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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:57
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the latest from nats

Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Sunday April 18, 1500

Conditions around the movement of the layers of the volcanic ash cloud over the UK remain dynamic. NATS is maintaining close dialogue with the Met Office and with the UK’s safety regulator, the CAA, in respect of the international civil aviation policy we follow in applying restrictions to use of airspace. We are currently awaiting CAA guidance.
We are working closely with Government, airports and airlines, and airframe and aero engine manufacturers to get a better understanding of the effects of the ash cloud and to seek solutions.

Based on the latest information from the Met Office, NATS advises that the restrictions currently in place across UK controlled airspace will remain in place until at least 0700 (local time) tomorrow, Monday 19 April.

We will of course continue to make best use of any breaks in the ash cloud to offer opportunities to airlines as they arise. There may be limited opportunity in Orkney and Shetland from 1900 (local time) today for some flights to operate under individual coordination with ATC. However, it is most unlikely that many flights will operate today and anyone hoping to travel should contact their airline before travelling to the airport.
We will continue to monitor Met Office information and review our arrangements in line with that. We will advise further arrangements at approximately 2100 (local time), today.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:58
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Icelandair....

daikilo,

Icelandair is able to fly to Trondheim on the Norwegian west coast today due to the fact that the airspace in NW Norway has been opened - at least for now (acc. Norwegian newspaper VG.NO).
The Icelandic airspace is not closed apart from the area directly affected by the eruption. That's why Icelandair has been able to continue flying to their US destinations.

SAS' main international hub is Copenhagen - but flying to/from Denmark is not possible, as airspace closed from ground and up - even for VFR traffic.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:58
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BA 009 in 1982 flew directly into the ash-cloud over Mt Galunggung, as in directly over the volcano. It was a completely different scenario.

So please STOP using BA 009 as a reference to what might happen here over central Europe hundreds of miles away from the the volcano.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:59
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I am not an aviator. In our Rus. media the volcanic ash is not described as "ash", for general public like me. But as "liquid glass", Eyjafjallajoekull peculiarity now is producing "liquid glass". Which then flies as "tiny glass particles, 2mm big in size only" and "if not coloured by additives - you wouldn't see them, by un-aided eye".
The BA 1982 example, of 4 engines failure (and then working again) (post 1016 here) in Russian media was described by the pilots seeing nothing in the air at all but good day and clear skies. And only on the ground it was noticed the front window is like peck ?-ed like was bombardded a bit by tiny glassy those particles, like as if someone scratched the window.

Otherwise here we also don't know nothing; volcanologists of all calibres are being terrorised re the exact composition of the "liquid glass" and how it behaves at var. temperatures, and all.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:59
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Let me get this straight: failures on all four engines and a 25,000+ feet drop isn't worrying to you? I mean, sure, that's ok if you're at FL410, but maybe not at, say, FL240?!

Judging some of the comments that SOME pilots have made today, I am increasingly satisfied with the need for ATC to provide some adult supervision in the world of aviation...

But you forget to mention they actually flew over th e plume itself at night. All we are asking is:

1. Real tests of air in all different air spaces that have been closed.

2. Reduced restrictions eg; allow daytime VMC flying.

3. Change ATC procedures so flights can reach FL200 in the fastest way possible.



Anyway this is now an international emergency and as such a compromise will have to be found. It is a matter of a when European ministers get their act together. Sometimes it feels like the UK they are very slow coping with anything out of the usual, such as snow.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 13:59
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Let me get this straight: failures on all four engines and a 25,000+ feet drop isn't worrying to you? I mean, sure, that's ok if you're at FL410, but maybe not at, say, FL240?!

Judging some of the comments that SOME pilots have made today, I am increasingly satisfied with the need for ATC to provide some adult supervision in the world of aviation...
Maybe the restarting of the engines was unrelated to the time afforded by a 24,000 feet drop and more to do with the new altitude it found itself at?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:00
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I hope the Dutch pilots association did not really say this. One empty 737 which did a flight and survived is not proof.

