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Topic Title: Decision to re-open airspace
Topic Summary: ......is it a wise decision or a risky one?
Created On: 19 April 2010 06:54 PM
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 19 April 2010 06:54 PM
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dvaidr

Posts: 519
Joined: 08 June 2003

For me the criteria used for the justification to re-open airspace is questionable.

One round trip of 400 and odd miles, a day to investigate the findings and the decision to re-open airspace seems a hasty one to me. I think the experiment needs proper design.

Seemingly am F-16 has been investigated after flying through the 'cloud' and there is visible glass in the jets....

You wouldn't get me up there.
 19 April 2010 08:53 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
Joined: 10 October 2007

I think there has to be a proper risk analysis which takes into account 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. There have now been 100's of flights in Europe as a whole and apart from the F16 issue there have been no other reported problems. Also in other parts of the world they seem to have better monitoring and thus are better able to direct planes around trouble spots.....however they may have a less condensed airspace! I think the initial call to ground the planes was 100% correct but thereafter there needs to be a proper procedure in place to systematically test and risk assess the situation on a regular basis and people need to be updated on it so they can see that proper checks are being made.

I really have to ask why governments were not able to predict that at some time a volcano would put ash into the air which would then blow across Europe. Thus why did governments not have a visible test procedure ready to be implemented.....they seem to be just leaving it up the commercial airlines to make their own tests. Soon all these highly paid government officials, and their pet scientists' will be coming out and telling us how this sort of thing was impossible to predict but now they 'the heroes' were going to put procedures in place in case it happened again in the future. It is a difficult call in all honesty and I would not like to make it but then I am not paid to make it.

Good question though!

Regards.
 19 April 2010 10:40 PM
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gkenyon

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Originally posted by: westonpa
Thus why did governments not have a visible test procedure ready to be implemented.....they seem to be just leaving it up the commercial airlines to make their own tests. .
Why shold we all pay for scientists etc. to predict when it will be safe for commercial ventures to make money from flying over our country? It masks the real cost of air travel, surely?

-------------------------
Eur Ing Graham Kenyon CEng MIET TechIOSH
 20 April 2010 09:55 AM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
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Originally posted by: gkenyon

Originally posted by: westonpa

Thus why did governments not have a visible test procedure ready to be implemented.....they seem to be just leaving it up the commercial airlines to make their own tests. .
Why shold we all pay for scientists etc. to predict when it will be safe for commercial ventures to make money from flying over our country? It masks the real cost of air travel, surely?

"to predict when it will be safe"

It's called 'duty of care' owed to the people by the government.

"make money from flying over our country"

The government have been speaking about UKPLC for a number of years now. The airlines are part of UKPLC and as the government are in fact the CEO their responsibility is to ensure that an environment exists in which part of their business can make a profit....in a safe and legal way of course. That involves predictions, risk assessments, controls and reviews etc. Someone has to pay for it and hence governments levy taxes and have the authority to levy additional taxes, adjust tax levels and so on. The department of transport are paid from taxes and already have responsibilities with regards to aviation.

"The Government's aim is to develop a long-term framework that will maximise the beneficial aspects of aviation and minimise the negative ones" (UK Government).

If this can be achieved without some kind of prediction in order to make relevant plans then please feel free to enlighten us as to how.

Regards.
 22 April 2010 01:43 PM
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dvaidr

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It's worrying really when all you hear in the news and read in the papers is 'the cost' due to the decision to ground aircraft. Sure, there is the issue of cost BUT people such as Willie Walsh really don't know the gravity of the situaion, the corrosion mechanics involved and, it would seem, the consequences of loss of engine power in large aircraft.

From experience, the efforts of the Reliability Engineer can be abrogated in one easy go by someone yielding far greater power but with a nuch smaller brain, in a pin-striped suit replete with Blackberry.
 22 April 2010 02:48 PM
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westonpa

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I am not a fan of Willie Walsh but he did get on a plane and fly in the ash and I am sure he has a wife, children, parents, friends, etc., and thus I am prepared to give him the benefit of doubt on the 'knowing'.

Good point about the reliability engineer being abrogated.....dramatically emphasised by the NASA Challenger shuttle disaster!

Regards.
 22 April 2010 03:38 PM
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dvaidr

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It's just been announced on Sky News that all Typhoon aircraft have been grounded following the discovery of significant levels of ash in the engine and parts thereof, following scheduled flights. Trying to find out more.

I say the proof is in the pudding.......
 22 April 2010 03:57 PM
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westonpa

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"An RAF spokesman said the Typhoons were "very high performance jets" so staff were "just being extra cautious". The fighter jets are less tolerant to ash because their engines run at higher temperatures.

Regards.
 22 April 2010 05:04 PM
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dvaidr

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I think if you were to make an analogy with HALT/HASS where the engineer needs to harvest data to enable the calculation to be made, then I see a problem. OK, the 'test-run' with Willie Walsh aboard showed nothing or negligible detritus, but what about 'somewhere down the line'? Reliability is a function of time. I wouldn't want to be the engineer making the decision, if, indeed, the decision was made by an engineer......

What criteria could they possibly have used in the short space of time that they did an about turn? There is a minimal empircial data and even less reliability/life data under the conditions of airborne ash at differing densities...........

The next few weeks could be interesting. Should there be failures due to ash contamination, I just hope it isn't serious, or worse, catastrophic.
 24 April 2010 08:12 AM
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dvaidr

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Not only have Typhoons been grounded, but the Finnish Airforce has grounded its F-18 Hornet aircraft. This artcile shows boroscope photos of the internals of the engine after short flights.

http://www.flightglobal.com/ar...fects-of-volcanic.html
 24 April 2010 09:44 AM
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westonpa

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More work for the engine and parts makers and more work and jobs for the maintenance people.....good news alround I think.

They should have sent the military planes up sooner to make the tests because the pilots can eject and their planes would be likely to cause less damage if they fell out of the sky. Instead the governments left it to the airlines and yet their planes could have caused far more damage if they had dropped onto residential areas. However, maybe they tested with the military first and we were not informed.

Regards.
 24 April 2010 04:20 PM
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dvaidr

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It's staggering when all things are considered. Allegedly, Willie Walsh forced the hand of the government by flying aircraft to the Uk and then demanding that the land at the London airports. Should this be the case, then it looks like the government has succumoned to pin-stripe yielding far greater (aggregate) power, and smaller brain........

I wouldn't have expected any plan to have been promulgated by the government. A demand too far! My brother was 'stranded' for a week in Murcia, Spain and while driving up heard of reports on the UK government having boats for such stranded travellers with buses to boot.

He arrived in Santander some 700km later to find................no boats or buses. When asked the local port authorities about their absence, they didn't have any knowledge of scheduled boats/buses..........

More lies and more ineptitude. But, nay, I digress towards the steps of pedestal. I'll leave that for polling day........
 24 April 2010 08:28 PM
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westonpa

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Let's be honest ALL the top airlines were flying again at the earliest opportunity, including Virgin, and I rate Sir Branson's brain over any in the government. The initial decision to ground the planes was 100% correct but thereafter there was no government plan in place to properly test when it was safe to fly again and thus it was left to the airlines. The government were weak and poorly organised and for me that was the main error. In this situation the airlines are supposed to be the children and the government is supposed to be the parent and I do not think we can blame the children for trying to push the boundaries when the parent was so weak and hands off.

Regards.
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