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Helicopters and Volcanic Ash?

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Helicopters and Volcanic Ash?

Old 17th Apr 2010, 21:54
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: UK
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Turbomecca are saying do not fly in the ash and if down the road they can attribute any maintenance issues to the ash than you the customer will have to pay for any damages PBH or not.
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Old 17th Apr 2010, 22:48
  #122 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
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My understanding is that Turbomeca have extremely clean hands...if you get my drift
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Old 17th Apr 2010, 22:59
  #123 (permalink)  
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I have flown twice on SAROPs today and there is a light dusting of particulate on the nose of the aircraft after each one - our engines do have sand filters but there is some discussion about whether the particulate size is too small to be filtered by them so we are comp washing the engines after each flight.

The long and short of it is that there is ash in the air but of very low concentration - is this a big short term risk to engines? I don't believe so or we wouldn't be flying at all.
[email protected],

Two points: if the volcanic ash is too small to be trapped by the filters, then a comp wash may be irrelevant. I understand that the issue with the ash is that it will be 'melted' by the internal temperatures of the engine and thus clog nozzles, cooling vents, etc, or abrade the IGV's on the way through. Surely a wash would be akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

I understand that Science 1 (the test Dornier) encountered high concentration readings @ 2000ft over Bedfordshire a couple of days ago. Maybe more testing needs to be done to establish what the threat level really is?

Of course there's volcanic ash and there is Volcanic Ash

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Old 17th Apr 2010, 23:55
  #124 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
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What a great shot, where was that taken John?

Tam Macklin
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 00:39
  #125 (permalink)  
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Hi Tam, it's been a while...

Looks like a post Mount St Helens photo to me!
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 02:32
  #126 (permalink)  
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I saw the plume rise to at least 20.000' tonight at 20:00! and it was blown southwards from the volcano. There seems to be enough power left in the crater. Our beloved geologists are predicting less eruption activity soon... well what do they know, a farmer told them when the previous eruption started in the same mountain...

Winds are expected to change to W & NW tomorrow and for the next 24 hrs in Iceland. I guess you will be getting more ash over to the mainland from us over the next day or two, unfortunately.

Wikipedia never lies about volcanic ash

Thats an interesting picture.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 06:11
  #127 (permalink)  
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I put the last post up in a rush before leaving for a m'bike ride, and forgot to mention that it was after the eruption in Rabaul, PNG in September 1994. I bought the rebuild as VH-JGT, and it is still going strong with the current owners

Another photo, this Squirrel was also brought into Australia and rebuilt:

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 06:31
  #128 (permalink)  
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Apparently the risk to our engines is the ash reacting with the nickel in the compressor blades which can cause embrittlement that is irreversible. What is not known is how much exposure to what concentrations it takes to cause any real problems.

Yes, comp washing is closing the stable door but it makes people feel good.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 07:07
  #129 (permalink)  
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Dear CRAB and all others who seem hell bent on trashing anyone who posts a note of caution.

For the record: I will fly when the UK Government states that in their considered opinion we can do so (I think the NS was operating yesterday) and then only if my Company wants me to (ie that there are no engine TBO insurance factors they need to respect).

As I have absolutley no idea how to assess the risks of volcanic ash I place my trust in those that do.

What a surprise that several days down the road you are all beginning to dig up various reasons why flying in this cloud (even in very small concentrations) is certainly bad for the aircraft, and may possibly lead to an incident.

CRAB - I understand from your posts that you are a SAR pilot. You have my sympathy. I have done HEMS myself and there is nothing worse than not being able to make the scene of the incident/accident, for whatever reason.

Foir NigelH, having spent 3 years of my life doing HEMS, never once failing to get airborne to react, but many times having to land or turn back due to WX I am more than capable of knowing where the risks are and how to mitigate them.

None of this equates to the standards of safety that my current passengers demand and deserve (even if at times they forget this).

Mitigation of risk - is just that. If the rewards outway the risks - get on with it. The curious issue here is that when CRAB and the HEMS guys talk about rewards - they mean HELPING PEOPLE IN NEED. I suspect your reward has a more commercial implication.

Complaining that there is a lack of resources to deal with this problem properly from the outset is just plain silly. What if a massive sunspot boils the NS. Have the goverment got enough resources in place for that!!!!

Call me uneducated but I had know real idea that we have a volcano so close (looking at the map its probably closer to me here in ABZ than London) until the damn thing burped it's unholy load into the sky.

Its better on this thread now that people are actually posting informative information about the nasties of volcanic ash rather than wining cos they can't go flying.

As a public transport pilot (CAT) our first and foremost responsibility is to the PAX we intend to fly - not to profit nor to selfish wants.

