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Its not gray hair but volcanic dust I'll have you know madame!
How safe do you feel about flying?
Member Name: thedevilinme
How safe do you feel about flying?
Advantages: No noisey jets and you can hear te birds
Disadvantages: No planes!
Contrary to rumours the dust over the United Kingdom is not because Arsenal are spring cleaning their trophy cabinet but to do with a volcanic eruption in Iceland, grounding pretty much all commercial airliners in the Eurozone. NAT's, the National Air Traffic centre who made the brave and correct decision to originally close airspace are now under huge pressure to open it again as the airlines begin to haemorrhage serious money that could bankrupt them. It reminds me of poor old Chief Broody who wants to keep the holidaymakers out of the sea because of the shark threat where as the major of Amity Island wants them splashing around in the sea and sunshine to show the resort is open for business in the high season. right now The United Kingdom is very much closed.
The problem, of course, is health & safety. If a plane goes down and NATS said it was ok to fly then all the bosses would all get fired (although they still all could get fired for making the decision the correct decision in the grubby world of the blame game). If an airline chose to fly and they lost a plane then the lawsuits would be huge. The airlines need someone to blame if a plane goes down and so now want to fly again but pass the legal buck. It's the first time airspace has been shutdown on this size and distance around a volcanic eruption and the decision was based on science, clear dangers if you fly through the thicker stuff. The cloud is spread all over the continent and flight plans have various density of dust on those routes although its rather ironic the shots of the erupting volcano's are taken by those very same planes that cant fly.
There are clearly a lot of people stranded out there (mostly school teachers and the middle-class on their late skiing and city break holidays) and even the illegal immigrants union (the French government) are complaining that their members are not getting enough axel space during the crisis. Brown loves it in election month, a great distraction from the Nick Clegg factor, trying to look very presidential by ordering the navy to rescue Brits abroad. Dan Snow, the handsome young son of election specialist Peter Snow, tried hard to organise a flotilla of small boats to sail over the Channel and pick up the Brits, but, you guessed it, was turned down by health & safety people. So much for the Dunkirk spirit! The question now is can Brown keep the ban going for a political opportunity. Using the Ark Royal as a car ferry would suggest that is a possibility. I do not recall planes being grounded for long in America after Mount St Helens 5 megaton blast!
The ferries and hire car guys are trebling their prices and taxis even more, supply and demand the order of the day, the conspiracy theorists even saying the Icelandic government 'switched on' the volcano at will to get revenge on Britain for calling in the debt. The last time this particularly and un-spellable icecano erupted was during the 'Cod War' (We went to war over fish. Don't ask). It could just be the Icelandic banks burning all the receipts.
The climate scientists are loving it because with no planes up there in what looks like relatively clear air to me they can monitor how much pollution planes were actually making. When 911 shut American airspace down the ground temperature rose 2 degrees in 24 hours, this due to the lack of vapour trails over the country to reflect heat. Cloud is the biggest global coolant there is and those global warming heretics will be intrigued to see if planes are indeed polluting the skies as much as the eco warriors say they are. What will happen is because there are more people on the roads there will be more traffic fatalities than there ever would by from plane crashes sucking in this dust, the realities of eventuality and probability. Unless a jet or big prop plane flies directly through the smoke plume the threat is very small. The planes should be up now.
Terrorism is the other big threat but of late the War on Terror seems to have fizzled out some. No airline terror plots have been discovered of late and the guys that do get on the planes with bombs seem to have got the chemistry wrong every time. In previous attacks the suicide bombers had worn five pairs of underpants to protect their genitals whereas this Nigerian lad had put the bomb in his pants, in the belief no one would put their hands down there, which they didn't. Religion is the greatest mind-bending drug of all folks is it can get guys to blow their knobs off.
The airports have been asked to counter this worry by putting full body scanners in so to detect concealed explosives but, as expected, the Muslim groups say it's a breech of their human rights and will no doubt be exempt from going through them to avoid legal claims, making the system even more pointless. Previous security methods suffered similar 'issues' where staff didn't want to keep pulling Asians over to be searched more thoroughly, so chickened out and chose the least likely terrorists suspects like old grannies and stripped them of their lippy and nail clippers to meet passenger quotas, items that you could conveniently then buy in duty free airside. It has been proved all the ingredients to make an explosive device are available in those duty free stores. The checks on airside staff are pretty appalling to and anyone could get a job at an airport and find the time to get a bomb into the hold. It is still unclear why the 911 restraints have not been lessened in the U.K. for white passengers over 65. The terror threat seems to be Islamic and proven so. It's the extreme irony of human rights lawyers that are making us more vulnerable. Well that's lawyers for you!
The biggest and real threat to airline safety is fatigue....that of the planes structure and of the pilots, both forced to fly longer and longer hours these days. Some American budget airlines pilots are on less than senior BA Cabin Crew, $50,000 a year there considered decent money. As with car accidents its driver error and not speed that causes crashes, usually at junctions and corners for cars and taking off and landing for planes. Once a car or a plane is at its cruise height going straight they tend to be ok and with cruise control and autopilot you can have a kip, unless the driver or pilot is taking medication for some condition and doses off accidentally at the wheel, the cause of a significant chunk or Motorway smashes around the world. Many plane crashes involve structural failure where the airlines have purchased cheaper counterfeit parts-knowingly or unknowingly-and they have eroded or failed in flight. Counterfeit parts can be considerably cheaper and with many airline close to bankruptcy they may be tempted to save money on maintenance, very common with third world airlines, 75% of all commercial airliner crashes non western, even though all the jets are made in just seven countries.
So, I suspect big business will get their way and the planes will be flying very soon, pressure already put on Iceland to say the volcano has calmed down, which it hasn't, the scapegoats lined up and pilots making mistakes as they decompensate for the perceived dust threat. When someone sands up and makes the correct decision they are soon undermined when money is being lost, BA losing £1 million per hour! And let's not forget these guys haven't flown for a while and have to get back into a rhythm of a very stressful job. Already light aircraft accidents are up 40%, two coming down in cornfields near me, the pilots being plucked from the hedgerow, thankfully in one piece.
Summary: More fear mungering or has someone finally made a brave decision that doest involve money?