Saharan Dust Cloud
Any thoughts on the impact the incoming Saharan dust cloud will have on GA operations?
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1632 Posts
I'm not sure how bad the vis will be with this one, but in Eastern New Mexico we had a dust storm once that brought the visibility down to feet with the top of the dust about 6000 AGL -- that'll put a crimp in even IFR ops.  Cars were sandblasted to bare metal by the 70+ knot winds -- think what would happen to your airplane's paint and windshield at normal flying speeds.  But that sand can damage a lot more than your paint job and windshield. It can clog your air filter so the engine shuts down. Yes, you can then pull the carb heat (or alternate air for injected engines) to get the engine running again (at least for a while to land), but now you're throwing sand into the engine, and that ain't good for your engine's' innards in the long run. Or worse, with a turbine engine, it may trash the whole engine -- just like it did to those CH-53's on the aborted Desert One Tehran raid in 1980. You really don't want to mess with blowing sand.