Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 21st Apr 2010, 14:46
  #2201 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hants
Posts: 2,294
Lord Adonis stated on 'The world at One' today that there had been an over reaction to the Ash event by the authorities concerned.
Lord Adonis would be best advised to keep his mouth shut and seek some advice before spouting of.

Irrespective of whatever anyone on here thinks about the decision to close airspace in the UK, the glaringly obvious FACT during the whole episode is that none of the incumbent Cabinet Party were visible in the first few days. They only started coming out with opinions when it was clear that the airspace was about to re-open - and even then they didn't know the roles of NATS etc.

Looking at charts over the past 24Hrs, even if using the old criteria the majority of UK airspace would now be open.

It's very easy for politicians to say it was an over-reaction - pity they didn't have the balls to stand up at the outset...

HMG acted very poorly (well, very seldom) throughout this whole episode
anotherthing is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 14:55
  #2202 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 834
Originally Posted by Fred Bound View Post
BBC News

Offshore Helicopter Operations
With interesting line being: "There was no damage and no ash was found in engines."

Another interesting snippet from bbc ( BBC News - Volcano cloud as it happens: 21 April ):

Dr Colin Brown of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in London has studied the effect of volcanic ash on plane engines. He told BBC World Service: "We've been running test flights over the last four or five days and collecting information from the engines that have flown through those clouds and seen what damage the clouds done to them, and we've found that the damage is zero and so we're in the situation where we're now happy to continue flying through those clouds."
infrequentflyer789 is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 14:57
  #2203 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: -
Posts: 510
BoughtTheFarm

Whatever the context and final outcome, good job to the crews who brought their birds in. Not everyone may agree that BA is still the 'worlds favourite airline' but I for one would say that they are the 'worlds most determined airline'. We sometimes need people to take tough decisions, and I for one prefer a world with them than without.
A "tough decision" would have been to accept full responsibility for safe conduct of flights through contaminated airspace whatever the outcome. BA could've been flying all week long had WW simply said that he and his board of directors would do so, irrespective of CAA/Met Office advice. Guess what, they didn't.

Instead, they sat wringing their hands looking for someone else to make the decision and when that didn't come quick enough they turned up the heat on, in this case, our 'unelected' politicians.

Nothing brave about wanting to carry on doing something whilst at the same time looking to apportion blame elsewhere in the event of an incident.

If it turns out it is one of his 747s with a double IFSD I'll look forward to hearing his take on the supposed over reaction on the part of the CAA.
rab-k is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:15
  #2204 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 336
Now. If that will not happen, which is far more likely, do you expect any MET Office, NATS, CAA bodies will take any responsibility? For what they've done, they should be jailed and heavily penilized (on personal level, not only as organisation) for a gross misconduct.
Why should they?! They have done EVERYTHING right and by the book, as per manufacturers reccomendations, as per ICAO guidance, and observations have backed up forecasts. Gross misconduct? I think not. Safety before money - yes.

Should the airlines have done more for their passengers? Maybe. Should the government have done more for stranded passengers of all nationalities? Yup. NATS / CAA / Eurocontrol / Met agencies have done their jobs in the face of increasing pressure and hostility from those losing money.
Postman Plod is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:15
  #2205 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 834
MOL steps up...

From BBC News - Ash cloud chaos: Airlines face huge task as ban ends

Meanwhile Ryanair has said it will defy the regulations and warned customers it will only reimburse customers their airfare and no additional expenses.
Here's your 50p back, good luck hitching to Calais...
infrequentflyer789 is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:30
  #2206 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Florida
Posts: 5,350
The aviation industry, because there seems to have been so little prior investigation of the physical effects of this phenomenon. How can airframe and engine manufacturers have issued documents stating that should be no flight through ash-contaminated airspace with a straight face? Surely that was a prohibition honoured more in the breach than the observance, since a zero concentration of ash is clearly never possible, mathematically or practically, in the atmosphere of a planet whose geology is driven by plate tectonics.
Question above ..... How could XXX have issued documents ....

Be careful of using a lay persons intreprrtation of what these documents for the pilots are intended to convey.

Lets get back to the traffic light anology of red light clouds, yellow light clouds ad green light clouds.

It was postulated based on routine everyday maintenance findings that volcanic ash in clouds exists everyday someplace in the world and that some planes fly through it without impact on the flight. Thus the Green-light cloud concept.

Then there are the rash of events following a major eruption like Pinatuba where the cloud being unseen and untracked produces any symptoms described in detail in the OEM warnings that should be reacted to by the flight crews and the ground engineers This at least defines the Yellow clouds that were either not identified and tracked or that there was no intended avoidance. The OEMs thus have a duty to warn that abnormalities may occur in this situation.

