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Pilots told to avoid locust swarms in sky for safety

Locusts pose a very serious risk to flying as they can enter air intake ports in large numbers causing disturbance to plane's control systems while flying. The DGCA has strongly advised that flights should be avoided through locust swarms.

NEW DELHI, May 29: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a circular on Friday “strongly advising” pilots to avoid flying through any locust swarms, which are displaying unusual activity in the air not seen for decades.

The pilots have been advised to avoid the locust swarms while flying as they can enter the air intake ports in large numbers causing disturbance to control systems.

They mostly hit the plane while takeoff or landing. Pilots should not wipe the windshield to remove the locusts stuck there as their smear may obliterate vision further.

“Generally, locusts are found at lower levels and therefore pose threat to aircraft in the critical landing and take-off 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," the DGCA said.

“All pilots are also required to share information of locust swarm location if they have sighted any during the flight. As far as possible, it is strongly advised that flights should be avoided through any known locust swarm," the DGCA circular said.

The air traffic controllers have also been told to warn the pilots of any locust presence in the aerodrome.

Even while parking the locusts can cause harm by entering inside the ports and remaining there. The engineers have also been alerted about such possibilities.

Recently large swarms had entered India from Pakistan and they are mostly seen in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. They pose a major threat to food crops.

There can be 150 million locusts in a swarm covering a square km. They travel at a speed of 150 km per day.

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