I doubt there is anyone on the planet that isn’t aware of the trick Mother Nature has played on the airline industry. Day after day passengers flock to the airports hoping to either get to their homes in Europe, or get away from their homes in Europe, only to wind up like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal,” living in the airport terminal An island few even knew about, located in the North Atlantic, has delivered a financial blow to the airlines that Osama Bin Ladin would be proud to have made. An angry volcano, with a name none of us can pronounce on an island few of us would ever care to visit, has spewed clouds of toxic ash particles into the atmosphere where our airliners ply their trade.
Engine manufacturers wag their fingers at the airline’s executives, warning of dire consequences if that nasty old ash gets into their engines. Trembling government regulators shut down all the major airports in Northern Europe while airline CEOs pace back in forth in their offices demanding their operations people fix this problem, and yesterday! Government regulators eyed the no-ash-no-fly rules, wringing their hands, digging out dusty old records retelling tales of airliners flying through volcanic ash clouds long ago, all to determine how much dust the engines can ingest and continue to operate properly without sending their carriages into the sea. Airlines sent test aircraft into the now dangerous atmosphere without passengers, daring the ash to ruin their engines, to make their airplanes into multi-ton gliders. When the aircraft landed white clad techies swarmed around the airframes, probing the engines, searching for the evidence that their innards had been violated, rendering the engines un-airworthy. Huddling in small offices the engine manufacturers and airframe makers pour over the results and slowly agree that, perhaps, just perhaps, the ash panic was subsiding and the rules could be modified. Nervously, airline CFOs watched the contrails of high-flying airliners passing over their country and bringing tears to their eyes as their bank accounts slowly drain of operating funds. Ah, you say, the crisis is over. Halleluiah! But wait, there’s trouble in them there skies, aviation consultants warn that the danger is not over, but simply waiting. Good old Eyjafjallajokull (YOU try and pronounce it!) may still have a bit more to say, some more ash to pollute the atmosphere with. Or, perhaps its nearby partner will awaken, adding its ashes to the plumes. Beware, the no-fly zones may reappear faster than you can pronounce its name. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Regards engine power: Lots is good, more is better, and too much is just enough. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!