Re: DC 10-ski topples on to its rear when unloaded!

From: (Dickey Bradley F)
Organization: Bryn Mawr College
Date:         23 Feb 94 12:05:51 PST
References:   1 2 3 4
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

In article <> writes:
>  I understand that 747's (and possibly others) carry depleted uranium in
>  the nose for ballast - lots of mass in a small volume. Don't suppose
>  you could say that _they_ were badly designed :-) Does create a bit of
>  local concern when they crash, though.

I think that the isotope they carry is the U^238, which is a harmless and
non-radioactive one (well, OK a bit radioactive, but so is Connecticut).
The report of this indeed caused a stir during the Lockebie incident, when 
the locals found out about it.  The Scottish environmental groups realized
that there was no danger, and let it lie; I do remember one spokesman for
GreenPeace, I think, who was reported to say;
"I would be more afraid of the thing dropping on my head than of the danger 
to the environment later" [sic].

So Pan Am certainly was using Uranium as balast, supposed to be quite cheap,
as well as the qualities you mention - small and heavy.