Icelands Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

Icelands Eyjafjallajökull Volcano

Flying across the North Atlantic always requires extra planning and coordination.  From having to deal with customs, differing airspace rules, and ensuring that there are multiple contingencies to ensure the safety of aircraft and its occupants.

The Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, has made flight planning for these trips even more challenging.  The ash from this volcano has widened the gap between Europe and North America.  Depending on wind patterns, the travel disruptions can range from minimal effect to grounding of all flights to ensure safety.  These grounding have lasted for days and during the initial eruptions brought air travel to a standstill in the European Union.

This past Friday with the weather patterns beginning to change and the outlook of travel to and from Europe over the weekend looking iffy the decision was made to return to the US a day early.

Our flight plan from the UK to the North Eastern part of the US usually takes us across the island of Ireland following the great circle arc which takes us well south of Iceland and Greenland.  After many hours of looking at clouds, sky, and water we would finally make landfall again in Nova Scotia before passing by Boston and the Long Island Sound on our way down to the New York area.

Our flight this time took us 3 hours longer than normal due to these diversions.  In order to remain safe we would have to go to the north of Iceland.  We left the UK, headed north to Scotland before turning east beginning our crossing just south of the arctic circle.

From several hundred miles to the North the ash spewing from the Volcano was clearly visible.

About three hours into the flight we were able to make out the culprit for all of these disruptions over the past couple of weeks.  Even from several hundred miles away to the North the plume of ash spewing from Eyjafjallajökull and heading to the South East was visible.

It is really just an amazing display of the forces of nature that even with all of our modern technology, the state of the art navigation equipment on aircraft used going across the Atlantic, that this one event could somehow disconnect the two continents and make them seem as far apart as they were 100 years ago.

The remainder of  our trek to us past Greenland which was clearly visible on our way to New York.  Our principle arrived safely and another safe crossing of the North Atlantic was successful.

John

2 Comments
  1. Wow, sounds like you had to do some work to get safely across. Good job!

  2. Thank you, I have been hunting for details about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found so far.

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