The arrival of Cayman’s new state-of-the-art mosquito aircraft has moved an important step nearer.
An engineer from the Mosquito Research and Control Unit is presently at the aircraft manufacturers in the United States, installing specialist equipment, said MRCU director Bill Petrie.
And that means that MRCU hope to take delivery of the first of the two planes before Christmas, he told the CaymanianCompass on Friday.
Federal Aviation Administration approval was recently given and the engineer from Cayman was able to travel to the plane makers in Georgia and begin to fit the sophisticated computer and other state of the art devices, said Dr. Petrie.
At the end of that two to three week process, the first of the two planes would be delivered to Cayman, with the second expected a few weeks later, he said.
When the aircraft arrived, the plan was to immediately carry out the pellet larviciding work and to get the main breeding sites treated before Christmas.
‘That’s quite important because people tend to be outside more over the Christmas holiday and we would like to be able to take care of that situation,’ he said.
‘We are planning to do the pellets first and then reconfigurate the aircraft for spraying.
‘But if the mosquito problem is really bad we will do the spraying first,’ said Dr. Petrie.
There had been high numbers of mosquitoes in certain areas over the last few weeks and that was what MRCU had expected, he told the Compass.
But with the four fogging trucks working flat out over the last few weeks, ‘we have managed to hold our own,’ he said.
Being without the use of any mosquito planes recently had set the MRCU back a season or two in its overall strategy, said Dr. Petrie.
But the arrival of the new aircraft meant they would be able to catch up and ‘be back in even better shape’ before next year’s mosquito season, he said.