Volcano Eruption in Iceland

There where a lot of flight delays after the eruption of the Iceland volcano. I was wondering why it would delay flights and what a volcano could do to a plane. When you think of a volcano often times you think of the initial eruption and the flow of lava down the hill side. That is not all a volcano eruption creates. It also creates a great billow of smoke that rises into the air carrying debris along with it. Inside this great cloud is very fine ash that is moving quickly. If a plain where to collide with this cloud it would sandblast the plain and cause some of its flight instruments to stop working correctly. It would be somewhat like flack that is used to shoot down enemy planes in a war.

I set out to find out about this because of a post on facebook. I was lead to believe that it would somehow effect the electronics on the plane. I was thinking more along the lines of power failure and loss of control of the plane due to no power. It turns out that the main problem would be hardware failure such as the engines of the plane. The plane would have a significant amount of weight added to it because of the ash and would become somewhat hard to control. So ,in conclusion, I am glad that there are airport advisers out there who can see these hazards before someone gets hurt.