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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 20th Apr 2010, 22:47
  #2081 (permalink)  
 
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I am utterly confused. Either it is safe or unsafe and there is a (not necessarily constant) boundary between the two.
No, its not black or white, its a risk assessment.

Statistics. Compare it to smoking - will a cigarette kill you? Maybe not but it will increase your chances of dying. Exposure to different levels of ash will increase the probability of damage.

This is obviously what has been decided on - a risk that airlines will take on for themselves and decide if its worth it.

Seems perfectly fair..
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 22:50
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Met Office response, emphasis added

The Met Office acknowledges the decision by CAA to change the engine tolerance levels for the safe levels of ash ingestion into aircraft engines.

The Met Office is the north-west European Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre with responsibility for issuing the Volcanic Ash Advisories for this area in line with internationally agreed standards and processes as designated by the aviation regulator and industry.

We will now provide timely advice to NATS about the dispersion of the volcanic ash in line with the new engine tolerance criteria. [more]



Met Office: Icelandic volcano eruption
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 22:56
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Originally Posted by SweetChariotXV
Obviously they are being kept in holds to ensure they arrive after 2100z, and not a minute before!

Even though the decision has been made to reopen EGLL, Nats presumably want to be seen to be retaining the upper hand. Silly really. They should be more concerned with just getting them back on terra firma - must be some tired crew and pax up there, needlessly holding in my opinion.
So let me get this right. NATS didn't want the flights to land because someone couldn't bring themselves to do the authorisation (I doubt the ash conditions improved), but were quite content to have them circling in a holding pattern in the "ash contamination" area.

I wonder what the Daily Mail will have to say about this tomorrow.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:00
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Round the table

At the meeting - NATS, CAA, MET, GOVT, BA and other airlines, who banged the table loudest ?
Who spoke civilservicespeak, who spoke common sense ?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:11
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So let me get this right. NATS didn't want the flights to land because someone couldn't bring themselves to do the authorisation (I doubt the ash conditions improved), but were quite content to have them circling in a holding pattern in the "ash contamination" area.
Yep, many of the posts have been cleaned off but it appeared the BA aircraft were put into holding at places like LND, then a couple were given direct to EGLL and EGKK with the speed up, then put into holding again, at lower altitude. I have online access to near realtime ADS-B data.

If 2100Z was a hard constraint, it seemed to be waived for the Vancouver bird, I watched it land several minutes before the hour. Someone suggested it was timed for the news at ten, perhaps not that farfetched considering the media circus and brinksmanship going on.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:12
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Do engines have to cool down before they can be boroscoped ?

How long will this add to a flight's turnaround?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:13
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From a well known Belgian press agency:

Bij de inspectie van een vliegtuig van de Amerikaanse maatschappij World Airways op de Internationale Luchthaven Oostende-Brugge zijn assen gevonden op de motoren. Dat zegt de luchthaveninspectie.

Het vliegtuig wordt op de grond gehouden. Of er schade is, moet woensdag blijken na een grondige inspectie door een gespecialiseerde technicus. Die wordt nu naar Oostende gevlogen. Hij zou er woensdagmorgen arriveren. Het vliegtuig landde dinsdagnamiddag nadat het was opgestegen in Maastricht.




"Er zijn resten van as gevonden maar er is nog geen schade vastgesteld", beklemtoont de luchthaveninspectie in Oostende. "Of er in de motoren schade is, zal pas woensdag blijken."
Het vliegtuig van World Airways was het tweede toestel dat op Oostende landde. Bij een inspectie van het eerste toestel werd geen as aangetroffen. Dat toestel staat ook nog in Oostende. Een tweede vrachtvlucht van World Airways werd dinsdag afgelast door de vondst op het eerste toestel. Dat vliegtuig moest uit Duitsland komen.



Ash found on engine of aircraft landed @ OST. Aircraft grounded. Engineer to be flown over for more thorough inspection of engines.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:22
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From a well known Belgian press agency:
Mine Dog

You dont believe everything yoiu read in an unamed press agency do you? Facesaving, scaremongering or headline grabbing come to mind.

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 20th Apr 2010 at 23:32.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:24
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Google translate the article from Dutch to English before Dishing it, departure and Arrival points are outlined as is the airline ( World Airways ) who it is said have subsequently decided to cancel today“s flights pending an inspection for which they have to fly in an engineer . As you say it could be duff information.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:25
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It was fascinating to watch the Speedbirds, online at flightradar this evening, circling around the UK waiting for the facade to be dropped.

There is no substitute for real life experience and training when it comes to making decisions.

Aircrew in these parts get first class training. The older they get, the more real life experience also.

Unfortunately, British MPs are steeped in training for political survival. They live in a world coccooned from real life. Similarily, the bureaucrats work in a cossetted environment and have no appreciation of how to survive in a commercial environment.

I've worked in the commercial environment and am now enjoying a much more peaceful existence as a bureaucrat so I've got experience of and sympathies with both groups.

