Travel News - This just in: volcanoes pose threat to air travel in Pacific Northwest
Mar 22, 04, 4:54 pm
VANCOUVER -- There are only about 20 vulcanologists in Canada, and they have nothing do with Star Trek. They say Lower Mainland residents should be aware of the threat volcanoes pose to air travellers over the Pacific Northwest.
Mar 22, 04, 6:35 pm
I moved up here five months after Saint Helen's went, and all I can say is from what I saw, I'd rather be in the air when Rainier goes then on the ground. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/biggrin.gif
Mar 22, 04, 6:53 pm
There is the famous BA 747 incident back few years where one engne at a time shut-off till all 4 were off. The plane did experience different electrical problems during the tense moments. the lights would go off, the paxs saw streaking lights otside the widnows. The engines seemed to be spewing fire out.
Anyway, after about 20 or so minutes of gliding, the pilots were able to re-start the engines. and they landed safely in Australia? Not sure about the last detail, but I believe the flight was from SIN-SYD.
Nobody knew what happened till the investigation revealed that the plane flew through volcanic ashes that came out of a volcano eruption in Philippines.
Mar 22, 04, 9:35 pm
A British Airways 747 en route from Java to Perth, Australia, on June 23, 1982 experienced "St. Elmo's Fire," an electrical discharge phenomenon. It was observed extending from the engines and sparking across the instrument panel, while smoke was smelled inside the passenger cabin. In minutes, the number four engine shut down, followed in rapid succession by the remaining three. The aircraft glided from 37,000 feet to 12,000 feet before the crew was able to restart the engines and steer for an emergency landing at Jakarta. Even then, the danger was not over, because the windshield was so scarred that forward vision was impossible. Skillful teamwork by the crew finally resulted in a happy landing.
As it developed, Mt. Galunggung in western Java had erupted just before the aircraft passed over. Sucked into the air conditioning system, ash appeared as smoke, and the static electricity created by the ash hitting the windscreen and wings created the "St. Elmo's Fire." The engines had been extinguished as effectively as if someone had thrown a bucket of sand into them. Only in the clear area below the ash cloud had restarting the engines been possible.
After landing, a Boeing representative told the crew that it was the most severely damaged 747 that had ever flown.
Mar 23, 04, 7:13 am
There have been a number of other incidents of airliners losing all engines due to flying into ash.
It's a real problem as there really isn't anyway to detect it in flight other than visually.
Mar 23, 04, 2:50 pm
IIRC, a KLM flight over Alaska had a problem similar to BA when the Redoubt(sp?) volcano erupted.
Having lived through the St. Helens eruption, I can assure you that you don't want to be within 100 miles of it, due to ash among other things. However, when Rainier goes, ash and air travel will be the least of Seattle's problems.