Re: Garuda A300 crash, volcanic ash, and morons of the media

Date:         16 Oct 97 00:44:12 
From:         Steve Lacker <look@the.sig>
Organization: Applied Research Laboratories - The University of Texas at Austin
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Syiad T. Al-Duri wrote:
> Karl Swartz wrote in sci.aeronautics.airliners:
> > To my knowledge, combustion of wood does not produce fine particles of
> > rock, at any temperature.  The ash that is produced is more likely to
> > damage light-colored carpets than the metal used in aircraft engines.
>
> Couldn't it be, that the oxygen concentration in the air was significantly
> reduced due to the extensive wood fires and thus causing a flameout on all
> engines?

I suppose that it is *possible*, but I find it highly unlikely. A region
of air so depleted of oxygen that the engines would be unable to run
would only be possible *very* close to the fire itself. Besides, "water
bombers" fly into far worse conditions fighting forest fires in the US
and Canada regularly. Many of these are piston engined planes (notably
A-26 <aka B-26> Invaders, and 15 years ago B-17s were still being used
regularly!) but there are more and more turbine-engined craft involved,
including C-130s and converted Electras (see http://www.airspray.com for
a typical fleet composition and deployment procedure). From what I've
been told, the movie "Always" with Richard Dreyfuss was a fairly
accurate account of these operations, barring the obvious artistic
license of dousing another plane with retardant to put out an engine
fire, running out of fuel, gliding home, etc... :-)

--
Stephen Lacker
Applied Research Laboratories, The University of Texas at Austin
PO Box 8029, Austin TX 78713-8029
512-835-3286 slacker@arlut.utexxas.edu (Remove the extra 'x' to mail me)