Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Call for pilots on misuse of helicopters during election campaigns

As the national campaigns for the general election is around the corner, Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) has strongly cautioned pilots to abide by the laid down rules and regulations governing air traffic operations while moving around in airspace with helicopters during campaigns. The acting TCAA’s Director General Charles Chacha issued a warning mid this week in Dar es Salaam after the TCAA discovered that there has been frequent misuse of air traffic services that violates the laid down principles as stipulated in civil aviation Act. He said TCAA has come in light after discovering that some politicians will use airspace to travel in helicopters during the campaigns scheduled to start in mid of August this year. He further noted that, TCAA will curb with air traffic violators judging the experience from the previous elections whereby some politicians used helicopter services to facilitate their campaigns to reach people in far flung villages in some parts in the country but could not strictly follow safety regulations as required by the law. He noted that, during the campaigns most of the pilots are fond of landing closer to where public rallies takes place and sometimes even in undesignated areas which for security reasons is very dangerous that it can cause fatal accidents. He said TCAA will be alert this time around to ensure that safety regulations are strictly observed wherever there is a need to use an helicopter services in the country especially in rural areas whereby services of aircraft controlling is very scarce. However, he has cautioned against flying placards which are tied at the back of a helicopter as it hovers over the sky when landing and taking off with the messages of sensitization for a political charity saying that, such a move is a threat for airspace safety. In view of this, the TCAA boss is optimistic that pilots and other service givers would observe the laid down rules and regulations that governs safety as in accordance to the law, and a failure to that legal measures will be taken against them. To ensure an effective implementation on security grounds, the TCAA has also issued directives to helicopter users that it must have an original certificate of safety which has been issued by the authority concerned where the helicopter was registered prior to the starting of their campaigns. According to Chacha, any helicopter that would not have any legal certificate issued for the intended purposes would not be allowed to operate whatsoever. However, he further noted that for those helicopters which had been registered outside the country must obtain a legal permit from the authority concerned as per the Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC 08/09). Other directives are associated with safety landing whereby pilots will not be required to land and taking off from an area that is not designated for either of the purposes intended. Others are pilots must issue early warnings to the people where they expect to visit on their campaign tour so that a special area must be set for safe landing and that it should be far away that cannot be reached by people. He also pointed out that, chief pilots must identify areas of their landing and these must be known earlier and should be set apart away from where public rallies are being held and that they should be earmarked and if possible be demarcated with a fence to prevent unauthorized people from approaching such areas. He concluded that, legal measures will be taken against those pilots with careless observations of such rules and regulations which are not professionally followed as these are a great threat to the people and their surroundings.

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