All four engines of a KLM Boeing 747 temporarily shut down yesterday when the jumbo jet flew through a cloud of ash from the erupting Redoubt Volcano in Alaska, Government officials reported.
The huge airliner descended from 25,000 feet to 12,000 feet in eight minutes before the crew was able to restart two of the engines, and all four were operating when the plane, traveling from Amsterdam to Tokyo, landed at 12:25 P.M. in Anchorage, where it had been scheduled to stop for refueling.
The Redoubt (pronounced REED-out) Volcano, 115 miles southwest of Anchorage, erupted Thursday for the first time since 1966 and twice yesterday. The eruption of the 10,197-foot volcano caused ash, which can damage aircraft engines, to be spewed miles into the air. A cloud of ash drifted toward Anchorage, then passed the city. The jetliner was about 75 miles northwest of Anchorage and about 135 miles from the volcano when it flew through the cloud yesterday. #3 Airliners Halt Operations Paul Steucke, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration office in Anchorage, said the agency had issued seven notices to all pilots in the past 36 hours advising them of the volcanic ash cloud and the direction it was moving. He said that the agency knew of three airlines – Alaska, Markair and Delta – that had halted operations into Anchorage but that it was up to individual operators to decide what to do about the alerts.
Governor Bobby Jindal delivering the Republican response to the President on February 24, 2009:
While some of the projects in the bill make sense, their legislation is larded with wasteful spending. It includes … $140 million for something called “volcano monitoring.” Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington, D.C.
Part of the money for “volcano monitoring” Jindal mentioned is slated for continued monitoring of active volcanoes, including Mount Redoubt in Alaska.
Alaska’s Mt. Redoubt volcano erupted five times overnight, throwing ash as high as 60,000 feet into the air, threatening air travel and raising health risks in some sparsely populated areas.
The biggest effect was likely to be on air travel. Nineteen civilian flights have already been canceled, Waythomas said.
In addition, the Air Force said 60 planes, including jet fighters, were being sheltered at Elmendorf Air Force Base outside Anchorage.
Above image from Alaska Volcano Observatory.