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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:34
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BA A/C into LHR

I have heard that BA have about 15 A/C arriving into LHR through the night tonight. Sadly they only have the staff to handle 3 at a time!!
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:35
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working hours

Is the crew of the planes which are holding,not coming in problems with their working hours?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:36
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Surely it is causing more distress to engines holding at 26000 as BAW84 has been around BHX for the past 10 mins, although it is now on a rapid decent so he looks as though he is one of the chosen few.
But is it a good decision to have held them off all this time. Does this make engineering sense...
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:37
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Awful lot of the use of the word "guidance" from the regulator?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:39
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Desk-pilot

I would not even bother thinking about it, your job is to fly the aeroplanes and that is it. You should be positively happy to get the all clear to get back to work. What do you know about what goes on behind the scenes?

I would be far more concerned if I were you about the damage it may be causing ones airline. I for one do not want to be grounded any longer as this could become terminal. Some of us have just dodged redundancy and now this.

The sooner we get an all clear the better.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:42
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Originally Posted by SweetChariotXV
... must be some tired crew and pax up there, needlessly holding in my opinion.
Agreed. This seems to have turned out to be a rather sad evening for UK aviation in many ways. The apparent brinkmanship is particularly appalling. Just heard two on about 18 mile approach to LHR ... if so they'll land early
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:42
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neila83: yup, of course it was planned; Denver, Houston, Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles, Orlando, Miami, Mexico City. Contingency had to be built in and the planning finalised at least 24 hours ago.

But as deskpilot posted a few minutes ago, an issue forced -- or attempted to be forced -- by someone accountable only to shareholders is no cause for any kind of celebration.

What precedent then?

Be interesting to learn how long it takes for BA to release details of the condition these a/c are in after their extensive jigging around an airspace but recently closed down for being at risk of hazard.

I certainly wouldn't want to be currently in charge of any Speedbird Grand Aerial Tour -- whether the pax are enjoying the view or not.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:43
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A report of the scientific flight from Oberpfaffenhofen/Germany with the research aircraft Falcon 20E D-CMET, that was performed successfully yesterday and took measurements is available.
The report can be downloaded as PDF from http://www.bmvbs.de/Anlage/original_...April-2010.pdf
Quoting from this

Assuming a particle density of 2 g/cm our current best estimate for the particle mass concentration in the ash plume over Leipzig is 60 μg/m. The error is difficult to estimate without further analysis but at least a factor of 2 uncertainty should be assumed. It is possible that higher concentrations occur in other parts of the plume. In fresh volcanic plumes the concentrations will be much higher.
The cloud was 4-5 days old at this point.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:45
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Speedbird 84 just reported a "burning smell" upon passing a thin layer of cloud between 6000-5500ft when turning right for base leg 27L. Nothing major, no panic, just a smell.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:46
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Awful lot of the use of the word "guidance" from the regulator?
Obviously they don't want to liable for any damaged aircraft or passengers. If Airlines want to take the risk, its their problem.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:50
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It appears that WW has played a pretty capable hand today - Gawd knows the situation needed it - but politicians never forget those who have shown up their true incompetence, and if Willie/BA need help at any time while this lot are still in power he can expect a darned cool reception. BA beware?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:50
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Maybe we have reached a tipping point where professionals who understand risk reassert control over the real world from the hands of unelected bureaucrats, jobsworths and political placemen! A lesson for all walks of life. Willie for PM?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:51
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Looks like they've landed several minutes before 2100Z. Was the hold to sample the ash as someone suggested?

Anyway, hope things are on the way back to normal for us all...
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:51
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a game of chicken

WW has been engaged in a high stakes game of Chicken with the regulators all afternoon, he launched 24 wide body aircraft to LHR scheduled to arrive between 1900 and 0400 and then stood back to see if the UK government and associated agencies would back down or if they would stand firm and take the flack for the diversions. A number of them diverted before the government caved in.

WW has won the game, who is correct and incorrect will be decided in the coming days
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:54
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I wonder, with some trepidation, what the "intensive maintenance ash damage inspection" is going to entail.
Are we going to have to boroscope every engine post flight? Is it going to be the line engineers fault if an engine fails because it was operated in contaminated air to please the CEO & shareholders?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:57
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The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UKs independent specialist regulator with oversight of aviation safety, today issues new guidance on the use of airspace....................................................