And finally the Red Light cloud that represents the worst of the combinations of either not being tracked or not being avoided and at the same time producing major symptoms in combination of smell, sight, windshield effects, Pitot effects, engine symptoms and an immediate need to throttle back engine descend and turn away.

I believe that what is being dealt with today is the realization that all clouds are not bad and that traffic control and alert pilots can still lead to safe flights.
lomapaseo is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:31
  #2207 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: North
Posts: 113
Here we go: Finnish AF has now inspected the engines of the F-18 Hornet, which were allegedly damaged in flying into the volcanic ash. You know, the ones of which fine pictures were shown on tabloids and even reputable papers.
Finding: NO DAMAGE FOUND!!!! Ok, traces of ash, but: NO DAMAGE!!!!

Why am I not surprised....
H.Finn is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:38
  #2208 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: L.A.
Age: 52
Posts: 564
Steamchick:
Unfortunately, it just seems that there is a sort of subculture of (usually) right-wing people in the UK who are obsessed with the idea that the Met Office is plotting against them. This thread has now reached the point where the same people who were yelling that Gordon Brown was at fault for closing the airspace and it wasn't really a problem - no link or citation has yet been produced to support the idea that it was Brown's decision rather than CAA, NATS, or VAAC - are now yelling that Brown should really intervene and have it reopened rather than "hiding behind NATS".

No, there is a body of normal, rational people of many political persuasions who want to know who made the decision to close all airspace. It is a reasonable question to ask. And in the absence of any hands going up, it is natural to go to the top and ask what role the government played in all this.

And even if the government was not directly involved, they have still instituted and encouraged the recent social atmosphere where no risk-taking is allowed - which precipitated the closure of airspace in the first place. Had this been the 1950s (even with jets, satellites and computers etc,), we would have carried on flying, as you well know.


And BTW, I have flown for two days across all Europe, and not seen a speck of vitrious deposits on my turbines. Ergo, at whatever concentrations we have now, everything is fine. Are you listening, CAA, NATS, Eurocontrol and governments??



Oh, and as an aside, why were all those who were against the closure of airspace deleted from this site? Especially as we turned out to be correct, and the closure was excessive. If that is not political/judgmental, I don't know what is.


.
silverstrata is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:38
  #2209 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Hants
Posts: 2,294
Yup. NATS / CAA / Eurocontrol / Met agencies have done their jobs in the face of increasing pressure and hostility from those losing money.
Some people tend to forget the fact that during this NATS has been losing heaps of money as well. Not the sums the larger airlines have, because NATS profit is miniscule to the likes of BA. Taken as a percentage of earnings though, NATS have lost as much profit as any other organisation - not far from a months worth of profit down the drain.
anotherthing is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:42
  #2210 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,814
Be careful of using a lay persons intrepretation of what these documents for the pilots are intended to convey.
And, the way these things are written, often pilots can't figure out what they are trying to say. The human interface on our NOTAMs and other flight papers is primitive to say the least. Obscure abbreviations and lack of graphics with coded number and letter groups mean it's so easy to overlook something important. Everything is in caps since 1930's teletypes couldn't do lower case.
Airbubba is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:48
  #2211 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 6,485
Originally Posted by BarbiesBoyfriend View Post
Lord Adonis stated on 'The world at One' today that there had been an over reaction to the Ash event by the authorities concerned.
We will therefore be standing by for Lord Adonis' resignation. He is at the top of the whole tree of bureaucrats.
If WW did indeed bring pressure to bear to get UK FIR's open then I stand by him. After some days of little clear directive other than what some could describe as health and safety syndrome, the fact is that UK airspace cannot be closed for business indefintely without someone or body standing up to be counted. If WW did that then good on him.
Indeed. Well done WW for actually pushing it through and launching all those flights from overseas (was it really 26 ?) into London to arrive the minute it was planned to open. I may have had harsh words about his commercial and managerial decisions in the past, but am right behind him on this one. Bear in mind, all those going on about the commercial aspects, the principal beneficiaries of this were the PASSENGERS who were returned home. Sometimes they get forgotten along the way.

Notably the Bearded Wonder didn't do the same at his carrier.
WHBM is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:52
  #2212 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: wimborne
Posts: 30
whilst I agree completely that lessons need to be learnt from this whole incident. I am not sure I have seen it stated anywhere that Nats as a company has also lost millions of pounds in revenue during the crisis. Nats has been portrayed as somewhat like a police service of the air. Personally if I had been in charge of Nats (god forbid some may say ! ) i would have said that the airspace was open and it was up to the caa , government and the airlines to make the decision to fly or not. I would put forward that Nats overstepped its remit and to listen to junior people being allowed to appear on TV and advise passengers what to do or not do was a total farce. I have not seen the new ceo at any time on tv or senior board members! I think the airlines were well placed to make their own judgements , obviously with government and met office guidance. If , as seems likely it was a case of possible long term engine damage as opposed to aircraft having in flight shutdowns then That is a commercial decision for the operators.
blueskythinking is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:54
  #2213 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: North
Posts: 113
I'll try to give a link, but it is in Finnish...

