What should a pilot do if confronted with a cloud of potentially deadly volcanic dust on a commercial flight filled with passengers? On April 15 this year’s Pratt & Whitney Distinguished Lecturer, Prof. Micheal Dunn of The Ohio State University and Director of The Ohio State University Gas Turbine Laboratory, had some practical answers.
His timely presentation, titled ‘“Volcanic Ash – Aircraft Engine Encounters,” provided information on the challenges volcanic ash presents to the airline industry. Covering known engine damage mechanisms, recommendations on preparing air crew to recognize and respond to cloud contamination, and techniques fo
r safe operation of an engine until an aircraft can move out of a contamination area, Prof. Dunn wound up his talk with the current state-of-the-art in dust cloud migration prediction and a discussion of how an air crew can manage cloud contamination beyond what was predicted by ground controllers.
The Pratt & Whitney Distinguished Lecture was established in 2010 with a gift to the Mechanical Engineering department from UTC Pratt & Whitney. Each year, an authority in gas turbine technology is invited to present a lecture at UConn, accompanied by a visit to Pratt & Whitney Engineering and United Technologies Research Center.