The Alt.Disasters.Aviation FAQ Last Revision: 15 December 2000 Best viewed in a fixed pitch font. Posting-frequency: Monthly (around the 1st) Corrections and Suggestions encouraged. Please direct all comments and corrections to firstname.lastname@example.org Note: Square brackets  indicate text added or changed by the maintainer inside articles contributed by other people. ________________________________________________________________ CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1.1) What is alt.disasters.aviation, and what are its rules? 1.2) What is the purpose of this FAQ? 1.3) What questions does it leave unanswered? 1.4) Who's responsible for this FAQ? SPECIFIC ACCIDENTS 2.1) TWA 800 - Trans World Airlines, 747-131, N93119, July 17 1996 2.2) Habsheim - Air France, A320-111, F-GFKC, June 26 1988 2.3) Gimli Glider - Air Canada, 767-233, C-GAUN, July 23 1983 2.4) Concorde - Air France, Concorde, F-BTSC, July 25 2000 2.5) Swiss Air 111 CRASH INVESTIGATION 3.1) Why can't I get a copy of the CVR tape? 3.2) What are the specifications of the black boxes? AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE 4.1) Aerodynamics 4.2) Meteorology 4.3) Air Traffic Control 4.4) Airframes 4.5) Engines 4.6) Avionics OTHER RESOURCES 5.1) URL's to crash investigation agencies 5.2) URL's to aviation agencies 5.3) URL's to aviation safety magazines online 5.4) URL's to search engines 5.5) URL's of interest 5.6) Books MISCELLANEOUS 6.1) Names, Logos, Callsigns 6.2) What does IMHO mean? 6.3) Loons __________________________________________________________________________ INTRODUCTION > 1.1) What is alt.disasters.aviation, and what are its rules? This newsgroup (and *not* a room, list, site, page, or board) is for the discussion of aviation disasters and associated topics. Its participants and audience are worldwide. As it is part of the alt.* hierarchy there are no rules as such. However the usual netiquette rules should be adhered to. It is always nice to have the previous posters name and a little bit of their post included in your reply. It helps the rest of us follow your conversation. Please take any flame wars to email or a flame ng. Participants interested in the subject matter will find a killfile is essential. Unfortunately the signal to noise ratio is rather poor. New readers and lurkers to this group, please do not be put off from posting here. Some people have said that they shouldn't really be offering an opinion as they are not airline pilots, or similar sentiments. This is a free newsgroup. There are no rules and no moderator. The "Oldies" here would ask that politeness be your guide. It is not necessary to be a qualified aviation professional of any type to participate. This is an ideal place for anybody from a complete novice on up to ask questions. There are some real experts that post here. A polite post to the group is likely to be answered by someone who really knows. Opinions are also welcome, if posted as such. However, come across as brash or obnoxious and someone will step on you. It gets a bit tedious when a new postee appears who knows all the answers (usually to all the old questions). They usually last about 3 weeks and then another one turns up. Be prepared for some criticism. Criticism is not bad. If your post has been polite the criticism you will receive, if any, will be constructive. Hopefully we will all learn something. Occasionally a Loon(tm) will cry that they are being shut up because they have no right to post as they are not an aviation professional. This is wrong. They are being told to shut up because they are a Loon(tm). In fact it is rare for a Loon(tm) to be told to shut up. They are usually asked to supply evidence. A Loon(tm), by definition, is not able to supply evidence. Feel free to participate, and we look forward to reading your posts. > 1.1b) An alternate description from T.M. Oliver; ADA is not unlike your neighborhood saloon. Some pretty nice folks hang out there, many of them amazingly knowledgeable. Back in a rear booth (although bystanders are sometimes involved), a couple, BtheB and Mz LP/Debs are involved in an ongoing domestic spat. Either she has a headache or he can't get it up.... At the end of the bar, a couple of homeless degenerates hang out, mouthing off mindlessly. Either befuddled by Sweet Lucy, California Sherry, or serious prescription medications, their mumblings are given little credibility, but occasionally the crowd seeks to drown one of them out by shouting in unison, like a score in a soccer/futball match, "SPLAAAAAPS!" The other, a persistent chap, rumored to have arrived here in Area 51, is most often ignored or simply derided. Some pilots and other folks engaged in aviatory issues hang out here. A couple of'em drink too much too often. We don't hold it against them, but haul'em out dump'em in the alley, mewling and puking. Our friendly tavern is located, unfortunately, next door to the Greyhound Bus Station, and assorted feverish imbeciles and outright nutters stop in the use the phone, bepiss themselves or insult the patrons. Most of'em are easy to identify by their foil-clad helmet liners and Dr. Scholl's velcro-strapped shoes ordered by mail before the courts took away their right to contract. Most of these dropins (and they do quickly outstay their welcome) are convinced that no aircraft incident since 1903 could have possibly been due to electronic, electrical or mechanical failure or pilot error, and that all were a result of ongoing conspiracies hatched by a sekrit cabal lurking in a cavern high in the Catoctin Mountains. So step up to the bar. Newbies buy the first round. :-) ************************* > 1.2) What is the purpose of this FAQ? The purpose of this FAQ is to answer the questions that recur from time to time in this ng. The information given here is not intended to be conclusive or authoritative. It is intended to serve as a general guide to the topic and pointer to other sources with more detailed information. If you have a better answer than one already here, let us know. ************************* > 1.3) What questions does the FAQ leave unanswered? Probably quite a few. If you have questions that you think should be added to the FAQ, feel free to contact me -- especially if you also have the answers. Also, feel free to contribute whole new entries. ************************* > 1.4) Who is responsible for this FAQ? This FAQ belongs to the group. The group (and it's participants) are responsible for the contents of this FAQ. If you don't like what you see here let the maintainer know. Contributions are always warmly welcomed, as are suggestions, corrections and criticism. However, you know where to shove the flames. It is currently maintained by Phil Miller (email@example.com). This is not my regular job. I do this voluntarily. I do not currently work in the aviation industry (although I'd like to - anyone have a vacancy?) and I have never worked for the CIA. The information in this FAQ has been gleaned from various Usenet sources primarily posts to alt.disasters.aviation made by a wide variety of authors and so the maintainer must actively disclaim all responsibility for the veracity, advisability and/or legality of anything contained in the FAQ. Thanks to the following people who have contributed to it, or at least discussed its contents in a non-threatening manner; Ed Anderson, Dr. George O. Bizzigotti, Cal Burton, Kris Crook, JD Falk, Paul Gooding, John Mazor, Ralph Nesbitt, TM Oliver, Craig Shields, Lynn Wallace, and many others I have undoubtedly missed. __________________________________________________________________________ SPECIFIC ACCIDENTS > 2.1) TWA 800 Trans World Airlines, Boeing 747-131, N93119, July 17 1996 NTSB Official Factual Reports Regarding this Accident http://www.itsasafety.org/events/twa800/exhibits_web.htm > 2.1.1) Isn't it possible there has been a cover-up? Contributed by John Mazor Let's admit that it is possible that the NTSB was bamboozled or subverted by higher feds. Okay, what does that get you? "It's a possibility." You have proven nothing. In that vein, it's possible that aliens have been living among us for millennia, shaping human history and destiny. However, I'm not going to invest much time or energy or emotional capital in possibilities such as "Hitler and Stalin were aliens inserted by Zygorthians to promote human advancement through the advancements in technology that the pressure cooker of war provides. And so were three lead scientists in the Manhattan Project." It's possible, even plausible. But what are the chances? And the only possible proof of the correctness of one or the other side's arguments would be if the "not possible" event is proven to have occurred. But at that point, it is a matter of evidence, not possibilities and faith. As in any investigative process, once you complete the compilation of concrete descriptions of evidence and scientific testing, you must proceed to analysis and then to conclusions. These processes are subject to human error; but we hire and enlist vast amounts of technical expertise to do the best job that is humanly possible. TWA 800 is no different in that respect. And as in any investigative process, there are no absolutes [with respect to] getting it right. How many innocent men have gone to the gallows despite our best efforts to make the legal process fair and accurate? Any accident investigator can show you dozens of crashes where there were loose ends and debatable conclusions. Okay, so what does one do? Reject all the outcomes of these investigations? No reasonable person familiar with these processes would argue that there is zero probability of a missile. Personally, if you put a Colt .38 in my mouth and said "Gimme a number", my probability call would be 99% mechanical problem, 1% missile or bomb. At those odds, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time worrying about a missile. At some point you have to conclude that it's never going to get any clearer than what you have now, and move on. (Unless, of course, you believe as a matter of faith that there was a missile and cover-up.) If we ever find a smoking gun that proves it was a missile and cover-up, no one would be more angry and embittered and disillusioned than I and the others who have professional and personal interests in this accident. But again, that would elevate the issue to a matter of evidence, not possibilities and faith. In matters of consequence, I prefer to act on the former, not the latter. ************************** > 2.1.2) Why Should We Trust the NTSB ? Contributed by Paul Gooding NTSB is an agency with a long, public and much-admired track record. The agency investigates accidents in all venues of transportation, including aviation, marine, and highway. NTSB inherited, among other responsibilities, the duties previously assigned to the old Civil Aeronautics Board, and follows essentially the same processes used by the CAB to investigate aircraft accidents, and make safety recommendations based on the findings of those investigations. NTSB has no regulatory or other powers beyond its responsibility for investigation and recommendation. This fact is key to the independence of the Board and its activities. In thousands of cases over many years, NTSB has earned a reputation for being among the best organizations of its kind in the world. While sometimes criticized for taking a long time to gather facts and publish findings, NTSB has earned a reputation for getting things right in the most difficult of cases. NTSB uses a "party" model for large-scale investigations. The Board calls upon representatives of industry experts and stakeholders, such as an airline, the manufacturer of an airplane, manufacturers of engines and other aircraft equipment, and "best of breed" experts in diverse fields relevant to the issues in a particular case. These "parties" to the investigation work largely under their own direction and utilize methods and practices of their own choosing to discover and analyze the various facts pertaining to a case. The party system effectively inoculates NTSB against "directed outcomes" where conclusions are drawn first, and evidence to support them is sought later. The party system also creates an investigative buffer between the Board (a government agency) and other stakeholders, who are usually in the private sector. In the controversial TWA 800 case, both Boeing (the airplane manufacturer) and the Airline Pilots Association have participated in the investigation, and independently arrived at agreement with the essential findings of the NTSB in the case. NTSB usually issues, toward the end of the investigative process in any particular case, a finding of "probable cause" for an accident. The finding of probable cause is not to be mistaken for a finding of absolute certainty. NTSB's primary responsibility is to further the cause of safety, and the advance of safety often depends upon looking at the best available evidence, drawing reasonable conclusions, and applying the conclusions to changes in the design, manufacture, or operation of equipment (such as airplanes) and, sometimes, changes to the process of regulation and enforcement of regulations by the relevant agencies (such as Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA). Safety is advanced not by "proving" beyond every possible doubt that something caused or contributed to an accident, but by drawing the most reasonable conclusions from the best available evidence, and making appropriate recommendations based on those conclusions. Taking the TWA 800 case as an example, it is possible to argue that there is a very small likelihood that a foreign object, such as a meteorite, struck the airplane and precipitated the events that led to the disaster. However, a reasonable examination of the evidence, and reasonable conclusions based on that evidence, do not support a meteorite theory. The cause of aviation safety is advanced in this case by drawing the most reasonable conclusion -- namely, that a spark or other unknown ignition source caused the center wing tank, nearly empty and filled with a flammable mixture of fuel vapor and air, to detonate and thereby break up the airplane -- and then recommending remedies to the industry and to FAA which would help to prevent future occurrences of such an event. While frisky discussion of meteorite theories, the possible effects of electromagnetic energy from military operations, or errant missiles fired from Navy warships may be interesting and entertaining in the context of Usenet, these theories are not reasonable conclusions from the evidence in this accident, and it would not be appropriate to skew aviation safety efforts based upon such theories. ************************** > 2.1.3) What about the eyewitness accounts? Contributed by Paul J. Adam Forty witnesses said it came from the sea, ten said it came from land. 146 gave a direction. 