Our met offices probably have a good idea where the ash is and AMS is not far from the node. The issue is whether the ash density and makeup could affect safe flight at certain altitudes and, if so, which? Without this knowledge I would question how anyone can claim safe dispatch.
First of all it wasn't empty, the CEO was on board, also head of flight ops.
Second, it's not just one flight, KLM is in the proces of flying ten aircraft from Germany back to Holland.

What do you propose to solve this mess we're in? We have got to go forward some way otherwhise it will be game over pretty soon.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:00
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Very interesting thread - much more information than has been available in the MSM, as I commented here. Also the wonderful diversity of opinions for which forums such as this are (in)famous for

I live close to LGW, and the sky is hazy today - though it's hard to know if this is normal high-pressure pollution or anything more igneous. There has been dust on the cars, but I'd agree it looks more like pollen, at least here.

I also agree that within hours (not days) people should have been doing substantial research on validating computer models, the impact of different concentrations of ash on aircraft and engines, and attempting to identify safe areas of airspace. We have the ability to dynamically shut areas of airspace (military, purple airspace), and I'm sure this could have been used, perhaps with significant flow control, to keep things moving.

The fact that so little of the MSM commentary has been scientifically informed has resulted in the volcano becoming a "bogeyman" - this will also cause lasting damage to air travel once the risk has gone. I have no doubt that it is a tough call to be one of the people recommending shutdown of airspace - it's even tougher to recommend reopening it - but hey, we all have jobs to do ....
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:02
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BDiONU

Hitting your head against a brick wall I think. After all, some so called 'professionals' on here seem to think that a 747 suffering total engine failure, but manageing to relight them after a 20,000' drop is OK .

Fortunate and lucky - yes... but a basis on which to resume flying

It has been mentioned many times - I'll say it once more, data stating what density in PPM of vocanic ash it is deemed safe fo Jet engines to fly through is woefully lacking.

Without such hard data it is very difficult not to impose a blanket ban, certainly in the early stages, and believe it or not, 5 days can be considered early.

This blanket ban may be lifted after lots of test flights, but the FACT of the matter is, if, as requested and mentioned in a post by a VAAC employee above, the manufacturers of the engines had tested and produced VA limits, the the blanket ban would not have been imposed. There would still have been restrictions to flying, but far less debilitating than we have at the moment.

The FACT that there are no such figures means that an industry that has safety as its number one priority - ATC ANSPs - can do noting else other than impose the restrictions.

It is the duty of the Government, with appropriate advisors, to step in and allow a variance on what are internationally accepted procedures.

The 'experts' on here (you know the ones who rubbish scientists etc) do not have a clue if they think that the buck stops with the ANSP.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:05
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Alice025

I am not an aviator. In our Rus. media the volcanic ash is not described as "ash", for general public like me. But as "liquid glass", Eyjafjallajoekull peculiarity now is producing "liquid glass". Which then flies as "tiny glass particles, 2mm big in size only" and "if not coloured by additives - you wouldn't see them, by un-aided eye".
The BA 1982 example, of 4 engines failure (and then working again) (post 1016 here) in Russian media was described by the pilots seeing nothing in the air at all but good day and clear skies. And only on the ground it was noticed the front window is like peck ?-ed like was bombardded a bit by tiny glassy those particles, like as if someone scratched the window.

Otherwise here we also don't know nothing; volcanologists of all calibres are being terrorised re the exact composition of the "liquid glass" and how it behaves at var. temperatures, and all.
They saw nothing because it was at night - had it been day they had seen a cloud like the one over Iceland now.

But again BA 009 is not relevant to the situation over central Europe today.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:05
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Quote:"Let me get this straight: failures on all four engines and a 25,000+ feet drop isn't worrying to you? I mean, sure, that's ok if you're at FL410, but maybe not at, say, FL240?"

The point I was trying to make that there's a big difference between flying through a dense cloud of volcanic ash (like the BA) and flying through wat we have over Europe at the moment.

The point relating to BA's engines was that even them restarted so flying through European airspace at this moment poses no immidiate threat to the engines!!!!!

