Re: TWA #800: "sparker" in tank?

Date:         28 Dec 96 14:20:11 
From:         Ken <regulus@earthlink.net>
Organization: Earthlink Network, Inc.
References:   1 2
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

Chris Hall wrote:
>
> In article <airliners.1996.2659@ohare.Chicago.COM>, Ken
> <regulus@earthlink.net> writes
> >Another theory (which may not be new) on TWA 800 explosion:
> >
> >Is it possible that a spark generator could have been
> >inserted into the center fuel tank?  Perhaps at any of several
> >airports which this aircraft had visited over the preceding weeks.
>
> It is impossible to obtain access to the inside of a fuel tank. Apart
> from maintenance hatches that are only opened during servicing, the only
> access to fuel tanks is by the fuel piping.
>
> >Scenario: An Iranian/Iraqi/Hezbollah terrorist gains access to
> >the parked airliner at Athens one night and magnetically (or otherwise)
> >attaches the radio-activated "sparky" to the upper surface of
> > the center fuel tank.
>
> How would any terrorist know if the tank was going to be full or empty?

I appreciate the responses and wish to reply to some of them.
I had no intention of "accusing" Moslems of being terrorists. But some
elements of the mentioned groups have a history of anti-Western
violence.  I could have said Corsican, Algerian, Michigan Militia,
ex-husband or beneficiary of passenger, or better...not mention any
group.

At this time, the NTSB is now leaning to a static electricity
spark as the ignition source, lending weight to my idea that a small
spark could be the source.   I had no knowledge of how difficult access
would be to the upper surface of the center fuel tank.  If a person
could not simply reach into a fueling port, then maybe a terrorist paid
off, or served as, or impersonated a maintenance worker.

It now appears that the explosion was a horrible accident, but I wanted
to make the point that explosive sabotage which destroys a huge airliner
need not involve a bomb, just a spark. And the device would thus leave
no "explosive residue" or parts which could be distinguished from other
aircraft components or cargo at the bottom of the sea.

It also seems that the evidence I've seen in the news and newsgroups has
not ruled out this scenario.
But I'll accept the latest static electricity theory as more probable.

How do guard against this? Fill emptying tanks with nitrogen? at what
expense? Keep fuel transfer or hydraulic lines away from fuel vapors?

Does Boeing still maintain that a fuel tank explosion could not bring
down a 747?

Ken Allison