Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Eyjafjallajokull calling

According to UK’s Daily Mail,

Britain’s airspace was closed under false pretences, with satellite images revealing there was no doomsday volcanic ash cloud over the entire country.

Leaving aside the sloppy language of ‘false pretences’ and ‘doomsday’, one of the key revelations is that:

Evidence has emerged that the maximum density of the ash was only about one 20th of the limit that scientists, the Government, and aircraft and engine manufacturers have now decided is safe.

The problem with this reporting is it fails to make clear that there was no agreement, prior to the Eyjafjallajokull eruption, on what might constitute ‘safe limits’. Indeed, the aviation industry’s approach to the hazard of volcanic ash has apparently been in disarray for some years.

The body co-ordinating the international response to the spread of volcanic ash has been aware for at least three years of the need for new guidelines setting out the conditions under which aircraft can keep flying after an eruption... It has now emerged that the International Airways Volcano Watch Operations Group, a division of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, discussed three years ago establishing what might constitute “safe” levels of ash for aircraft to fly in. But the aircraft manufacturers were reluctant to talk about the issue.

Perhaps Niki Lauda, Richard Branson, et al, should sue their aircraft’s manufacturers for having dragged their feet on this important matter.

Overall, the international aviation industry has been caught with its pants down due to the inconvenient timing of this eruption. But Eyjafjallajokull’s wake-up call has precipitated some on-the-run decision making which, we can only hope, will prove to be reasonably sound.

Labels: ,


Blogger Father Park said...

Blame, blame, blame.

What if had we had a re-run of Pinatubo? It would then be airlines sued.

Backsides such as Bolt had no qualms with wide-ranging and intrusive (I shall resist "draconian")"security" measures and legislation post Sept. 11 for thoroughly undemonstrable "threats".

Doesn't apply to planes that just might fall from the sky apparrently.

29/4/10 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Piers Boltbrechtsen said...

But how do you know, Father Park, that it wasn't an attempt by amok computer modelers to bring down Western economies and civilisation as we know it.

As my mate Andrew said (in relation to a hoon driver's attempt to bring down civilisation as we know it), "I sometimes feel much like I imagine a Roman in the fourth century or German in the 1930s did, watching in despair as civilisation slowly crumbles."

29/4/10 8:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home