(Reduced visibility, not a problem as the Airport prepares to undergo IFR operation)
Surkhet Airport has conducted its Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Night Test landing on June 25, 2020 (Thursday), as per the information from Officials at the Airport for the first time since its establishment. It is one of the busiest domestic airport serving western Nepal in the trunk route of the nation.
Nepal Army operating its PZL M28 Skytruck with registration ‘NA-063’ has successfully conducted the test flight for the IFR Operation at the airport. The aircraft has conducted three takeoffs and landings during the test flight using the IFR certified Global Positioning System (GPS) approach procedure. The test pilots for the flight were Colonel Pilot Subarna Bisht, Captain Pilot Sumesh Shrestha, and Captain Pilot Yogesh Mansingh Basnet.
The test crews before operating IFR test landing had simulated the IFR Procedure at Day VFR condition and conducted actual test landings at Night.
However, the airport doesn’t feature the runway with a modern lighting system but the Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) system is installed. Nepal Army had temporarily facilitated the airport installing runway light and preparing IFR Flight procedure as the airport presently only serves Visual Flight Rules.
The Nepal Army will keep the IFR Flight service under inspection and if the test is evaluated success then the airport will be recommended to provide a go-ahead signal for airlines to operate IFR Flight service.
The Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which need at least 5000 metres of visibility for safe flight operation, however, in the winter season, the airport features only 2000 metres of visibility due to the heavy haze and mist that has been obstructing flights. The operators can operate their aircraft under minimum visibility after the operation of IFR Procedures, stated source.
It has been anticipated that after Surkhet Airport features night flight operation, it will play a great role to cope with the growing air traffic management due to the high flow of passengers and flight frequency.