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Pissed off Icelandic Volcano Throws its Toys

For those of you that live on the moon you probably haven't noticed (although you've probably had a pretty good view of it) but the skies across London have been quite empty over the last few days, it was actually quite weird to have a cloudless and jet-streamless blue sky on Saturday here in Lodnon, but just incase you do infact live on the moon and not noticed, there's a moerse fokken volcano erupting in Iceland of all places, which is wreaking havoc in the atmosphere above the UK and much of Europe…

Since Thursday last week and just my luck, the day after I get back from a 3 week holiday in SA, the entire UK airspace was shutdown with a flight ban that is said to be the biggest since World War 2. Now I say just my luck because I could be having a nice little extended holiday basking like a little lizzard on a rock somewhere in Durbs if I'd booked my flight just one day later. This is all due to huge amounts of volcanic ash which explode out of this little pissed off volcano with such a force that it reaches altitudes in excess of 60 000 feet… and then thanks to our awesome weather system in these parts of the world, the wind blows all this ash our way, strangely enough not actually causing much of a disturbance in the airspace above Iceland itself. Now you're probably asking yourself what can a little bit of ash which is as fine as baby powder do with keeping planes out of the sky… well quite a bit apparently.

It is said that although the ash is quite fine, it is quite abrasive like sand from a sand blaster or VIM (the stuff you clean with!) that it causes huge amounts of damage to the exterior of the plane to the extent that the front window of the plane would resemble a misted effect that you wouldn't be able to see through at all. Now if this wasn't bad enough from a financial perspective for the airline, jet engines run at a temperature in excess of 1600 degrees. When this ash gets into the engine itself, not only does it sand blast the rotor blades to shit but since its is a mixture of molten rock and glass it starts to melt again and clump up all inside the the engine. If enough of this stuff gets into the engine it can stop the engine completely and put out the flames which cause the thrust out the back of the engine which moves the plane forward. Not something that you want to happen at 35 000 feet since a Boeing or an Airbus pretty much glides like a brick. 

So its for these reasons that the UK airspace authority tjooned, No Go!…

Now obviously the problem this has caused is that people all over the world like many of our family and friends in SA are stuck and cannot get back to the UK. Now would you believe it, The Jen is one of those unlucky people who are stuck back in SA. She was supposed to arrive at Heathrow on Friday afternoon on a flight from SA on Egypt Air via Cairo, if there's one thing I am glad about is that the flight was cancelled before it left Joburg bound for Cairo, since she has family in Jozi that she has been staying while this all "blows over". Unfortunately not all my mates have been so lucky, I recently heard that my friend Monique is stuck in Libya of all places… EISH! not somewhere I'd like to be stuck to be honest. Melly, don't worry, I'm thinking of you too my boi haha :)

However, last night the big cheese of British Airways, Mr. Willie Walsh got a bit gatvol with keeping his planes on the ground and decided to take a test flight in a Boeing 747 up to 40 000 feet over the Atlantic for just short of 3 hours, landing safely in Cardiff where the plane and its engines were thoroughly inspected. What they found is that the plane sustained no damage from the ash and as of this afternoon the MET Office has reported that the eruption has virtually ceased which will cause a major drop in the amount of ash that is currently in the air. With this the airspace authority have decided to start lifting the ban in the north in Scotland from 7am tomorrow and hopefully lift the ban in southern England here in London by 6pm tomorrow.

Now this is brilliant news however we can't get too excited just yet, because remember there is a 5 day backlog of passengers who need to fly on Wednesday including the people who had already booked to fly on that day, so it does mean that for a lucky few they'll get to fly straight away however for many, the wait is going to take a little longer. Here's just hoping The Jen gets on a plane asap… and all you other unlucky buggers too :)

Have you also been stuck and standed too? tjoon us about it… write a comment below…

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