By Saturday last, my life experience and training were detecting acquiescence by and the odious whiff of bovine excreta from the Democratic Establishment.

In the absence of any apparent effort to make a meaningful scientific investigation of the possible malignant effects from the unpronouncable volcano's orifice it was left to WW to go for it.

I'm sure he was 100% confident in his decision, bolstered by his training and life experience.

Last edited by ILoadMyself; 20th Apr 2010 at 23:36. Reason: grammatical precision
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:29
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Pace:

Press agency is Belga, biggest and most known agency in Belgium.

Still: you're right: doubt anything you read, esp. on a rumours network.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:34
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Mine Dog

Here's the translation

When inspecting an aircraft of the U.S. airline World Airways at the International Airport Ostend-Bruges axes found in the engines. That says the airport inspection.

The plane is grounded. Whether there is damage, must appear Wednesday after a thorough inspection by a specialized technician. Which is now flying to Ostend. He would arrive Wednesday. The plane landed Tuesday afternoon after being taken off in Maastricht.




"There are remnants of ash found but there is no damage that" emphasizes the airport inspection in Ostend. "Whether the engine damage, it will turn out until Wednesday."
The aircraft of World Airways was the second aircraft that landed at Ostend. An inspection of the first device was found no ashes. This unit is also in Ostend. A second cargo flight from World Airways was canceled Tuesday by the discovery of the first unit. That plane had come from Germany.
Couldn't you have done that?
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:40
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There is no substitute for real life experience and training when it comes to making decisions.

Yes there is - knowledge. Unless of course that experience has even the slightest relevance to the topic in hand, which in this case it doesn't! My 90 year old uncle has all the experience in the world in the textiles industry, but I hardly think it would hold him in good stead if he decided he wanted to be an astronaut.

In the absence of any apparent effort to make any official scientific investigation of the possible malignant effects from the unpronouncable volcano's orifice it was left to WW to go for it.

I'm sure he was 100% confident in his decision, bolstered by his training and life experience.

His training and life experience in ash structure and distribution in the event of the eruption of icelandic volcanoes?
This is a forum which completely ignores anyone who isn't a professional pilot. Don't have your fATPL? Then your opinion is worthless.

Obviously that thought train has missed this station. It surprises me somewhat that so many people on here are experts on the Eyjafjallajokull glacier.
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Old 20th Apr 2010, 23:46
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I am really interested to hear from all those folk who posted on here lambasting anyone who dared suggest that this whole exersize was an overreaction. Will they be strapping into their respective rides when they're next rostered even if the 'plume' is still floating about?? Just curious...
I will assume that everyone has been doing their job at NATS / CAA and trust their professional judgement. The damage on the F18 was real, and if there is no longer that risk in their judgement, let's proceed with caution.

There is far too much talk of conspiracy, incompetence or allegations of lack of decisionmaking on the thread. I would rather assume people did their jobs to keep us all safe until proven otherwise...rather than the contrary position that many seem to have taken of "let's fly until we find that we are wrecking engines"...

If the above is the attitude, then god help us. I wonder if World Airways has just incurred a $3.2m overhaul cost (a la NASA cost) for their short hop from Belgium to Maastricht today. Fools.

Ella:
I am more than happy to take to the skies with passengers on board, and would have done so from day one.
Are you being disingenuous? Finnish Air Force, USAF, and presumably the ash-covered Scottish Search & Rescue helicopter have all proven that there was a real danger at some point on Day 1. Would you like to fly 200km downwind of the volcano? Of course not.

Last edited by Re-Heat; 21st Apr 2010 at 00:18.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 00:01
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There is far too much talk of conspiracy, incompetence or allegations of lack of decisionmaking on the thread. I would rather assume people did their jobs to keep us all safe until proven otherwise..
Given that volcanic activity is know to be a problem to air travel, that iceland is a very active island upwind of Europe and that there was NO orchestrated, pre-planned response to measure the cloud and refer to established and agreed levels of risk then the airline industry, aviation bodies and governments are at least lazy if not incompetent.

That there isn't some organisation or another coming out of the woodwork saying "I told you so" is also surprising, perhaps researches thought that the airline industry could look after itself?


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Old 21st Apr 2010, 00:06
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Would you like to fly 200km downwind of the volcano? Of course not.
ReHeat

But that is the real question we can all see the billowing solid black clouds at the point of the eruption and no one would want to touch that.

But 2 Km, 20 km, 200km, 2000 km ??? downwind? at what point downwind does dispersion make a serious threat to life and limb become minimal to no threat?

Pace
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 00:31
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Given that volcanic activity is know to be a problem to air travel, that iceland is a very active island upwind of Europe and that there was NO orchestrated, pre-planned response to measure the cloud and refer to established and agreed levels of risk then the airline industry, aviation bodies and governments are at least lazy if not incompetent.

