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csturdiv
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Bushfires & Aircraft

Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:48 pm

Question from a hobbyist with no industry knowledge. How does something like bushfires and the smoke & haze affect aircraft, such as engines or other sensitive parts? Are there extra precautions and checks that are done? Right now parts of the eastern part of Australia are on fire, and here in New South Wales, there are over 100 fires burning which have been leaving Sydney in a thick smoke & haze. For example, this was yesterday as I left work (my office is in Alexandria, just a short hop from SYD):

Image

Kind of related, a few weeks ago a little fire broke out in the northern Sydney area in the bush, and it happened to be during the evening news broadcast. A news copter was in the area, hovering and filming the Coulson C-130 doing some "bombing" runs over the fire area. Despite the fire danger in the area for those that lived nearby, it was so cool to see that plane maneuver and line up for the drops.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:05 am

Not much enroute, but can drive visibility to minimums for landing.
 
Okie
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:46 am

csturdiv wrote:
Question from a hobbyist with no industry knowledge. How does something like bushfires and the smoke & haze affect aircraft, such as engines or other sensitive parts?


The smoke itself is the result of an incomplete combustion process, whether brush, logs, coal or any hydrocarbon.

I suspect there may be some shorting of combustor life if the turbine ran in that regime constantly.

Considering that some of the turbines are operating >20,000 hours on wing that a few short minutes would be pretty hard to quantify.

Okie

Edit to add: If we were talking about flying through volcano ash then that is a different subject.
 
LH707330
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:33 pm

Sustained thinner smoke usually doesn't do much, but there can be thermal effects from ongoing fires. I remember during my IFR checkride we flew over a fire and got bumped around quite a bit from the rising air/smoke column.
 
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csturdiv
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Sun Dec 08, 2019 2:53 am

Thanks for the info.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
 
chimborazo
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:05 pm

LH707330 wrote:
Sustained thinner smoke usually doesn't do much, but there can be thermal effects from ongoing fires. I remember during my IFR checkride we flew over a fire and got bumped around quite a bit from the rising ai n r/smoke column.


Did not ATC or your pre-flight brief warn you about the fire? Or could you not see it?!
 
LH707330
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:44 pm

chimborazo wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
Sustained thinner smoke usually doesn't do much, but there can be thermal effects from ongoing fires. I remember during my IFR checkride we flew over a fire and got bumped around quite a bit from the rising ai n r/smoke column.


Did not ATC or your pre-flight brief warn you about the fire? Or could you not see it?!

No, it was a smallish fire, but enough that it caused some updrafts at 3000 feet. I couldn't see it because I had a lamp shade on.
 
VapourTrails
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:53 am

csturdiv wrote:
Question from a hobbyist with no industry knowledge. How does something like bushfires and the smoke & haze affect aircraft, such as engines or other sensitive parts? Are there extra precautions and checks that are done? Right now parts of the eastern part of Australia are on fire, and here in New South Wales, there are over 100 fires burning which have been leaving Sydney in a thick smoke & haze.

Thanks to the OP for asking - I was wondering the same thing. I flew this week and the smoke around CBR was the thickest I have experienced on a flight to date. Didn’t have any idea until the Captain made an announcement early in the descent about what to expect, and not to be alarmed by the smell in the cabin. I personally couldn’t smell anything until after we landed and the main door was open. Maybe that is because I have become accustomed to it, to a certain degree. The flight was not bumpy at all, or no more than usual. I thought the wing looked quite dirty, but maybe that was just a perception. My short experience as commercial pax gave me some appreciation for firefighters in the air, working in these conditions.

I took these photos, the last photo on climb out showing the closest fires that resulted in the smoke on the return flight, which have been burning for two weeks now. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-n ... r-past-40c

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:34 pm

LH707330 wrote:
chimborazo wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
Sustained thinner smoke usually doesn't do much, but there can be thermal effects from ongoing fires. I remember during my IFR checkride we flew over a fire and got bumped around quite a bit from the rising ai n r/smoke column.


Did not ATC or your pre-flight brief warn you about the fire? Or could you not see it?!

No, it was a smallish fire, but enough that it caused some updrafts at 3000 feet. I couldn't see it because I had a lamp shade on.


The check airman obviously didn’t think it a hazard.

GF
 
LH707330
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:54 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
LH707330 wrote:
chimborazo wrote:


Did not ATC or your pre-flight brief warn you about the fire? Or could you not see it?!

No, it was a smallish fire, but enough that it caused some updrafts at 3000 feet. I couldn't see it because I had a lamp shade on.


The check airman obviously didn’t think it a hazard.

GF

Yeah, she was amused when I asked if there was something burning in the plane after smoke came in the cabin vents. "Naaah, just a small forest fire down there, keep flying the approach."
 
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csturdiv
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:10 pm

VapourTrails wrote:
I took these photos, the last photo on climb out showing the closest fires that resulted in the smoke on the return flight, which have been burning for two weeks now. Source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-n ... r-past-40c


I saw some similar pictures on an Australian Spotters Group on Facebook. Tuesday was really bad in Sydney, cooler weather since then has helped a bit and it has not been hazy and the "ash snow" has stopped falling and covering my table and chairs out by the BBQ.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
 
VapourTrails
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:58 am

Image
Source: https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/ ... -to-close/

From the article 2 January 2020: "According to the US air quality index, Canberra had the worst air quality of the major cities in the world with readings higher than Beijing in China and New Dehli in India. The smoke has blown in from fires on either side of Canberra with the South Coast fires in the east and the Dunns Road fire, near Mount Kosciuszko in the west. The air quality rating peaked at 5185 at 8pm on Wednesday night in Canberra's south at the Monash air quality station which is 26 times above hazardous levels. As of 1pm on Thursday, the Monash air quality station had an index rating of 2533. In the north, the Florey air quality station had a rating of 2126 and the Civic air quality station was 2180.

At the Canberra Airport on Thursday morning, there was 600 metres of visibility, on a clear day visibility from the Bureau of Meteorology's radar is 10 kilometres. Despite the low visibility no Qantas aircrafts had experienced a delay in departures of arrivals at Canberra Airport. Virgin aircrafts had not experienced delays either due to smoke haze, a spokesman said." Webcam source: https://www.canberraairport.com.au/flights/flightcam/

Interested of any contributions from aircraft engineers, ground crews or pilots as to the logistics or maintenance in this type of situation? It is not affecting flights so would it just be business as usual? Sydney had this before Christmas, not sure if there were any issues there?
 
zeeth
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Re: Bushfires & Aircraft

Thu Jan 09, 2020 5:22 am

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