Do you recall the Icelandic ash cloud of 2010 and then again earlier this year that brought the entire continent of Europe to a complete standstill? Like me, do you remember how it seemed like we were living in a post-apocalyptic world when we were confronted with skies that were totally devoid of any flying aircraft for a number of days at a time? Well now, it would appear there are efforts being taken to attempt to ensure that aircraft are able to fly in complete safety when it comes to ash clouds in the future.
Research has already revealed that many aircraft encounter particles of ash on flights around the world; however, it is imperative to ascertain the density of ash cloud that can be flown through that will definitely not pose any danger to the aeroplane and its passengers. This is something British Airways is working on in conjunction with the Meteorological Office of the UK. The project is to be named ‘ZEUS’ and is aimed at making flying where ash is involved so much safer in the future.
One of British Airways’ Boeing 747’s has been fitted with a detector that measures the number of ash particles that are in the air. This detector will remain in place for an entire year as it flies around all corners of this planet gathering information that will prove to be vital for this research. Data has already been collected through the airline Flybe which collated information on its European routes back in 2012. This will also prove to be useful in this research.
Once all of the information has been collected and analysed, apparently, we will be armed with far more knowledge when it comes to flying through ash clouds. Based on the fact that back in 2010 many of the groundings were due to a lack of knowledge on the safe levels for aircraft, hopefully there will be far less chance for such a costly and inconvenient disruption to the aviation infrastructure again in the future.
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