I am repeating myself but , Yes at the longer run it could mean highger maintenance cost and even a very thin layer off anything building up on turbineblades will be picked up by health monitoring.

And yes I would be worried if it would cause engines to stall and quit during flight.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:05
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A BA 747 is scheduled to fly from Heathrow to Cardiff today via 50N20W airborne for 3 hrs 50 ish, assuming they are doing there own tests and conducting a maintenance check in Cardiff afterwards???
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:06
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concentrations

i read the summary of the WMO meeting 2007.
In its final paragraph, it says that clear limit - data on acceptable
ash concentrations in the athmosphere are required from manufacturers
and authorities, as ash-clouds will become indetectable after a while....
but some ash residue will still be around. So, does anyone know of limitations published since then ?
No. Work may proceed more quickly now! But in fairness to them, Airbus started talking in earnest before the current crisis.

As has been noted many times here, volcanic ash pervades the atmosphere and so the warning has to stop somewhere. The limit of damage appears to be something a bit below concentrations that can be remotely sensed in normal conditions (i.e. when the cloud can't be remotely sensed it might still be dangerous for a little while longer. There have been some examples of aircraft encountering clouds that have turned out to be mostly sulphates (hey, and we love flying through sulphuric acid, don't we?) without much ash, and some controversy around how dangerous these are (Google: Hekla 2000 NASA Grindle - a 35 hour old cloud from Hekla, Iceland)
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:07
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anotherthing: So let's get researching, dude! We have a wonderful sandbox, with no commercial traffic in the way anywhere. And the airlines are losing so much money that I'm sure they'd be prepared to offer an airframe each if they were told it might get things moving in 24 hours.

Please STOP referring to BA009. This is unhelpful. Nobody is talking about flying through the plume. All that's happening is that it is feeding the media frenzy and popular panic about the risks. We are more likely to be talking about reducing engine lives (possibly substantially) than losing airframes.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:12
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BA are prob sending some of the old timers up to reduce their pension deficit.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:13
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We are more likely to be talking about reducing engine lives (possibly substantially) than losing airframes.
Young Paul - is that statement meant to provide comfort? Doesn't seem to have much certainty to me. We don't know for sure, but is that not the point?

I'm currently stuck overseas but not sure if I want to go based on "more likely" and "possibly subtantially..". Surely we need the test results to be more conclusive yet.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:18
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If you are in the UK, please go out and check your car if it was parked outdoors last night.
The volcanic ash is clearly visible today and it looks very abrasive indeed, golden colour, very fine, never seen something like that in the UK before.
Exactly what I had on my car this mroning described to a tee. I'm in Peterborough.
My two cents? Saftey comes first.......... and I do have a replacable air filter under my bonnet.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:19
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Aw, look, it's really not hard to do research. Launch an aeroplane, let it fly around for a couple of hours, then when it gets down, take the engine apart. It's not like the airlines, pilots or engineers have much else to do with their time at the moment.

Better still, launch five, into areas with forecast different concentrations. Keep then within a safe distance of airfields. Stick a couple of observers on each to additionally report anything odd, provide additional support in case anything does go wrong. There are about a thousand aircraft sitting around doing nothing, at a guess, and the airlines are collectively losing hundreds of millions of pounds a day. There is no shortage of pilots who would be more than happy to fly a "weathership". If the crew are really freaked by something, head for home as soon as anything deviates from normal - in the knowledge that you have the undivided attention of ATC, fire services, airports .....
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:20
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cb,

The point I was trying to make that there's a big difference between flying through a dense cloud of volcanic ash (like the BA) and flying through wat we have over Europe at the moment.
The following Airbus document doesn't really say much apart from "be careful out there", but it does say :

In service events show that even low concentration of volcanic ash can cause expensive damage.
http://www.airbus.com/fileadmin/medi..._ENV-SEQ06.pdf
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 14:20
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web cam

Question i was looking to: Eyjafjallajökull frį Hvolsvelli

Seems to give a totally different picture than yesterday.

Smoke also move in different direction. Is it a different cam or what?


Grtz
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