julesmusician
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London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:34 am



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?
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Starlionblue
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:53 am

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.
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joness0154
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 4:59 am

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
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AsstChiefMark
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:07 am

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
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VSIVARIES
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:22 am

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

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Starlionblue
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:30 am

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?
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joness0154
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 8:40 am

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.
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BritPilot777
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:20 am

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.

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HAWK21M
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 2:50 pm

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.
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jwenting
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:38 pm

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).
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julesmusician
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Mon Dec 12, 2005 7:27 pm

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.
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
msllsmith
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:48 am

Which airports are in the immediate vicinity of this fire?
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Starlionblue
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:53 am

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.
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msllsmith
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:00 am

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)
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julesmusician
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:01 am

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!
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
msllsmith
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:09 am

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 
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Starlionblue
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:19 am

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
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GDB
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:58 am

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.
 
julesmusician
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:01 am

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?
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
phollingsworth
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 5:08 am

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.
 
julesmusician
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:00 am

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?
African Civil Aviation Commission president "You don't want to fly out as a passenger and come back as cargo."
 
oly720man
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:09 am

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.
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meister808
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:20 am

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.

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willo
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:25 pm

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.
 
phollingsworth
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RE: London Refinery Explosion - Question Technical

Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:45 pm

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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