77 said it ascended, 11 said it descended, 47 said it both ascended and descended, 9 said it flew level. Direction of travel... total shotgun approach. North: 7 Northeast: 2 East: 12 Southeast: 12 South: 7 Southwest: 3 West: 18 Northwest: 3 If you average them out... which is akin to saying that immersing one hand in molten lead and the other in liquid nitrogen is, on average, comfortable... The trouble comes when you try to fit a missile to the statements. Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti Here's an interesting example of why some of us with technical backgrounds are skeptical of some of the eyewitness reports. Lisa Perry was quoted in Dan's Papers, Long Island, 15 May 1998, as follows: "The plane stopped for an instant, as something would when it had suffered an impact, not just an explosion. Then it began to fracture - as if you had slammed a frozen candy bar down onto a table. You could see the spaces in between the parts of the plane. Then a moment later there was another explosion and the plane broke jaggedly in the sky." Paul Adam has made this point before, but I would like to go into detail here so that hopefully everyone can appreciate the arguments. I have seen estimates that put Ms. Perry's position 15.7 nautical miles (18 statute miles) from the crash site; that's 95,400 feet horizontally. Because she was on the ground, and TWA 800 was at 13,800 feet, she was 96,400 feet from TWA 800. A Boeing 747 is 232 feet long and 64 feet high, so TWA 800 would have appeared in Ms. Perry's field of view as 8.3 arc-minutes high by 2.3 arc-minutes wide. Now let us digress into the world of bio optics. Our eyes work because photoreceptor cells on our retinas absorb light. we are only capable of telling whether or not a cell absorbs the light, so each cell corresponds to a pixel in an image. The maximum density of the photoreceptors in the human eye is 160,000 per square millimeter. This translates to a minimum distance between these receptor cells of 2.8 micrometers. One degree of visual angle is equal to 288 micrometers on the retina, so the minimum distance between receptor cells corresponds to 0.6 arc-minutes. Based on this, the image on Ms. Perry's retina likely covered something like 50 cells out of the 100 million receptor cells in her field of vision. In addition, the angular resolution of one's eyesight is limited by Rayleigh scattering of light. With a 2 mm pupil diameter and 500 nm light (near the center of the visible spectrum and the wavelength that maximally excites the receptor cells), the minimum angular separation required to resolve two points is 1.1 arc minutes. Thus, the physical properties of light dictate that even someone with absolutely perfect eyesight cannot distinguish between objects less than 31 feet apart at 96,400 feet. By either argument, being able to distinguish the fine detail implied in Ms. Perry's statement is unbelievable. Have someone slam a frozen six inch candy bar on a table 208 feet away from you, and see if you can "see the spaces in between the parts." How can fifty pixels in a 10,000 x 10,000 image be anything more than an indistinct blur, with little recognizable detail? Note that there's nothing ideological in this argument; Bill Clinton has nothing to do with how retinas work or how light is scattered by an aperture. This is simply what a century of science has shown us about how our eyes and the universe work. Although the overall height at the tail of a 747 may be 63 ft 8 in, the narrower portion of the cabin has a width of only 20 ft; even someone with perfect eyesight could barely distinguish the top of the fuselage from the bottom at the 15.7 nm horizontal distance. As a result of this, assuming good faith on the part of Ms. Perry, we are left with only two possibilities: (1) Ms. Perry has eyes that are literally superhuman, or (2) Ms. Perry has a fallible memory. Believing option (1) requires us that Rayleigh scattering of light be temporarily suspended for the first and only time in the history of scientific record keeping. Believing option (2) requires us to believe nothing more than that Ms. Perry is human; the tendency of humans to interpolate sincerely believed details that did not actually occur into our memories is fairly well established. Thus, I would cast my vote for option (2), that Ms. Perry has unconsciously embellished her story, perhaps adding some speculative details that she heard on the TV news to her accounts given days later. That being not unusual among eyewitnesses, scientists and engineers tend to place somewhat less credence in accounts that, e.g., saw aircraft windows from over 10 miles away, than in the physical data that is available. This is why we have stated that physical data trumps eyewitness accounts. I also note that the above does not even begin to discuss the temporal dimension. How long will it take aerodynamic forces to rip apart an aircraft flying at 290 knots with fractures between parts big enough to see? My guess is that Ms. Perry's "moment" would have been incredibly short, likely too short for humans to perceive. In addition, I believe that "The plane stopped for an instant, as something would when it had suffered an impact" is a misperception. In any collision, the total momentum of the involved bodies is conserved. TWA 800's dispatch release indicated that the takeoff mass was 590,441 pounds (http://www.ntsb.gov/events/twa800/exhibits/Ex_2A.pdf); it would have burned off some of that mass during its short flight; I'll estimate 15,000 pounds. The flight data recorder shows a velocity of 290 knots immediately prior to the accident; TWA 800 had a momentum of 575,000 pounds times 489 ft sec-1, or 282,000,000 ft lb sec-1. The Standard SM-2 Extended Range missile, probably the largest missile mentioned as a candidate for the TWA 800 accident, has a mass of 2,980 pounds. Finding unclassified values for missile velocities is difficult; the highest value I have ever seen reported, even for missiles considerably smaller than the Standard is Mach 4, or roughly 2,660 mph. The Standard has a momentum of 2,980 pounds times less than 3,900 ft sec-1, or less than 12,000,000 ft lb sec-1. Even if a Standard hit a 747 head on, it would reduce the 747's momentum by no more than 12,000,000 ft lb sec-1. The 747 with the Standard sticking out the front would have a momentum of 270,000,000 ft lb sec-1; divide that by the combined mass of 578,000 pounds, and one finds that the wounded 747 would be traveling at 277 knots. Note that if the missile struck from the side or the back, the velocity would actually have increased. Also, note that because the explosive warhead is included in the mass of the missile, an explosion, although doing considerable damage, would not significantly affect the momentum of the missile-aircraft combination. We can debate how fast a missile might have been traveling, or how heavy it might have been, but the fact is that no missile much smaller than a Saturn V would have a combination of mass and velocity large enough to significantly slow a 747 in flight, much less "stop it for an instant." ************************** > 2.1.4) Who is Cmdr. Donaldson? Can his results be taken at face value? Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, USN Retired, often appears as the public Voice of the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP); their web site is found at http://www.twa800.com/index.htm. Unfortunately, Cmdr. Donaldson has made a number of gaffes that have left his technical credibility in tatters. Two examples spring to mind: (1) His publicized stunt of dropping a lighted match into a bucket of kerosene as illustrating that "jet fuel can't explode." His stunt had nothing to do with the contents of the center fuel tank of a 747. Jet fuel has a fundamental property called "flammability limits." In the case of jet fuel, the flammability limits, which can expressed as the temperature at which the saturated vapor can support combustion, depend on the pressure, which is in turn a function of altitude. The NTSB's exhibit no. 20D, "Fire And Explosion Groups Factual Report, Appendix IV," gives a detailed explanation of how the flammability limits for jet fuel were measured. Exhibit 20D concludes that the lower flammability limit is between 90 and 100 degrees F at sea level, decreasing to between 75 and 84 degrees F at 15,000 ft. If a bucket of jet fuel at sea level is cooler than 90-100 degrees F, it will not support combustion; Donaldson can be heard in his video reporting that the temperature is approximately 60 degrees, comfortably below the lower flammability limit. Thus, it is no surprise that Donaldson can extinguish matches in cool jet fuel. Donaldson did do some experiments where he used a modified pressure cooker on his backyard grill to heat jet fuel to 145 degrees, 170 degrees, 185 degrees, and 210 degrees F at sea level air pressure. It is important to note that there is both a lower flammability limit ("too lean" in the vernacular) and an upper flammability limit ("too rich"). I don't have the sea level upper limit, but I'd guess that Donaldson managed to do this set of experiments above the upper limit at sea level. In any event, flammability is a function of composition, pressure, and temperature. The composition and temperature for any of these mixtures are different from that which occurred in the TWA 800 center wing tank. Flammability limits are different at the pressures associated with sea level and with 13,700 feet altitude. Maintain jet fuel at a temperature between the lower and upper flammability limits, and it will burn quite rapidly. Thus, had Donaldson heated his bucket of kerosene to the same temperature as the center tank on TWA 800 and done so at a higher altitude than sea level, he would quite likely have obtained a very different result, i.e., a rather spectacular whoosh of fire, quite possibly with himself at its center. The temperature of the fuel in the TWA 800 CWT was at least 115 degrees F, well above the flammability limit for its altitude of 13,700 feet. Arguing that experiments on a pressure and temperature dependent phenomenon conducted at 60 degrees, 145 degrees, 170 degrees, 185 degrees, and 210 degrees F at sea level is relevant to an event that occurred at ca. 115 degrees F and an altitude of 13,700 feet is both disingenuous and a pretty basic scientific error; Donaldson has not made any statement to indicate he's even aware of the pressure/altitude variable, much less adjusted for it. NB: To be precise, a jet fuel and air mixture does not detonate. However, it burns rapidly (NTSB data indicates no more than seconds between ignition and the generation of the peak pressure in the center wing tank), and in a confined space, it can generate sufficient pressure (Exhibit 20 D provides a range of estimated overpressures from to 13.5 to 73.5 pounds per square inch) to rupture the tank. This rupture releases sufficient energy quickly enough to be considered an "explosion." Those who insist that jet fuel vapor cannot detonate, while technically correct, miss the point that rapid combustion of a fuel-air mixture is capable of causing enormous damage. (2) His proposal at one point that the Iranians had launched a Phoenix missile from a boat. The problem with that idea is that the Phoenix is an air to air missile, which has aerodynamics designed to be launched at an air speed of several hundred miles per hour. On a boat, with zero or minimal air speed, it will be unstable. Paul Adam has posted in considerable detail in years past on why this is an entirely incredible scenario, but I think I have the gist of his argument. One would think that being a retired naval officer with "extensive experience as a Naval crash investigator," Cmdr. Donaldson would have known better than to make either of these elementary errors. Yet he persisted in repeating them even after they were shown to be in considerable error; there was still a video of the "match in jet fuel" experiment on ARAP's web site long after exhibit 20D was published. Donaldson seems to be roughly the equivalent of a retired astronomer coming out and saying that the sun revolves around the earth. He will find that there are a number of people who will agree with him based on their observation that the sun keeps coming up in the east and going down in the west. Some may even applaud him for "challenging the established wisdom." However, were he to attend a meeting of professional astronomers, he would be either ignored or ridiculed because several centuries of more precise observation as well as application of the relevant laws of physics say that he is wrong. I would finish by noting that Cmdr. Donaldson has been invited to speak at a considerable number of meetings of advocates of the TWA800 missile theory and other conspiracies. I assume he gets paid to come speak to these folks; he therefore has a considerable financial incentive to ignore any scientific debunking of his hypotheses, keeping the conspiracy alive and his lecture fees coming. Why is that Donaldson and Sanders, who get paid to write and speak about TWA800 are accorded heroic status, while certain posters on alt.disasters.aviation, who analyze technical issues gratis in their spare time, are derided as shills? ************************* > 2.1.5) What was that "red residue?" Should I believe the Sanders sample > results? Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti Author James Sanders has made a significant argument based on a red residue found on certain seat cushions in the TWA wreckage. Sanders clandestinely obtained a sample of that residue, and submitted it for elemental analysis. The composition of the residue was reported as follows: Magnesium 18% Silicon 15% Calcium 12% Zinc 3.6% Iron 3.1% Aluminum 2.8% Lead 2.4% Titanium 1.7% Antimony 0.53% Nickel 0.38% Manganese 0.21% Boron 0.081% Copper 0.053% Silver 0.032 Chromium 0.032% Sanders asserted that this analysis is consistent with solid rocket fuel; his assertion is supported primarily by quotes from an anonymous "retired Hughes Missiles engineer and propellants specialist." However, there is abundant technical literature that indicates that solid rocket fuels fall into two general categories: nitrocellulose-based fuels and composite fuels containing aluminum, ammonium perchlorate, and a polymeric binder, typically butadiene or polysulfide rubber. Sanders arguments concern composite fuels, so I'll concentrate on that. Kirk-Othmer's Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology (4th ed., Vol 10, p. 72) indicates that composite rocket fuel is typically 70 percent ammonium perchlorate, 18 percent aluminum, and 12 percent polymeric binder; if the binder is polybutadiene, one would expect the fuel to have a composition of 18.00% aluminum, 10.66% carbon, 3.74% hydrogen, 21.12% chlorine, 8.35% nitrogen, and 38.13% oxygen. Other compositions are possible, but none come any closer to matching Sanders' result. Sanders results account for 63% of the elemental composition, so any carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, nitrogen, and oxygen can account for no more than 37% of his material versus the 82% expected based on the technical literature's composition. The aluminum value is lower than expected by a factor of six. Clearly, the measured composition does not match (typical criteria are measured = expected plus or minus 0.4%) the expected composition. I begin as a skeptic because Sanders source is a "retired Hughes Missiles engineer and propellants specialist." Hughes doesn't make rocket motors; they buy them from subcontractors (e.g., Aerojet, Alliant Techsystems, Morton Thiokol) that formulate the propellant. This is roughly equivalent to "a retired Delta Airlines aircraft designer" giving an opinion on the composition of materials in the 777; its not completely ridiculous, but one might be quicker to accept at face value if he or she had worked for Boeing. The anonymous source argues away most of the discrepancies, but on closer inspection, he or she is wrong on several counts. Magnesium (at 18 percent in the sample) has been used experimentally as an igniter or to increase combustion temperatures, but in much smaller proportions. The silicon (at 15 percent) is described as a "possible binder component." However, no one has ever reported using a silicone rubber binder in a rocket propellant, probably because silicone does not provide sufficient energy when burned (much of the energy in solid rocket propellants come from the organic rubber binder). Sanders also asserts that calcium (at 12 percent) is used as a "heat or shock sensitive explosive." That's a curious assertion; calcium nitrate might be found in small amounts in some explosives, but it is not found in rocket propellant. Rocket propellants are designed specifically not to be sensitive explosives; they burn rather than detonate (implied by the term "sensitive"). The silicon and calcium are telling; they make up 27 percent of the sample by weight, but they are not used in anywhere near those proportions in any rocket propellant reported in the technical literature. Neither Sanders nor any of the proponents of the missile theory have been able to explain convincingly how these high levels of silicon and calcium could be found in rocket propellant. So what could the residue be? I would note that seafloor sediments in general are high in elements such as magnesium, calcium, silicon, zinc, iron, and aluminum, with smaller amounts of many other metallic elements. The exact values found in a sample are variable, i.e., samples taken from within feet of one another will vary by + or - 25 percent (which is why analyzing a control sample from the crash site would not be terribly useful), but the general pattern has been observed in many different samples (I've personally seen this pattern in hundreds of samples over more than a decade). What I (and others) have pointed out is that the Sanders result matches that general pattern pretty well. The argument actually was never intended to "prove" that the residue is sediment, but it rationalizes how a piece of cloth that sat on the sea floor for several weeks could produce the observed analysis. Nonetheless, the key factor for Sanders' credibility is not whether or not he might have analyzed sediment, it is whether the result is consistent with any known rocket propellant. Sanders and others simply assert that the elements found in the sample are typical of rocket fuel. Sanders credibility is also affected because he did the wrong test. There are other tests, most notably infrared spectroscopy, that allow the nondestructive, conclusive identification of materials. In contrast, Sanders elected to do a destructive test that can never conclusively prove the identity of the material, i.e., one could prepare a mixture of totally innocuous materials that would have the identical elemental composition. A demonstrably poor choice of analytical procedure and an unsupportable explanation for the amounts of the elements present are what discredit Sanders' lab analysis. That the sample, which sat on the sea floor, matches reasonably well with what one would expect for sediment is suggestive, but it is not necessary to discredit Sanders' argument. ************************* > 2.1.6) What about the surface vessels on the RADAR tapes? Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti The Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO) argues that there were over 30 ships steaming at high speed in the area of the TWA 800 crash. I did a little bit of work this past weekend, and provide here a few questions concerning that assertion; it will be interesting to see if FIRO addresses these questions at today's news conference. FIRO have posted a graphic: http://flight800.org/shp_ln.gif that shows the purported tracks of 35 surface vessels and aircraft; there's an inset showing another 4 tracks, for a total of 39, all identified as a result of radar data. FIRO has simply assigned certain tracks as "surface vessels," without explaining some interesting aspects of radar. It appears to be well established (see, for example, "Communications Standard Dictionary, 2nd ed.," M. Weik, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1989) that one can readily calculate a "radio horizon," the distance beyond which radar cannot "see." In these calculations, one uses an effective earth radius, which is defined as the radius of a hypothetical earth for which the distance to the radio horizon, assuming rectilinear propagation, is the same as that for the actual Earth with an assumed uniform vertical gradient of atmospheric refractive index. For the standard atmosphere, the effective Earth radius is 1.33 times that of the actual Earth radius, or 5269.67 statute miles (4/3 x 3,952 miles). One can then calculate the distance to the radio horizon using the formula: (distance to radio horizon) squared = (effective earth radius) squared + (effective earth radius + antenna elevation) squared In the case of the ISP data, the antenna elevation is the altitude of Long Island Mac Arthur Airport (ISP), ca. 100 ft MSL, plus the height of the antenna, approximately 30 ft AGL. Setting the total antenna height of 130 feet gives the radar horizon of the antenna, 14.0 nautical miles (nm). Using a similar equation, one can calculate the radar horizon from the top of a ship's mast. adding the two radar horizon values together gives the maximum distance at which the ISP radar can possibly reach the ship. Let's begin with the largest warships in the world; the US Navy's Nimitz class aircraft carriers have a published keel to mast height of 244 feet, approximately 210 feet of which is above the waterline. Thus, the radio horizon for a carrier is 17.8 nm, and it can be seen by a 110 foot high radar from no more than 31.8 nm away. Any further, and the radio waves cannot reach the ship. By my count, 21 of the objects identified as surface vessels (and one aircraft) on http://flight800.org/shp_ln.gif are further than 31.8 nm from ISP, the longest range at which ISP ought to be able to "see" even an aircraft carrier. Using readily available photographs, one can estimate that the Navy's Aegis cruisers are approximately 160 feet tall above the waterline. Thus, they have a radio horizon of 15.6 nm, and can be seen by 130 foot high radar from no more than 29.6 nm away. Similarly, one can estimate that the Navy's Arleigh Burke class destroyers and Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates are approximately 140 feet tall above the waterline. These have a radio horizon of 15.6 nm, and can be seen by 130 foot high radar from no more than 28.6 nm away. Three of the ships identified on http://flight800.org/shp_ln.gif are between 29.6 and 31.8 nm from ISP; to be seen on radar, they could only be Nimitz class carriers. Two of the ships identified on http://flight800.org/shp_ln.gif are between 28.6 and 29.6 nm from ISP; to be seen on radar, they could only be Aegis cruisers or Nimitz Class carriers. This leaves 9 of the surface vessel radar tracks that could possibly be any Naval ship as big as or larger than a frigate. One should also note that these are the theoretical maximum ranges for detection. Three major effects will decrease the "real" radio horizons: - There are 20 foot sand dunes on Fire Island, which is between 9.5 and 11 nm from ISP in the direction covered by http://flight800.org/shp_ln.gif. The radar's radio horizon is 14 miles, meaning that in some directions the radar waves could be blocked by the dunes. This effectively reduces the antenna height by up to 20 feet, and could reduce the maximum detection distances to 30.7 nm, 28.5 nm, and 27.5 nm. - Structures can block radar propagation. I've checked maps and seen the area from the air; there is a residential neighborhood along Lincoln, Coates, and Grundy Avenues to the southeast of ISP, so there are plenty of structures and large trees between the radar and the area covered by FIRO's analysis. Moreover, much of this area is slightly higher than the airport; topographical maps indicate that there is a rise east of Grundy Avenue (approximately 1.3 nm SE of the center of ISP) that is 10-15 feet higher than the airport elevation. A row of good-sized houses and large trees along that rise could limit the radio horizon even further. Also, note that structures do not necessarily have to be directly in between the radar and the target to interfere; radar beams often include significant energy in side lobes. All of this is responsible for "ground clutter," which is particularly severe when one is searching for objects at low elevation. I have insufficient data to quantitate how this will effect the range of the ISP radar for detecting ships, but these effects will work to decrease that range. - The structures at the tops of the ships are comparatively small. On the Aegis class, it's approximately 160 feet above the waterline to the tip of the mast, but about 100 feet to the top of the solid structures; the radar horizon decreases from 28.6 nm to 26.3 nm if only the radar returns off the solid walls are detectable. It is well-known that temperature inversions and strong humidity gradients can increase the range of radar (a phenomenon called "ducting"), and some correspondents have pointed out that such conditions could allow the detection of ships over the horizon. Another poster has pointed out that Picquenard says in "Radio Wave Propagation" (Wiley, 1974) that ducts are almost permanent over the tropical ocean, and another reference says that they are permanent in the trade wind belt. However, a good deal of the path from ISP to the crash area is over land. One can also calculate radar refractivities from the meteorological data in the NTSB docket; the data are insufficient to show whether or not ducting conditions were present in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Certainly, FIRO provided no argument supporting the ability of the ISP radar to detect ships at such ranges. In sum, FIRO has not made any case to establish that it is possible for the ISP radar to detect surface vessels at the ranges of most of the FIRO tracks. Certainly, FIRO should have provided some explanation of why conventional radar horizon considerations would not apply in this case. In the absence of such an explanation, I would suggest that FIRO's designation of these 22 tracks as "ships" calls into question their assignment of radar tracks to most of the "other" ships as well. I would propose an alternative explanation for many of the tracks. According to their figure, most of FIRO's "ship tracks" were moving at speeds between 12 and 22 knots. NTSB Exhibit 22A indicates that the winds aloft on 17 July 1996 ranged from 12 knots at 1,000 feet to 21 knots at 16,000 feet in directions ranging from 270 to 335 degrees (from out of the west to north-northwest). Over 20 of the identified tracks are moving in this general direction at speeds that match the observed wind speed. Sensitive radars can receive strong signals from refractive index inhomogeneities, insects, and large dust particles in an apparently clear atmosphere, as well as from clouds. If present on 17 July 1996, such features would appear to be moving between 12 and 21 knots out of the west to north-northwest at altitudes that could be seen by the ISP radar. Note also that many of FIRO's arrows are less than 1 nm long; if this reflects the length of the "track" this would be more consistent with natural phenomenon (which might persist for a few minutes only) than with a warship (which ought to keep reflecting radar signals as long as it's in view). FIRO makes a rather bold statement as part of their web site: "The RADAR data indicates that over 30 surface vessels and cooperating aircraft ignored a tragedy that took the lives of 230 individuals. The FBI has allegedly determined the identity of all but one nearby surface vessel. It is now imperative that an explanation for the inhumane behavior of so many fast, large, surface vessels is explained by the investigating agencies, which allegedly accounted for these vessels, recording appropriate interviews." I would suggest that it is imperative for FIRO to explain the following: - how they could use the radar data to identify _at least_ 21 ships beyond distances at which the radar should be capable of illuminating something as large as an aircraft carrier, at least using standard principles of radio wave propagation? - how they can be certain that the many tracks moving between at the same speed and direction as the wind were not caused by natural atmospheric phenomena such as refractive index inhomogeneities, insects, large dust particles, or clouds.? Moreover, they probably ought to have provided such explanations _before_ they made allegations of inhumane behavior. No one disputes that _some_ ships and aircraft were in the vicinity when TWA 800 exploded; the FBI and NTSB have stated that from the very beginning. However, the number of ships actually observed would appear to be insufficient to support conclusions of massive Naval exercises, and FIRO's analysis is insufficient to support any increase in that number. Unfortunately, despite extraordinarily weak evidence, "massive Naval exercise on 17 July 1996" seems to have become an article of faith among certain TWA 800 posters. Contributed by Phil Miller I would like to add that the beam of a search RADAR is shaped like a paper fan held vertically. That is, it is narrow horizontally (in azimuth), but wide vertically (in elevation). This gives good resolution of bearing, but no height information. An echo from 10,000 feet and one at 100 feet on the same bearing are essentially identical. For civilian search RADAR, altitude information is gathered by Secondary Surveillance RADAR. This is the small horizontal bar like antenna sitting on top of the main RADAR dish. In simple terms, SSR transmits a signal to the transponder in an aircraft which replies with the code set and altitude (if enabled). In this case, if an object associated with a RADAR return has no transponder there is no altitude information for that blip. The beam pattern is determined by the dish shape. A round dish will create a pencil beam. Good for tracking a known target, but not much good for searching. A peel shaped dish creates a fan shaped beam. The long sides of the dish focus the beam more than the short sides, so you get a fan shape. Sweep this fan through 360 degrees once every 10 seconds or so and you'll cover a lot of sky. Of course if you turn the dish, and it's mount, through 90 degrees, so that it scans vertically, you can get height information, but at the cost of bearing. Combining two or more dishes, one vertical and one horizontal is another way of getting altitude and bearing from a target. The above does not apply to phased array antennas. Their beam shape is change electronically. ************************** > 2.1.7) What about the Kabot photo? Contributed by John Mazor An improbable scenario: 1. The photographer points the camera 180 degrees from the TWA 800 event and snaps a picture. 