Sunday, April 18, 2010

Living under invisible volcanic ash....

That's what us Europeans are doing. Since last week the volcanic ash has been blowing toward Europe and because of it, all commerical airline traffic is on the ground!

This is a situation that no one ever predicted. Normally the winds would be from the south/south-west, blowing the ash AWAY from us. But, we finally have a stable high pressure system, which we would normally enjoy. This system has given us BEAUTIFUL spring weather, though still chilly.... and is sending the ash directly toward us!

The first countries to close their airspace for IFR flights was Scanadavia (hi Elin and Melody!), followed by Ireland, Scotland, England. Then the Benelux countries and Holland joined in (hello Wizardress!), followed by Germany, France, Poland, etc. etc. etc. Some countries have also forbidden all VFR flights, i.e. flights conducted unter visual regulations.

But in Germany those flights are still allowed.... and I even got to fly yesterday! Visibility was hazy, which is normal under high pressure systems. No sign of any ash anywhere, but the experts, including pilots that have flown into the muck, say it is so fine it can't be seen by the naked eye. The reason for canceling all flights.... the ash can cause the engines of jets to shut down! So, closing the air space is a necesssary precaution. Lufthansa did ferry 10 planes (B 747's and Airbus's) from Munich to Frankfurt, but they carried NO passengers and flew under VFR! At the lower altitudes they had to fly at (below the ash level), it is not allowed to carry passengers. Needless to say, those planes are going through a thorough inspection to see if any ash damage occured. Some ash has touched the ground in England from what I hear (take care Susannanne, Fakebrunette, Simon, Dave, Stig and all others on the Islands).

It looks like this volcano is going to be active for some time and will continue causing havoc over European air space.

As I mentioned, the ash is invisible, making a lot of people think it doesn't exist. But it does make for pretty sunsets..... this taken last night:



  1. Before I had finished reading your post I knew exactly how I was going to comment and it was just what you said, that ash sure makes for pretty sunsets. Wow. YOu are right about that.

  2. Beautiful photo! Hope you and yours had a great weekend!

  3. It does make for pretty sunsets- There was one day here when it just looked cloudy out and they said that was the ash, but I did hear that maybe Schiphol would open up again today- I think some cargo flights flew out yesterday but no passengers yet- I feel for the people stranded.

  4. Wow, great report from over there, Dorrie. (Didn't know the ash was too fine to be seen by the naked eye.)

    Yes, pretty sunset.

    doanli/dori :)

  5. Strange how something so beautiful and rare in nature can be so compicated and deadly to mankind. The photo is awesome, Westy-Woman!

    Hope all is well with you and yours.




  6. I saw 'someplace else' *gag* that you are going to take the NCL Gem out of Venice to the Greek Isles.

    First, I again urge you to go to Cruisecritic dot com and look at the roll call for your cruise. You may find people there that you would like to meet. Further, NCL seems to take special care of people who are logged onto cruisecritic and who go to the 'meet and greet'.

    BG and I will be particularly interested in your experience, as this, or something similar, has been in our planning for awhile now.

  7. Fin, I've bookmarked the site. So far, critics seem quite positive.

    I really need to update here... I'm not blogging much ANYWHERE anymore!

  8. thanks to all who commented!! I've become a poor blogger, both here and "elsewhere". I really appreciate ALL comments.... THANKS EVERYONE!