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Thursday, May 26, 2022

KCAA Issues Strict Guidelines on Helicopter Operations

  • The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has issued strict guidelines on the operations of aircraft following heightened risks due to the campaign season ahead of the August 9 polls. 

    In a statement, KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe stated that the move is aimed at guaranteeing the safety of the public, especially during the electioneering period. 

    Among the measures include a ban on the landing of flights at unidentified sites. This, according to KCAA, will curb the notorious habit of people hanging on choppers during take-offs as witnessed before. 

    Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga alighting from a chopper in November 2018
    The Standard

    “The guideline is to land and take-off at least 3 kilometres from activity venues and ensure at least a 30 metre radius from people.”

    “Liftoff amid crowds or where there is insufficient distance between the aircraft and the crowd is a gross violation of safe operations or aircraft regulations,” Kibe stated. 

    For helicopter operators ferrying VIPs, they are required to get written Standard Operating Procedures and adhere to the instructions stipulated by the authority. 

    Further, they ought to make arrangements for securing the aircraft when landing in unmanned locations, especially when carrying VIPs. 

    Those seeking to conduct operations at night would have to get the Instrument Fly Rule authorisations for both the pilot and helicopter operators.

    The mandate is issued to helicopter operators seeking provisions to fly after 6 pm. Branding of planes with modified colours as well as the hoisting of banners on the choppers are prohibited unless the operators acquire a permit from the Authority. 

    Those who flout the rules risk losing their licenses or a fine of up to Ksh1 million for safety breaches. 

    Speaking to kenyagist.com, Mercy Mbaika, from the KCAA communications department, noted that the move will ensure the safety of the public. 

    “It’s an ongoing sensitization that we have been carrying out on the helicopter operators because of the elections we expected a few risks here and there so we are trying to mitigate the risks and taking sensitisations,” she stated. 

    The move comes after a chopper carrying Azimio la Umoja Presidential flag-bearer Raila Odinga was stoned in Soy, Uasin Gishu county, by a section of rowdy youth. Following the attack, police arrested more than 14 people who were arraigned. Several lawmakers including area MP Caleb Kositany and his Kapseret counterpart Oscar Sudi recorded statements with the police. 

    ODM leader Raila Odinga arrived in Elgeyo Marakwet County on Friday, April 1, 2022 (left). A picture of the chopper that was stoned in Uasin Gishu County (right).
    ODM leader Raila Odinga arrived in Elgeyo Marakwet County on Friday, April 1, 2022 (left). A picture of the chopper that was stoned in Uasin Gishu County (right).
    Courtesy Raila Odinga

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