2. The Canon SLR camera experiences a possible but extremely rare malfunction, where the mirror only retracts partly out of the optical axis of the lens. 3. Unlike virtually every SLR shot taken under normal circumstances, the photographer is not looking through the viewfinder but is holding the camera away from her face so that her head is not blocking the viewfinder window. 4. The viewfinder window happens to be pointed *right at* the TWA 800 event. (The field of view looking out through the prism viewfinder is fairly limited.) 5. The shutter is snapped during the event. 6. An image of the event goes through the viewfinder, down and around through the prism, strikes a portion of the stuck mirror mechanism that happens to be reflective and happens to be able to reflect a coherent image back exactly to the film plane. And added to by Craig Shields 7. Do so 10 minutes *after* the explosion. Contributed by Paul Gooding The "mirror malfunction" scenario doesn't seem to fit here. As I said earlier, the thing has to happen during a shutter operation. If the camera is a typical SLR, it has a focal plane shutter which physically covers the film plane all the time, except during a shutter cycle. This means that in order for the immaculate image to get on the film, the user has to be taking a photograph. Now think this through: The TWA event is happening behind the photographer. The eyepiece is aimed at the event. Where is the lens of the camera pointed? Down. You are going to have a photograph of the floor, or ground, with the "immaculate image" superimposed upon it. Rather a stretch of the imagination to concoct a set of circumstances where You are going to get an identifiable image of the TWA event -- even if you aim the camera accordingly, you have to presume that the image formed through the eyepiece is in fact a focused image of the type represented by the immaculate cigar. What you'd most likely get is a blur, a streak, something not identifiable. This is true if for no other reason than the fact that your image is bouncing off the mirror in a way other than the way the mirror was designed to provide. You are not going to get a clear, sharp "picture" of an airplane miles away. You might get a fuzzy ball of light, if the explosion were happening at that instant, but that fuzzy ball of light is not going to be attached to a sharply focussed airplane-shaped object. But even this remote (extremely remote -- a meteor hit is probably more likely) possibility is moot when you consider this fact: The Kabot photo was reportedly taken after the TWA event. This means that the film frame with the immaculate image would have to have been double-exposed. In any modern SLR, you can't accidentally double- expose a frame. Further, the subject Kabot photo shows no evidence of double-exposure. Now we are talking about a miraculous possibility that is right up there with images of the Virgin Mary appearing in hot fudge sundaes. I think an examination of the camera's operation, correlating this to the photo itself, and the locale and scene where the photo was taken, plus information supplied by the photographer, points to one and only one conclusion: The assertion that this photo shows the TWA event is just bunk, and has always been bunk. ************************* > 2.1.8) It was an inert telemetry training IR Standard Missile that was > mistakenly fitted with a live motor and fired during a CEC test. Contributed by Paul J. Adam The missile is being fired from a Mark 41 Vertical Launch System, correct? It's upright, in a sealed canister. So, how does the seeker *inside* the closed sealed canister, pointing straight up as well, see anything? Also, on the mockup of a Standard IIIB that Raytheon had on their stand at DSEi'99, the IR seeker is not in the nose, but halfway down the side in a retractable 'eyeball' that extends after launch. So, not only can the seeker not see out of the canister, not only is it not pointed at the target, but it's got its IR seeker retracted... from a follow up post by Paul J. Adam .....the CEC test would just be about datalinks. Can you get good enough data over the link for targeting? Do the test, bring it back, analyse the data and find out. Remember, the missile's shut away in a dark cell so there's no way to "test if it's locking on or not" except to fire it... and apparently this beast wasn't meant to have a motor so it's never leaving its cell so why bother putting a very expensive IR seeker and autopilot into it since it can never use either? ************************* > 2.1.9) What about a meteor hitting TWA 800? Contributed by Laurence Doering According to the American Meteor Society home page (www.amsmeteors.org), there is no major periodic meteor shower in mid-July. [The previous poster was] probably thinking of the Perseid meteor shower, which peaks in mid-August, and which was associated with TWA 800 because of the several airline crews who saw bright Perseid meteors while in the air near Long Island a month after TWA 800 went down, and who reported them to air traffic control as possible missile sightings. The "micrometeor" theory is even less plausible than any of the missile theories once you look up a little bit of information about meteors. The basic problem with it is that small meteors slow to a terminal velocity on the order of several hundred MPH high in the atmosphere, so by the time they descend to 13,000 feet or so they're no longer glowing, and have nowhere near enough kinetic energy to destroy a 747. Micrometeors burn up completely long before they reach the lower atmosphere. Meteors large enough to retain a sizeable fraction of their velocity at low altitude would have turned TWA 800 into a cloud of vaporized aluminum, and their impact with the ground or sea would have been an extremely impressive event that the eyewitnesses (those who survived) would definitely have noticed. ************************* > 2.1.10) I want to troll the group. What is the process? Contributed by Paul Gooding The Ten Phases of a TWA 800 Troll 1. Why do you believe that NTSB's position on the case is solid when (a) you personally haven't seen the evidence, or (b) not all of the wreckage was recovered? I am just trying to get an understanding of the issues .... 2. How can you trust the investigation when the FBI apparently took evidence away from the hangar, and never brought it back? Besides, wasn't the government mean to Sanders? 3. Why are you criticizing everything I say? I am a nice person and have a community service award here on the wall to prove it. 4. I thought this was a discussion group but you guys seem to have your minds made up that the government won't lie to you. Well, that's naive and everybody knows that the government is a bunch of liars. 5. You people are a bunch of government shills. 6. Why should I trust you? You can't answer me without using swear words. Obviously you do not know how to carry on a rational conversation. 7. Maybe a lot of people believe the government, but not me. Maybe the media and the politicians have everybody fooled, but not me. I know the truth and I feel sorry for you, you are so gullible. Being a good citizen means asking tough questions, ya know. 8. Oh yeah? Shut the fuck up, yourself. You ain't no stinking expert. There are at least three people in here who know more about (technical subject here) than you do. SO THERE! AND SO IS YOUR OLD MAN YOU MORON. 9. SO EVERYBODY WHO DISAGREES WITH YOU IS A TROLL? YEAH,RIGHT. 10. Thank you for pointing out that (technical fact here) to me. I am just trying to get an understanding of the issue .... ************************* > 2.1.11) Why do newcomers raising issues about TWA 800 often get > ridiculed? Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti My answer would be that newcomers to a.d.a who have read something on the ARAP or FIRO web sites and then raise the issues often do not realize that these issues have been raised and authoritatively rebutted in this forum, frequently more than once. Although most of us believe that technical issues should be discussed in a scientific way, it often tries the patience of the regulars to have to rebut junk science for the fourth time, etc., etc. ************************* > 2.2) Habsheim Air France, Airbus Industrie A320-111, F-GFKC, June 26 1988 > 2.2.1) Isn't this crash proof of deficiencies in the fly by wire A320? Contributed by Phil Miller No. This accident was caused by human error on the part of many people, including, but not limited to, the crew. The flyby of Habsheim airfield was poorly planed and poorly executed. Poor planning No reconnaissance of the airfield was made by the Flight Division of Air France in preparation for the flypast because of the extensive experience of the pilots. The crew were only given details of the flypast when they reported for work on the morning of the flight. They were given no verbal briefing on the display, or the airfield, which they were unfamiliar with. According to the instructions given to the crew, which were based on the invitation from the airshow organisers, the event was to be aligned with runway 02. It was over this runway that they were to perform a low, slow pass. It was not until 450 feet AGL had been reached, on descent to the airfield, that the pilot saw the crowd was along runway 34, not 02. At this late stage in the descent he realigned the aircraft's path to runway 34. Poor execution Habsheim airfield is located approximately 10NM north of the takeoff point at Basle-Mullhouse Airport. The total flight time from takeoff to impact at Habsheim was 4 minutes and 34 seconds. Initially the crew climbed to 1000 feet AGL. Descent was commenced 5.5NM from Habsheim with the flight director set to Open Descent Idle Mode, which held the autothrottle at flight idle. The engines remained at flight idle until 5 seconds before impact with the trees. The automatic system that might have prevented the crash, the Alpha Floor function, was turned off by the crew as the aircraft descended through 100 feet AGL, so that they could fly a slow speed, high angle of attack, pass along the runway, without the engines automatically throttling up as the maximum angle of attack was reached. The rate of descent, with the engines at flight idle, as the aircraft approached the airfield was still 600fpm, when the altitude was only 100 feet. The aircraft was levelled out by application of elevators only, with the wheels 30 feet above the runway and the engines still at flight idle. There were 40 foot high trees only 200 feet beyond the end of the runway. When the crew recognised the trees full power was applied. At this stage the aircraft was flying at only 120 knots with an angle of attack of 15 degrees. The engines responded within their certification guidelines, but approximately 5 seconds later the aircraft impacted the trees. The minimum altitude allowed by the French regulations for such events was 170 feet AGL. Source "Air Disaster" Volume 3 chapter 1 by Macarthur Job (see book list). ************************* > 2.3) Gimli Glider Air Canada, Boeing 767-233, C-GAUN, July 23 1983 > 2.3.1) Could someone tell me more about "the Gimli glider" ??? The following posts were contributed by Cal Burton From: Chris Story The 'Gimli Glider' refers to an infamous incident in 1983 ( I think) in which a new Air Canada 767 ran out of fuel between Ottawa and Edmonton, and glided to a landing in Gimli, Manitoba. The cause of the incident was a string of failures and miscommunications which occurred partially because the aircraft was new, and the Minimum Equipment List (MEL) wasn't fully evolved, partially due to a misunderstanding between the captain and the line mechanic who fuelled the aircraft, and partially due to a faulty fuel computer. In 1983, Canada had recently switched from the Imperial system of measure (lbs, miles, gallons, etc.) to the metric system (kilograms, litres, kilometers, etc.), and being a government-owned airline, Air Canada was pretty much mandated to conform to this new standard almost immediately. Consequently, when Air Canada ordered a series of 767s, it was specified that, among other things, their fuel data would be listed in metric. The aircraft, tail number 604, was scheduled to fly from Montreal's Dorval airport, to Ottawa International, and from there to Edmonton, Alberta. Before departing Montreal, Captain Bob Pearson and F/O Maurice Quintal noticed the fuel measurement computers were all inoperative. One would suspect that an inoperative fuel quantity system would be a definite no-go condition, but, since the 767 was brand new, its MEL was in the process of being evolved. At the time, no such stipulation was included, so, according to the manufacturer, and to Air Canada, the