New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Friday (May 29) issued an operation circular directing all airlines’ staff, including pilots, on how to deal with locust swarms, saying they pose a threat to aircraft in the critical landing and takeoff phase of a flight.
“Generally, locusts are found at lower levels and therefore pose a threat to aircraft in the critical landing and takeoff phase of the flight. Almost all air intake ports of the aircraft will be prone to ingestion in large numbers, if the aircraft flies through a swarm (areas like engine inlet, air-conditioning pack inlet etc.),” the regulator said in its circular.
The aviation regulator advised pilots to consider the impact of a large number of locust on the windshield which may impact their forward vision and stated that use of wipers in the windsheild will only worsen the situation.
Pitot and static sources can also get partially or fully blocked while flying through locust swarms, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said. “Blocked pitot and static sources lead to erroneous instrument indications, especially unreliable airspeed and altimeter indications,” it said.
A pitot tube in airplanes is used to measure the flow speed of the wind.
India is battling the worst desert locust invasion in more than 21 years. The crop-destroying swarms first attacked Rajasthan and have now spread to Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Earlier in the day, the Centre issued alert to at least 16 states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana on locust attack in the country. The government also asked the farmers near the national capital region to stay alert of the swarm of locusts.

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