Puolustusvoimat: Ilmavoimat raportoi tuhkapölyn vaikutuksista Hornetin moottoriin
H.Finn is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 15:54
  #2214 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: L.A.
Age: 52
Posts: 564
And, the way these things are written, often pilots can't figure out what they are trying to say. The human interface on our NOTAMs and other flight papers is primitive to say the least. Obscure abbreviations and lack of graphics with coded number and letter groups mean it's so easy to overlook something important. Everything is in caps since 1930's teletypes couldn't do lower case.
Hooray, well said.

I have been asking for a map of NOTAM sites at the beginning of all NOTAMS for over 20 years. (especially for PPLs, where route NOTAMS are not always available). Yes, graphics for taxiway closures would be nice too, instead of everyone in the pilot community spending hours trying to find exactly where W1 and F6 are.

And little things like grass-cutting, bird scaring and firework displays being the top lines and waaaayy down the bottom you find that the ILS and radar are out of action.

The guys and gals who make NOTAMS should be tasked with reading all the NOTAMS within 4 minutes (all we are allowed) and if they fail, they should be put out to grass.

.
silverstrata is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:00
  #2215 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: L.A.
Age: 52
Posts: 564
If WW did indeed bring pressure to bear to get UK FIR's open then I stand by him. After some days of little clear directive other than what some could describe as health and safety syndrome, the fact is that UK airspace cannot be closed for business indefintely without someone or body standing up to be counted. If WW did that then good on him.
And where, one might ask, was the BIG Mouth of Aviation himself during all this?? Normally willing to push every operational and safety parameter to its absolute limit, suddenly the Big Mouth of Aviation goes quiet?

Is he turning over a new leaf - or suddenly aware that safety considerations need considered discussion rather than a bullying Big Mouth?


.
silverstrata is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:04
  #2216 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: VA, USA
Age: 54
Posts: 561
Translation of the Finnish AF report on F-18 ash ingestion

Via Google translation:

Air Force studies, the ash dust did not cause significant damage to the Air Force Hornet fighter jet engine. Exposed volcanic tuhkalle fighter engine study found, however, signs of the engine surfaces accumulated contaminants.

Air Force safety switch engine parts, which show signs or foreign material implantation. Detachable parts will be carefully analyzed, and then settled their usefulness in the future.

Machine on the surface of the collected dust and engine components of the samples have not yet shown results. The analysis of air samples, however, is found in volcanic material in the typical elements such as aluminum, silicon, magnesium, sulfur and iron.

Operations will continue piston engine fleet. Aviation training jet-turbine equipment, and kick start gradually.

Two Air Force Hawk jet trainer planes remain on standby Pirkkala base case letters rogatory. Both are sampling its safety yet.

Operational Operations are managed as usual.
So not quite no damage, but perhaps better characterized as limited or minimal damage.

- GY
GarageYears is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:11
  #2217 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: 59°09N 002°38W (IATA: SOY, ICAO: EGER)
Age: 77
Posts: 811
HIAL have just (16:00) announced that all HIAL airports north of Inverness (including Wick, Kirkwall & Sumburgh) are closed due to a volcanic ash cloud. Next update will be at 18:00.

ricardian is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:16
  #2218 (permalink)  
Beady Eye
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 1,495
Originally Posted by blueskythinking View Post
I am not sure I have seen it stated anywhere that Nats as a company has also lost millions of pounds in revenue during the crisis. .
OK, the figures are in the public domain. NATS income is circa £2.1 million per day and running costs circa £1.86 million per day, you can do the math
Nats has been portrayed as somewhat like a police service of the air.
Not our job.
i would have said that the airspace was open and it was up to the caa , government and the airlines to make the decision to fly or not.
Nope, NATS operates on a licence from CAA (the goverment) and as a part of the conditions of it's licence must abide by rules, regulations and laws, including the ICAO guidance etc. which the government signed up to. Every ANSP in Europe operates similarly and, as you seem to have missed it, a lot of european ANSPs closed their airspace. Indeed some countries went further and banned all flying, but HM Government didn't take that step (and NATS don't have that remit).
I would put forward that Nats overstepped its remit and to listen to junior people being allowed to appear on TV and advise passengers what to do or not do was a total farce. I have not seen the new ceo at any time on tv or senior board members!.
Hhhmm, you must have missed NewsNight when Jeremy Paxman interviewed the new CEO. All the spokesmen on the TV etc were ATC facing senior managers (Alex Bristol Head of Strategy & Investment, Jonathan Astill Head of ATC Prestwick Centre, David Harrison formerly GM ATC Manchester now Head of Safety and so on) I think a member of the board wouldn't have quite the same street cred as a senior ATC manager.
I think the airlines were well placed to make their own judgements , obviously with government and met office guidance. If , as seems likely it was a case of possible long term engine damage as opposed to aircraft having in flight shutdowns then That is a commercial decision for the operators.
No it's not a commercial decision, it's a safety decision. Pilots may only fly aircraft with a relevant air safety certificate, pilots may only fly aircraft for which they have a valid licence. This is done for many safety reasons but a big one is public safety. I wouldn't want some gung ho flyer leaping into the skies when it had been deemed potentially unsafe to do so and have the wreckage landing on my head thank you very much.

