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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

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Ash clouds threaten air traffic

Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:02
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Has anybody bothered to study similarities between this eruption and Mt. St-Helens in 1980 in N. America? I remember my car, in Eastern Canada, having a fine ash coating at the time. I don't recall any massive airspace closures nor aircraft falling out of the sky at the time (which was when I was doing my PPL); however Google isn't turning much up on the subject. I do recall that eruption produced massive quantities of ash.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:06
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What would have been done twenty years ago without all that calculating power of modern computers and thus no athmospheric models like the ones we have now?

You would have avoided any visible ash cloud...and that┤s it!

Common sense really has to return quickly or else...

But it┤s retreating everywhere unfortunately!
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:06
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Flight ban 'not over-reacting' say Wiltshire scientists

Instruments recorded "heavy gritty particles" at about 8,000ft.

BBC News - Flight ban 'not over-reacting' say Wiltshire scientists

Thanks but no thanks, I'll stay on the ground.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:12
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"silverstrata "




"Airlines are now saying that the concentrations of ash we have appear to be safe to fly in.

But two days ago, PPRuNe was banning people from this thread for saying exactly the same thing (only pro grounding comments allowed).

No wonder the West (and its aviation) is in the state it is in, if free discussion is banned. "


Are you sure pprune was doing that?
why would they?
T2
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:13
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I liked tommoutrie's post above.

It's clearly scandalous for unaccountable authorities to impose airspace restrictions on what seems to be limited data from computer images rather than actual scientific measuring flights.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:14
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A real melting pot awaits.

Airframe/Engine makers will be careful to change rules on Ash.

Airlines/State aviation authorities as above.

Insurance companies will be very interested.

Aircraft leasing companies will need to take stock.

With so little data being known about operations with Ash in the short and long term, keeping the skys quiet for a few more days until the weather helps out may be the very best and cheapest option.

But so much pressure from so many, the next few day will be very interesting to watch.

Safe flying to all.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:15
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Over in the US, Continental have announced today that they don't expect to resume flights to Europe this month!
Lots of folk over here with little or no option for return to Europe, and little or no word, or help from their respective airlines.
It must be getting serious, the yanks are even covering it on the TV now.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:17
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Stagger posted this back around post #1172:

ETOPS implications
It's not simply engine failures during volcanic ash exposure that needs to be considered.

Is it not possible that a period of significant ash exposure may have implications for engine in-flight shutdown (IFSD) rates in the weeks and months to come? Is it safe to assume that engines that have spent significant time operating in ash environments will have the same IFSD rates as those that have not?

ETOPS certification depends on statistical assumptions based on IFSD rates. If ash exposure leads to changes in IFSD rates then these assumptions may no longer be valid. The fact that both engines on an airframe will likely share the same recent history of ash exposure is also relevant.

I fear it was lost in the "rush" to post about test flights and some departures. I think this is a SIGNIFICANT point that has been made and pushed aside by the incrediably fast pace of this thread.

If the implications are true and some airlines loose their ETOPS certification they may well find their aircraft having to route further north over the Atlantic and closer to the source of the problem - potentially further exacerbating the situation. There are other scheduling implications to loosing ETOPS capability too.

The present situation IS unprecedented and there is no guidence as to what ash PPM is reasonably acceptable - short term AND long term. The collective governments, OEM's and airlines should collaborate on flight testing of flights in the various densitys of ash and the deleterious effects on jet engines and other aircraft (flight instrument) systems.

It will be interesting too to see how the insurance companies deal with claims of damage from volcanic ash from THIS episode.

C2j

Last edited by Cubs2jets; 18th Apr 2010 at 23:56. Reason: Colorization
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:20
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How is this a scandal? Are you saying we should live in asbestos houses or take significant radiation exposure because the effects aren't immediately evident?

KLM fly through ash and say the same day everything is fine. Marie Curie died of leukaemia.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:21
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Has anybody bothered to study similarities between this eruption and Mt. St-Helens in 1980 in N. America? I remember my car, in Eastern Canada, having a fine ash coating at the time. I don't recall any massive airspace closures nor aircraft falling out of the sky at the time (which was when I was doing my PPL); however Google isn't turning much up on the subject. I do recall that eruption produced massive quantities of ash.
Airspace was closed for up to two weeks in places, with up to 1/4 inch ashfalls across Idaho, Wyoming, Dakotas and beyond.

