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Experts explain aircraft’s disappearance

Posted by By UCHE USIM on 2008/03/28 | Views: 576 |

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Experts explain aircraft’s disappearance


As hopes dim over the recovery of the missing Beechcraft 1900D belonging to Wings Aviation, experts have continued to assess the embarrassing disappearance from various positions.

As hopes dim over the recovery of the missing Beechcraft 1900D belonging to Wings Aviation, experts have continued to assess the embarrassing disappearance from various positions.

According to an Aviation Consultant and former airspace manager, Mr Sam Akerele, the Nigerian airspace is not completely monitored as the radars operated by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) remains inadequate.

According to him, the story may have been different if the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project with its full Primary Radar components was fully in place.

"TRACON is supposed to have nine sites for effective coverage but as it is today, NAMA is battling to have Lagos own operational. That agency needs better funding from government. It cannot handle it on its own," he said.

On the workings of TRACON, he said the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) will pick any aircraft flying within the nation's airspace via its transponder.
He also noted that a missing aircraft can be easily traced as the transponder will freeze at the point the ATCs lost contact with the aircraft in question.

"With that you can know the airplanes location."
Akerele said the earlier the TRACON issue is sorted out, the better.
More so, Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) have reacted to the missing Primary Radar component which is the nucleus of the TRACON project, describing it as making the TRACON impotent.
Some ATCs who spoke under the condition of anonymity said there are still some dark spots on the nation's airspace, lamenting that such disappearance may continue if something drastic is not done.

"We are supposed to continue to communicate with the aircraft until it lands but communications break off when the aircraft is about to land. And you know we should not be using telephone or intercom any more; what we should be doing is touch-button communication. We go through a lot as air traffic controllers because we are always improvising. If not for our ingenuity no aircraft will be flying through the nation's airspace," they said.

The ATCs also said there is the urgent need for NAMA officials to take over the running of private airstrips, stressing that the dynamics of weather as it affects aircraft can best be handled by professionals in NAMA.

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