aircraft was still airworthy. Before departing Ottawa, though, Capt. Pearson insisted the fuel be measured through the drip-stick system, where a small rod is dropped from the bottom of the wing, falls to the level of fuel in the tank, and allows a mechanic to visually verify the fuel level in the tank. This was done, and the results recorded. Unfortunately, the drip sticks measured the fuel quantity in something other than litres, the units which were used to calculate the fuel load required to get from Ottawa to Edmonton. The crew converted the quantity through what seemed to be the correct mathematical method, and from what they could tell, had plenty of fuel to get to Edmonton. Unfortunately, the conversion wasn't done correctly, and the aircraft only had about 1/2 the fuel required to get to its destination. The flight left Ottawa shortly afterwards, and, as it approached Winnipeg, the fuel pumps started to fail due to low fuel pressure. In short order, all the pumps failed, and both engines flamed out. The aircraft was at around 43,000' and about 50 miles from Winnipeg. Initially, Pearson and Quintal elected to try to glide to Winnipeg, but their calculations quickly showed that they'd wind up about 10 miles short of the field, and thus began one of the most extraordinary strings of luck, and superior airmanship in recent history. Visibility was good, and it was daylight at the time of the incident, so Quintal and Pearson had ample opportunity to find their way around Manitoba in a powerless jet. It is mindboggling to imagine the results of this type of incident at night, or in bad weather ... When the crew realised they weren't going to make it to Winnipeg, Quintal remembered the airfield at Gimli, Man., an old WWII training base he'd flown from during his RCAF days. Gimli had a suitably long runway, and was well within gliding distance. More significantly, Quintal knew where the field was. The field was partially abandoned, and used mainly by a local racing club, a flying club, and by the Air Cadets for glider training. Capt. Pearson was not only a senior captain in Air Canada, but an experienced sailplane pilot, and was well versed in the skills required to land a powerless aircraft. As the jet approached Gimli, Pearson realised they were high and fast, and reacted in the only way an experienced glider pilot could in such a situation ... he put the aircraft into a sideslip. Such a manoeuvre had never been attempted in an aircraft like the 767, and especially never using the backup hydraulic system, and the Ram Air Turbine. Pearson executed the manoeuvre perfectly, though, and landed the aircraft about 800' past the threshold. The crew hadn't had time to get the gear fully down and locked, as the hydraulics were out due to the power loss. The main gear were dropped into position through gravity, but the nose gear only partially extended, due to the force of the slipstream holding it from its locked position. Even this proved a blessing, as once the aircraft touched down, Pearson jumped on the brakes, and the nose slammed into the ground. The skidding nose did as good a job at slowing the aircraft down as did the brakes, which ultimately locked, and blew most of the main gear tires. The runway the aircraft landed on was being used as a dragstrip, and there was actually some sort of race in progress at the time. Nobody on the ground was injured, however. Furthermore, nobody onboard the aircraft received more than a broken bone, or sprain ... most incurred when leaving the aircraft down the emergency slides, as the tail-high position in which the aircraft ultimately came to rest caused the rear slides to not fully reach the ground. The aircraft itself was repaired, and returned to active duty in Air Canada shortly afterwards. Pearson and Quintal, while initially faulted for the fuelling mixup, were ultimately exonerated, and were praised throughout the aviation community for their outstanding airmanship. Disclaimer : Just my opinions From: KRC Here's what occurred, according to the best of my recollection: Jean Ouellet and Rod Bourbeau, both Air Canada mechanics at Montreal- Dorval had been ordered to perform a fuel drip on ship 604 when it arrived at YUL from Edmonton on the afternoon of July 23. The problem with the Fuel Quantity Processor had been looked at by Conrad Yaremko an Air Canada mechanic in Edmonton the night before. Yaremko was puzzled by the problem as the FQP on the 767 has a two-channel system that should have compensated for any problems in one channel or the other. To diagnose the problem, Yaremko pulled the circuit breakers on both channels, waited a few moments, and the pushed them back in. He then climbed down to the main equipment center in the aircraft's belly. Upon locating the FQP, Yaremko activated the Built-in Test Equipment (BITE) system in an attempt to locate the problem. When he tested channel one, the BITE flashed the number "88.8," which indicated that it was functioning properly. He repeated the test on channel 2, but received no readout. Obviously, channel 2 was inoperative - but channel 1 should have taken over in that case, which it had not. Yaremko then decided to experiment - he returned to the cockpit and again pulled both circuit breakers. This time, he pushed only the circuit breaker for channel 1 back in, and the fuel gauges sprung to life - telling him that over 4,000 kg of fuel remained in the tanks from the previous flight. Yaremko hadn't fixed the problem - he still didn't know why the 767's built-in redundancy hadn't taken over (it would later be discovered that a improperly cold-soldered joint in channel 2 had shorted over) - but he had found a way around it. It was a makeshift solution at best, but one that would work until ship 604 could get to a larger base and the FQP swapped out. To ensure that no one would reactivate the bad channel and cause the fuel gauges to be lost, Yaremko left the breaker pulled and covered it yellow tape that had "inoperative" printed on it. Yaremko posted in the maintenance log that channel 2 was inoperative, that the circuit breaker was pulled and tagged and a drip was performed prior to departure from Edmonton. The aircraft, according to Air Canada was now safe to operate as the MEL stated that the aircraft could be flown with one inoperative FQP channel as long as the initial fuel load was verified by dripping the tanks. 604 flew out from Edmonton on the morning of July 23 to Ottawa and Montreal with no further problems. Now, back to Ouellet and Bourbeau in Montreal. Ouellet had a few minutes to examine the problem discovered by Yaremko while he was waiting for the fuel trucks to arrive. He recycled both circuit breakers and performed the BITE test with exactly the same results. Ouellet then left the aircraft to study the microfiche, unaware that by pushing the channel 2 circuit breaker back in, he had caused the fuel gauges to go blank. After studying the microfiche for a short while, he decided that there was nothing he could do to fix it and that he should go back to the cockpit and pull the breaker so that the plane would be left in the same state as it had arrived. By the time he had returned to the aircraft, the cockpit was crowded with service personnel and Ouellet became diverted by his colleague's reminder that they hadn't much time to complete the drip before the scheduled departure time rolled around. Ouellet never deactivated channel 2, thus triggering the first event in the chain that would play out over the next few hours. Ouellet and Bourbeau left the aircraft to perform the drip. In order to achieve the most accurate reading possible, the 767 is equipped with inclinometers in the wheel wells. The 767 was sitting at an angle of 0.5 degrees at the mains, while the nose was level. The drip stick on Air Canada's 767s measured the fuel in centimeters - there were 64 cm of fuel in the left tank and 62 cm in the right. Ouellet and Bourbeau consulted the drip manual in the cockpit and found that 64 cm of fuel equalled 3,924 liters while 62 cm equalled 3,758 liters - the 767 had 7,682 liters remaining from the trip from Edmonton. As Flight 143 was already delayed, Captain Pearson ordered the plane fuelled for the entire trip, which was not normal procedure. Normally, the aircraft left with the minimum legal fuel requirement to reach Ottawa, where it would be refuelled for the rest of the trip to Edmonton. By having the whole fuel load put aboard in Montreal, they would cut their turn-around time in Ottawa to compensate for the delay at Montreal. The legal fuel requirement for the whole trip would be 22,300 kg, which would cover flight time, taxi time, and both the government-mandated reserve and Air Canada's extra reserve in case anything unforseen should occur. Now, since the fuel gauges in the cockpit were blank - the desired load could not be put aboard in kg as the fueller would have to use the gauges on his truck to determine the amount pumped aboard - and those read in liters. Tony Schmidt, the fueller, needed to know how many liters on top of the 7,682 already in the tanks would equal 22,300 kg. As Bourbeau attempted to calculate how many liters were required to reach the desired weight, he became quite frustrated - as many Canadians had been in the years following the conversion to the metric system. First Officer Quintal tried to help out by offering that the number of liters times the weight of a liter would equal the number of kilograms. As it was the job of the fuellers to calculate three times a day the ratio between volume and weight of fuel, Quintal asked Schmidt what the specific gravity of the fuel was. Schmidt replied that it was 1.77 - so they needed only to multiply 7,682 liters by that amount and that would give them the correct number of kilograms aboard - which they determined to be 13,597.14 kg. After that it was a matter of subtracting the difference between the number of kg aboard from 22,300 and converting that number into liters (8702.86/1.77 = 4916.87 liters) to determine the fuel required. Mistake number two had now been made - 1.77 was the conversion factor for imperial pounds, kilograms was 0.8. No one had bothered to second guess this as neither Bourbeau nor Quintal had been properly trained on these calculations and each assumed it was the other's responsibility. follow up KRC post inserted here To further compound this situation, Air Canada did not delegate this responsibility on the 767 as it had on the other types in its fleet. The 767 was the only one of two aircraft (the DC-9 being the other) in Air Canada's fleet - and the only widebody - certified to be flown with a two-man cockpit. AC had intended to fly the 767 with a three- man cockpit but reversed itself when they determined that they could not operate the aircraft with a third man and remain competitive with their U.S. counterparts. The duty of the fuel calculations had been assigned to the Flight Engineer on the other types (the First Officer on the DC-9), but was delegated to ground personnel on the 767 - except no one really told them that. The ground personnel at the time were not adequately trained on the conversion factors to convert liters into kilograms as the 767 was the first AC aircraft to be fully metric. On other types, the gauges were in Imperial Pounds - and that conversion factor was known by heart by the ground personnel. So, you have an aircraft that is an anomaly to the fleet (AC reluctantly ordered the 767 with metric gauges under strong pressure from Ottawa), no really clear guidelines on whose responsibility it is to confirm the correct fuel loads, and inadequate training procedures - for all of which the independent Board of Inquiry would hold Air Canada responsible while absolving the pilots and mechanics of any wrongdoing. end of follow up post Captain Pearson rechecked the math with a calculator and found that when he multiplied the tank volumes (which were now 6,017 liters in the right and 6,243 liters in the left) by the specific gravity of 1.77 he came up with a total of 10,650.09 and 11,050.11 - respectively. Pearson assumed that these were kilograms when in fact they were pounds - Flight 143 had only 9,808 kg of fuel in it's tanks - about 43% of its required fuel load to reach Edmonton. Even though two drips had now been performed - both before and after refuelling - they had both been converted with the wrong factor and the aircraft was now doomed to run out of fuel. Now, back to the inoperative fuel gauges. Captain Pearson decided that the aircraft was going nowhere as he couldn't legally takeoff without operative fuel gauges. In addition, he had realized that the fuel load was below minimums - around 600 kg (still using the wrong conversion factor) short - and ordered the fuel trucks back. Ouellet supervised the loading of the additional fuel and performed a third drip. This time, he found a total of 12,525 liters in the tanks for a total of 22,169.25 kg. Bourbeau was still weary and he asked Schmidt if that was the normal amount of fuel put aboard for this flight. Schmidt replied that it was much more - but both he and Bourbeau were under the assumption that the plane was going to take on fuel at Ottawa and were unaware the Pearson had requested the full fuel load for Edmonton. Neither of the two pilots was quite confident that a safe flight could be made - there had been so much confusion about the fuel load and neither of them believed they should fly without inoperative fuel gauges. However, they knew that the aircraft had come in from Edmonton that day and assumed that the crew flew it without fuel gauges (which they had not) and the problem had already been signed off by a mechanic in the aircraft's log and the aircraft deemed airworthy. Furthermore, the plane had already been cleared by Air Canada's maintenance control, which was a requirement at their Montreal and Toronto bases. Of course, maintenance control was under the assumption that the aircraft was in exactly the same state as it was when it arrived - they had no idea that the fuel gauges were now inoperable. Besides, the tanks had been dripped three times and the math checked and rechecked - and neither Pearson nor Quintal wanted to explain to their superiors why they chose to ground a 767 when everything appeared to be normal on the surface. In effect, they did have fuel gauges - the Flight Management Computer would keep a running tab on their fuel consumption. Under normal circumstances, the FMC tabulates fuel load and burn by processing the data it receives from the FQP. Today, however, it would have to calculate it using the fuel load figures manually input by Quintal into the computer - which of course, were