Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Don’t like the rules? Just change them! Simples!

Iceland volcano: UK airports set to reopen

international transport ministers agreed to revise the rules. Previously air space had been divided into areas where ash was present and all flights were banned and clear skies where there were no restrictions. Ministers agreed to create a third category, air space where volcanic dust was present but where it was also felt that its concentration was unlikely to create any safety risk.

Posted by devo @ 10:00 PM (1762 views)
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22 thoughts on “Don’t like the rules? Just change them! Simples!

  • relevance to hpc?

    er, hang on, i’ll be back in a minute…

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  • Willie Walsh, chief executive of British Airways, welcomed the lifting of the restrictions. “Safety has been at the forefront of everybody’s minds while reaching this decision,” he said.

    “There will be plenty of time for a post mortem of what has happened over the last few days.”

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  • @ devo. I assumed at 1st your quote was a made-up joke not something Willie Walsh actually said. Didn’t a 2 seater crash over the weekend in Scotland killing both occupants?

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  • @Devo

    ‘Don’t like the rules? Just change them!’ and ‘relevance to hpc?’

    It’s not really all that relevant. Do something good for somebody else tomorrow as penance.

    I wonder if our leaders will change the rules again if and when a proper HPC looms. Slashing interest rates to 0.5% to favour debtors was a pretty mean trick. How could the next government change the rules again to make sure the renters stay priced out? I’m not sure but do not doubt that a Labour or Tory government would happily keep us priced out if they could.

    P.S. You’re not one of the ‘fab’ people. Please don’t get too creative about the meaning of the word ‘good’ 🙂

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  • cat and canary says:

    well, relevant or not, its shocking. Im not a mechanical engineer, but still an experienced engineer.

    I find it HIGHLY dubious that they can say with confidence that its safe to fly an aircraft engine through volcanic ash based on 3 days of investigation. 3 days of investigation!!! What a joke. Absolute garbage.

    This is a shocking case of big business steam-rollering through the warnings of unbaised scientists. Scientists who have a genuine reason to believe that this is not safe, based on the previous examples of aircraft engines shutting down when exposed to volcanic ash.

    So what now, they are suddenly going to commit 1000´s of planes back to the sky over Europe.

    Maybe the risk is just 1 in 1000. But that still means one plane could come down? Disgraceful. You wont find me flying for the time being.

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  • Here’s your tenuous link to HPC.

    The airports were closed on advice from the Met Office, whose computer models predicted that there would be lots of ash everywhere. In reality there was a lot less ash.

    The financial crisis was caused (in part) by computer models which couldn’t reliably predict things like default rates on subprime mortgages or sudden movements in financial markets.

    Isn’t it strange how governments tread so carefully around regulating banks, yet they are so keen to regulate airlines? It’s a classic bike-shed problem. To quote from Wikipedia:

    Wikipedia: Bicycle shed
    The concept is presented in C. Northcote Parkinson’s spoof of management, Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson considers a committee’s deliberations on a nuclear power plant, contrasting it to deliberation on a bicycle shed. A nuclear reactor is so vastly expensive and complicated that average people cannot understand it, so they assume that those working on it understand it. Even those with strong opinions often withhold them for fear of being shown to be insufficiently informed.
    On the other hand, everyone understands a bicycle shed (or thinks he or she does), so building one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add his or her touch and show that they have contributed. While discussing the bikeshed, debate emerges over whether the best choice of roofing is aluminium, asbestos, or galvanized iron, rather than whether the shed is a good idea or not.

    Our elected leaders don’t understand the banking system. But they understand airlines and ash clouds – or at least think they do.

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  • Addendum:

    Marginal Revolution (blog): Accounting for Carbon Offsets

    Highly complex, difficult to value assets are being evaluated by a handful of firms with strong ties to the financial corporations whose job it is to market those assets to investors around the world. Sound familiar?

    It’s not mortgages but carbon offsets and not only are the issues related many of the same players are involved. In this highly specialized new industry, perhaps a thousand people really understand how onsite measurement of CDM projects works, and there is a serious potential for conflicts of interest. It is not uncommon for validators and verifiers to cross over to the far more lucrative business of developing carbon projects themselves— and then requesting audits from their former colleagues.

    Needless to say, dodgy computer models were also implicated in the recent “climategate” scandal.

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  • letsgetreadytotumble says:

    Nato has reported that glass build-up was discovered in a F-16 engine following a test flight near the volcanic ash cloud that has closed airports across western Europe.

    Officials would not confirm which nation’s aircraft had been affected or even the flight route it had taken after the Finnish Air Force reported similar problems last Monday.

    Although worrying, this result has been claimed as a vindication of European air traffic operators’ stance during the crisis.

