Why volcano eruptions ground the airlines

The international air traffic system is in disarray today because a volcanic eruption in Iceland has sent an ash cloud into the path of jetliners. So many flights have been grounded.

What’s the problem? Capt. Eric Moody of British Airways has the answer firsthand. He was at the controls of a Boeing 747 which inadvertently flew into a volcanic ash cloud. All four engines quit and the plane dropped from 37,000 feet to 12,000 feet.

How do you announce that to your passengers? He told the BBC:

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are all doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.”

Here’s an interview with Moody about the incident:




  • Momkat

    What a wonderfully understated announcement from the captain. And obviously his damnedest was good enough.