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Specialist flight scans volcano ash cloud

Published 14/05/2010

An aeroplane that can fly unaffected through volcanic ash is being used to help monitor the Icelandic ash cloud, the company behind it has said.

The Diamond DA42M Guardian, made by Austrian company Diamond Aircraft, is being kitted out with a special air sampling system to help accurately map the cloud that is causing chaos to air travel across Europe.

The plane uses a piston engine rather than a large-scale turbine jet engine, allowing it to travel unaffected through the ash, unlike large commercial jets.

A high concentration of ash ingested by a jet engine can become molten and cause engine failure, which is why planes are not allowed to fly through the cloud.

But Diamond's turbo-charged aircraft do not have problems under such conditions due to low combustion temperatures and air filters, the company said.

The unique aircraft visited the UK for the first time on Wednesday.

Belfast Telegraph

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