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General Chat Thread, We're All Going To Die in General; Really stupid question of the day - can't the planes fly at a high enough, or low enough, altitude to ...
  1. #31

    tmcd35's Avatar
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    Really stupid question of the day - can't the planes fly at a high enough, or low enough, altitude to avoid the ash cloud? (yes I realise flying over the cloud involves flying throught it, just wondering if the chance of damage is minimal flying through it on the way to a higher altitude rather than flying through it at their usual altitude for the duration of the flight).

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    63000 flights were cancelled worldwide in the first 4 days-so even 0.1% risk is a lot

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Really stupid question of the day - can't the planes fly at a high enough, or low enough, altitude to avoid the ash cloud? (yes I realise flying over the cloud involves flying throught it, just wondering if the chance of damage is minimal flying through it on the way to a higher altitude rather than flying through it at their usual altitude for the duration of the flight).
    I'm not an aviation expert but I would have thought that flying at higher altitudes would put further pressure on the cabin - pressure that the planes weren't designed for. And flying at a lower altitude isn't as economical AFAIK. It was on the TV the other day, and some expert said that most flights need to be at the correct altitude otherwise they would run out of petrol and not make it home.

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    tmcd35 (21st April 2010)

  5. #34

    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Really stupid question of the day - can't the planes fly at a high enough, or low enough, altitude to avoid the ash cloud? (yes I realise flying over the cloud involves flying throught it, just wondering if the chance of damage is minimal flying through it on the way to a higher altitude rather than flying through it at their usual altitude for the duration of the flight).
    Well small planes (normally owned by private people) can. But large jet aircraft that fly a distance have to fly at a certain altitude to fly safe. The ash is pretty high, higher than most aircraft can fly safely.
    Last edited by FN-GM; 21st April 2010 at 10:21 AM.

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  7. #35

    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmcd35 View Post
    Really stupid question of the day - can't the planes fly at a high enough, or low enough, altitude to avoid the ash cloud? (yes I realise flying over the cloud involves flying throught it, just wondering if the chance of damage is minimal flying through it on the way to a higher altitude rather than flying through it at their usual altitude for the duration of the flight).
    At higher altitudes the air is thinner and planes must go faster to maintain their orbital momentum, otherwise the engines stall, and at lower altitudes - if what I've heard is true, the lower safe bound is about 5,000ft, which causes problems with noise (remember it's a jet engine) and gives the pilot much less room for manoeuvre if a problem does occur.

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    Jamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FN-GM View Post
    Well small planes (normally owned by private people) can. But large jet aircraft that fly a distance have to fly at a certain altitude to fly safe. The ash is pretty high, higher than most aircraft can fly safely.
    I had heard that the ash was between 30 and 35 thousand feet? Which is inside the climbing path of long haul jets.

  10. #37

    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamo View Post
    I had heard that the ash was between 30 and 35 thousand feet? Which is inside the climbing path of long haul jets.
    I was told it was at 50,000ft higher than most can fly

  11. #38

    Hightower's Avatar
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    I heard between 50-55k feet

  12. #39

    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    This just demonstrates a) how wide a range of height there is across the whole plume and b) how much hearsay is a load of rubbish.

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    There is a film/dramatisation/documentary on channel 5 tonight at 10 - Volcanic Ash: Flight of Terror, about a previous plane crash caused by flying through volcanic ash.

  14. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by difinity View Post
    There is a film/dramatisation/documentary on channel 5 tonight at 10 - Volcanic Ash: Flight of Terror, about a previous plane crash caused by flying through volcanic ash.
    Will it have lots of fast cuts, dramatic music, dodgy camera angles & so called 'experts' giving over the top opinions ? If so, I'm watching it !!
    Jack Baur would fly through the cloud, but I think the cloud would get out of HIS way.....

  15. #42

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    The ash in the air is not the volcano, its just the burning bodies of all the people Jack Bauer has killed

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    mattx (21st April 2010)

  17. #43

    Hightower's Avatar
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    I've found a solution to this whole problem - strap Chuck Norris to the front of the plane!

  18. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    I've found a solution to this whole problem - strap Chuck Norris to the front of the plane!
    Can't, he's 'Missing In Action'

  19. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    I've found a solution to this whole problem - strap Chuck Norris to the front of the plane!
    Wouldn't work - he's so hard the plane wouldn't take off...



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