wrong - but the computer had no way of knowing that. Pearson realized that upon shutdown in Ottawa, the FMC would lose the fuel data that Quintal had input, so once they were approaching the city, Pearson radioed Air Canada maintenance and requested that another drip be performed on arrival. The drip was performed as requested and the mechanic, Rick Simpson, came aboard to retrieve the drip manual and calculate the fuel load. He reported that they had 11,430 liters in total. Pearson was surprised - he had misheard the mechanic report the fuel in liters - and though for a moment that he had been given the fuel load in kilograms. He asked the fueller what the specific gravity was (he replied 1.78) and ordered Simpson to convert the liters into kilograms. Simpson informed them that they had 20,345.4 kg of fuel. Mistake three had now been made. There was still time to catch the error, as an off-duty Air Canada mechanic, Rick Dion, was aboard the flight and had decided to visit the cockpit at this time. Dion had overheard the fueller give the specific gravity as 1.78, and thought this was wrong. During his time in the RCAF in the early 1960's - the last time he had used a fuel conversion factor (often erroneously referred to as specific gravity) - he knew the number was around 0.78. Dion's conversion factor was closer to the truth than what the mechanics had been using, but he figured that the number must have changed since the adoption of metrics and since it was not is place to speak up, he remained silent. Flight 143 was cleared out of Ottawa, and as we all know, never made it to Edmonton. Also see this website http://www.autobahn.mb.ca/~rgspra/story2.html ************************* > 2.4) Concorde Air France, Concorde, F-BTSC, July 25 2000 This section comes from the magazine "Flight Safety Australia" September-October 2000 edition. Copyright 2000, Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Australia. "..reproduction for educational purposes is permitted, providing Flight Safety Australia is acknowledged as the source." > 2.4.1) What was recorded by the CVR? /quote TRANSCRIPT: COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER The final words between the Concorde crew and air traffic control as Released in the preliminary report issued by French investigators. Flight AF4590 was cleared for take-off at 1642.17. Controller: "Air France 4590, runway 26 right, wind zero 90 knots, authorised take-off." Copilot: "4590 taking off 26 right" (sound of switch). Captain: "Is everyone ready?" Copilot: "Yes." Engineer: "Yes." Captain: "Up to 100, 150" (followed by unclear words, sound of switch). "Top" (noise similar to engines increasing power). Unidentified voice on radio channel: "Go on, Christian." Engineer: "We have four heated up" (sound of switch). Copilot: "100 knots." Captain: "Confirmed." Engineer: "Four green." Copilot: "V one" (Low-frequency noise). Captain: (unclear) Copilot: "Watch out." Controller: "Concorde zero...4590, you have flames (unclear) you have flames behind you." Unidentified voice (simultaneously on radio) "Right" (sound of switch). Engineer: "Stop (unclear)." Copilot: "Well received." Engineer: "Breakdown, breakdown engine two" (two sounds of switches, fire alarm). Unidentified voice on radio: "It's burning badly, huh" (Gong) Engineer: "Cut engine two." Captain: "Engine fire procedure" (sound of switch, end of ringing). Copilot: "Warning, the airspeed indicator, the airspeed indicator, the Airspeed indicator" (sound of switch, gong). Person in control tower: "It's burning badly and I'm not sure it's coming from the engine" (Switch sound similar to fire extinguisher handle being activated). Captain: "Gear on the way up." Controller: "4590, you have strong flames behind you." Engineer: "The gear" (alarm, similar to toilet smoke alert). Controller: "Beginning reception of a Middle Marker." Copilot: "Yes, well received." Engineer: "The gear, no" (Gong). Controller: "So, at your convenience, you have priority to land." Engineer: "Gear." Copilot: "No" (two switch noises). Captain: "Gear (unclear), coming up." Copilot: "Well received" (fire alarm, gong, three switch sounds). Copilot: "I'm trying (unclear)." Engineer: "I'm hitting." Captain: "Are (unclear) you cutting engine two" (end of smoke alarm). Engineer: "I've cut it." Controller: "End reception Middle Marker." Copilot: "The airspeed indicator" (sound of switch, end of ringing). Copilot: "The gear won't come up" (fire alarm rings). Aircraft instrument: "Whoop whoop pull up" (ground proximity warning system alarm, gong). Aircraft instrument: "Whoop whoop pull up" (GPWS alarm). Copilot: "The airspeed indicator." Aircraft instrument: "Whoop whoop pull up" (GPWS alarm). Fire service leader: "De Gaulle tower from fire service leader." Controller: "Fire service leader, uh ... The Concorde, I don't know its intentions, get yourself in position near the south doublet" (sound of switch). Captain: (unclear). Fire service leader: "De Gaulle tower from fire service leader authorisation to enter 26 right." Copilot: "Le Bourget, Le Bourget, Le Bourget." Captain: "Too late (unclear)." Controller: "Fire service leader, correction, the Concorde is returning to runway zero nine in the opposite direction." Captain: "No time, no (unclear)." Copilot: "Negative, we're trying Le Bourget" (four switching sounds). "No (unclear)." Fire service leader: "De Gaulle tower from fire service leader, can you give me the situation of the Concorde" (two gongs and sound of switch, followed by another switch and sounds likened to objects being moved). Captain: (unclear, sounds like exertion). Captain: (unclear, sounds like exertion). Captain: (unclear, sounds like exertion). Last sound noted on transcript at 16:44.30.18. ************************** > 2.4.2) What does the preliminary report into the crash say? Air France flight 4590 was carrying passengers from Paris to New York. Many were due to join a cruise ship in New York which was to take them island hopping across the Pacific to the Sydney Olympics. Minutes after take-off from Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport at 14:42 31 seconds (UTC) on 25 July 2000 the Concorde crashed ablaze into Hotel "Hotellisimo" at Gonesse some 9,500m south-west of the threshold of runway 26 of the airport. All 109 passengers and crew were killed. Four people on the ground also lost their lives. The aircraft itself, Concorde serial number 3, had undergone a standard maintenance check of type A01 in mid-July, was given a clean bill of health and returned to service on 24 July. It was the first time one of the supersonic Concordes had crashed. To date, the British and French fleet of 12 Concordes remains grounded. Regulatory authorities have suspended the aircraft's airworthiness certificate, preventing any flights until investigations are complete and authorities are satisfied that the aircraft is safe. Concorde aircraft operated by British Airways and Air France had been plying the lucrative trunk route from Europe to the United States without a serious accident for 24 years. The safety record runs to around 30 incidents over that period, not a frequency to cause major concern. The incidents include vibration, gear and engine failure - and two incidents in 1993 in which tyres burst while taxiing for take-off. The preliminary report was issued by French accident investigators from the Bureau Enquetes Accidents (BEA) just five weeks after the accident. The 31 August report includes information from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) as well as details of the aircraft and flight crew experience. The French technical investigation, in accordance with the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation, seeks to draw lessons from events which are likely to prevent future accidents or incidents. It does not try to establish faults or to evaluate liabilities. Two British investigators, accompanied by several experts of BAE systems and Rolls Royce, were associated with the preliminary investigation as well as the experts provided by Air France, EADS and SNECMA. Event sequence: The sequence of events outlined in the report are: o 13:58hrs 27 seconds, the crew contacted the control and requested runway 26 right-hand side for a take-off starting from 14:30hrs. o 14:07hrs 22 seconds, the controller gave authorisation for take-off and confirmed runway 26 right for take-off. o 14:34hrs 38 seconds, the controller gave authorisation to taxi to the holding point of track 26 right. o 14:40hrs 02 seconds, the controller authorised flight 4590 to align for take-off. o 14:42hrs 17 seconds, the controller authorised take-off, announcing a wind of 090° at 8kt. o 14:42hrs 31 seconds, the pilot flying signals take-off. o 14:43hrs 03 seconds, the pilot not flying signalled V 1 (150kt) had been reached. According to the report, a few seconds later, one of the left main tyres was destroyed, "probably after running over a metal part". The report says that this caused large pieces of rubber to project upwards and damage certain parts of the plane". o 14:43hrs 13 seconds: Just as the pilot flying begins rotation, the controller announces flames behind the aircraft. The engineer announces the failure of engine 2. The recorded parameters also show there was a temporary power fall from engine 1 not mentioned by the crew. Eight seconds later, fire alarms sound and the engineer announces engine two down. The fire alarm then stops. The controller confirms the presence of "strong flames" behind the plane. o 14:43hrs 42 seconds: The fire alarm sounds again. o 14:43hrs 56 seconds, the co-pilot notes that the gear train does not re-enter. o 14:43hrs 59 seconds, several ground proximity warning alarms sound. The pilot flying informs control that he will try to land at the nearby aerodrome of Le Bourget. A few seconds later, the aircraft crashes at a Hotel at the intersection of the roads D902 and N17. The aircraft was completely destroyed at the time of the impact. The hotel the aircraft crashed into was also entirely destroyed. The report notes that since its last maintenance overhaul the aircraft had accumulated 576hrs of flight and had flown 181 cycles. Programmed maintenance had been completed between 17-21 July 2000. Since then the aircraft had completed four flights. After laying out a grid, investigators combed the wreckage and debris for clues. In line 152, they found a twisted metal plate 43cm long. The width of the strip varies from 2.9-3.4cm. The part is made from a light alloy, and covered on one side with an epoxy primary (greenish) paint and on the other face of what seems to be a red cement. The metal strip does not appear to have been exposed to high temperature. The part did not belong to the Concorde. Nearby on the runway investigators found a "chunk" of tyre from the Concorde with a large gash. Tyre marks left by the aircraft on the runway seem to indicate that the aircraft started to veer left while on the runway. Traces of soot were found near the tyre debris, as well as parts of a water deflector and pieces from a fuel tank. Based on this evidence, the investigators determined that a burst tyre may have provoked a chain reaction of failures - including a fuel leak, a fire and loss of power in two engines-that caused the Concorde to crash. The Concorde is equipped with a visual warning system that alerts pilots of low tyre pressure, but that system is not active at speeds of less than 10kt or speeds above 135kt. The "V-speeds" for the flight were V1: 150kt, VR: 198kt, V2: 220kt. The French officials believe that the metal strip resembles a piece missing from a Continental Airlines DC-10 which passed through the Charles de Gaulle airport shortly before the Concorde took off. Continental Airlines has confirmed that one of its DC-10s was missing a piece similar to the metal strip. However, the French investigators say that they cannot definitely say that it came from an aircraft until other analyses had been completed. The main conclusions of the preliminary report were: o During the line up for take-off, the left main tyre was destroyed between V 1 and V r , probably after running over a metal part. o The destruction of the tyre directly or indirectly caused damage to the structure and systems of the aircraft leading to loss of the aircraft less than one minute and thirty seconds after the tyre blew. While the sequence and the links between events are yet to be established, the preliminary report says that these events caused: o One or more perforations of at least one tank with significant fuel leakage. o The ignition of the fuel which fed a violent fire which appeared a few seconds after the destruction of the tyre. o Loss of power on two engines. The report concluded that the destruction of a simple tyre had catastrophic consequences within a very short time without the crew being able to restore the situation. It recommended Concordes remain grounded until measures are able to be implemented which guarantee a level of safety against risks related to tyre destruction. The crew were absolved of any blame, with the report finding that they had no way of knowing about the nature of the fire nor any means of fighting it. The flight crew, consisting of a pilot, a co-pilot and a flight engineer, shared more than 35,000 hours of flight time between them and approximately 4,000 hours on type. The pilot in command was Christian Marty, aged 54. Prior to entering the runway, the captain broadcast his emergency procedures to the tower including plans to continue the take-off after achieving V 1 , even if confronted with a fire warning. As the co-pilot called "rotate", the controller notified the aircraft "you have flames ... you have flames behind you". Over a span of four seconds, the flight engineer announced a problem with engine number two, a fire warning is heard in the cockpit and the flight engineer announces that he is cutting engine number two. Throughout the remainder of the flight, the co-pilot repeatedly tells the captain to watch his airspeed as the crew deals with multiple problems. About one minute later, the fight data recorder indicates a drop in power from the number one engine; the Concorde then makes its final plunge. The aircraft hit the ground with virtually no horizontal speed. Runway inspection: The head of the French air accident investigation bureau (BEA), Paul-Louis Arslanian told a news conference when presenting the preliminary report that a fireman's drill had postponed a runway inspection. He said airport employees routinely inspected the runway three times a day. On 25 July, an inspection was carried out at 4.30am, followed by a partial inspection of the west side of