By Olayemi Esan, Abuja
The Nigerian Airforce said on Thursday that it has ordered the installation of Automatic Weather Observation Stations in all its airlift and flight facilities in the country.
This development is coming aftermath of the unfortunate NAF Beech-craft air crash in Kaduna, on May 21, 2021 which resulted in the death of late Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru, and ten other military personnel,
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshall Oladayo Amao made this known at the 2021 Mobility Command Safety Seminar at the Presidential Air Fleet headquarters even as he disclosed that all Meteorological weather stations in NAF bases across the country are to be upgraded.
Represented by Air Vice Marshal Emmanuel Wonah, Managing Director, NAF Investments, the CAS further disclosed that in the next three years, the Nigerian Airforce will engage the services of 18 new Meteorological officers (6 yearly) to boost its capacity for weather specialists in its operations.
Amao said, “Today’s Seminar is also specifically focused on the enhancement of safety in the conduct of air operations. The timing could not have been more appropriate, considering recent unfortunate occurrences that have impugned the flight safety records of the NAF. I am personally enthused by the thematic focus of the Seminar, which is: ‘Managing Adverse Weather Conditions for Safer Air Operations in the NAF’.
“This is because adverse weather is a natural phenomenon that we cannot wish away or control. In extreme cases, it poses very grave threats and danger to flight operations. All we can do as aviators is to manage these “manifestations of mother nature”, for the safe and effective conduct of our flight operations.
“Therefore, a thorough knowledge of weather patterns and trends, as well as the characteristic features of prevailing weather conditions on our flight routes can facilitate a pilot’s quick and accurate decision making for mission accomplishment.
“Seminars of this nature afford us opportunities to take stock and appraise our safety procedures for enhanced operational efficiency.
“It is also gratifying to note that the holding of this Seminar is in line with my Vision of ‘enhancing and sustaining critical air-power capabilities required for joint force employment in pursuit of national security imperatives and is particularly geared towards updating the knowledge base of personnel towards producing thoroughly skilled and professional airmen in fulfillment of one of the key drivers of my Vision which focuses on the ‘pursuit of purposeful training and human capacity development.
Commending the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command and personnel of the Command for their commitment to the enhancement of safety in the conduct of both ground and air operations, the CAS said, “This is on account of the Command’s recent conduct of a safety sensitization seminar, which focused on domestic safety of its personnel and members of their families.
Earlier, the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command, Air Vice Marshal Aliyu Bello stated that the “idea of this Seminar was conceived after the unfortunate fatal accident of 21 May 2021, which claimed the lives of our very senior colleagues and threw the entire nation into mourning.
“Considering the potential role that adverse weather may have played in the accident, it became necessary for us, in Mobility Command, to create a forum, such as this, where we can draw from the knowledge and experiences of our senior pilots, some of whom are retired, to educate our young and upcoming pilots on the practical means of managing prevailing adverse weather conditions in furtherance of safe flight operations in the NAF.
He said, “The fact that we are having this seminar is indicative of our collective resolve to embrace continuous training to promote a robust safety culture as a veritable tool for preserving NAF’s valued assets and the lives of our personnel.
“It is through such preservation that we can also ‘Foster a Disciplined Workforce Essential for Combat Readiness’ as one of the drivers to achieving the Chief of the Air Staff’s Vision for the NAF. In this regard, Mobility Command intends to constantly update its personnel towards upholding best global practices in the safe and professional conduct of airlift operations and other ground duties.
“The imperative for safer air operations, particularly within the context of preserving vital NAF assets and human resources to address prevailing security challenges facing the country, therefore necessitates a safety re-sensitization of NAF personnel. This is particularly important for those of us entrusted with the responsibility of operating expensive air assets of the NAF.
“Accordingly, this Seminar has been organised to ensure that administrators and operators of NAF’s critical air assets are well informed on their respective responsibility to safely deploy and operate these air assets in all weather conditions, with a view to enhancing NAF’s capacity to fulfill her constitutional roles.
“The foregoing was the over-arching considerations in the articulation of the theme of this Seminar, which is: “Managing Adverse Weather Conditions for Safer Air Operations in the Nigerian Air Force”.
“The considerations also guided the selection of the topics to be delivered today. The first paper is titled: “Severe Weather Risk Management in NAF Air Operations: Challenges and Way Forward” while the second is: “Adverse Weather and Flight Safety: NAF Airlift Operations in Perspective” Adverse Weather and Flight Safety: NAF Airlift Operations in Perspective”.
“The idea is for us to achieve an interaction that would elicit a transfer of experience-based knowledge to re-condition the minds of our young pilots towards safer air operations, even in unfavourable weather conditions.”
A paper on ‘Severe Weather Risk Management in NAF Air Operations: Challenges and Way Forward’ was presented by Squadron Leader B A Olasoji, Assistant Director, Meteorology at NAF headquarters.