How volcanic ash can bring down an airplane

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When Mount Sinabung in Indonesia erupted on Monday morning, the volcano threw a cloud of ash and gas more than 23,000 feet into the air. The eruption triggered a "red warning" for the aviation industry, alerting the pilots of the ash cloud so they could stay away from it. But could the tiny particles of volcanic ash shoot down an airplane?
Absolutely. In fact, the mixture of crushed rocks, gases and tiny fragments of glass in a cloud of volcanic ash can sandblast the outside of the plane, melt into the engine and fry the main navigation and communications systems. That's why nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers around the world are watching volcanic eruptions like yesterday, one of the largest in Sinabung since the volcano awoke in …

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