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blank 11/15/13 08:47AM Aircraft Safety, Ash Cloud Testing, AVOID

First artificial ash cloud tested against aircraft

First artificial ash cloud tested against aircraft









UK airline, easyJet along with its partners Airbus and Nicarnica Aviation, has successfully completed the final stage of testing for the AVOID volcanic ash technology through a unique experiment involving the creation of an artificial ash cloud.

An A400M Airbus test plane dispersed one tonne of Icelandic ash into the atmosphere at between 9,000ft and 11,000ft thereby creating conditions consistent with the 2010 eruption. A second Airbus test aircraft, an A340-300, with the AVOID technology fitted, flew towards the ash cloud identifying and measuring it from around 60km away. The experiment also used a small aircraft, a Diamond DA42 from Duesseldorf University of Applied Sciences, to fly into the ash cloud to take measurements which help to corroborate the measurements made by the AVOID system.

The ash cloud produced during the test was between 600ft and 800ft deep measuring 2.8km in diameter. To be begin with the ash cloud was visible to the naked eye but dissipated quickly becoming difficult to identify.

The AVOID volcanic sensor detected the ash cloud and measured its density which was within the range of concentrations measured during the Eyjafjallajokul ash crisis in April and May 2010.

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