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Another random question - Input Junkie
April 19th, 2010
10:00 am

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Another random question
Why aren't governments doing flight tests in the ash clouds? Would the conclusions from tests be more trusted if governments did them? Should the data (chemical analysis? photos?) from the tests be posted online?

Addendum:sodyera tells me government tests have been done. I don't know whether this wasn't reported on NPR and/or the BBC, or I didn't hear it or register it. Probably the latter.

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From:madfilkentist
Date:April 19th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
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Another question I've wondered about: It seems that the ash cloud shouldn't have the same effect on propeller-driven planes as on jets. If this is true, shouldn't they still be able to fly? Granted, all large commercial aircraft today are jet-based, but this would still allow some air travel.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 19th, 2010 02:28 pm (UTC)
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A propeller-driven plane would still need to take in air (not as much?), so its engine would be vulnerable.

I'm also guessing that adequately filtering the air into a jet would restrict the air flow too much, though it might just be that it would take too long to design and build a retrofit to be worth it for an ash cloud which will presumably be gone in a week if the easier-to-spell volcano doesn't erupt, too.
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From:anton_p_nym
Date:April 19th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Most propeller-based planes these days use turboprops, which have the same combustion system used by the jetliners' turbojets. So they're just as vulnerable to the pumice and ash as jets are. Though I don't know for certain, even piston-driven aircraft would have trouble with blade erosion and clogged air filters.

-- Steve thinks air travel just isn't safe around ash plumes.
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From:sodyera
Date:April 19th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
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See http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/797425
British Airways sent a 747 on a test round and got it back in one piece, while other military test flights report ash damage to their jets' engines.
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From:richardthinks
Date:April 19th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
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I would love to know what that flight did to the 747's operational lifespan and ongoing safety.

I bet BA would love to know, too. I fear we're going to be seeing fallout from this for a long time, as carriers get more desperate and bankruptcy now starts to overshadow liability later.
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From:madfilkentist
Date:April 19th, 2010 04:30 pm (UTC)
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Safety agencies have more to lose if 200 people die in a crash than if 400 people die scattered all over Europe due to inability to reach medical services, increased traffic accidents using substitute transportation, etc. (Those are hypothetical figures for illustration, not data of any kind.)

Airlines have more to lose if they go bust from interrupted traffic than if they have to deal with the consequences of a crash.
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From:sodyera
Date:April 20th, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
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I'd already posted the suggestion that the shipping industry jump on the new transatlantic hole and send ocean liners back on the London-NY cruise route. BA owns Cunard, don't they? Or has that changed?
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From:richardthinks
Date:April 20th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
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bring back the blue riband!
Man I would love that. Alas, Carnival own Cunard, and I don't really understand how they plan the itineraries of their liners: the cruise ships go round and round in circles on regular routes, by the QM2 seems to wander at what seems but obviously isn't exactly random all over the world.
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From:dcseain
Date:April 19th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
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A friend in Netherlands said that test flights have happened there, and there are meteorologists saying that meteorology is an exact science, and the danger is exaggerated.
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From:cakmpls
Date:April 19th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
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I heard it on NPR, but surely you don't listen 24/7?
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 19th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
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No, but they repeat a lot.
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From:cakmpls
Date:April 19th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
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Ah, of course. Yes, they do.
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