the runway at noon. The fire drill took place after the partial inspection. The doomed Air France Concorde took off at 4.43 p.m. (1443 GMT). Arslanian cautioned against drawing hasty conclusions: "We need to understand what was done during the fire drill," he said. Investigators believe that the final report will take at least another six months to complete. Following issue of the preliminary report, Air France Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourdeon raised the possibility that the Concorde could be airborne again by May 2001. He was backed by the French Transport Minister, Jean-Claude Gayssot, who said, "The Concorde is not finished. If you want my profound conviction - it will fly again." In design offices located in Toulouse, experts have been working on the Super Concorde. The design matches the Concorde's speed, but allows for twice as many passengers and an increased range. The project is dubbed "Alliance". /end quote _______________________________________________________________________________ CRASH INVESTIGATION > 3.1) Why can't I get a copy of the CVR tape? From "hehehe" firstname.lastname@example.org The sole purpose of CVR tapes is to determine the cause of accidents. They are not intended for any other purpose, such as any litigation that might come from the accident (although they usually work their way into such) or the entertainment of the general public. The contents of the tapes always becomes public in the form of an edited transcript. The actual tape is not released because it may contain private, irrelevant conversation between the pilots, "expletives", and of course, the dying screams of the pilots. There is no reason for the public to hear this sort of thing, and out of respect for the dead, and their families, the actual tape is kept private. Furthermore, like all appliances on the aircraft, the CVR is powered in such a way that there is a circuit breaker for it that is accessible to the pilots on the flight deck. If the pilots thought their private conversations were to ever be made public, they would just pull the breakers on the CVR. You could make the breaker inaccessible to the pilots, but that would break the established paradigms of aircraft operation and maintenance. The CVR tapes are made available to all those who are directly involved in the accident investigation. The edited transcripts do not eliminate relevant information. There is no attempt made by any party to "coverup" the contents of the CVR. If that were to happen, we would hear the strong objections of other "interested parties" in the investigation, and the coverup would quickly become the source of great embarrassment and possible criminal investigation for those who attempted the concealment. However, try to remember this: the CVR is the property of the airline, a private company. It's contents are *private* conversations. There is NO established right of the general public to this information. The only parties that are privileged to listen to the tape are the NTSB (or investigative agency of the country where the accident took place), the FAA (or civil aviation agency of the country), the airline, and the "interested parties", such as the aircraft manufacturer, and the unions of crew members. In order to hear the ordinal recording, one must show a legitimate, legal reason why one NEEDS to hear it. It is PRIVATE material. You have no right to it any more than you have a right to wiretap my phones. Pilots already put up with "big brotherisms" that almost anyone else would find intolerable. Public release of CVR tapes is, however, the last straw. We will not tolerate it. If you don't want us pulling the breakers, then these tapes will be kept private forever. > 3.2) What are the specifications of the black boxes? From http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/CVR_FDR.htm Flight Data Recorder Time recorded ........................... 25 hour continuous Number of parameters .................... 5 - 300+ Impact tolerance ........................ 3400Gs /6.5ms Fire resistance ......................... 1100 degC/30 min Water pressure resistance ............... submerged 20,000 ft Underwater locator beacon ................37.5 KHz Battery: 6yr shelf life 30 day operation Cockpit Voice Recorder Time recorded .......................... 30 min continuous, 2 hours for solid state digital units Number of channels ......................4 Impact tolerance ........................3400 Gs /6.5ms Fire resistance .........................1100 deg C /30 min Water pressure resistance ...............submerged 20,000 ft Underwater locator beacon ...............37.5 KHz Battery: 6yr shelf life 30 day operation _______________________________________________________________________________ AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE > 4.1) Aerodynamics ************************* > 4.2) Meteorology ************************* > 4.3) Air Traffic Control > 4.3.1) What does Pan-pan mean? Pan-pan comes from a French word "panne" meaning breakdown. A distress call indicating an emergency exists, but assistance is not required immediately. ************************** > 4.3.2) What does mayday mean? From the French phrase m'aidez (help me). A distress call indicating grave danger. Assistance is required immediately. The actual French for "help me" is "aidez-moi". Various dictionaries give slightly different explanations for this discrepancy. One says that "mayday" is from "pseudo-French m'aidez"; another says it's from "venez m'aider" ("come help me"); and so on. ["Aidez" and "aider" are pronounced identically, both with the last letter silent.] ************************* > 4.4) Airframes > 4.4.1) Is it possible for a cabin door to be opened at 30,000 ft? Contributed by "Jim" email@example.com, It would be impossible due to the tremendous strength required to overcome the difference between the outside and inside air pressures. Also, modern air liners are designed with "plug" type doors that fit into the door frame like a wedge and use the pressure difference to hold the wedge in place. Watch next time they close the boarding door and you will see what I mean. Contributed by Bertie the Bunyip, Yes, impossible. the pressure on a typical cabin door is about 8psi, let's say. The door itself is about 1,400 sq inches, so you have 11,000 lbs of pressure on the door at cruise altitudes. *************************** > 4.4.2) Aircraft Parts Splaps Spoiler Flaps - a fictional part invented by John Tarver. *************************** > 4.5) Engines > 4.5.1) How can an engine run at 102% power? Contributed by ROB firstname.lastname@example.org The jet engine usually has two stages, or some engines three stages. For example a CF6-80A is a two stage turbine. The first stage (N1) Low Pressure Rotor is also the fan stage which develops the fan thrust. The larger fan stage is slow to accelerate. It is separate to the power turbine (N2) High Pressure Rotor, and both spin independently of each other. Therefore they will be rotating at different speeds. This also means that they will have different maximum RPM for operation. The power turbine (N2), is smaller quicker to accelerate and spins at very high rpm eg 17,247 rpm maximum while the fan section (N1), will be much larger and therefore slower, turn typically at 2324 rpm maximum. (note the precise rpm figures) A very small gas turbine will spin at rpm as high as 15600 to even some around 21000 rpm. The pilots job can be made easier and therefore safer by avoiding large and difficult to remember numbers for the rpm, and it is easier to visualise the relative engine speed when presented as a [percent]age. There are many different engines and different models of these and Further throughout the many years of continued development of an engine while in service the maximum rpm will be changed by the manufacturer. The instrument manufacturer get around this by making just a few gauges to measure the various ranges of engine speeds and then the engine manufacturer selects an instrument that very closely fits a maximum rpm of just over 100%. The pilot will not know and will not care what the actual rpm is, only that the engine is spinning at or about a percentage which fits the requirements for the operation. Typically, a normal take-off is not at all-up-weight and therefore maximum power is not required, so the toke-off power is then derated for the conditions and could be as low as 86% on a cold day. A derated take-off or a derated climb will save engine wear and a lot of fuel. Where the take off requires maximum thrust the N1 and N2 will be up at the maximum (Your example 102% and 104%) The CF6-80A fitted to the B767-200ER and the CF6-80C2 fitted to the B767-300LR currently have the following limits CF6-80A N1 (Low Pressure Rotor) 117% N1 (High Pressure Rotor) 110.5%, CF6-80C2 N1 (Low Pressure Rotor) 117.5% N1 (High Pressure Rotor) 112.5%, By the way, there is no direct connection between the rpm and thrust developed. eg the N1 at idle is about 22%, at 75% N1 you may get about 12% of available thrust, and at 90% N1 you may get about 43% available thrust, 100% N1 get about 87% of available thrust and then maximum thrust at a higher rpm's ************************* > 4.6) Avionics > 4.6.1) Can someone explain TCAS? Contributed by Gary Watson The TCAS system provides three sources of information to the flight crew. 1. Aural - a computer generated voice that says things such as "Traffic, Traffic" to get their attention so they look at their TCAS displays. 2. A display on either a radar indicator or on a specialized VSI (called a VSI/TA/RA) which gives a plan view of the airspace surrounding the aircraft. Aircraft are shown in various colours depending on the onboard computers assessment of their threat. 3. The modified LCD VSI indicators also light up certain segments around the outside of the scale depending on the necessary vertical manoeuvre required of the aircraft. For instance, if the conflicting traffic in coming at you from below it is likely the VSI/RA will light up in red from -3000fpm to say, +2000 fpm. The crew then must place the VSI needle in the non-red area to avoid bumping into the other guy. Most aircraft have a transponder which transmits altitude information on mode C . The TCAS interrogator receives this information through a directional antenna on the top and another on the belly then compares their targets to its own altitude and vertical speed. A mode S transponder is also a mandatory part of a TCAS installation and it also communicates with another Mode S transponders in other TCAS- equipped aircraft. This is to ensure that they know what to do next. It would make no sense if they both descended or climbed at the same time. Small aircraft with a mode C altitude encoder will show up on TCAS but the Mode S Tpr will not establish this data link with them. If you have no Mode C, the TCAS will only be able to show you on the Traffic Advisory display ************************* OTHER RESOURCES > 5.1) URL's to crash investigation agencies Australia http://www.atsb.gov.au Canada http://www.tsb.gc.ca United States of America http://www.ntsb.gov UK http://www.open.gov.uk/aaib Synopses of Accidents by Month 1983 to present http://www.itsasafety.org/aviation/months.htm NTSB Current Major Investigations http://www.itsasafety.org/events/major.htm NTSB Aviation Accident Reports - Fifty Most Recent http://www.itsasafety.org/Publictn/A_Acc1.htm Faa Office of Accident Investigation (List of incidents in Past Days) http://www.faa.gov/avr/aai/iirform.htm ************************** > 5.2) URL's to aviation agencies Australia http://www.casa.gov.au http://www.airsevices.gov.au Canada http://www.tc.gc.ca United States of America http://www.faa.gov ************************** > 5.3) URL's to aviation safety magazines online Flight Safety Australia http://www.casa.gov.au/fsa/index.htm ************************** > 5.4) URL's to search engines http://www.yahoo.com http://www.anzwers.com.au http://www.google.com ************************** > 5.5) URL's of interest "Accidents Involving Passenger Fatalities U.S. Airlines 1982 - Present" http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/Paxfatal.htm "Explosive Mixtures In Fuel Tanks On Transport Category Aircraft" http://www.ntsb.gov/recs/explosive_tanks.htm Black Boxes http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/CVR_FDR.htm "The Aviation Safety System" http://www.faa.gov/publicinfo.htm Richard Kebabjian's pages http://www.planecrashinfo.com Lynn Wallace's TWA800 page http://www.xmission.com/~lawall Contributed by Dr. George O. Bizzigotti There are many sites on the internet that come to a different conclusion than the NTSB as to the cause of the TWA 800 accident. Two of the more heavily documented include: http://Flight800.org/ - Flight 800 Independent Researcher's Organization (FIRO) describes itself as "a non-partisan organization formed in May 1998 with a charter to actively research and investigate the crash of TWA 800." They claim to be "independent experts" in the NTSB investigation, "typifying the flying public." Many a.d.a regulars (including a number of scientists and engineers) regard FIRO as disingenuous; see their use of a Freedom of Information Act response to request for documents relating to use or scheduled use of warning and restricted areas W-505, W-105, W-106, W-107, W-386, and R-4001 on 17 and 18 July 1996 to imply that the identity of a single radar target 2.9 nautical miles from Flight 800 when it crashed was hidden under guise of National Security (the request includes areas as far away as the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia). See also section 2.1.6 above. http://www.twa800.com/index.htm - Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP) a group of "former military, civilian, and aviation professionals who are committed to independently investigating the mysterious crash of TWA Flight 800." Their web site seems to be primarily the work of Cmdr. William S. Donaldson, USN Retired. Many a.d.a regulars regard Cmdr. Donaldson's technical competence as vanishingly small; see section 2.1.4 above. The FIRO and the ARAP sites are useful aids in investigating the TWA 800 Accident because they present a great deal of primary source material. However, users are cautioned that these sites, although extremely skeptical of all evidence against the missile hypothesis, are utterly unskeptical of any evidence supporting the missile hypotheses. Although these sites may appear to be scientific, they are not. ************************** > 5.6) Books "Air Disaster" Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Macarthur Jobs Published by Aerospace Publications PO Box 1777, Fyshwick, ACT, 2609 Australia. Vol. 1 ISBN 1 875671 11 0 Vol. 2 ISBN 1 875671 19 6 Vol. 3 ISBN 1 875671 34 X Volume 4 is due out May 2001 Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators by H. H. Hurt Jr. Published by Direction of Commander, Naval Air Systems Command United States Navy. Printed by Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc, Renton, Washington 98059-3153 USA. > The following list supplied by Kris Crook Personal Recollections Gann, Ernest K., Fate is the Hunter, 1961, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-671-63603-0 Garin, O.M. "Ory", Flight Level Four One Zero, 1995, Self-Published - can be obtained from the author at: 53 Dreahook Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889 General Aviation Histories Davies, R.E.G., Airways and World Airways, Both were published by the Smithsonian in the 1980's, I no longer have these, either. From Dr. George Bizzigotti - Some of Davies' books were reprinted by Paladwr Press in the late '90s, although Amazon reports them as being once again out of stock. I was able to order "Airlines of the United States since 1914" from an advertisement in "Airliners." Heppenheimer, T.A., Turbulent Skies, 1995, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-19694-0 *Solberg, Carl, Conquest of the Skies, 1979, Little & Brown, ISBN 0-316-80330-8 General Disaster Books Barlay, Stephen. The Final Call: Why Airline Disasters Continue to Happen. 