Re: Cargo door theory TWA 800 and others

Date:         08 Dec 96 04:12:27 
From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
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>An inadvertently opened forward cargo door caused the destruction of TWA
>800, Pan Am 103, Air India 182 and almost UAL 811. Full documentation and
>support for cargo door theory is on web site

My gut reaction when reading this was "oh no, another crackpot with a
pet theory."  Normally, wild and unsubstantiated speculation results
in a rejection note, but he claimed support on the web page.

Take a look before you write the guy off.

He gets confused between fact and theory (e.g., the first sentence of
his post) and his style borders on the sensational, but his web site
demonstrates an awesome amount of research -- far more than a number
of regular posters to sci.aeronautics.airliners who clearly have *not*
done their homework.

At the very least, he's got on-line copies off all relevant accident
reports -- the last revision from the NTSB for UA 811 (not the early
one, prior to recovery of the cargo door, that I have in my library),
the UK report on PA 103, and both Canadian and Indian reports on AI
182.  He deserves some credit for making these available, if nothing
else.  (They're scanned images of the pages, not text, and there is
no "next page" button on each one, so they're a bit clumsy to read,
but a lot easier than not having anything.)

No NTSB report for TW 800, of course, since the report doesn't exist
yet, but he has a good collection of what's available to date which
includes NTSB and FBI releases.

With regard to TW 800 and the evidence of a fire and explosion in the
center fuel tank and related areas, he makes a reasonable case that
this is not inconsistent with an in-flight breakup due to a failure
of the cargo door, as on UA 811.

Looking at PA 103, the official accident report attributes the crash
to a bomb in the forward cargo hold.  I didn't see anything to make
the case that the cargo door failed, as opposed to being blown out by
a bomb.  Maybe it's in there, but there's a *lot* of material on those
web pages!

Same thing for AI 182.  Maybe the damage is consistent with a UA 811-
style cargo door failure, but it seems to me like a bomb in the forward
cargo hold would produce the same result, except for telltale signs of
a bomb if that was the trigger.  The first few pages of the Canadian
report chronicles a probably common source in Vancouver for a bomb
that might have been placed aboard the Air India 747 as well as one
that *was* placed aboard a CP Air flight to Tokyo.  (The latter bomb
exploded on a baggage cart in Narita's transit area, killing two and
injuring four others.)

One final, interesting tidbit -- AI 182 was carrying a fifth engine in
a pod! There's no reason to believe this has anything to do with the
accident but given the recent discussions about the procedure it was
interesting to note.

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills