22 May 2023
 | 22 May 2023

Aircraft Engine Dust Ingestion at Global Airports

Claire L. Ryder, Clèment Bézier, Helen F. Dacre, Rory Clarkson, Vassilis Amiridis, Eleni Marinou, Emmanouil Proestakis, Zak Kipling, Angela Benedetti, Mark Parrington, Samuel Rémy, and Mark Vaughan

Abstract. Atmospheric mineral dust aerosol constitutes a threat to aircraft engines from deterioration of internal components. Here we fulfil an outstanding need to quantify engine dust ingestion at worldwide airports. The vertical distribution of dust is of key importance since ascent/descent rates and engine power both vary with altitude and affect dust ingestion. We use representative jet engine power profile information combined with vertically and seasonally varying dust concentrations to calculate the ‘dust dose’ ingested by an engine over a single ascent or descent. Using the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) model reanalysis, we calculate climatological and seasonal dust dose at 10 airports for 2003–2019. Dust doses are mostly largest in summer for descent, with the largest at Delhi (6.6 g). Beijing’s largest dose occurs in spring (2.9 g). Holding patterns at altitudes coincident with peak dust concentrations can lead to substantial quantities of dust ingestion, resulting in a larger dose than the take-off, climb and taxi phases. We compare dust dose calculated from CAMS to spaceborne lidar observations from two dust datasets derived from the Cloud–Aerosol Lidar with Orthogonal Polarization (CALIOP). In general, seasonal and spatial patterns are similar between CAMS and CALIOP though large variations in dose magnitude are found, with CAMS producing lower doses by a mean factor of 2.4±0.5, particularly when peak dust concentration is very close to the surface. We show that mitigating action to reduce engine dust damage could be achieved, firstly by moving arrivals and departures to after sunset and secondly by altering the altitude of the holding pattern away from that of the local dust peak altitude, reducing dust dose by up to 44 % or 41 % respectively.

Claire L. Ryder et al.

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-662', Anonymous Referee #1, 05 Sep 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-662', Anonymous Referee #2, 31 Oct 2023

Claire L. Ryder et al.

Claire L. Ryder et al.


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Short summary
Desert dust poses a hazard to aircraft because flying through it can cause engine components to degrade faster than they would otherwise. Here we quantify how much dust gets ingested into aircraft engines at worldwide airports. We find that Dubai and Delhi in summer are among the dustiest airports, where substantial engine degradation would occur after 1000 flights. We show that dust ingestion can be reduced by changing the time of day of flights and the altitude of holding patterns.