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London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical  
User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1887 times:



This is BA106 arriving from Dubai and just seeing the explosion:

http://www.live-radio.net/cgi-bin/co...ww.live-radio.net/metas/BA106s.m3u


Interesting that today after the massive (3 million gallon) oil refinery explosion that no flights have been disrupted. Now I would have thought that airlines would have to do a risk assessment, or at least some sort of analysis on what the particles from the explosion might cause to an aircraft landing. Yes, of course, aircraft can be directed around it, but with a major airport 10 miles away surely airlines would have to do a risk assessment and work out whether if the aircraft did hit the smoke from the fire what would happen? Is there any documentation on what aircraft engines can and cannot handle as regards fire debris into the atmosphere?

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1880 times:

It's "only" oil smoke. While it looks thick, it probably does not contain a lot of particulates compared to volcanic ash. Most of what makes it up to aviation altitudes is probably pretty light.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJoness0154 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1878 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
It's "only" oil smoke. While it looks thick, it probably does not contain a lot of particulates compared to volcanic ash. Most of what makes it up to aviation altitudes is probably pretty light.

Not true. Fly into that plume and you will come out covered in oil on the other side, along with everything on the plane being contaminated.
The heat alone is enough to lift oil particles high into the air.

It was the same thing that happened in the gulf war. When they lit the derricks on fire, anything that flew into the smoke got contaminated



I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem
User currently offlineAsstChiefMark From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1848 times:

Everyone downwind will need to wash their windows, cars, walkways, clothlines, etc. with a strong emulsifying washing up liquid. Lawns will be greasy and slippery. The first rain will bring a rash of car crashes as they slip around on the floating oil.

Mark


User currently offlineVSIVARIES From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 108 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1823 times:

Well we have to keep up with our friend the over the pond on enviromental issues.

This is just our way of doing it  Smile

B/R



For every action there is always an unequal but mostly similar reaction.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1816 times:

Quoting Joness0154 (Reply 2):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
It's "only" oil smoke. While it looks thick, it probably does not contain a lot of particulates compared to volcanic ash. Most of what makes it up to aviation altitudes is probably pretty light.

Not true. Fly into that plume and you will come out covered in oil on the other side, along with everything on the plane being contaminated.
The heat alone is enough to lift oil particles high into the air.

It was the same thing that happened in the gulf war. When they lit the derricks on fire, anything that flew into the smoke got contaminated

I stand corrected. But wouldn't a volcanic outburst be much more serious?



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJoness0154 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 667 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 1798 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
I stand corrected. But wouldn't a volcanic outburst be much more serious?

Yes, I believe it would. The amount of ash spewed out of those things is enormous, enough to blanket whole cities. Not to mention the heat coming out of those things too.



I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem
User currently offlineBritPilot777 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 1075 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1784 times:

The hold over north London was closed meaning that the flow rate into LHR was down to 30 per hour, so it did cause a bit of disruption.

BP777



Forever Flight
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31679 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1741 times:

Quoting AsstChiefMark (Reply 3):
Lawns will be greasy and slippery. The first rain will bring a rash of car crashes as they slip around on the floating oil.

Exactly what I was thinking.Any methods to reduce this.What about chances that Oil vapours will settle on the Airport areas.
regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 9, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1708 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):
I stand corrected. But wouldn't a volcanic outburst be much more serious?

More serious immediate consequences as volcanic ash has a greater tendency to clog up engines and instrument ports.
It's also often (depending on the exact composition) highly corrosive, thus potentially causing serious structural damage).

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
.What about chances that Oil vapours will settle on the Airport areas.

Quite real, if they're downwind and it starts to rain while the cloud of soot is over them.
Airport fire departments are probably quite prepared to deal with such situations though, they have the chemicals needed in stock (but probably not in the massive bulk required to clean the entire infrastructure).



I wish I were flying
User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1699 times:

This is the worry at the moment as they put the fire out the smoke will descend and deposit soot over the area. At the moment, according to a BA pilot the smoke is up to 6000ft. They are using 30,000 litres a second of water and combined foam in attempt to put it out, but the consequences as the smoke looses the heat is that it drops.

User currently offlineMsllsmith From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 396 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1632 times:

Which airports are in the immediate vicinity of this fire?


There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 12, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1629 times:

Quoting Msllsmith (Reply 11):
Which airports are in the immediate vicinity of this fire?

Stansted right? Or is it Luton? Blech I can't remember. It also depends what you mean by "immediate vicinity". The London airports (LHR, LGW, LCY, STN, LUT) aren't all that far away from each other at aviation speeds.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineMsllsmith From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 396 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1626 times:

Thanks.... I was fishing for Luton. I'll (sigh) have to do the research myself, I guess.  Smile

(an aside..... Starlionblue.... I've liked your technical responses for a long time. I finally got around to adding you to my "respected users" list.... Of course, that and $2.00 will still get you on the NYCTS .... subway... Smile)



There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1626 times:

The closest airport is Luton however fortunately the wind has helped and taken the smoke away from the airport. BA has said they have at least 3 days fuel at Heathrow, but Heathrow itself has said as the pipeline from the terminal is one of the main sources of fuel they are asking airlines to refuel elsewhere to help them out at the moment.

