Volcanic ash posing a threat to flight safety

Sunday 5/22/2011 – Breaking news:

The Grimsvötn volcano began erupting yesterday. It is located underneath the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeastern Iceland. As it has been sending ash into the skies up to flight level 650 i.e. 65,000 ft or around 20 kilometers or 12 miles.

The European fleets might be grounded due to the spreading of an ash cloud which is forecast to drift over Scotland on Tuesday – May 24, 2011 – and expected to reach France and Spain by Thursday or Friday. Here is an interesting short documentary about how the scientists examine the volcanic ash, and how they determine that it can pose a threat to aircraft.

Watch the video:

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Solid-as-a-rock A380 aircraft struck… by lightning!

It is not uncommon for aircraft to be struck by lightning but this super heavy Emirates Airbus A380 got hit by a jagged bolt of lightning right over the pilot’s seats.

A huge amount of electric energy must have passed through the airframe of the aircraft during its approach at London Heathrow last week. Amazingly the commercial aircraft escaped damage, and nobody was hurt.

Is it any wonder this airplane may sustain such a stress in a clap of thunder? The size and the nature of the A380 airframe seems to be the right solution to such hazards. Thanks to its thick metal structure, the plane behaved as a perfect Faraday cage:

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Discrimination in the skies? UK’s Air Passenger Duty explained

Every passenger departing the UK has to pay a fee. It varies depending where you are flying to, and where you are sitting on the plane. APD – Air Passenger Duty – is divided into four categories or bands based on the distance between London, and the final destination. Watch the video about this « banding system » hereafter:

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Multi-role fighter aircraft sales

Global fighter market leaders after 10 years

17:46 01/02/2011 Companies sharing world market for new multi-role fighters>>

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RAF and Royal Navy HARRIER jets farewell

The Harrier entered in service 41 years ago. Then, the Harrier II (GR5, GR7, and GR9) took off in 1985 for the first time. The F-35 Lightning II or JSF – 5th-generation Joint Strike Fighter – should replace these V/STOL (Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing) fighter aircraft.

Sixteen RAF Harriers conducted a farewell flypast yesterday while the last four Harriers left HMS Ark Royal forever. Both the Ark Royal and the Harriers are to be decommissioned under cost-saving plans. Click on the video below:

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