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Airplanes and ash clouds

Pedro Trebbau Lopez

In June, flights in Chile and Argentina were suspended because of the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano; same thing has happened in Europe because of the eruption of a volcano in Iceland. This affects people and economics.

The superheated particles of ashes turn to glass inside the jet engines and stop them to dead. So, it is very important to keep away aircrafts from ash clouds and to develop a system to detect them.

At the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), a device called Airborne Volcanic Object Imaging Detector (AVOID) has been developed. The device lets the pilot to see ash clouds between 100 and 300 kilometers ahead at altitudes higher than 50.000 feet. The device can measure the density of the ash cloud finding air corridors between layers of ash.

Meteorological data combined with the data collected by AVOID could create a map of where an ash cloud is going and where to fly safely. The device is being tested and results are very good, possibly will be used by airlines soon.

Pedro Trebbau Lopez recommends http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Pedro Trababaul Lopez

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