EasyJet Has Volcanic Ash Detector

It’s being reported that EasyJet will be testing a new volcanic ash detector that will be mounted in the tail wings of its aircraft.  Reported similar to weather radar, this uses infrared cameras to detect ash.  It’s being called the “silver bullet” to Europe’s volcanic ash problem and reportedly is supported by the CAA.

And I think this is a big mistake.  I would be very surprised that this could be invented and then installed for test on aircraft in this short of a period and be effective enough to be a “silver bullet” for anything.  It’s this kind of reaction to the kind of problem ash has caused in Europe that leads to false confidence.

And that false confidence can lead to crashes and fatalities.  There has been too much effort on the part of Europe’s airlines to diminish the risk and denigrate the aviation authorities.  We are, after all, talking about something that has been known to shut down multiple engines on large aircraft although, so far, we haven’t lost a modern airframe to it. 

Nonetheless, something that takes out 4 modern jet engines almost simultaneously is nothing to be trifled with.  I agree that the  wholesale shutdowns in Europe were likely overdone.  However, acting as if ash can be detected (when it never really has been before and world authorities were really unable to do so as recently as 2 months ago) and avoided with a simple system conceived of and installed on test aircraft in just 2 months is silly. 

I really do fear consequences from this hubris.

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2 Responses to “EasyJet Has Volcanic Ash Detector”

  1. It’s being reported that EasyJet will be testing a new volcanic ash detector that will be mounted in the tail wings of its aircraft.

    “Tail wings?”

    -R
    (huh?)

  2. aka horizontal stabilizer.

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