Re: SAA crash in the Indian Ocean

From:         shafer@rigel.dfrf.nasa.gov (Mary Shafer)
Organization: NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards CA
Date:         07 Dec 93 11:39:12 PST
References:   1 2
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On 2 Dec 93 04:47:25 GMT, rna@leland.Stanford.EDU (Robert Ashcroft) said:

Robert> I believe it was a 747M, the one where the back is cargo and
Robert> the front is passengers.  Something bad happened in the cargo
Robert> deck, and I think there was controversy about whether it was a
Robert> bomb or "just" dangerous cargo.  I remember some discussion
Robert> about the wisdom of such "mixed" aircraft at the same time.

[snip]

Robert> (which doesn't make a whole lot of sense... how would the
Robert> flight attendants communicate with the pilots---anyone
Robert> remember these things??)

Cargo is heavier than passengers, as a rule.  To keep the center of
gravity in front of the center of pressure, you don't put heavy stuff
behind the wing, you put it in front of the wing.

Putting the center of gravity behind the center of pressure means
that the plane will pitch up, stall, depart from controlled flight,
and fall out of the sky.  This gives them a big incentive to get the
loading right.  Since there's no guarantee on how much cargo and how
many passengers they'll have, they configure the aircraft in the
safest manner.
--
Mary Shafer  DoD #362 KotFR NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards, CA
shafer@ferhino.dfrf.nasa.gov                 Of course I don't speak for NASA
 "A MiG at your six is better than no MiG at all."  Unknown US fighter pilot