Unveiling the Greatest Threats: Sand and Volcanic Ash Perils for Aircraft

In 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland was responsible for the closure of European airspace for almost two..


In 2010, the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland caused the closure of European airspace for nearly two weeks, capturing worldwide attention. For those in the aviation industry, the mention of sand and volcanic ash has always been cause for concern, and this incident vividly illustrated why. In recent years, high-profile events such as the 2017 volcanic eruption in Bali and this year’s eruption in Hawaii have underscored the critical need for a high-spec, user-friendly solution to inspect aircraft engines in extreme conditions, including intense heat, sandstorms, and volcanic eruptions.

During large-scale incidents, comprehensive inspections are mandatory, covering both hot and cold climates. Sand and volcanic ash present similar hazards, capable of grounding planes and causing significant damage to aircraft. The danger of volcanic ash arises when ash particles are melted by the engines, subsequently solidifying in cooler parts of the engine and disrupting airflow. Moreover, ash particles can impact various sensors on the aircraft, as well as visibility and cabin air quality.

Sand, too, poses substantial challenges for aircraft, including:

  1. Engine Ingestion: Sand entering the engine can lead to critical component cracks, including combustion chambers. It’s crucial to perform essential inspections and maintenance in a controlled environment, highlighting the advantages of utilizing the IglooMX® in such scenarios.

  2. Erosion: Sand can erode exposed aircraft systems, such as rotor blades. It can also become lodged in crevices and corrode the aircraft’s exterior surfaces. Routine maintenance and repairs, such as repainting, modified paint application techniques, and frequent washing, can be efficiently executed within an IglooMX®.

  3. Windscreen Damage: Sandstorms are notorious for leaving scratches and indentations on aircraft windscreens. An inflatable hangar offers an ideal environment for effectively addressing this issue.

  4. Sand Accumulation: Aircraft frequently operating in desert conditions, like in the Middle East, may accumulate sand inside electronic components, lubricants, and the aircraft structure itself. This accumulation can lead to various issues, including an increased dry operating weight. Regular inspections and maintenance are essential to prevent such problems.

Experience IglooMX®: Protecting Aircraft Engines

Fortunately, despite several potentially dangerous incidents, no accidents, injuries, or fatalities have been attributed to volcanic ash in the air. The precautionary grounding of planes, although seemingly excessive, is a measure implemented to save lives – and it has effectively achieved that goal.

IglooMX® stands as a revolutionary solution to transform aircraft inspections and maintenance, particularly in extreme climates and remote locations. The IglooMX® can be rapidly deployed to aircraft in need, enabling repairs without exposing engineers to hazardous conditions. Our product range includes diverse and customized options designed to enhance your aircraft maintenance and servicing procedures. We are eager to discuss the solutions that best align with your business needs.

Click here to check the full range of our Aircraft Shelters.


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