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ltbewr
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40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 6:00 pm

Forty (40) years ago today, 5/18, the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens, in Washington, causing massive land damage, dozens of deaths and spewing ash for 100's of miles around. I was interested in knowing how much aviation was affect by the eruption in the USA and Canada. From what I recall, flights were suspended for anywhere near the Northwest USA and SW Canada and beyond for several weeks. Is there anyone here would could give additional information on what happened as to aviation ?
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 6:21 pm

While there were flights suspended day of, it wasn't as bad as Etceterayokull in 2010. For one thing, the dominant wind was roughly west-to-east, which meant that SEA was unaffected. PDX had to close for a very brief period during one of the later eruptions. I'm sure YKM got whacked someting fierce the first week--it was right under the maximum ashfall swath.
 
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DBCoop3r
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 6:30 pm

I would imagine GEG and PSC (in addition to YKM mentioned above) were shutdown for weeks? I remember seeing images of several feet of ash dumped east of the mountain, must have been a while before they could get it cleaned up enough for aviation to resume.
 
panam330
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 8:45 pm

BN727227Ultra wrote:
Etceterayokull

Hahahah, nice one.
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 9:02 pm

panam330 wrote:
BN727227Ultra wrote:
Etceterayokull

Hahahah, nice one.


:-)
 
luckyone
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Mon May 18, 2020 9:05 pm

This actually came up last year. Here's the thread

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1422683&p=21364583&hilit=Mt.+St.+Helens#p21364583
 
DeltaPSCFlyer
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 1:13 am

ltbewr wrote:
Forty (40) years ago today, 5/18, the volcanic eruption of Mt. St. Helens, in Washington, causing massive land damage, dozens of deaths and spewing ash for 100's of miles around. I was interested in knowing how much aviation was affect by the eruption in the USA and Canada. From what I recall, flights were suspended for anywhere near the Northwest USA and SW Canada and beyond for several weeks. Is there anyone here would could give additional information on what happened as to aviation ?


Yes...230 square miles leveled within minutes by both the largest recorded landslide in history, and the massive lateral blast towards the northeast. In all, 57 people were lost that day. What surprised everyone is that it blew sideways and eventually up. The red zone around the mountain was relatively small, assuming a traditional upwards blast. The ash cloud reached 80,000 ft., and eventually circling the globe. Most of the heaviest ash was in eastern Washington, around Yakima, Tri-Cities, Spokane, etc. The sound wave from the initial blast was heard 200 miles away, yet no one in the immediate vicinity heard a thing!

I saw a video a while back that showed a United DC-8 taking off from Rwy 28R, kicking up dust behind it. Can't speak for YKM or PSC airports; likely closed but they didn't have the passenger volumes then that they do now.

About 16 years ago, when the mountain began to reawaken with harmonic tremors, steam eruptions, etc., the north-south corridor between PDX and SEA was shut down.

Today, one of the waypoints for PDX is "KRATR" and is located at either the former Coldwater Ridge visitor center or Johnston Ridge, which is open.
 
DFW17L
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 2:27 am

The devastation is stunning - even when I went to see the area in 1994.
 
DeltaPSCFlyer
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 3:53 am

DFW17L wrote:
The devastation is stunning - even when I went to see the area in 1994.


True, it's amazing to imagine the scale of the event as you look around the landscape. Even more amazing is how quickly the area has come back to life.

I highly recommend a trip back!
 
sprxUSA
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 4:01 am

Heck I would bet YKM had more pax then. More flights, better schedules. Famous story of Hughes Airwest fight getting out early just after blast to avoid DC-9 damage.
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"
 
teachpdx
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 4:33 am

This morning the Oregonian published some first-hand accounts from that day. A few of them were from passengers or air crew flying overhead.
It sounds like at least a few passenger aircraft actually diverted toward the mountain to take in the view during the eruption.
Link here:
https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-nort ... s-ago.html
Up Next: THIS YEAR IS CANCELLED!!!
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: 40 years ago-Mt. St. Helens volcanic exposion-affect on aviation

Tue May 19, 2020 8:19 am

One part of the World I sooooooo want to go and see.

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