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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:52
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Small commentary on pragmatism, cooperation, and community

I find this event has caught airlines flying to the UK and EU countries with their collective pants down and I am very surprised there are not alternative contingencies being sought out. With thousands of passengers being kept in sandwiches and marginal accommodations around the world, how is it that an actionable plan is not worked out among our transit partners?

For example, for those seeking to return home to the EU and UK, why have flights not begun departing for the still remaining open airports in Southern Italy and Spain and then motor coach and rail could carry passengers home from there? The same could be accomplished for the reverse - that is those wishing to leave the UK and European continent.

Finally one other point: Here in the states there are hundreds of passengers stranded at JFK with a few of the lucky ones finding rooms in nearby Manhattan and Brooklyn. How is it that society has become so jaded and disconnected that local residents and civic organizations haven't opened their hearts and doors to these unlucky travelers? There would seem to be a threshold of misfortune that must be crossed before people start thinking beyond their own perimeters and comfort zones.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:52
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or was that just overreaction from NATS? We desperately need that info clearly.
You seriously expect politicians to admit to hysteria?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:52
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Originally Posted by AEST
Oh, you mean like the politicians running the NATS?
NATS is a private company, the only ANSP in Europe which is not run by government. However the skies are owned by the government and NATS operate with the terms of the licence issued by the government.
NATS is the UK ANSP, all the other European ANSPs have acted similarly to NATS (although Norway was first) although some countries have banned flying completely the UK has not.

BD
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:52
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According to Sky news BA gonna use a 747 for a test flight from LHR out over Ireland and then into CWL 5 people onboard including Willy Walsh.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:53
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Still looks like it going here... 3rd pic down, manual refresh required. Cloud keeps getting in the way but it was clear a few minutes ago!

Mulakot - myndavelar
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:54
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You will need to manually refresh for current shots: http://www.mulakot.net/images/myndavelar/14flugv.jpg
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:54
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When this eventually ends and NATS give the green light, has anyone thought of the possible rush to get to an airport by 4+ days backlog of passengers. It's going to be bedlam for the larger airports. I would imagine that most have stayed in situ and are sitting it out in hotels, family homes etc.
 
Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:55
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I love the way everybody jumps onto the engine damage bandwagon whilst totally ignoring the dangers involved with the total blockage of the pitot static system. Especially after the Air France event that could have been caused by a similar situation albeit rapid ice blockage. I admit fully that damage to the engines is extremely concerning the other dangers are no less worrying!
Now that is a possible failure mode that IS analogous to flying in dust/sand storms. Not much evidence of pitot blockage in these conditions - especially as none of the 'lets fly' brigade here are envisaging flying in heavily contaminated areas. I've seen more dust on my mantlepiece than in the channel skies this weekend.

I did once get an ice warning at 39o centigrade, which turned out to be an insect of some kind hitting the probe, but I don't think the ash will do anything similar.

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 16:59
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French airspace

re-opened above FL205 at 1450z
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:01
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According to Sky news BA gonna use a 747 for a test flight from LHR out over Ireland and then into CWL 5 people onboard including Willy Walsh.

What did I tell you. Big transport operating on two engines (two back at idle, so no melting) flying as high as possible and into the dirtiest areas to check for engine damage.

Nice to see you are reading my posts Willie, but you are two days too late, you've lost ú50 million already. My commission for getting BA flying again is 5%. You can credit my Jersey account.


Shame he cannot find a Nimrod, though.


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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:02
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Lost in Saigon I guess from your response your not an expert in the field of volcanoes and the effects on jet engines of volcanic ash but as a commercial pilot just like me.

In your opinion it may be 'a large scale over reaction' but the experts disagree.

I think I will stick on the side of the volcanoe and engine experts.

PS its difficult to avoid something you cant see especially at night. Thats my opinion as a pilot not as a volcanic ash expert.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:04
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Originally Posted by VAACman
5) The safe concentration of ash issue has been ongoing for a while and it's not simple. Most of all it's the users (airline industry) that needs to set a warning standard that the VAACs aim to achieve - at the moment it's avoid all ash, which in practice means avoid all 'visible' (reasonable evidence that it's there) ash.
There you have it. Even a VAAC insider says it: avoid all 'visible' (reasonable evidence that it's there) ash.

