Friday, April 16, 2010

A Hard Rain's Not-A-Gonna Fall

The deadly layer of Icelandic Volcanic ash does not drift over Knutsford - we do not see a spectacular sunset.  The UK Met Office do not actually know with any great precision  where the outpourings of  Eyjafjallajoekull are going as they can not actually see it from space either (or rather it can not be discrimated from ordinary clouds)  and are relying on their notoriously flaky "computer predictions".  To make up for this they show on TV puerile and patronising representations of volcanoes erupting and just to be on the safe side lets create mayhem of swine flu proportions to the traveling public by promulgating forecasts that result in the shut down all UK airspace at all flight levels - as well as not flying do we now need to wear those silly face masks too?

I'm well aware that volcanic ash and gas turbine engines are not good bed fellows:  I saw first hand the stripped down RB 211s that had been involved in the British Airways 747 incident in 1982 and, represented Rolls-Royce at meetings with BA where we argued about the precise failure mechanisms!  BA said that the ash built up to such an extent that the internal nozzles blocked and caused compressor surge and RR maintained that the engines flamed out due to reduced O2 (or was it the other way round?).  I suspect that both mechanisms came into play but the engines started again and everyone walked away unscathed!

On a lighter note, the Cherwell Valley Services have burnt down within days of Mrs Nikos suffering the worst manifestation of English greasy over priced breakfasts there.  Whoever set fire to this establishment has done the public a good turn!

This is the sort of cobblers that's gets my goat on the BBC web site (copied, I suspect, from the equally factual and objective Daily Mirror) - completely stupid and misinformed reporting missing the most important factor!

Yes the consumption of volcanic ash might ultimately erode metal and the other things mentioned  but the main problem is it blocks the compressor and air flow and causes flame out or compressor surging = engine stops!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Proud to be British

The conventional wheeled Vienna tram with enclosed bogies and DC electric traction drive.

It's always good to see British inventions in foreign lands and hats off to Christopher Cockerill the inventor of the hovercraft:  The latest Vienna tram known as the ULF permits a flat and very low curb height floor and easy boarding for push chairs and prams by using the hovercraft principles.

The ULF (Unter- Luft- Fahrt) tram relies on a directional cushion of high pressure air for traction and levitation provided by vertically mounted air compressors.
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