BD
BDiONU is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:24
  #2219 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Madrid
Posts: 58
I am amazed at the amount of people looking for heads to roll when all those heads did was follow the rules. Nobody can say any different .. Yes you may feel that the rules were over the top and that may well be , but herd ( or CEO opinion ) in itself should never be responsible for the convenient ignoring or sidestepping/ bulldozing of those rules. Neither should a 6th form physics experiment. I am sure there was a tremendous amount of work for the engine manufacturers to do in order to change their position and explicit rules in regards to volcanic ash.

I am relieved that things seem to be settling down now as my own company has been suffered some serious economic damage in the six days and the medium term damage we are unable to quantify at this time, still though at least we can now operate again.
paidworker is offline  
Old 21st Apr 2010, 16:28
  #2220 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Rockytop, Tennessee, USA
Posts: 5,814
The guys and gals who make NOTAMS should be tasked with reading all the NOTAMS within 4 minutes (all we are allowed) and if they fail, they should be put out to grass.
Just to show what we are talking about here is an actual volcanic ash advisory from pilot departure documents:

FVCN01 CWAO 211143
VA ADVISORY
DTG: 20100421/1143Z
VAAC: MONTREAL
VOLCANO: EYJAFJOLL 1702-02
PSN: N6337 W01937
AREA: ICELAND-S
SUMMIT ELEV: 1666M
ADVISORY NR: 2010/034
INFO SOURCE:
RMK: PLEASE SEE FVXX01 EGRR 211126 ISSUED BY LONDON
VAAC WHICH DESCRIBES CONDITIONS OVER OR NEAR
THE MONTREAL VAAC AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
Which references this message that may or may not be included in the paperwork:

Subject: FVXX01 EGRR 211126


FVXX01 EGRR 211126 2010111 1127
VA ADVISORY
DTG: 20100421/1200Z
VAAC: LONDON
VOLCANO: EYJAFJALLAJOKULL 1702-02
PSN: N6338 W01937
AREA: ICELAND
SUMMIT ELEV: 1666M
ADVISORY NR: 2010/030
INFO SOURCE: ICELAND MET OFFICE
AVIATION COLOUR CODE: RED
ERUPTION DETAILS: ERUPTION CONTINUING TO AROUND FL120 TO FL160.
OBS VA DTG: 21/1200Z
OBS VA CLD: SFC/FL200 N6345 W02025 - N6337 W01219 - N6447 W01202 -
N6432 W00635 - N6234 W00431 - N5835 W00423 - N5744 W00551 - N5744
W00914 - N5416 W00405 - N5209 W00303 - N5136 E00400 - N4944 E00249 -
N4846 W00135 - N4711 E00417 - N4623 E00351 - N4611 W00201 - N4944
W00847 - N5324 W01746 - N5345 W02644 - N5513 W03348 - N5802 W03728 -
N5831 W03941 - N5826 W04534 - N5627 W05025 - N5247 W05720 - N5018
W05746 - N4817 W05831 - N5313 W04958 - N5136 W03618 - N4605 W02551 -
N4249 W02432 - N4110 W02525 - N4143 W02728 - N4835 W03458 - N4938
W03813 - N4956 W04432 - N5029 W04534 - N5029 W05052 - N4635 W05804 [remainder of coordinates omitted for brevity - Airbubba]
RMK: NO SIG ASH ABOVE FL200. ASH CONCENTRATIONS UNKNOWN. ALL PLUMES
ON ALL FOUR CHARTS APPLY TO SFC TO FL200.
NXT ADVISORY: 20100421/1800Z=
You can actually figure out what it says if you guess a little - e.g. PSN must be positon since it is followed by a lat long but why are we still using decoder rings in this era of high speed internet and [email protected] printers? A few more vowels, a little punctuation, graphics and some formatting sure would make this easier to read. I realize there are much better versions of this advisory available on web pages but often the terse teletype text is all that makes it to our paperwork. Of course, if something goes wrong, they'll have the full color graphics at the hearing.

Apologies for talking a little shop with this operational pilot stuff on the ash advisories.
Airbubba is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.