Re: Could TWA800 really have happened this way?

Date:         28 Dec 96 14:20:09 
From: (Louis A. Ramsay)
Organization: Netcom
References:   1 2
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In <airliners.1996.3086@ohare.Chicago.COM>
(John van Veen) writes:
>Chris Jardine ( wrote:
>: 1) Would there would be enough energy in a low velocity explosion
>: what would be available from Jet fuel with no help to cause the kind
>: of damage that obviously occurred in this case?
>For what it is worth;  When the C-141 first came on line in the
>mid-sixties, one blew up on the ramp at McChord AFB during
>refuelig.  There was at least one fatality.  The cause was
>relating to grounding, or the lack of.

     I don't believe the C-141 that burned at McChord was being
refueled at the time.

     Upon boarding the aircraft for a training mission, the crew
determined the fuel gauges were not reading correctly.  A call was made
to the Airlift Command Post to report this problem and the crew was
told to take the adjoining aircraft (scheduled for a flight to Kelly
AFB later that morning) for their training flight.  Maintenance would
troubleshoot and fix the fuel gauge problem in time for the aircraft to
be dispatched as a replacement on the scheduled flight.

     There was sufficient fuel on the "PT-Bird" (Pilot Training air-
craft) for dispatch to Kelly without refueling.

     During testing of the fuel probes, the center tank exploded.  An
avionics technician was talking to tower for a radio check; the
explosion was heard over the radio and was recorded by the tower voice

     I believe there were two fatalities - one airman died at the scene
and the second died either on the way to, or just after arriving at,
Madigan Army Hospital on Ft. Lewis.

     As there were no records showing exactly who was onboard the plane
when it caught fire, there was a physical roll call held for any and
all personnel that would have had any reason to be at, on, or near the

     At the time of the incident, I worked at the Base Weather Station
thus being afforded a "ringside" seat and it was disheartening (to say
the least) to watch the plane burn while the fire crew could only wet
down surrounding aircraft to prevent any spread of the fire.  One
Sergeant got an award for tying a tug on to the nearest C-141 and
towing the plane out of the immediate area.