by thunderstorm.

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had stated that pilots must obtain adequate departure, en route and destination weather information and briefing from the NIMET offices and flight crew briefing rooms at airports before the commencement of flight operations.

Demuren had recently said that just like the rain is affecting roads in the country, the airport is not immune to rain and that as a result, great care and patience must be exercised.

Article credit: Guardian Newspaper

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Updated 6 Years ago

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