All the rest is overreacting!
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:05
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NATS is a private company, the only ANSP in Europe which is not run by government. However the skies are owned by the government and NATS operate with the terms of the licence issued by the government.
You forgot to mention that Zee Govt is the largest shareholder w 49% of the shares. Which means that it will appoint most board members and approve any executives.

Do you still maintain that it's a private company, or would you rather admit it's Zee Govt pretending to be a private company run by Politicians.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:09
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The arguments here seem to be based on either one of two polemics:

a) There is no problem. We've all been flying near volcanoes for years and only those aircraft unlucky enough to stray too close have ever had a problem. Or

b) You pilots are all crazy. There's no way anyone should be flying under any circumstances when there's all this volcanic debris in the air.

Patently both points of view are extreme and both are probably wrong. Yes, it's true that we've been flying for years around these things, but we haven't ever, as far as I know, had the current combination of this type of volcanic eruption and a static met situation which parks the lot over the world's busiest airspace. It's probably also true that we haven't previously been able to detect much of the stuff that's now keeping us on the ground, and that a good deal of engine wear in the past maybe down to expeosure to similar stuff.

It's rubbish both to suggest that any flight that gets airborne now will suffer a multiple flame-out and all on board will die, just as it's rubbish to say that there will be no ill-effects on any aircraft that does fly. What has to be determined is the acceptable potential maintenance load we may be incurring if we fly sensibly removed from the densest ash concentrations. It is obvious that all jet transport aircraft are exposed to some extent to volcanic ash every time they fly, as volcanoes are continuously erupting around the world and the residue is constantly present in the atmosphere. As data has not yet been adequately gathered to assess what effects this current phenomenon has on aircraft, it makes economic sense that that data is acquired right now. Whether anyone here likes it or not, there are aircraft and crews available and ready to do this if the funding is found. I have no doubt that, facing financial oblivion otherwise, the airline industry will find that money.

Indeed, it seems they are finding it, as KLM, Lufthansa and BA (and maybe others) are launching test flights as we write. However, are these tests co-ordinated and is the data that is acquired representative and readable across to the general industry? Let's hope so.

Not flying indefinately is not an alternative. Pragmatism must win out.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:11
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A return fire question to you. How many deaths need to spared for you to say that the ban was worth it?

Ahhh, the new nineties and naughties cult of total risk aversion is still as strong as ever. I'll give you a piece of advice for future reference - life ain't like that kid. No aircraft would ever fly under your regime.


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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:12
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Still erupting

Hi Someone posted that it had stopped, but Sky News reporter live on the ground not only confirmed it's still on but said it gets worse.

Also how can anyone doubt the damage to engines when you see that Fighter jet engine on the Sky News reports?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:17
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I have been following the NATS news page closely since this all started and this afternoon I detect a shift in what they are saying.

IMHO they over-reacted and now need to climb down and save face.

Now they are using words like 'dynamic' and '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.' I bet it will all be over by tomorrow and a statement along the lines of ' after extensive testing and in consultation with enging manufactures etc etc...the ban will be lifted from ??:??hrs

I hope I'm right.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:18
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Digitalis

Digitalis, thank you...a lucid, intelligent post. No hyperbole, just pragmatic logic. I agree completely.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:21
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Whats the story if Katla blows?
looks like its doing something, but I dont understand the graphs fully
Ërˇi ß st÷­vum vi­ Eyjafjallaj÷kul
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 17:21
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I bet it will all be over by tomorrow and a statement along the lines of ' after extensive testing and in consultation with enging manufactures etc etc...the ban will be lifted from ??:??hrs

I hope I'm right.


Sounds fair to me... Just as an FYI, the Met forecaster's blog has confirmed plume (though still active) is now down to 4-5km, much lower than in previous days.
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