    There are fears that all flights may be grounded for longer as a second ash cloud threatens to make its way from Iceland across northern and western Europe.

    http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/news82715.html?WT.mc_id=DN_News

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  • Haven’t read all the posts over the last few days so this has probably been discussed before… but has anyone thought of the implications this might have for people buying holiday homes in Spain and the like. Who needs a holiday home they can’t reliably travel to?

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  • it will take only 1 crash , 400 lawsuits , done

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  • cat and canary says:

    ..exactly mark. and if it happens to BA then willie walsh and his safety engineers will be in the dock.

    i would rather trust a met office ash-cloud model than willie walsh flying through an ash cloud.

    Wonder if he was wearing a parachute just in case?

    Just because Willie Walsh flew through an ash cloud and then inspected the engine doesn’t tell you much.

    And the “airline industry agreement to safe limits” isn’t worth the paper its written on. What about the medium or long term wear and tear?

    Nevermind, we’ll soon know what the risks are when we send thousands of planes and tens of thousands of people up there to test it.

    ====

    “look its safe, i flew my plane through it,” says Willie Walsh.

    The saying applies, “a little knowledge is dangerous”

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  • Totally off-topic, but what the hell..

    The amount of ash in the air was clearly tiny compared to the dense plume that nearly took out a BA plane, way back in 1982. Nearly mind – the engines cut, but were all re-started…

    There is very little evidence to suggest that passenger safety was at all an issue with this dust; but physical damage to jet aircraft, and their hugely expensive engines, was an obvious concern.

    So the decision on whether to fly should have been left to the airlines and their pilots. If they wanted to risk a multi million pound bill for an engine re-fit after flying through volcanic dust then it should have been their decision, their call..

    ..now there will be a lengthy squabble as to who picks up the bill – taxpayers, get ready to cough…

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  • cat and canary says:

    “There is very little evidence to suggest that passenger safety was at all an issue with this dust; but physical damage to jet aircraft, and their hugely expensive engines, was an obvious concern.”

    …apart from the fact that the plane in question dropped 1000’s of feet because all four engines failed. ..Seems like a passenger safety issue to me!

    And what was the ash density that this plane went through, compared to now?
    Or the size of the particles?
    Or the composition of the ash?
    Or the air speed of the craft?
    Or the operating temperature of the engines?
    O
    ..answer: nobody knows

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  • cat and canary says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Airways_Flight_9

    “On 24 June 1982, the route was flown by the City of Edinburgh, a 747-236B. The aircraft flew into a cloud of volcanic ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung (circa 180 kilometres (110 mi) south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia), resulting in the failure of all four engines.”

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  • another thing compare this

    drive a sports car across a muddy field, it makes it fine ok wash it, sure no damage, a few weeks later the cat converter fails, then the brake lines which were damaged snap etc etc..

    a fault the size of a grain of sand brought down a 747 in the 80’s the engine simply blew to pieces..

    at least virgin are not taking chances, BA deserve to go bust, they are fools, they understaff jets, take stupid risks with people, you only need to look at their seating if you are unlucky enough to sit in economy, no one would ever escape from those seats..

    1 crash will ruin the airline industry, if the ash causes it

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  • Gordon Browns phonecall to Iceland president overheard at number 10.

    ‘Look here Olafur, I said we want our cash – not your ash’

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  • The Chemtrails are back —oh sorry they are
    contrails -NOT

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  • The relevance to hpc? Well, I would say it is that big business has screwed the economy and the lives of many through the credit bubble. Now big business is happy to risk ending the lives of flyers for the sake of earnings.

    uncle tom
    Such decisions should not be left to airlines. The aircraft whose engines failed in an ash cloud were fortunate: extensive damage occurred; they could easily have failed permanently.

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  • I understand that Britain applied the ban in it’s airspace more rigourously than other European countries which were / are affected.

    I’m not suggesting it for one moment but just a thought, could it be another example of British government over reaction / panic as in the case of swine flu?

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  • Over-reactions, such as they are, are only fully revealed in hindsight. Foresight is usually in short supply, especially where business and govt are concerned. We should be grateful when we get it.

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  • brickormortis says:

    Unlikely? How unliklely is unlikely? Shall we say, 0.00004%? If so then we can expect one safety breach per day for European take-offs!

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  • clockslinger says:

    When does every jet engine that has flown throgh the effected areas ever get fully taken apart, checked for signs of wear and rebuilt? I would guess not at all unless there appears to be a fault, in which case offending part is replaced. I am not remotely persuaded that not flying “at the moment” won’t save you from future failure of any one of any number of engines that have flown through this stuff and as a result continue to wear, possibly undetected, for years. If it falls out of the sky three years from now I wonder how easy it will be to show a causal link. As many have noted, the main motive is profit and airlines, like all other such enterprises, therefore demonstrate very onesided development and, like any psycopathic entity, very limited or no capacity to consider the other or have any sense of guilt, being incapable of taking responsibility for consequences flowing from an overwhelming drive to fulfil their own aims.Organisations like this run the planet, so best start digging that hole!

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