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National Air Traffic Services Confirms Passenger Planes Being Checked For Ash Damage
by Howard Williams April 26th, 2010
It now seems that, before and after every single take off at UK airports, passenger planes are being checked for ash damage to their engines. This is all part of a new safety measure that the National Air Traffic Service confirmed.
Aviation experts predicted that the damage to engines on the planes that fly through ash clouds will reduce the lifespan of aircraft. Despite the go ahead to resume flights last week, the Civil Aviation Authority issued new safety guidelines to all airlines last Thursday, laying out extra safety checks.
The Finnish Air Force has recently released images showing damage to the inside of a Boeing F-18 Hornet fighter engine that had sucked in volcanic dust. Last Monday United States officials confirmed a Nato F-16 fight plane engine had also been damaged by the ash.
The Civil Aviation Authority and air traffic control service allowed the resumption of flights after hearing some evidence from aero engine manufacturers that engines’ tolerance to volcanic ash could be increased from zero, to a very low level. Nats’s general manager for strategy and investment, Alex Bristol, said that the Civil Aviation Authority was presented with scientific backed evidence, rather than one or two flights which had been undamaged.
The evidence that showed previous criteria, which set the engine tolerance to ash dust at zero, was probably too far on the side of caution. There are some reports of increased wear and tear on aircraft. It is more than likely going to shorten the life of the aircraft. However, it’s not going to be dangerous to a single flight.