|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : segu.airport|
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||A300|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
ground : parked
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Anomaly||non adherence : company policies|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other other : person 1|
|Primary Problem||Environmental Factor|
Tungurahua volcano in ecuador began erupting in late august 2003. I talked with the director of the ecuador geophysical institute and his staff members about the eruption. He told me that this particular nearly continuous series of eruptions was very different than past events that involved only brief venting of minor amounts of ash and steam. All indicators were that the volcano had begun a much more active phase with increased seismic activity, eruptions and explosions, and emissions of significant amounts of steam and ash. In late august the volcanic ash advisories, both written summaries and graphic depictions, issued by the washington vaac office clearly stated and depicted an ash plume from surface to FL240, 13 mi wide, extending 59 mi from the summit to the southwest towards guayaquil, ecuador. Another ash cloud was reported by the ecuador institute at FL230 moving west. The ash advisory and graphic from 6 hours earlier depicted an ash plume from the surface to FL240 from the summit to over the city of guayaquil continuing to the southwest out over the pacific. Our flight (a ZZZ-guayaquil A300 with more than 200 passenger and crew on board) was scheduled to arrive gye at XA09, well after dark. Volcanic ash cannot be seen at night or tracked by radar or otherwise detected by an aircraft flying in the dark. The captain and I, after consultation with other agencies, elected to hold the flight overnight at ZZZ. The delay would assure that the flight would arrive in the gye area during daylight hours. In an effort to assist the captain and I in our decision to delay the flight, the soc manager decided to call commercial WX information provider. He connected to an unknown person from commercial WX information provider with the apt at the gate in ZZZ, but try as he might he could not get me on the line as well. The captain later told me that the unknown person at commercial WX information provider told her that the winds in the area were from west/east and that any ash was being 'blown to the east over the jungle away from gye.' I had on my screen at that time a 1 hour old satellite photograph which clearly showed a plume from tungurahua volcano extending to the southeast directly towards gye. The commercial WX information provider person obviously did not know what he was talking about. And yet this person, with perhaps no airline experience, told my pilot that everything was alright and that she should go ahead and depart. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter advised that he is, in fact, a dispatcher for the air carrier involved and performed that function for this flight. In light of this information the report itself becomes completely understandable and the actions of the reporter and the flight crew involved were exactly correct. Reporter also advised that he was concerned in a general nature about the quality of meteorological information available through the commercial WX information provider whose services are contracted by his company as a less expensive alternative to an in-house department.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: DUE TO VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IN THE VICINITY OF THE DEST, ACR FLT TO GYE DELAYED UNTIL ARR ASSURED IN DAYLIGHT HRS.
Narrative: TUNGURAHUA VOLCANO IN ECUADOR BEGAN ERUPTING IN LATE AUGUST 2003. I TALKED WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE ECUADOR GEOPHYSICAL INSTITUTE AND HIS STAFF MEMBERS ABOUT THE ERUPTION. HE TOLD ME THAT THIS PARTICULAR NEARLY CONTINUOUS SERIES OF ERUPTIONS WAS VERY DIFFERENT THAN PAST EVENTS THAT INVOLVED ONLY BRIEF VENTING OF MINOR AMOUNTS OF ASH AND STEAM. ALL INDICATORS WERE THAT THE VOLCANO HAD BEGUN A MUCH MORE ACTIVE PHASE WITH INCREASED SEISMIC ACTIVITY, ERUPTIONS AND EXPLOSIONS, AND EMISSIONS OF SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF STEAM AND ASH. IN LATE AUGUST THE VOLCANIC ASH ADVISORIES, BOTH WRITTEN SUMMARIES AND GRAPHIC DEPICTIONS, ISSUED BY THE WASHINGTON VAAC OFFICE CLRLY STATED AND DEPICTED AN ASH PLUME FROM SURFACE TO FL240, 13 MI WIDE, EXTENDING 59 MI FROM THE SUMMIT TO THE SW TOWARDS GUAYAQUIL, ECUADOR. ANOTHER ASH CLOUD WAS RPTED BY THE ECUADOR INSTITUTE AT FL230 MOVING W. THE ASH ADVISORY AND GRAPHIC FROM 6 HRS EARLIER DEPICTED AN ASH PLUME FROM THE SURFACE TO FL240 FROM THE SUMMIT TO OVER THE CITY OF GUAYAQUIL CONTINUING TO THE SW OUT OVER THE PACIFIC. OUR FLT (A ZZZ-GUAYAQUIL A300 WITH MORE THAN 200 PAX AND CREW ON BOARD) WAS SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE GYE AT XA09, WELL AFTER DARK. VOLCANIC ASH CANNOT BE SEEN AT NIGHT OR TRACKED BY RADAR OR OTHERWISE DETECTED BY AN ACFT FLYING IN THE DARK. THE CAPT AND I, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH OTHER AGENCIES, ELECTED TO HOLD THE FLT OVERNIGHT AT ZZZ. THE DELAY WOULD ASSURE THAT THE FLT WOULD ARRIVE IN THE GYE AREA DURING DAYLIGHT HRS. IN AN EFFORT TO ASSIST THE CAPT AND I IN OUR DECISION TO DELAY THE FLT, THE SOC MGR DECIDED TO CALL COMMERCIAL WX INFO PROVIDER. HE CONNECTED TO AN UNKNOWN PERSON FROM COMMERCIAL WX INFO PROVIDER WITH THE APT AT THE GATE IN ZZZ, BUT TRY AS HE MIGHT HE COULD NOT GET ME ON THE LINE AS WELL. THE CAPT LATER TOLD ME THAT THE UNKNOWN PERSON AT COMMERCIAL WX INFO PROVIDER TOLD HER THAT THE WINDS IN THE AREA WERE FROM W/E AND THAT ANY ASH WAS BEING 'BLOWN TO THE E OVER THE JUNGLE AWAY FROM GYE.' I HAD ON MY SCREEN AT THAT TIME A 1 HR OLD SATELLITE PHOTOGRAPH WHICH CLRLY SHOWED A PLUME FROM TUNGURAHUA VOLCANO EXTENDING TO THE SE DIRECTLY TOWARDS GYE. THE COMMERCIAL WX INFO PROVIDER PERSON OBVIOUSLY DID NOT KNOW WHAT HE WAS TALKING ABOUT. AND YET THIS PERSON, WITH PERHAPS NO AIRLINE EXPERIENCE, TOLD MY PLT THAT EVERYTHING WAS ALRIGHT AND THAT SHE SHOULD GO AHEAD AND DEPART. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR ADVISED THAT HE IS, IN FACT, A DISPATCHER FOR THE ACR INVOLVED AND PERFORMED THAT FUNCTION FOR THIS FLT. IN LIGHT OF THIS INFO THE RPT ITSELF BECOMES COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE AND THE ACTIONS OF THE RPTR AND THE FLT CREW INVOLVED WERE EXACTLY CORRECT. RPTR ALSO ADVISED THAT HE WAS CONCERNED IN A GENERAL NATURE ABOUT THE QUALITY OF METEOROLOGICAL INFO AVAILABLE THROUGH THE COMMERCIAL WX INFO PROVIDER WHOSE SVCS ARE CONTRACTED BY HIS COMPANY AS A LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE TO AN IN-HOUSE DEPT.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.