1990, Pantheon (Random House), ISBN 0-679-40174-1. Also published in Britain by Sinclair-Stevenson Ltd Brookes, Andrew, Flights to Disaster, 1996, Ian Allan, ISBN 0-7110-2475-8 Denham, Terry, The World Directory of Airliner Crashes, 1996, Patrick Stevens Ltd., ISBN 1-85260-554-5 Gero, David, Aviation Disasters, 1996, Patrick Stevens, Ltd., ISBN 1-85260-526-X MacPherson, Malcolm, ed., The Black Box, 1998, Quill, ISBN 0-688-15892-7 Nance, John J., Blind Trust, 1986 publisher is W. Morrow, and the ISBN 0-688-05360-2 *Serling, Robert J., The Probable Cause, 1960, Doubleday, has no ISBN - very rare, but worth it. Stewart, Stanley, Air Disasters, 1996, Barnes and Noble Books, ISBN 1-56619-671-X Stewart, Stanley, Emergency! Crisis in the Cockpit, 1989/1991, Airlife (UK)/TAB (USA), ISBN 0-8306-6499-8/0-8306-3499-1 Specific Disasters - chosen because they seem to pop up more often than other crashes. *Fuller, John, The Ghost of Flight 401, (Eastern 401, Although it borders on fiction, IMO, has a good rundown of the crash and may clear up some questions, i.e. John Tarver and the Autopilot/Flight Director/Drunken Eastern pilots controversy of late.) *Kadell, Franz A., Ph.D. The KAL 007 Massacre, 1985 (Published by a right-wing think-tank known as the Western Goals Foundations, biased as hell and is factually questionable, but still interesting if you can get ahold of it.) Hoffer, William and Marilyn Mona Freefall, 1989, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-92274-4 (Air Canada 143, the "Gimli Glider") Sanders, James, The Downing of TWA Flight 800, 1997, Zebra Books (Although it also borders on fiction, IMO, it still has some interesting background and may answer some questions for those who don't know what the conspiracy loons are talking about.) U.S. Airline Histories Clearley, George Walker Jr., Braniff - With a Dash of Color and a Touch of Elegance, 1981 (All of Mr. Clearley's books are self published, and availability varies - they can be obtained directly from him at: P.O. Box 12312, Dallas, Texas, 75225) Clearley, George Walker Jr., American Airlines - An Illustrated History, 1982 Clearley, George Walker Jr., Eastern Airlines - An Illustrated History, 1985 Clearley, George Walker Jr., National - Airline of the Stars - An Illustrated History, 1985, reprinted 1995 Clearley, George Walker Jr., The Delta Family History, 1985 Clearley, George Walker Jr., Braniff International Airways - The Building of a Major International Airline, 1986 Clearley, George Walker Jr., American Airlines, America's Leading Airline, 1987 Clearley, George Walker Jr., Western Air Lines, America's Oldest Airline, 1987 Clearley, George Walker Jr., Fly the Finest, Fly TWA, 1988 Clearley, George Walker Jr., Capital Airlines, World's No. 1 Prop-Jet Airline, 1988 Clearley, George Walker Jr., United - The Mainline Airway, 1989 *Nance, John J., Splash of Colors, 1984, ISBN 0-688-03586-8 (Braniff International, has an excellent rundown of the 1968 Electra crash at Dawson, TX) *Serling, Robert J., Ceiling Unlimited, 1968? (North Central, I don't have an ISBN on this one, as I lost my copy in a move, and I'm trying to get another one.) *Serling, Robert J., Maverick, 1974, Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-04057-1 (Robert Six and Continental) *Serling, Robert J., The Only Way to Fly, 1976, Doubleday, ISBN 0-385-01342-6 (Western, this has recently been re-published, but I have yet to come across it, from what I've heard it is a limited-edition printing that retails for around $50 US - better off looking for the original, which can be had for around $5 US at various used book shops - it's not particularly rare.) *Serling, Robert J., Howard Hughes' Airline, 1983, St. Martin's Press (TWA - don't have an ISBN on this one, either - it was lost with Ceiling Unlimited.) *Serling, Robert J., From the Captain to the Colonel, 1984, St. Martin's Press (Eastern, no ISBN - see above) Serling, Robert J., Eagle, 1985, St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-22453-2 (American, can still be found in paperback most everywhere.) ______________________________________________________________________________ MISCELLANEOUS > 6.1) Names, Logos, Callsigns. > 6.1.1) QANTAS NOT QUANTAS or Qwantas or any other word you can think up. QANTAS is an acronym that stands for Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Services just as TWA stands for Trans World Airlines. *************************** > 6.1.2) SPEEDBIRD Contributed by TM Oliver Speedbird long predates the Concorde, coming from the elderly vertical stabilizer ornament of BOAC, and Clipper, PanAm's desire for a link with sailing ships of yore, dates from Martin and Sikorsky flying boats which predated the Boeing birds. Contributed by Grahame email@example.com The Speedbird was an early BOAC tail decoration: a stylised side view of a fast looking bird, (white on blue ISTR), looking a little like a sideways "V". It was used for many years as a company brand, e.g. the "BOAC Speedbird Stratocruiser". (If you want to see the logo, and trace the name, a ten second check on Alta Vista will give you several examples.) In 1984, well after BOAC and BEA merged to form BA, the design was minimised to a sideways V with a long tail - the "red stripe and half arrow" along the side of BA aircraft. The last rework, where they went for 50 different tail insignia, includes a "Speedmarque" which is the shorter rounded ribbon version of the same thing, but in red and blue. > 6.1.3) Callsigns URLs to callsign lists http://members.aol.com/SpringSml/aviation/lstcall.htm http://thecousins.com/Michael/KIND/icaoline.txt http://home.tvd.be/sf15347/voicecls.htm http://www.fordyce.org/scanning/scanning_info/air_id.html ************************* > 6.2) What does IMHO mean? In My Humble Opinion Others are; aas - alt.aviation.safety - also a.a.s - flame central ada - alt.disasters.aviation - also a.d.a - this newsgroup afaik - As far as I know aka - Also known as aol - America On-Line app - Application (program) asap - As soon as possible asafp - As soon as [feasibly] possible bbfn - Bye bye for now bbs - Bulletin board system bfd - Big [futile] deal bfn - Bye for now bg - Big grin (countless variants exist) bol - Bursts out laughing bps - Bits per second (not the same as baud) bozo - Brain Off, Zoned Out btsom - Beats the [stuffing] outta me btsoom - Beats the [stuffing] out of me btw - By the way bykt - But you knew that bykta - But you knew that already cis - CompuServe cmiiw - Correct me if I'm wrong cu - See you cul - See you later cul8r - See you later c-ya - See you c-ya l8r - See you later diik - [Darned] if I know dl - Download (copy file from host) d/l - Download (copy file from host) eod - End of discussion eol - End of lecture esad - Eat [slop] and die e2eg - Ear-to-ear grin faatk - Falling asleep at the keyboard faq - Frequently asked questions (often referring to a file of such) fitb - Fill in the blank ftp - File transfer protocol ftr - For the record f2f - Face to face fubar - [Fouled] up beyond all recognition fwiw - For what it's worth fyeo - For your eyes only fyi - For your information/interest/irritation g - Grin gafl - Get a [flipping] life gd&r - Grinning, ducking, and running gigo - Garbage in, garbage out giwist - Gee, I wish I'd said that gmta - Great minds think alike go pri - Go private mail gpm - Go private mail gr8 - Great hand - Have a nice day hapol - Having a paroxysm of laughter hhok - Ha ha, only kidding hp - Home page (where not obviously refering to Hewlett-Packard) hth - Hope this helps h/w - Hardware Also, Homework iac - In any case iae - In any event ianal - I am not a lawyer (, but...) iaw - In accordance with ibf - It's been fun ibr - It's been real ic - I see idk - I don't know ihtfn - I have truly found Nirvana / I hate this [foul] network ihtfp - I have truly found peace / I hate this [foul] program iirc - If I remember correctly imao - In my arrogant opinion imo - In my opinion (countless variants exist) imho - In my humble opinion imnsho - In my not so humble opinion inpo - In no particular order iow - In other words irl - In real life (see f2f) irt - In reference/reply to isp - Internet Service Provider itat - Is that a threat? (often in reply to "cul8r") i2s4 - I'm too sexy for... iykwim - If you know what I mean ja... - Just another (something) jadu - Just another dumb user jand - Just another net dweeb jic - Just in case jk - Just kidding jtf - Just the facts jtfm - "Just the facts, ma'am." k - Okay kbd - Keyboard khyf - Know how you feel kita - Kick in the [arm] kma - Kiss my [arm] kwim - Know what I mean kybd - Keyboard l8r - Later (goodbye) lay - Laughing at you ld - Long distance (often regarding telephone expense) lkom - Light kiss on mouth lmao - Laughing my [arm] off lol - Laughing out loud (countless variants exist) ltmsh - Laughing 'til my sides hurt ltns - Long time, no see ltnt - Long time, no type nak - Not acknowledged / NOT! / I disagree nbd - No big deal nca - Net-cop alert nfp - No flames please np - No problem nrn - No reply necessary oas - On another subject oat - On another topic obtw - Oh, by the way oic - Oh, I see omif - Open mouth, insert foot otb - Off to bed otc - Over the counter otoh - On the other hand pita - Pain in the [arm] pkol - Passionate kiss on lips pmbi - Pardon my breaking in pmfji - Pardon me for jumping in pmji - Pardon my jumping in ppl - People re - In reply to rl - Real life rofl - Rolling on floor, laughing (countless variants exist) rotfl - Rolling on the floor laughing rotflmao - Rolling on the floor, laughing my [arm] off rotflol - Rolling on the floor laughing out loud rotm - Right on the money rsn - Real soon now rtfm - Read the [free] Manual sic - Stupid, ignorant cretin (and you thought it was Latin!) sln - Sorry, line noise (please repeat) snafu - Situation normal, all [fouled] up snd prv - Send private mail sohf - Sense of humor failure sol - [Sorta] outta luck sow - Speaking of which spm - Send private mail s/w - Software, or Shareware sup - What's up? sysop - System Operator (capitalization schemes vary) tanj - There ain't no justice tanstaafl - There ain't no such thing as a free lunch tbbg - This better be good tcp/ip - Transmission control protocol/Internet protocol tgif - Thank God it's Friday tgim - Thank God it's Monday (it implies a Friday somewhere) tia - Thanks in advance tic - Tongue in cheek tinalo - This is not a legal opinion tinar - This is not a recommendation thx - Thanks tnx - Thanks tobal - There oughta be a law tobg - This oughta be good tptb - The powers that be trdmc - Tears running down my cheeks ttbomk - To the best of my knowledge ttfn - Tata for now ttyl - Talk to you later ttyl8r - Talk to you later ttys - Talk to you soon(er) tyvm - Thank you very much ul - Upload (copy file to host) u/l - Upload (copy file to host) utc - Under the counter utt - Under the table vf - Very funny wb - Welcome back wiai - While I'm at it wibamu - Well I'll be a monkey's uncle witway - Where in the world are you? wnco - Warning, net-cop online w/o - Without wot - Warning, off topic wpfoa - When pigs fly [off] of my [arm] wrt - With respect to wtb - Wanted to buy wtb - What the [heck] wtf - What the [fouling] wysbygi - What you see before you get it wysiwyg - What you see is what you get (many variants exist) ya... - Yet another (something) yafa - Yet another [fine] acronym yap - Yet another ploy yhbt - You have been trolled yhl - You have lost ymmv - Your milage may vary (You may not get the same results) ywia - Your welcome in advance ywsyls - You win some, you lose some zoso - zoned out, sort of (not mentally alert) ************************* > 6.3) Loons > 6.3.1) The Stages of Loonity Contributed by Craig Shields The Stages of Loonity (Copyright 2000 tsuDesigns) 1) Find old, unsubstantiated web page. Repost contents. Be pleasant, if possible. 2) When people complain that you are posting nonsense, reply that they have been deceived by (fill in the blank) [ ] ZOG [ ] The NWO [ ] Politicians [ ] The secret government [ ] The aviation cabal [ ] The guvmintcuntrolled press [ ] Librul gun grabbers [ ] Russian Sputniks (thanks Nancy!) [ ] Other: ______________________ 3) When the others scoff, scream "coverup" and accuse them of being paid shills. 4) When the others attempt to disprove your arguments, disappear. 5) Reappear, and post condescending messages about what fools these mortals be. 6) Use the word "sheeple" (or at least imply it) to show how all-knowing you are, even though you have never been outside the county of your birth. 7) Find bell tower. ************************* > 6.3.2) OK, I'm a Loon. What protective measures can I take. Visit http://zapatopi.net/afdb.html ************************* > 6.3.3) What is a bunyip? A bunyip is a mythical water dwelling monster of the Australian bush. Mostly found in billabongs (waterholes) they are thought to also inhabit rivers. Also known to infest newsgroups, drowning out reasonable discourse by posting "witty" one liners ad nauseam. ************************* End Of FAQ __________________________________________________________________________ Permission is granted for this document to be reproduced electronically on any system so long as it is reproduced in its entirety, unedited, and with this notice intact.