Saturday, April 17, 2010

British Airways Flight 9

If you find yourself wondering why the whole of Europe is shut down to air travel, take a look at this. Now this video has 5 parts and has a little bit of sitting so If you want to watch it and find out I'll post the spoilers after..

What happened is on 24 June 1982, British Airways Flight 9, a 747 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth, Australia had all four engines fail in flight. At the time, the results of an aircraft flying into a volcanic ash cloud was unknown. Flying through the cloud resulted in the abrasive ash clouding the windshield and abrading the surface of the aircraft. It occurred in the dead of night and a fire sheen of St. Elmo's Fire clung to the aircraft. It affected the instruments by clogging the pitot tubes and giving false speed readings. However, the most significant affect was the failure of the engines.

Volcanic ash is a fine dust made up of sandy particles. Sucked into the huge, air-thirsty engines, the ash is then heated by the 3000 degree heat and melted to the fan blades of the engine. The engine cannot function properly with the glass melted to the turbine blades and consequently they shut down.

After falling about 15000 feet in a gentle glide, the aircraft fell below the ash cloud layer. The ash accumulated cooled and broke off the fan blades. By this time the crew had desperately attempted to restart the engines multiple times. Below the ash layer, their attempts were successful and the aircraft diverted to Jakarta in Indonesia.

After this there was another incident in 1989 when a KLM flight was not notified about the eruption of Mount Redoubt and flew into an ash cloud over Alaska. Like this incident, the aircraft successfully landed.

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I am interested in CNG vehicles because they are good for the environment and aren't powered by dead Marines. I still have a little hope for the world. Read the musings and enjoy.