Flight Cancellations

  creative21 18:51 04 Feb 2012

It has hardly started snowing and they are already cancelling flights. What is going on?

  wiz-king 18:57 04 Feb 2012

Very snowy in the rest of Europe, even frozen some canals in Venice.

  creative21 19:06 04 Feb 2012

Yes it has been, but it is only now being said.

  spuds 19:16 04 Feb 2012

"but its only now being said".

No it hasn't, there have been warnings from a few days ago, especially about the weather coming in from Europe. But from tomorrow onwards,if the forecaster's are correct, it looks like things might get better, here in the UK at least!.

  creative21 01:14 05 Feb 2012

Yes spuds, no body reads these letters. They have cancelled flights tomorro before the snow has arrived all flights in other airports have been cancelled. Why, they have just spent millions on snow clearing equipment and admit defeat before it has started. This country is a laughing stock, Precisely Spuds look at all the warning. Its business not as usual in our dear country a bit of snow and all stops. I wonder how many will be trapped on the roads in the morning because they didn't know. They should left out there.

  Devil Fish 01:22 05 Feb 2012

before you steam in with the laughing stock quote maybe you should check which flights have been cancelled and the weather situation at that particular destination.Its not just old blighty being affected by snow you know

  Forum Editor 09:26 05 Feb 2012

"This country is a laughing stock"

Comments like that - referring to cancelled flights - simply demonstrate a lack of understanding about how aircraft movements work.

In an average year the airport handles 480,000 flights carrying 67 million passengers. At peak times there is an aircraft landing or taking off every 46 seconds. Heathrow is one of the world's busiest airports, and when it snows the airport has to make decisions very rapidly indeed. Putting snow-handling equipment onto the runways means no take-off or landing, and if the snow falls during the day or evening it's a nightmare - inbound flights have already departed from their destinations.

People who make derisive remarks about the airport when it has to cancel flights because of snow might do well to think about how they would deal with the situation without disrupting departures and arrivals. It's easier for smaller, less busy airports to deal with snow on runways, aircraft stands and taxi-ways, because the intervals between aircraft movements are longer.

If we routinely had heavy snowfall the airport would gear up for winter in advance by reducing the number of flights it handles. It would lose out commercially as a result, and passengers - particularly regular business travellers - would go looking for other airports to fly from and to. Heathrow isn't a state-run enterprise, it's a commercial operation, and like all businesses the aim is to make a profit. Everyone who is involved in traffic handling would dearly love to sail through the snow with no cancellations, but logistics and safety considerations influence the way the airport functions.

  sunnystaines 09:37 05 Feb 2012

many years ago in when passenger planes were prop driven eg viscount, convair 440,etc at heathrow took off in the snow the runways were gritted, and workers would be on raised platforms hosing down the planes. in light snow like last night took off. nor sure if jet engines have problems with snow or not or if modern radar cannot cope with snow.

  morddwyd 09:53 05 Feb 2012

"if modern radar cannot cope with snow."

Modern radar is used by the Met Office to actually detect snow, on the other hand, storm warning radar used by modern jetliners allows them to avoid snow, it's all down to the frequency of the transmissions.

Jets are more vulnerable to turbulence that piston engines, because the disruption to the airflow (to the engine, not over the flying surfaces) can put the fire out.

You should also remember that once a modern airliner gets to lower levels, below perhaps 20,000 feet it is operating in an environment which is not its optimum design area.

Near the ground is is operating in an air density and with directional restrictions totally outside its design envelope.

  Kevscar1 10:37 05 Feb 2012

so they are not designed to takeoff and land.

  bremner 11:01 05 Feb 2012

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

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