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Satellite surveillance of volcanic ash plumes, application to aircraft safety

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Abstract

The early phreatomagmatic and magmatic explosive activity of Redoubt Volcano, December 14–16, 1989, produced several ashladen eruption columns that caused significant damage to jet aircraft.

The major aircraft-ash incident occurred December 15 at 1150 AST, when a KLM Boeing 747 jet aircraft, enroute from Amsterdam to Anchorage with 231 passengers and 14 crew members, flew through an ash plume east of Talkeetna, Alaska, at an altitude of 7.5 km and experienced sudden shutdown of all four engines. For 12 minutes the jet glided steeply from 7.5 km to 3.5 km before the crew managed to restart the engines after seven or eight tries. The plane came within about 1500 m of the mountain tops before landing safely at Anchorage International Airport.

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