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The Scent of Writs in the Air?

Volcanic ash cloud: British Airways fly in the face of ban - Telegraph

The Dutch airline KLM had earlier carried out a test flight through the ash cloud over Dutch airspace. A spokesman for the airline said: “We have not found anything unusual and no irregularities, which indicates the atmosphere is clean and safe to fly.”
Lufthansa also flew 10 aircraft from Munich to Frankfurt on Saturday with the blessing of the safety authorities.
A spokesman said: “We found no damage to the engines, fuselage or cockpit windows. This is why we are urging the aviation authorities to run more test flights rather than relying on computer models.”
Ulrich Schulte-Strathaus, the Secretary General of the Association of European Airlines, said: “Verification flights undertaken by several of our airlines have revealed no irregularities at all; this confirms our requirement that other options should be deployed to determine genuine risk”.

The blanket ban was initially imposed on Thursday by Nats, the national air traffic control service.
Keith Bill, a spokesman for the pilots union BALPA, challenged Nats to prove that they have taken advice from counterparts around the world who have greater experience of ash clouds caused by volcano eruptions.
Jo Gillespie, an aviation safety expert, said: “Without having the data to back up the decision this looks like an overreaction and is hugely damaging to the already suffering airline industry.”

I seem to hear our learned friends rumbling into gear ready to sue someone for causing losses by issuing warnings and bans that aren't properly evidence based. The Met Office has the ultimate responsibility, does it have Crown Immunity?

Comments

But the scientists said that commercial airliners cannot detect the dust on their weather radar so it is not clear how these "test flights" are checking for dust except examining the engines on return.

One thing is clear, if one of these airlines has an "incident" after pestering the authorities to remove the ban then it will be very expensive for them and give them a very bad reputation for safety.

MB,

Exactly. It's fear that makes then follow blindly instructions exactly the same as our health obsessed PC world. If someone points out a danger and you ignore it then you get the blame. It's H&S gone mad.

Interesting that, yet again, computer models are being used to take us back to the stone age. Bloody computers. Bring back the abacus.

And as always, there is the odd elephant lurking in a corner, as noted by the witterer from Witney:

http://witteringsfromwitney.blogspot.com/2010/04/why-air-traffic-is-grounded.html

And of course, North from up North, tells us of the wonderfully named London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre:

http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/04/not-our-own-masters.html

Tumbrels etc.

Re 'Bring back the abacus'. Lord T's comment reminded me that my abacus was sitting on the windowsill in a decorative fashion. Having the urge to check a few figures this morning, I tried said abacus and found that it stuck on the second to right row due to dust in the bead.

"the wonderfully named London Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre"

Which is run by The Met Office!!

If their forecast of the effects of ash are anything like either a) their weather forecasts or b) their climate change forecasts then we ought to press ahead and get the airlines running again asap as there is undoubtedly nothing to worry about.

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