Belgian F-16 damaged by ash

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

BRUSSELS (AP) - An official of Europe's air traffic agency says the NATO F-16 fighter that suffered some engine damage by flying through a cloud of volcanic ash was a Belgian air force jet.

Earlier, a senior western diplomat had said that several of the NATO aircraft had flown through the ash, and that one had suffered engine damage.

The official said deposits that were similar to glass were found inside the plane's engine after a patrol through European airspace.

Volcanic ash can stick to the interior parts of a jet engine, such as the turbines. It then melts to form a glassy coating that restricts air flow.

It can also clog the tiny cooling holes on the jet's fan blades -- leading to overheating and engine failure.

NATO’s secretary-general says the ash cloud isn't affecting the military readiness of the alliance.

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