This is where the explosion was:



And this is where one of the holding stacks for Heathrow is:



but fortunately the wind has kept things out the way!


User currently offlineMsllsmith From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 396 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1617 times:

Well thanks to you too, Julesmusician! You're obviously a new member, but a hard working member!

(Enough with the personal messages.... (from me)...... wouldn't want to anger the Mods!)


 biggrin 



There's nothing more beautiful than flying into the dawn.
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17030 posts, RR: 67
Reply 16, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1610 times:

I got the IATA code for Luton wrong! It's LTN, not LUT!  banghead 

Quoting Msllsmith (Reply 13):
Thanks.... I was fishing for Luton. I'll (sigh) have to do the research myself, I guess. Smile

(an aside..... Starlionblue.... I've liked your technical responses for a long time. I finally got around to adding you to my "respected users" list.... Of course, that and $2.00 will still get you on the NYCTS .... subway... Smile)

Thanks. But just for the record, I am not in the aviation industry in any way, shape or form. But I can pretend  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13193 posts, RR: 77
Reply 17, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1598 times:

Risk assessments within BA are always under constant review, but this incident is making look longer and harder at what might happen if LHR's fuel farm went up in flames.

User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1597 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 17):


Risk assessments within BA are always under constant review, but this incident is making look longer and harder at what might happen if LHR's fuel farm went up in flames.

Do you know if you can just turn up at foreign airports and refuel or does this all have to be pre-ordered? I assume that just because this has happened you can't turn up in say Paris, fill up, without pre ordering them?


User currently offlinePhollingsworth From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 825 posts, RR: 5
Reply 19, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1556 times:

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 18):
Do you know if you can just turn up at foreign airports and refuel or does this all have to be pre-ordered? I assume that just because this has happened you can't turn up in say Paris, fill up, without pre ordering them?

Independent of that the airlines flying shorter routes from Europe can tanker fuel into LHR. This is exactly what happened in ATL after Katrina, except while our pipelines were down airlines were tankering from ATL to the Gulf coast. So the actual fuel use rate did not change all that much. The price did go up to over $3.00 per gallon though.


User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1532 times:

So it is not too much of a pain or difficult to transfer fuel from aircraft to aircraft then? I haven't even thought about that being done - that must cause chaos for airline accounts as payment has to go to different people and there must be other associated problems with doing it?

User currently offlineOly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6703 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1511 times:

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 20):
So it is not too much of a pain or difficult to transfer fuel from aircraft to aircraft then?

It is potentially quite dangerous. As we've seen, fuel can go with a big bang if something goes wrong.

What could happen is that shorthaul aircraft will have enough fuel so that they don't need to refuel in London. Some aircraft could well start the day full and have enough fuel to do all their sectors during the day. Longhaul aircraft could fly to another airport to tank up. A few years ago there was a fuel strike in Paris and some AF long haulers refuelled in MAN, amongst other airports, before continuing their journey.

I think as a matter of routine airliners will not just appear at another airport and expect fuel. The flight will be planned in advance and needs will be specified. Exceptions will be bad weather (fog/wind), though diversion airports are specified on flight plans, tech stops due to higher than expected en-route winds for example, or medical emergencies or disruptive passengers, and events like 9-11 where you have little choice about where to land.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineMeister808 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 973 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1508 times:

Quoting Jwenting (Reply 9):
More serious immediate consequences as volcanic ash has a greater tendency to clog up engines and instrument ports.
It's also often (depending on the exact composition) highly corrosive, thus potentially causing serious structural damage).

Volcanic ash is a problem because the extreme heat of a jet engine will actually heat the ash (which isn't ash like you get from a wood fire, it is actually tiny bits of rock) to the point that it will become molten and congeal like concrete in the engine. This, needless to say, causes big problems, since at very least rocks start forming in the combustion chamber, and, at worst, the engine stops moving because it has been locked in place.

On the exact flip side, an oil fire probably does good things for the engine, since it is essentially adding lubricant to the air.

-Meister



Twin Cessna 812 Victor, Minneapolis Center, we observe your operation in the immediate vicinity of extreme precipitation
User currently offlineWillo From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1462 times:

Just a couple of things. Buncefield is a store depot, not a refinery. It is on a a pipeline network that supplies Heathrow, Gatwick and other fuel depots in the South East from refineries at Fawley and the Isle of Grain.

User currently offlinePhollingsworth From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 825 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (8 years 8 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1445 times:

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 20):
So it is not too much of a pain or difficult to transfer fuel from aircraft to aircraft then? I haven't even thought about that being done - that must cause chaos for airline accounts as payment has to go to different people and there must be other associated problems with doing it?



Quoting Oly720man (Reply 21):
It is potentially quite dangerous. As we've seen, fuel can go with a big bang if something goes wrong.

What could happen is that shorthaul aircraft will have enough fuel so that they don't need to refuel in London. Some aircraft could well start the day full and have enough fuel to do all their sectors during the day.

The offloading of fuel is probably similar to what was being done recently down in CPT. Here in ATL and probably at LHR it would just be tankering for the return routes. Of course you could still off load fuel. The risk of explosion is actually very low, though there is still a risk of fire, deflagration not detonation. The major problem with offloading fuel is that it takes substantially longer to suck the fuel out than it does to push it in.


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