The number one killer of pilots in the world

Jimmy Wanjala Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) is flying into a hill, mountain or towards the ground inadvertently. It happens when one decides to fly Visually into poor visibility conditions, without proper situational awareness. Kenya is a terrain-heavy country. Pilots are always cautioned to do proper flight planning, especially when flying visually (VFR). Most of the general aviation trips fall into this category. The rule of thumb in aviation is: do not fly visual meteorological conditions (VCM) into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Most aircraft do not have Ground Proximity Alarm Systems, but these can be installed to increase safety. Kenyan pilots have also created a culture of flying in the Rift Valley when heading East. Instead of flying directly to Lodwar, for example, they prefer following the Rift valley lakes - Naivasha, Nakuru, Bogoria and Baringo. Most CFIT accidents happen on approach into runways that have no approach guidance systems. Marsabit is the most feared. That is because of a towering 6200ft hill with radio masts on it next to the runway. The runway is 4200ft. Weather in Marsabit is a factor, especially early in the morning. Do not attempt to land in Marsabit in poor visibility. Divert to Logo Logo Airstrip, which is a bit farther into the valley. But if you must land, follow the Nairobi-Marsabit Road, but only if you can see it. The road goes around Marsabit Mountain and will lead you to the runway. Only experienced pilots can pull it off. Moyale Airstrip too is surrounded by a crescent of hills on one side of the runway. Rugged terrain is not entirely a bad thing; it assists pilots in navigation through dead reckoning. But know your location on the map, and if you find yourself in poor weather conditions, or darkness catches you mid-flight, transition to Instrument Flying at once. Aviate! Navigate! Communicate! Safe skies!