Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Italian Air Force launches LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) on board C-27J to check volcanic ashes

Along with ENAC (Ente Nazionale Aviazione Civile, National Civil Aviation Authority) and the CNR (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, National Research Council), on Jan. 31, 2011, the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force, ItAF) presented the project LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) for the control of the amount of ash in the atmosphere as a result of volcanic activity. Developed following the paralysis of European airspace as a consequence of the eruption of the volcano Eyjafsallajokull, in Iceland, in April 2010, the system will have an active part in mitigating the inconvenience to air traffic caused by such events. In fact airplanes have to avoid any airspace “polluted” by volcanic ash because ash can wreck the function of propeller or jet aircraft. Being extremely fine, the volcanic dust can easily invade the spaces between rotating machinery and jam it; furthermore, the silica melts at about 1.100° C and fuses on to the turbine blades and nozzle guide vanes (another part of the turbine assembly) which in modern aircraft operate at 1.400° C with catastrophic events. One of the most famous incident occurred in 1982, when a British B747 flew through an ash cloud from the Galunggung volcano in Indonesia and experienced the flame out its 4 engines. The aircraft was able to relight them only after diving some 24.000 feet.
The LIDAR is a special equipment for the detection and measurement of airborne particles, installed on board an ItAF C-27J. In case of volcanic activity with release of smoke and ash, the system can be used to rapidly provide the Department of Civil Protection and ENAC all the data required to map the areas that meet the standards of flight safety and can be used safely by the air traffic. The system has been successfully evaluated on Jan. 14, 2011, during the last eruption of Mount Etna Volcano, in SE Sicily.

Picture below courtesy of the ItAF

USS Enterprise operating in the Mediterranean Sea, SE of Sicily

The NOTAM below, issued for LIRR (Roma ACC), is one of a series which testifies the presence in the Mediterranean Sea of the USS Enterprise. The “Big E” will be conducting blue waters ops between SE Sicily and the Tyrrheanian Sea until Feb. 4. However, since civil war and anarchy seem to be a concrete risk as thousands Egyptians are clashing with police forces defying the curfew to protest against President Mubarak to express a demand for more democracy and the improvement of living standards, it is quite probable that Enterprise Strike Group will be ready to relocate rather quickly off the coasts of Egypt, to take part to the eventual evacuation of the US Embassy (currently defended by the Egyptian Army) or of American citizens unable to leave the country, should the need arise.

W0268/11 (Issued for LIRR PART 1 OF 2) – NAV WARNING.
CARRIER FLIGHT OPERATIONS WILL BE CONDUCTED IN
ROMA FIR/UIR (NORTH OF 363000N) IN INTL WATERS WI 150NM RADIUS OF
354000N0154500E (LMMM FIR/UIR) /MEDITERRANEAN SEA-SE SICILY ISLAND/
RMK: 1. ACFT WILL OPERATE UNDER THE PROVISION OF DUE REGARD
FOR THE SAFETY OF OTHER AIR AND SFC TFC IN THE VICINITY
OF THE FLEET. ALL FLIGHTS WILL COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE
ICAO PROCEDURES FOR FLT IN INTL AIRSPACE. ACFT WILL
OPERATE IN VMC OR WI RADAR SURVEILLANCE AND RDO COM OF
A SFC OR AIRBORNE RADAR FACILITY. THESE CONDITIONS
PROVIDE A LEVEL OF SAFETY EQUIVALENT TO THAT NORMALLY
GIVEN BY ICAO AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AGENCIES AND FULFILL
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OBLIGATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 3
OF THE CHICAGO CONVENTION OF 1944 WHICH STIPULATES
THERE MUST BE ‘DUE REGARD’ FOR THE SAFETY OF NAVIGATION
OF CIVIL ACFT WHEN FLT IS NOT BEING CONDUCTED UNDER
ICAO FLIGHT PROCEDURES. ESSENTIALLY, FLT UNDER THE
‘DUE REGARD’ OR ‘OPERATIONAL’ OPTION OBLIGATES THE
END PART 1 OF 2. 04 FEB 07:00 2011 UNTIL 04 FEB 23:59 2011.
CREATED: 28 JAN 21:25 2011

W0267/11 (Issued for LIRR PART 2 OF 2) –
OF THE CHICAGO CONVENTION OF 1944 WHICH STIPULATES
THERE MUST BE ‘DUE REGARD’ FOR THE SAFETY OF NAVIGATION
OF CIVIL ACFT WHEN FLT IS NOT BEING CONDUCTED UNDER
ICAO FLIGHT PROCEDURES. ESSENTIALLY, FLT UNDER THE
‘DUE REGARD’ OR ‘OPERATIONAL’ OPTION OBLIGATES THE
MILITARY ACFT COMMANDER TO BE HIS OWN AIR TRAFFIC
CONTROL AGENCY AND TO SEPARATE HIS ACFT FROM OTHER
AIR TRAFFIC.
2. AS FOR ALL ABOVE, GAT (GEN AIR TFC) IS REMINDED THAT
THE ITALIAN ATC WILL PROVIDE SER AS FAR AS PRACTICAL
IN CONNECTION WITH U.S STATED MILITARY ACTIVITY. SFC – FL240)
END PART 2 OF 2, 03 FEB 07:00 2011 UNTIL 03 FEB 23:59 2011.
CREATED: 28 JAN 21:18 2011

I took the following picture of USS Enterprise when I visited the aircraft carrier in 1999 at Leghorn.

Gulf Air 521 landing at Manama, Bahrain

Follow Gulf Air 521, an Airbus 320 A9C-AE from Doha to Manama, as it performs the ILS for runway 30R at Bahrain International Airport in a video made by Mauro Redaelli, an Italian Gulf Air pilot.

In addition to act as a hub for Gulf Air and Bahrain Air airlines and serve 60 destinations worldwide with 460 weekly flights of 39 international airlines, the airport is also the homebase of the Combined Task Force 53 ( CTF- 53) of the U.S. Navy, a department that is responsible to ensure the logistical support of allied land and sea pilots in the region by managing the fleet of aircraft and ships destined for this task. I took off from BIA on board a VRC-30 C-2 “Greyhound” to reach the USS Nimitz, operating off the coasts of Pakistan. The CTF-53 “Logistics” is just one of the 13 Task Forces (TFs) that make up the operational structure of the 5th Fleet, the command based in Manama, which is responsible for ensuring  deterrence capability  in an area of vital importance to U.S. interests, large about 13 million square kilometers and embracing 27 countries across the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and part Indian Ocean. Italian readers will find my special report about 5th Fleet, USS Nimitz (covering also Operation Enduring Freedom support) and Anti-piracy operations in the Somali basin and Gulf of Aden annexed to the March issue of RID.