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HeliTorque :: View topic - Ash Thursday
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Torque, Chat, and Chill!

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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:07 am    Post subject: Ash Thursday Reply with quote

So, anyone being affected/disrupted by the Icelandic VA today?

I see no IFR clearances are being given in the area affected.

Or, according to NATS' website:
Quote:
Statement on Icelandic volcanic eruption: Thurs April 15, 09:30
From midday today until at least 6pm, there will be no flights permitted in UK controlled airspace other than emergency situations. This has been applied in accordance with international civil aviation policy. We continue to monitor the situation with the Met Office and work closely with airline customers and adjoining countries.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Long lays in bed and excessive coffee drinking for the North Sea boys and girls today.

Norway offshore ops cancelled until 1600 GMT+1 when a meeting will be held by ATC and Operators.

Enjoy your day off folks,

HH Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep all grounded at birmingham.
Easyjet decided yesterday afternoon, then Monarch last night and Baby this morning. nobody going anywhere it seems.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All IR shut down from 12.00 today. Was out vfr'ing around dublin, very quiet radio, just missing echos and tumbleweeds.

but nice to be able to blame the volcano rather than the economy Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anybody's VFR operations been affected? I wasn't flying today but just wondered if they're stopping zone transits as well or is it just IFR flights? Nothing on the NATS website suggests that VFR flights have been stopped from going through controlled airspace, it just says exercise caution when planning your flights.

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James T Lowe
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can work out from the NOTAM, VFR is still permitted in controlled airspace (contrary to NATS' website press release...)
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw a pilot flying a helicopter in sight of the ground around 18:30 when I came home from work today flying abeam Worcester HDG around 160/ 170 ish. Was it you?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the Air Ambulances were non operational towards the end of the day by the looks of things.

Am trying to keep up with that side of things on the homepage whenever I can update it - might be a bit difficult tomorrow seeing as I'm out Confused
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My lesson has been moved from the morning to the afternoon once the restriction is lifted.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your training organisation is choosing not to fly until restrictions (the restriction is on IFR flight in controlled airspace) are lifted, then be aware that you might be in for a long wait. The volcano continues to erupt, and while the jetstream, and other lower level weather systems are configured as they have been, the Eastern part of Great Britain and Western Scandinavia will bear the brunt of that ash from it. The ash is then being carried to Central and Eastern Europe.

That said, I notice the current jetstream forecasts would be taking the ash a bit further east now; Norway, Sweden and Denmark are directly in the firing line just now! However, a high pressure system over the UK now, I don't imagine the ash is going to go anywhere quickly now!

Looking at the jetstream forecasts, the current stream splits in the early part of next week, and a portion of the jetstream over Iceland drops back south, directing the the flow back at the UK. Assuming the eruptions continue, I think, based on current forecasts, you could be looking at the end of next week before any kind of normality is restored!

So far, the ash particles are being trapped at relatively high levels, certainly upper airspace, which is why the airline jets are not flying. I know there are reports of particles and sulphur smells in northern Scotland, so it has been dropping down there, but from what I can tell, that is relatively localised. I dare say we'll all get a sprinkling at some point (maybe when we get a bit of rain?) But by and large flights at lower levels should be OK. I guess individual pilots and operators need to make their own decisions based on risk analysis.

All of that said, the situation is wholly dependent on the weather, and you know as well as I do, that forecasts just 12 hours ahead, aren't always accurate, let alone 7 days! I'm sure NATS and the Met Office will keep the situation under review, and when they consider they consider the risk level to be acceptable they will allow flight.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A client of mine got stuck in Ireland; had to get back for today and organised with a friend of his who runs a helicopter outfit to send over one of his Augusta 109 to pick him up and fly him back Very Happy
5hrs of Augusta 109 = many £ Shocked
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James T Lowe wrote:
Looking at the jetstream forecasts, the current stream splits in the early part of next week, and a portion of the jetstream over Iceland drops back south, directing the the flow back at the UK.


I'd have to agree.. if the eruptions quieten down, we might be in luck. If the worst does come to the worst and this thing rumbles on for 8 months like it did last time, we're in a hole heap of aviation trouble.

Not to mention if Katla goes up as well, check the size of that out on Google maps. Eyjafjallajökull is the small one to the left, Katla is on the right. http://bit.ly/bTBcRQ

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They keep going on about how much damage this ash can do to engines etc..

Cant argue that LOTS of volcanic ash in an engine would screw it up...


But is there REALLY that much floating about to be an issue? Are they just being overly cautious?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi teggy,

From what I gather, the airspace closures/restrictions are based on risk analysis. That analysis will obviously take into account meteorological reports, from both our own Met Office, but also the Icelandic Met Office, and other agencies that would have data regarding the eruption.

One cannot ignore the effects of flying through volcanic ash - two high profile incidents tell us that:
BAW009
KLM867

However, I suspect that there isn't sufficient data to really understand how different quantities of ash affect engines. Also, the different compositions of ash may well affect engines in different ways. Therefore, safety has to be put first. Why risk flying through ANY ash, when the effect could be engine problem/failures?

It's not just that the ash can "clog" engines - it's a pretty potent mix of stuff, that "sandblasts" the airframe, and I believe has corrosive properties, too.

For what it's worth, I'm more than happy for NATS, other european ATSPs and the airlines to take an overly cautious approach! Just not worth it, is it? Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JamesT - Both those incidents the aircraft flew through thick ash clouds. Why they did that i don't know. But we certinally don't have thick ash clouds above us at the moment you would certinally see.

Now thats all going on my interpretation of thick ash but i have a pretty good idea you'd be able to see it rather than just 'imagining' its there. How does the volcanic ash affect the aircraft, well 1.) because its a very gritty hard substanced flying through it can erode the aircraft, damage the airframe etc... In my eyes that would take a large volume of ash to do that, 2. It enters the engine which is superhot and deposits on the turbine blades, reducing the efficiency and blocking the intakes, choking the engine, again i think you'd need a bloody large volume of ash to cause that damage.

My main worry is this will be killing the aviation industry when its already on its knees. Ash particles can be suspended in the atmosphere for years so how long before they decide its going to be safe to fly? They're probably going to want to send up weather balloons and the like to try and test it. Or fly it.

I must say im inclined to sit on the side of the fence that we are being overly cautious. Yes there are risks, but those risks clearly arn't significant enough to stop VFR flight. Based on previous incidents, it would seem that volcanic ash is extremely dangerous, if you fly through a thick cloud of it. Hence you don't want to be allowing that, and you would need a significant saftey zone from it both vertically and horizontally. But closing all UK airspace regardless seems way OTT.

I would have thought by today that restricted services would be allowed. Flights taking place below a certain flight level, yes these would cost more to operators, and restrict the distance some flights could go. But certinally European flights should be ok.

Its hard to sit here and argue with NATS and the MET office because they are the qualified ones and the ones in charge, however ive seen some appauling decisions and work come from both parties in the past and its not unknown for ginormous cockups to be made. We have very little experience on this happening to us, so even they probably arn't experts. Following a preset ICAO action plan. I think we should be looking to get things moving again, certinally from southern england.
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