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Monday, February 11, 2013

glass shattered by falling ice ball - what is blue ice


Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall, Wasim Akram,  Chaminda Vaas, Shane Warne, Shane  Watson, have all played for this club…   it is the  county of Hampshire which has the Rose Bowl cricket ground.  Its present captain is Dimitri Mascarenhas.

There was a news item in Daily Mail of a huge ice ball crashing through conservatory………. for someone in Insurance, used to seeing lot of claims for breakage of  plate glass of every description arising out of various causes, was nothing attractive at first sight…..   this particular incident reportedly occurred at Clanfield, a village in Hampshire, England.  Hampshire is a county on  the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom.  It is the largest county in South East England and the third largest shire county in the United Kingdom.  Hampshire's tourist attractions include many seaside resorts, the motor museum at Beaulieu, and national parks.  The county is famed as home of such writers as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

Daily Mail reports that ‘a lump of ice the size of a bowling ball has smashed through the roof of a home after falling from an aeroplane. Jeff Scriven, 56, was working from home when he heard an 'almighty bang' and found the huge ball shattered on his conservatory floor. The IT manager believes the ball of ice fell from a plane as it flew over Clanfield, Hampshire. He was relieved that no-one was in the room when the 6ft by 2.5ft panel smashed; 'There was glass everywhere, it had shattered a 6ft by 2.5ft double glazed panel in the roof. 'The hardwood bamboo floor has also been damaged, as has the central support which holds it all up. Mr Scriven has received a letter from the Civil Aviation Authority saying the incident had been logged.

But it added it was unlikely the responsible airline will ever be identified. The damage is estimated at several thousand pounds and Mr Scriven will be out of pocket with a £50,000 insurance excess and will lose his no claims bonus.”

If you are in any way wondering how a shattered glass in a far away county makes any news…………….. read more… and it  can be a bit nauseating.  Such incidents of falling ice from sky especially in areas closer to airports are not new.  

This phenomenon is known as “Blue Ice” – the frozen material formed by leaks in commercial aircraft lavatory waste tanks, a mixture of human waste and liquid disinfectant that freezes at high altitude. The name comes from the blue color of the disinfectant, and is a sardonic reference to the Blue Ice line of products used for cooling ice chests and similar applications.

Airlines are not allowed to dump their waste tanks in mid-flight, and pilots have no mechanism by which to do so; however, leaks reportedly do occur. There are some documented incidents of blue ice impacts in the United States and elsewhere, These were incidents which happened near airport landing path as the mass warms sufficiently to detach from the plane during its descent.  One report in www.tc.gc.ca – mentions of people living near wooded areas of Montreal having noticed strange purplish stains on their homes, cars and lawn furniture. They thought this to be stemming from airplanes dumping toilet waste as they approach the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport. Transport Canada denied stating that airplanes are equipped with watertight reservoirs designed to be emptied using specialised equipment. One report had it that these were actually bird droppings of birds having ingested wild berries – blue fruit of Virginia creeper, chokecherries and pin cherries.

The blue ice phenomenon does occur, though the washrooms of airplanes not made to be emptied in flight, either voluntarily or accidentally. It is possible that a malfunctioning valve could cause the contents of the reservoir to leak. This generally happens when an airplane is flying at high altitudes. The liquid escaping from the faulty valve freezes and sticks to the airplane's outer surface. Upon preparing for landing, when the airplane approaches the ground and the temperature rises, the ice formed by the escaping liquid begins to melt and detaches.  In tune with modern times, it is stated that aircrafts have begun using a new toilet system that uses compressed air and hardly any water, making the phenomenon even less likely to occur. 

But for the unfortunate Jeff Scriven in Hampshire, it perhaps was indeed falling ice from an air craft ~ the  very thought of such a thing falling from the sky will make ordinary mortals look to the sky in awe and disgust, perhaps every time we are near any airport


With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
Photo & News courtesy: www.dailymail.co.uk

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