Red Notice to Airlines on the Pacific as Volcano erupts


Darwin - Roaring Mount Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra started to spew columns of ash over 16,400 feet into the atmosphere and on its slopes on Monday, February 19.

Authorities said that ash clouds had risen as far as 16,000 feet. The regional volcanic ash advisory center in Darwin, Australia, issued a "Red Notice" to airlines.

Mount Sinabung is one of the more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval. It's located at so-called "Ring of Fire" on the Pacific, an arc of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Basin.

Volcanic ash clouds are a flight safety hazard, especially during night flights. Volcanic ash is thick and erosive, and can quickly cause significant damage to engine blades. It can also cover cockpit windows and reduce visibility. The ash contaminates fuel and water systems. Its particles have a low melting point, so they melt in the combustion chamber and sticks to turbine blades, fuel nozzles, and combustors. Depending on the level of penetration it might lead to a total engine failure.

The incident of British Airways Flight 9 on 24 June 1982, most commonly known as Jakarta Incident, is one of the most notorious incidents in aviation history caused by volcanic ashes.