Volcanic Ashes

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Damia
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Location: Maó, Menorca, Balearic Islands

Volcanic Ashes

Postby Damia » Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:25 pm

This seemed to me quite an exotic topic, until in the three last days most of Europe's Airspace has been closed due to volcanic ashes coming from Iceland, and no one seems to have any idea of how much longer this may last. You can see the last forecast maps here http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/aviation/vaac/vaacuk_vag.html

British Airways flight 009 in 1982 over Indonesia, and KLM flight 867 in 1989 over Jakarta shared a similar adventure. Both were Boeing 747s flying through a cloud of volcanic ashes and they lost all four engines. After losing tens of thousands of feet, once out of the cloud, both could restart the engines and get to land safely in an airport (747s are not the best for OFLOTW ;) ) .

It seems that the ashes ingested by the engines would melt again in the heat of the combustion chamber and get stuck around in there. The engines were unrecoverable afterwards. Another problem is that the particles are very abrasive, and when hitting the airplane at 400 Knots their sharp edges would scratch the windshield, so the pilots would loose the forward visibility.

All this is very interesting, but doesn't quite relate to the piston engine airplanes that most of us fly. Does anyone have any specific information on this?

I would clearly never fly into a visible, thick cloud of volcanic fumes (specially being a VFR only pilot), but what happens when this cloud has been spread over millions of square kilometres? The particles concentration must be really low. So should we just ignore it, or expect some damage to the engine in the long term, or even an engine failure in flight? And where is the limit?

The last eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull vulcano (no joking, this is the actual name) lasted two years, so we might be facing this kind of decisions in the future.
Damià - LEMH

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There are three things you never turn down: a ride on an airplane and a free meal.
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lucaberta
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Re: Volcanic Ashes

Postby lucaberta » Sun Apr 18, 2010 11:37 pm

Hey Damià,

good to read you after I've been absent for a long while!

Yes, the icelandic volcano... listen in on episode #181 and it will be mentioned in it too... ;)

I am not exactly sure how I will be able to leave the US back to Europe, given the current conditions. I am very much torn in that I will need to take a decision tomorrow, as it appears that some flights have made it across the Atlantic by flying the southernmost NAT track and then doing Portugal and Spain.

On the other hand, the decision to not leave in order to avoid being stranded in JFK might mean staying in Florida for a few more days... I have a night to think through this, let's see what I will be doing tomorrow.

Ciao, Luca
Luca Bertagnolio, CPL/ASEL/AMEL/ASES/IR

US States I've overflown or flown in:
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champguy
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Re: Volcanic Ashes

Postby champguy » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:30 am

Ashes are definately bad for engines. They will clog the air filter and inevitably get into the oil via the rings which will have worn the cylinder walls. Also very bad for props and plastic bits.
As for getting back to Europe, a few days in Florida sounds much better than getting stuck in New York. Maybe run down to Key West while things get sorted out over the North Atlantic. Water is nice and warm there.
Remember, not all who wander, are lost.
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lucaberta
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Re: Volcanic Ashes

Postby lucaberta » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:09 am

Well, turns out that river where Jeb lives is not that hidden any longer for me... :D I am staying for a few days here in Sarasota with Jack at Jeb's place, and then I will see what to do. Tomorrow morning Amy will pay a visit here flying the Kitfox. It's fun to spend time with other aviation buffs like myself!

AA rebooked me on my flight back to Milan on 4/29. I am forced to be on vacation in Florida. Life could be worse. ;)

Ciao, Luca
Luca Bertagnolio, CPL/ASEL/AMEL/ASES/IR

US States I've overflown or flown in:
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Damia
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Location: Maó, Menorca, Balearic Islands

Re: Volcanic Ashes

Postby Damia » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:14 pm

Just listened to episode 181, and happy to hear your voice.

I am so sorry that you are having all these problems. Live is so tough... having to stay in the air park in Sarasota with these people... gosh!

By the way, we are having again the Menorca Air Race on May 29-30. I would like to see your friends again, or yourself, if you have any holidays left!
Damià - LEMH

_____________________________________________________________________
There are three things you never turn down: a ride on an airplane and a free meal.
Burt Rutan

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lucaberta
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Re: Volcanic Ashes

Postby lucaberta » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:19 am

Hey Damià,

well, I made it back home earlier than expected, was finally able to find a seat on the MCO-JFK-MXP route on 4/23 and I arrived back home yesterday morning. So I only added some 5 days to the trip, and since Jeb was so kind to have me as a guest at his place with the other guest being Jack, those 5 days turned out to be very pleasant indeed!

This year's Air Race in Menorca does not work well for Luigi, as his best friend is getting married that weekend, so he will not be able to make it. Me, it depends on whether I will be able to rent something and fly it there, as I sold my Pipistrel Virus last year.

I have not been flying much lately, but being in Florida meant going back to do some minimal flying, and some appetite for more flying also when back in Europe returned... let's see what I can do! Maybe I will ask for some local support for me and my wife, who knows... ;)

Ciao, Luca
Luca Bertagnolio, CPL/ASEL/AMEL/ASES/IR

US States I've overflown or flown in:
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