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NCAA Warns Pilots On Hazards Of Harmattan Dust Haze

12/21/11

NCAA Warns Pilots On Hazards Of Harmattan Dust Haze

Permalink 04:14:00 pm, by lateef lawal, 413 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: NCAA Warns Pilots On Hazards Of Harmattan Dust Haze

By Lateef Lawal

Pilots and Airline Operators have been advised to adhere strictly to approved weather minima during the current harmattan dust haze season in the interest of safety. The advice was contained in the Advisory Circular issued December 16 by the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority {NCAA], Dr Harold Demuren.

The issuance of the circular is predicated on the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) forecast that the prevailing weather condition is likely to herald long and severe harmattan in the months ahead. According to Dr Demuren, "this poses a great threat to aviation particularly in areas of challenging terrains because of reduced atmospheric visibility in harmattan dust haze. This advisory circular is therefore intended to alert pilots to the hazards associated with harmattan". ( Continues below..... )

Airborne Plane

Photo Above: An Airborne Plane

The harmattan comes with dry and dusty wind that blows South from Sahara across the country between the end of November and March of the following year. On its passage over the desert it picks up large amounts of fine dust particles (0.5 to 10 micrometers) which are transported hundreds of kilometers over the South. The effect caused by the dust and sand stirred by the wind is known as harmattan dust haze. It is a phenomenon which is associated with the end of the rainy season. The effect of the harmattan is comparable to that of heavy fog. Thus, air-to-ground visibility is considerably reduced.

The circular explians further: "Aerodrome visibility may fall below the prescribed minima and in severe conditions, dust haze can blot out runways, markers and airfield lightings over wide areas making visual navigation extremely difficult or impossible. Where terminal visibility falls below the prescribed weather minima, flights are bound to be delayed, diverted or cancelled. Consequently, Pilots shall exercise maximum restraint when strong surface wind, fog or harmattan haze is observed or forecast. Similarly, all Pilots shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NIMET prior to flight operations at all the aerodromes.

"We however plead for the understanding of the travelling public as there may be some levels of delays or cancellations arising on account of unfavorable weather conditions. This is to reassure the travelling public that NCAA is top of the situation and that we are working to ensure that safety is not compromised while wishing our customers pleasant yuletide season".

Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)

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