Re: Could TWA800 really have happened this way?

Date:         27 Dec 96 19:09:39 
From:         inet@intellisys.net (brian whatcott)
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In article <airliners.1996.2887@ohare.Chicago.COM>, cjardine@wctc.net
says...
>
>... I have a few simple questions for our experts
>here.
>
>1) Would there would be enough energy in a low velocity explosion like
>what would be available from Jet fuel with no help to cause the kind
>of damage that obviously occurred in this case?

The specific energy of hi octane gasoline (energy per mass) is
higher than that of high explosives.
 The energy density of jet fuel is in turn higher than that of
gasoline.

>2) There has been a finger pointed at a sensor in the tank (old news).
>I would assume that this sensor would be like many others that have
>regulated power supplies that regulate voltage and current to 'safe'
>levels. If this is the case could a sensor start this kind of
>explosion?

You can be reasonably sure that a component operating in the way its
designer intended will not be responsible for an explosion in the
absence of other factors - usually several.

>3) Now it seems that the 'ignition source du joure' is static
>electricity. I would tend to believe that the engineers at Boeing
>would have grounding braid wires attaching the tanks to nearby metal
>surfaces. Considering the lengths ground crews go to discharge static
>before fuelling a jet I would think that they have quite a system for
>static discharge. If this is the case is this line of research just
>another exercise in futility?

Your faith in aerospace engineers is touching. But the art of accident
investigation is to find out how circumstance conspired to defeat
the reasonable design precautions built into a failed aircraft.

 But I will admit a bias. I proposed the 'static discharge from a fuel
line between #2 and #3' theory in 'Jet Explosion',
rec.aviation.piloting newsgroup on 21st July.
 But I seemingly have the advantage of you. I know of previous tank
explosions in other types.

>....bodies, etc. from directly above the tank.
>Would the low velocity explosion have disintegrated all of this
>material or would it have required a higher velocity explosion?

It is by no means certain that missing materials have been
disintegrated.

>5) I think that all this talk of conspiracy is really stupid, but, is
>there something going on here that the public doesn't know about? ...

So conspiracy talk is stupid: but perhaps this is a conspiracy?

>Let's keep any conversations civil, and any flame wars out of this
>thread.

This newsgroup is moderated: you asked for informed opinion, which I
hope you will get - but I doubt the moderator will let respondents
flame.

brian whatcott <inet@intellisys.net>
Altus OK