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Canadian wildfire smoke impacts visibility for Pennsylvania pilots

A local flight instructor is limiting how far his students can fly due to the haze affecting visibility.

THOMASVILLE, Pa. — The National Weather Service says the smoke and haze of the Canadian wildfires are impacting visibility across the Commonwealth. The visibility issues are being observed on the ground, as well as by pilots in the sky.

“Normally I’d say, ‘We’re going to go out to the river and come back.’ You won’t even see the river until you’re on top of it," said Dave Myers, a flight instructor at the York Airport.

Myers said he's had to limit the distance his students are able to fly, due to the conditions. He adds the weather conditions make it difficult to teach his students.

"For instrument pilots, the corporate guys, [limited visibility] won't make much of a difference," said Myers. "But for a student learning how to fly or for my training, it's really hard."

On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration limited air traffic going in and out of New York City airports, due to poor air quality. Myers says the smoke conditions are much better in Central Pa., however, the haze can still distort a pilot’s perception.

"The danger is that you can lose control of the aircraft if you don't have outside visual sight," said Myer. "There’s no way to tell if you’re an inch or two above or below the horizon because you can’t see it.”

The National Weather Service says visibility issues could continue through the end of the week, which could potentially effect Myers’ flight schedule.

“If it stays like this tomorrow, I’ll probably cancel some of my flights," said Myers.

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