Volcanic Ash Clouds Turn Northern Europe into a No Fly Zone - First Time in History!
For the first time in history Northern Europe is turned into a no fly zone due to ash clouds from a volcanic eruption in Iceland.
Hundreds of flights are restricted in UK and most parts of Europe, with America to Europe flights also affected. On the 16th April only 11,000 fligths will operate rather than the usual 28,000 flights. The plume of ash reached up to 6 to 11 kilometres.
This has never happened before in the history of flying in Europe and has affected many thousands of people flying out or into Northern Europe. Many people have been left stranded in airports and hotels waiting for the all clear for flights to resume once again.
Many countries have been affected by volcanic ash from the volcano eruption in Iceland. Somof these are:
Denmark, UK, Northern Ireland, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and many more.
This event has been the biggest disturbance to air travel in Europe since the 9/11 attacks in USA.
What is Volcanic Ash and How Does it Affect Aeroplanes
The Icelandic volcano erupted below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier on Wednesday 14th April 2010 for the second time in a month, causing nearly all of the Northern European countries to cancel all flights due to the ash spreading over many countries, and making them a no fly zone.
Volcanic ash contains tiny particles of glass and pulverised rock which is created by eruptions which are less than 2 millimetres in diameter. Violent eruptions involving steam from a volcano results in the magam and solid rock surrounding the vent being torn into particles of clay to sand size. Volcanic ash can lead to serious breathing problems and damage and malfunctions to machinery. The small particles in a cloud of ash can spread up to miles and miles for as long as the wind carries them, settling out as a dust-like layer accross the landscape, which is also known as 'ashfall'.
When aeroplanes fly through volcanic ash debris, the damage is done to the engines and gradually stops it from working as large amounts of air with the particles of ash is sucked in. If the eruption is from under ice, glass-rich volcanic ash particles sucked into a jet engine melt at about 1,100 degrees celcius, which then fuse onto blades and other parts of the turbine, which melt at about 1,400 degrees celcius. Parts of the plane can erode, destroy parts and cause jams in rotating machinery. Volcanic ash can also smother the plane windscreen and blind pilots.
Long Term Issues
The volcanic eruptions could lose air travel companies millions of pounds daily with share prices reducing due to fligths being held up and cancellations.
If eruptions continue, volcanic ash could affect air flight for the next six months from April 2010 onwards. Even if it short lived, the financial impact on airlines could be signifant.
The International Air Transport Association said only days ago that airlines were just coming out of recession.
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