Volcanic Ash Cloud in UK Airspace: Why Are Flights Being Cancelled?

It appears many people are arriving at this page after searching for news on the current volcanic ash cloud. Therefore, I have set up a mini-site giving all the latest news on the Grimsvotn eruption and you can find it by going to Volcanic Ash Cloud 2011 or typing http://www.flyingfear.net/volcano into your Internet browser.

Why is it suddenly safe to fly through volcanic ash? Click here to read more.

Volcanic Ash Cloud enters UK airspace

A Volcanic Ash Cloud Can Damage Aircraft Engines

UK and European flights have been disrupted today due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland yesterday. This is yet another example of the high level of safety in aviation which should be reassuring to those with a fear of flying.

So, why has a volcano erupting in Iceland disrupted flights in the UK and beyond?

Volcanic ash jams machinery. This poses a great danger to aircraft  flying near ash clouds. There are many instances of damage to jet aircraft as a result of an ash encounter. Engines quit as fuel and water systems become fouled, requiring repair.

~ Wikipedia

The eruption under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajoekull area of Iceland yesterday has resulted in a large volcanic ash cloud entering UK airspace from the North, moving steadily southwards.

In 1982 a British Airways flight flew into a cloud of volcanic ash and lost all power to all four engines (amongst other problems). The pilots managed to restart engines when they emerged from the ash cloud and landed safely. This incident among others resulted in the formation of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres situated around the world to keep track of volcano eruptions and the movement of the resulting ash clouds. These centres allow better forecasting of ash cloud movement, and meteorologists can advise aviation authorities of the best course of action.

Late last night the Air Traffic Control Service (Nats), imposed restrictions after the Met Office warned ash could damage engines. As a result there are many delays and cancellations throughout UK airports – but these actions are only taken to ensure SAFETY.

There will be many frustrated passengers congregating in airports today, but any nervous flyers should take this as more proof of the high level of safety, and the efficiency of meterologists and Air Traffic Control in ensuring it remains that way.

If you are due to fly in or out of the UK/Europe today, is advised to check with your airline before leaving for the airport. Disruption could last well into Friday as the ash cloud moves southwards.

A spokesman from The Met Office and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said:

“The Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre has issued a forecast that the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland will track over Europe tonight.

“NATS is working with Eurocontrol and our colleagues in Europe’s other air navigation service providers to take the appropriate action to ensure safety in accordance with international aviation policy.”

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