1,000 + flights were cancelled at the time, when fewer travelled by air and in a sparsely populated area.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:21
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Silverstrata and dozens of others:

And most aircraft on long-ish haul will only spend max one hour in the affected region/level per flight. That's not a long time, and you can boroscope after each rotation to make sure.

Its not rocket science, you just need to realise that the world is not a risk-free place - and aviation is not a risk-free industry. But the modern politician/civil servant is so frightened of his/her own shadow, they can no longer make rational decisions.

Of course you aren't a shareholder in an airline are you?

It's not going to be you who pick up a Forty million dollar bill when your "boroscope" investigation reveals that the hot sections of all four of your engines are irreparably damaged and require replacement is it?

Don't you think you are being just a little selfish asking an airline to risk a hundred million dollars worth of engines just so you can get your Two weeks in Benidorm or some other hole?


Eagleflyer:


What would have been done twenty years ago without all that calculating power of modern computers and thus no athmospheric models like the ones we have now?

You would have avoided any visible ash cloud...and that┤s it!

Common sense really has to return quickly or else...

But it┤s retreating everywhere unfortunately!
What would have been done? That's easy to answer:

Your airline engineers would have been making lots of overtime money replacing many more engines than usual, and wondering why they hadn't reached their expected service life, that's what would have been done!

Common sense indeed!
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:23
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Originally Posted by Twitcher
Britons stranded by flight restrictions as a result of the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland could be returned to the UK through a "Spanish hub".

Ministers met to discuss plans before UK flight restrictions were extended until at least 1900 BST on Monday.

Ideas included flying those outside the no-fly zone to Spain and then using the Royal Navy and requisitioning merchant ships to help return them to the UK.

The Tories and Lib Dems had called for ministers to give out more information.

Travel agents' association Abta said its "rough estimate" was that 150,000 Britons had been unable to return to the UK because of flight restrictions.

"At no time in living memory has British airspace been shut down and affected this many people," a spokeswoman said.

Forecasters have warned the dust cloud may remain over the UK for several days.

The continued ban on UK flights comes as bodies representing European airports and airlines have called for flight restrictions to be reviewed.

Planes were first grounded in the UK at midday on Thursday amid fears that particles in the ash cloud generated by the volcanic eruption could cause engines to shut down.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, who emerged from Sunday's 85-minute meeting of ministers flanked by several cabinet colleagues, said: "We will mobilise all possible means to get people home."

He said Prime Minister Gordon Brown would meet with his Spanish counterpart to explore whether Britons could be returned by landing in Spain - which is open to flights - from certain parts of the world.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said Met Office advice was that it would not be safe for flights across most of northern Europe on Monday.

He said data from a number of test flights would go to regulators and there would be a meeting of European transport ministers on Monday.

Additional capacity had been introduced on other transport such as Eurostar and Eurtounnel trains, and ferries, he added.

Security minister Lord West, a former head of the Royal Navy, said using the navy to bring people home was an option.

The government's Cobra emergency committee is to meet at 0830 BST on Monday.

The Conservatives have released an eight-point plan they would like to see to tackle the situation.

It includes chartering ships to bring people home who are stranded in Europe and urging ferry and rail operators to retain their normal pricing structures.

Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said: "With thousands of Britons stuck in airports overseas, it is hugely worrying that there is no end in sight for the flight ban."

Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Norman Baker said it needed to be "urgently assessed" how much longer British passengers faced being stranded for.

Meanwhile, A British Airways Boeing 747 has completed a test flight at 30,000ft from Heathrow to Cardiff, via the Atlantic.

Chief executive Willie Walsh - who is a trained pilot - and four crew were on board.

BBC business editor Robert Peston reported that the 550-mile, a two-and-three-quarter hour flight had encountered no problems.

Engineers in Cardiff will make a more detailed assessment of the plane's engine overnight.
Precisely the sort of thing I was talking about in my post in this thread here.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:38
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Originally Posted by I-FORD
This was a 2002 satellite image of the Etna plume.
Do we have a similar image of the Eyjafjallaj÷kul that is not animated graphics or computer predictions, just to compare the two?
What do you want to compare? The colour?
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:45
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"Risking $100 million for a holiday in Benidorm" - that is journalistic hyperbole. The airlines don't care about holidays in Benidorm. They have to weigh up between the risk to their aircraft (which they do every day, every time they fly - is our training appropriate? Do our crews have appropriate levels of experience? How hard is the airfield to operate to? What is the threat from CBs? Volcanic ash?) and the cost of having the aeroplane sitting on the ground not making money.

