Iceland's Volcanic Ash Affects GA Flights

Reports from European general aviation operators did not have the same dire content as those of the airlines. With days worth of canceled flights, air carriers were criticized as overcautious in the wake of the Iceland volcano eruption and the subsequent plume of volcanic ash spreading throughout the continent. Tentative test flights launched early this week, with the mission of evaluating potential damage to engines and airframes from flight into varying densities of ash.

In a statement, the FAA supported the decision to make first steps toward a return to the skies. "This gradual, cautious return of operation is reliant on the track of the volcanic ash cloud, which is being monitored closely. The FAA is continuing to work with the European Union and is sharing technical information and guidance based on previous experience managing weather and volcanic events that have affected portions of U.S. airspace." This is perhaps a reference to the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and effect on aviation from the subsequent volcanic dust plume.