The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is switching to solar panels and batteries to boost its equipment, and also to reduce dependence on public power supply.
The equipment, which is valued at several millions of naira, would be deployed to eight locations in Lagos, Calabar, Enugu, Sokoto and four others.
An electrical engineer described that the move will provide alternative source of power to NAMA’s Instrument Landing Systems(ILSs) across the nation’s airports.
Anjorin said the equipment were captured in 2016 budget, and that they have commenced installation of the equipment at the Lagos and Kaduna airports.
He disclosed that the remaining batteries and solar panels are already included in the 2017 budget.
According to him, The batteries are more reliable to give 24 hours effectiveness. NAMA has done civil work at the stations and we are commencing installations this week. The idea is that next year, all our ILS and other essential equipment will be covered by Solar DC Direct.
All expenses on generators and maintenance will be reduced drastically, including air pollution. The greatest challenge we have is electricity. Our equipment is easily destroyed because of erratic power supply.
Director, Safety Electronics and Engineering of NAMA, Farouk Ahmed Umar, said the agency acquired an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to boost the autonomy of interrupted power supply.
He said: “Once there is light, it guarantees the improvement of the equipment. We are deploying them in other stations. This will stop blind spots in the airspace.”
Umar said the situation of blind spots is caused by constant power outage, stressing that when it happens, communication between pilots and air traffic controllers is limited, which he said takes some minutes before it is restored.
He stated that during this time, communication is very weak – what people termed as blind spots in the airspace.
He noted that this would correct the situation as it would boost and power the equipment for over 24 hours even when power to the system is lost.
Despite the total radar coverage of Nigeria, otherwise known as TRACON, the management of NAMA has mapped out strategies to end that which is caused by power fluctuation to its facilities.
The architectural design of TRACON consists of Voice Communication Systems (VCS), Voice Recording Systems (VRS), Very High Frequency Transceivers (VHFT), Fiber Optic, Display Consoles, Integrated Aircraft Billing Systems (IABS) and spares while radars at the international airports comprise both primary and secondary radars.
Umar said Radio Frequency 127.3mhz has an improved range and is working perfectly just as the Radio Frequency 124.7 mhz is also in good condition and both are on presently.
It will be recalled thaat recently, the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, gave assurance that the era of flight disruptions occasioned by harmattan or inclement weather would be a thing of the past as the Federal Government had concluded plans to install multi-million-dollar Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) in 11 airports across the country.
He admitted that visibility at many of the aerodromes is bad during harmattan, but gave assurance that with operable ILS to go to the aerodromes, “come December this year, there should be no excuse of them not landing in harmattan.”
Among the airports to benefit from the critical safety tools are those in Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, Benin, Abuja and Minna, apart from Kaduna, which has brand new safety tools.
He said, “There are 11 ILSs that are going to be installed. They are brand new. Don’t let us forget that they are going to recover some items. Lagos has an ILS; I think Ibadan too is going to get newer ones. So, whatever we recover, we can put them in some other places.
I would expect that over time when the materials, assets are in, we should be able to do not less than 18 fields.”
Although, Akinkuotu was silent on the cost of the instrument, aggregating the numbers from several quarters, getting a Category II/III system up and running these days would cost at least $3 million per runway, plus at least $10,000 or so per year just to keep it certified. -Thenews