That there isn't some organisation or another coming out of the woodwork saying "I told you so" is also surprising, perhaps researches thought that the airline industry could look after itself?
Could it be perhaps that the closure of airspace was indeed the planned response, and that all that was lacking was adequate PR. Could it possibly be that the Met Office, NATS and these VAAC units did indeed do their jobs based upon the skills they thought they needed?

There are valid accounts (and air samples) of some real volcanic rubbish in UK skies over the past 4 days. Don't you suppose that this validly supported a framework, using models, that provided forecasts that this cloud remained dangerous.

Here's my point: I'm conservative, and don't know much about volcanoes. The vulcanologists seem to be doing their job in conjunction with the Met Office, and NATS have made a reasonable decision on the basis of that to protect flight safety.

I can't understand the cavalier attitude here when so few are clearly experts, and the evidence to err to conservatism is rather obvious.

My analogy would be that many posters on here would think it OK to takeoff on a heavy flight from Singapore with the torrential rainstorm starting rather than waiting for 10 minutes at the threshold, simply as the last man got away with it. I have but one life.

ReHeat

But that is the real question we can all see the billowing solid black clouds at the point of the eruption and no one would want to touch that.

But 2 Km, 20 km, 200km, 2000 km ??? downwind? at what point downwind does dispersion make a serious threat to life and limb become minimal to no threat?
I'll assume that you've not read anything on here at all as to the effect of silica in the engines of the Finnish F18s, NASA's DC8 in an earlier eruption, the air samples taken by Cranfield, the muck picked up by the Scottish heli crew, and the new evidence that World Airways picked up engine deposits on a short hop to Maastricht today...?

Last edited by Re-Heat; 21st Apr 2010 at 00:48.
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 00:36
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Heathrow opening hours

Does anyone know if Heathrow will stick to being closed in the early hours as per their usual policy or will they change this to enable aircraft to land at 2-4am which is not what usually happens...?
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 00:37
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Pace: btw, KEF-HEL is 1,524 miles. I think that is sufficiently far to make the average person with an aviation mindset think about the consequences. That's your 2,000km then.
Great Circle Mapper

Julian:
Link - FlightAware > London Heathrow Airport (London, England) [EGLL/LHR] - see for yourself. Nothing inbound apart from DAL3
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Old 21st Apr 2010, 01:25
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effect of silica in the engines of the Finnish F18s, NASA's DC8 in an earlier eruption, the air samples taken by Cranfield, the muck picked up by the Scottish heli crew, and the new evidence that World Airways picked up engine deposits on a short hop to Maastricht today
There WILL be plenty of evidence of ash encounters and probably also ash damage so long as the 'new' arrangements remain as they now appear to be.

We STILL have science and measurement deficits. I heard earlier today on broadcast radio some comment about UK 'changing to the US model for ash drift forecasting'. Reportedly, this model is already the one used by Eurocontrol, which (also said) explains the differences between the ash mappings from various sources. Problem is, it's still modelling. If there's concern about flying THROUGH an ash layer, let alone flying IN it and the layers are NOT homogeneous in either extent or thickness (as detailed in the report of the German research aircraft flight linked from here today a few pages back), then clearly modelling does not meet the requirement. ANY mathematical model will produce AVERAGE particle densities over relatively large areas / heights and accuracy will fall off as the time from original, real data input increases.

So where is the planning and finance for direct measurement of ash concentration at a lot of point over UK, from ground level up to (say) FL40? Does the science to do this even exist? Could ATC systems (human and automated parts) actually cope with the additional workload to transform ash-cloud data into instructions for individual aircraft? I can't see any possibility of achieving this safely, or at all.

So the reality MAY turn out to be relatively broad-brush data covering large areas of airspace. I'm thinking, for example, of an 'unsafe' area of 10 by 10 kilometres and extending from FL10 to FL15, moving at maybe 40kph in a known direction. Trying to re-route aircraft around such an area in real time seems completely impractical given current ATC and routeing methods. So what use would more detailed ash data be in practice? The outcome in any case would be closure of destinations and / or routes for hours at a time - very disruptive.

As has been pointed out, the alternative of setting a high particle density as the 'safe to fly' limit and then flying willy-nilly (no pun intended) through whatever ash clouds are there will result in very long inspection delays, followed by (probably) very costly and frequent engine overhauls. (Reports SEEM to suggest that engines ARE damaged by relatively small amounts of ash but tolerate it for some time. NASA DC8 incident report says aircraft flew 80 hours of research at Kiruna and then back to Edwards AFB with no symptoms BEFORE the real damage was actually found. Nevertheless, all 4 turbines had to be rebuilt: cost $2m+.)

At the very least, given the fact that some clouds of ash are quite thin, some on-board ash-detection instrument is vital (if feasible at all!). Then at least in some cases it would be possible to climb / descend slightly so as to avoid flying in an ash layer for long periods. But who's doing the R&D??

Not out of the woods yet, by a long way!!
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