In addition, the CAAs Revised Airspace Guidance requires airlines to:
conduct their own risk assessment and develop operational procedures to address any remaining risks;
put in place an intensive maintenance ash damage inspection before and after each flight; and
report any ash related incidents to a reporting scheme run by the CAA.
Anyone seen this "guidance" yet?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:57
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Forget the politics, for time being we need to boroscope the engines, and make sure that our moves are safe!
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 20:59
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Dunno if it was posted allready, but the report about the measurement flight done over germany is allready available.

Check http://www.bmvbs.de/Anlage/original_...April-2010.pdf
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 21:00
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Blackwall Tunnel Theory.

While I have skipped a couple of pages because the thread was getting away from me, I would just like to reiterate my Blackwall Tunnel Theory of Authority Mind Set. Its way back in the low nineties somewhere. I suspect that the UK airspace has not been opened because nobody wants to be the person to say it can.

A couple of observations if I may, or should I say a couple more, because that was the basis of my previous post? The Research equipped Dornier D-CALM flew one research sorte on Friday was it? SInce when very little has been heard. KLM and LH flew 'test flights' local to their operations on Saturday? And both said they had found little.

BA flew a 747 for about 3 hours or a little over, basically from LHR to their deep maintenance centre in Cardiff, in an aeroplane due, presumably, for a fairly long hour overhaul? WW announced that no damage had been found, which, one has to assume, included borescoping one or more of the engines and, since their boss was standing next to them, no shortage of qualified engineers slowed them up? Am I okay so far?

One of WW main planks recently has been a degree of management honesty. Believe me, I hold British Management generically in much the same regard as I view England Football, so WW is very much an exception! If he was found to be trying to 'blag' his way back in to the air, by lying about the state of those engines, he would lose far more than he gained on both of his major problems at the moment.

I was concentrating on driving on a prickly, touchy North Circular Road this evening and I may have misunderstood, but I am sure I gained the very strong impression that whatever the Met office and everybody else is basing UK air space closures on, it is not 'areas of ash have been found'. Because no ash at all has been found because there is no-one up there looking for it?

All of the decisions are based on computer modelling? Is that right, some haunted fish tank is guessing where the ash is and hasn't the first idea how much ash there might be in any given place? Is that right?

Finally, in reply to 'Stagger' many pages ago;

ETOPS certification depends on a documented IFSD rate of less than 0.02 per 1,000 hours. But this exceptional level of reliability was not achieved with engines that were operated in areas of significant volcanic ash exposure for a period of several days or weeks.

The issue I was trying to get at (and that neila83 has explained) is not whether the ash causes immediate IFSDs - but whether engines operated in this environment have an IFSD rate > 0.02 per 1000 in the coming months.
I have a very strong recollection that the two donks on the ETOPS qualifying B777 had been selected because they were the highest flying hour engines anywhere at the time. They had the most wear and were both further deliberately unbalanced to emulate poorly maintained, very average engines that might well be found in routine airline service. Is this not so? As an engineer, that's pretty much what I would do, because if the engines passed the ETOPS evaluation, I would get a really nice, warm feeling about those engines.

Roger.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 21:09
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Just as an aside, I'm not sure why the Met Office is taking flack here. Under ICAO/WMO agreements the MO provide VAAC coverage for northwest Europe. Is that not what they've done? Observe, then forecast, the movement of volcanic ash. Isn't that what's happened?

The information they provide is then used by NATS/CAA etc who then decide whether there can be open airspace or not.

The internationally agreed manufacturers' guidance (before this evening's events) was that there is a zero tolerance for aircraft performance in volcanic ash. Therefore, are aircraft manufacturers not to blame for not knowing what their aircraft limitations are? Where does it end?

Unprecedented is surely the word, and instead of looking to blame people, perhaps learning the lessons and keeping them in mind in the event something like this happens again, is the best way ahead.

If a ban hadn't been put in place, and something had have fallen out of the sky, then the same people claiming over-reaction would be asking why airspace wasn't shut. Lose-Lose.


Edit: Landroger, REAL observations of volcanic ash HAVE been made. By the Finnish Airforce, by KLM (near Eindhoven today), by Lufthansa (just south of Hamburg), by Loganair (this very day, at FL170 above Kirkwall), by parachutists (!!!) at FL030 near Peterborough, by the RAF at Coningsby, by an aircraft approaching Newfoundland......I could go on. There have been plenty, PLENTY of reports of ash in the sky.
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