As more information becomes apparent I suspect better operating strategies can be developed but none of them should be based on getting airborne JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

CRAB - if you have dust on the nose I would suspect that your Ginger-beers are boroscoping the donkeys to see whats going on inside. Is it an S92 or a Mil machine?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 07:47
  #130 (permalink)  
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Re turbomeca

Any idea where the turbomeca info came from re pos invalidation of pbh ? There is no new press releases on their website ?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 08:09
  #131 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Our info came from Eurocopter UK who had an email/letter from Turbomeca.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 08:24
  #132 (permalink)  
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My aircraft has been parked outside -in sunny Lancashire- unmoved since Thursday. There is now a significant coating of dust - enough that I could not fly without washing the screen. As a PPL I dont have to fly, and my take on this is, I wont till its gone. -I pay the maintenance bills. I doubt safety is a problem for piston aircraft but the maintenance issues are unknown. I suspect blade paint will be the first thing to suffer followed by high cylinder leakage at the next annual. If the ash gets past the air filter and embedded in the pistons rapid cylinder wear will occur. Oil analysis should reveal if this has happened but by then its too late. I do not know if the ash will pass the air filter. Not worth the risk for me.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 08:28
  #133 (permalink)  
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Turbomeca have referred us to their service letter 2332/05 which outlines the precautions to be taken when operating engines in a "Polluted atmostphere". We had dust falling here on Friday but no visible amounts since then. Consequently, we are keeping the aircraft inside, responding only to tasks where there is an immediate risk to life and carrying out an engine rinse after each flight.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 10:03
  #134 (permalink)  
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Looks like the Northern North Sea heliops might be back in action tomorrow.

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 11:42
  #135 (permalink)  
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I wouldn't say "nice" of your photo as my understanding of nice means something diffrent from clearly broken aircrafts. But a great shot!

Now, on the 1st. picture I can see what looks like a Longranger hovering/landing in the background, and I am curious as to know what sort of damages that sustained or what kind of "anti volcanic-ash-kit" it was equipped with? Clearly, if the ash does not melt to glass(looks like powder to me) on the ground, then landing in half a foot of "it" with a helicopter would kick up some dust that eventually finds it way into the engine, no?

Saturday, KLM, Lufthansa, Airfrance and some other airlines took off with various aircrafts and flew sectors in their respective countries (KLM with a 737 with it's CEO on board) to see the effects on the aircrafts engines and the rest, without finding any damages whatsoever. I am not talking about that they were chasing the ash cloud, but they flew normal routes. THIS is diffrent to flying through the heart of the cloud that you can see with your own eyes, like the examples that has been re-told/re-aired (BA009 on Disc.) 200 times the last 3 days.

It's about concentration (ie. PPM) and size of the ash that will be a factor, or we have been flying around eating ash for many years unknowingly. As for the last 30 years there have been some fairly heavy eruptions around the world, which have produced a lot of ash over the years. I will not list them again... Google.com
These particals stay in the atmosphere for years and don't all come down within a matter of a few days if someone think that (of course the main parts of it will come down, but not everything)
Maybe 2010 ought to be the year, we all stopped flying as a precaution, hell then the tree-huggers would be happy too as all the bad CO2 from the aviationsector would stop and the planet is finally saved!!
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 11:52
  #136 (permalink)  
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Nubian, FYI The KLM 737 flew a great circle away from the the majority of the ash cloud (not the planned route it would have normally taken)
But hey why let the truth get in the way
I think sadly commercial pressure will force this issue before the skys are clear
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 11:59
  #137 (permalink)  
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Looks like the Northern North Sea heliops might be back in action tomorrow.

Maybe not !

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 12:34
  #138 (permalink)  
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Lufthansa ferried 10 heavies from Munich to Frankfurt, albeit at FL100; no problems there either.
They even climbed to FL 240 without any effects to the aircraft and engines...

German carriers lead backlash over volcanic ash closures

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 12:48
  #139 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2004
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contact info

anyone out there know of any reliable contact info re french airspace closure to VFR trafic.

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:12
  #140 (permalink)  

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Observations from a Back Garden

Seems to me, amongst the tales of peril and 'death to those that dare venture yonder', 'There be Dragons', etc, all we simply need is a change of wind.

Still no danger to health or environment (only jet engines at all levels!) and the London Marathon etc is still on. (should be interesting)

Is it me or are all the GA fraternity up and at it because they can? So much for the peace and quiet round these parts, can't hear my ice chinking in the Pimms.

Wish I was stuck abroad somewhere, what on Earth is Gary Lineker doing dragging his family 2058 miles over 24 hours travelling by plane, car and train to make it back from Tenerife in time to present Match of the Day.
In harmony, you can hear his 4 sons and daughter saying 'Thanks Dad' as they return to school tomorrow.

Hey ho, lets see what happens tonight.
Have a good week y'all.
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