Every business is about balancing risks. The only risk-free business that I know of was when the BAA were permitted to increase their landing charges so that T5was paid for by the airlines before it was built. There is no such thing as a no-risk airline.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:47
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Here┤s one

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Old 18th Apr 2010, 22:58
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Originally Posted by I-FORD
Well, yes.
And maybe the size.
For what purpose?

Is there some sort of science behind this request? I doubt it somehow.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 23:01
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The business is all in the image.

No matter how flyable or not is the zone, when you hear private companies arguing with the regulators, you cannot avoid to think (whether its true or not) the big money passes long before your safety.

It was somewhat amusing to hear, over the air on Radio-Canada, passengers stuck in CYUL for three days complaining about it and how quick they'd love to get home but when they were told this could happen as soon as tomorow, they didn't feel in such a hurry suddenly and one was quite uncomfortable with the idea. T'should give airlines a clue.

It simply doesn't matter if it's safe or not. If the passengers, at any time, feel corporations gamble with their life for the sake of profit, it'll hurt way more than closing the business for a couple more day, or a whole week if need be.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 23:25
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BeechNut

Has anybody bothered to study the similarities between the eruption of Mt St Helens in 1980 in N.America? Google isn't turning much up on the subject
Although the visible plume was well defined, the ash from Mt St Helens reached the US east coast in three days and spread around the world in fifteen days. There are plenty of referenced to this, such as Keep Your Eye On Mt. St. Helens' Ash, Alaska Science Forum
At the time, maps were available showing the location of the visible plume, and we planned around this area.

In 1991, the ash from Mt Pinatubo extended around the globe, and is often credited with reducing world temperatures. Once again, aircraft were warned of the location of the visible plume, and avoided it. There were some spectacular sunsets that year.

When Mt Redoubt erupted in 1989/90, we continued operating into Anchorage (daylight only), visually avoiding the plume. This often meant a longer route in, due to the closeness of Mt Redoubt to Anchorage.

If there are any engineers who were around at the time then perhaps they could comment as to whether there was any damage to the aircraft during these times.

Perhaps it's time for the engine manufacturers to determine if there is a safe level of ash. Do we know how the present level compares with past eruptions?

Dave
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 23:27
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Predicted IFSD rates are not expected to rise because of ash ingestion as it would only be an minute contribution among all the various causes.

Futhermore ETOPS is predicated on independendant en-route failures and not on common cause which affects more than twin engine aircraft.

The safety related effects of ash are developed in minutes and immediately obvious (cabin lights go out etc.). The longer term effects are discernible over many flights as deteoration of performance and addressed by maintainence between flights.

I can't understand why posters are making this doom and gloom stuff up rather than leaving it to operators and OEMs to sort out.
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Old 18th Apr 2010, 23:29
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"A spokesman for KLM said: 'We have not found anything unusual and no irregularities, which indicates the atmosphere is clean and safe to fly.' " That seems very broad.

I spoke to a Parachute Pilot in Ireland today who said that whilst they flew there was a visible layer of ash and also a strong sulphur smell in the air. Its a small operation and they were able to file VFR as it was truely VFR conditions. He said you could see nothing from the ground but once you got up to 9000ft it was very obvious as was the smell. The skydivers reported being able to smell and feel it in freefall.

Im wondering what happens if only a handful of airspaces open up , does it
signifigantly alter the picture. The cost to us in business terms is terrible and soon our own company has no choice but to lay people off as already things were so tight with the non volcano recession.

The logic in the points being made is that Tin may not start falling out of the sky if it encounters ash straight away and this seems plausible but I have a very bad feeling for the economy and aviation sector if for example flights stop and start based on local conditions and wear becomes a factor. I suspect that when flights start a lot more inspection procedures will become the norm increasing costs to pacify a public who have been led to believe that aviation is very dangerous so long as there is " ash " in the air. It is kind of obvious too as there is " dithering " over what is a safe level.

I suspect also a large problem now will be a legal one with insurance companies looking to cover there rear , engine manufacturers looking to cover their rears etc. I hope I am wrong but suspect and fear this is going to get messy with nobody wanting to take responsibility for saying it is " safe ". Meanwhile the non commercial tests being conducted by G- CALM continue to point out that they do not feel its safe.

Somebody posted Continental had suspended all Northern European flights until the end of the month, I cant find that anywhere on their website.

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