Re: Who are the best crash investigators?

From:         rdl1@ukc.ac.uk
Organization: University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.
Date:         01 Aug 94 23:49:36 
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In article <airliners.1994.1469@ohare.Chicago.COM> jfc@athena.mit.edu (John F Carr) writes:
>
>A story last year about the KAL 007 shootdown mentioned that the task of
>analyzing data had been given to the French.  This decision doesn't
>necessarily reflect on the relative abilities of different countries'
>investigation teams.  The USA, for example, was probably excluded for
>political reasons.  So I'm wondering, who are the best?
>
I couldn't comment on investigators from other countries, but I have the 
impression that the folks here in the UK are pretty good. The Lockerbie
disaster, while not exactly a pure accident (then, neither was KAL007)
was investigated by the UK Air Accident Investigation Bureau (which I think
is somehow attached to DRA Farnborough) and the Sherrif of the local area
in Scotland (would you believe that Scotland, where the legal system is 
slightly different from England, has sherrifs?)

Not only were they able to piece together where the bomb was and how the
plane broke up, they worked out  that the bomb was in a Toshiba ghetto
blaster, and matched stuff to deduce that some clothes in the same 
suitcase (the terrorist's) were bought in a small shop in Malta or Cyprus
or somewhere.

I think the folks in Farnborough have come up now with some kind of
luggage pallet/container that substantially attenuates the pressure pulse
from a bomb, meaning a much larger (and hence more easily detectable)
device would be needed to bring down an aircraft..

Just my 2p worth - I'd be interested in others' comments

Ralph Lorenz
Unit for Space Sciences
University of Kent