CASA has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) warning them of the potential dangers that recent hatchings plagues in parts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia pose to aircraft operating at low levels in those regions.
Hatchings of locusts have occurred in central west and far west of NSW, north-west Victoria and the Flinders Range region of South Australia, with CASA advising pilots operating aircraft to regularly check for new hatchings in other regions. The insects, which can be in swarms of up to 50 million and fly at up to 3000ft, pose a risk to pilots’ visibility by masking ground features and impacting on windscreens, while they may also be ingested into engine intakes and pitot tubes, resulting in damage and unreliable readings.
CASA also advises pilots operating aircraft in the affected regions to fit covers to pitot tubes and engine intakes to prevent locust ingestion. It also notes that there may be increased traffic in such areas due to aerial spotting and spraying activity.