Re: Mystery over 1992 El-Al crash

Date:         30 Nov 98 03:07:31 
From: (John Wright)
Organization: Janet, me and our cats in our little cottage
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On 20 Nov 98 02:30:43 , in <airliners.1998.1769@ohare.Chicago.COM>, C.S.
>In the german TV a report about the El-Al crash stated that many local
>residents near the crash site develloped in the meantime symptoms linked
>to radiation-exposure. The program concluded that the counterweights
>used by the 747 were made of uranium, and that the radiation spread
>around through the resulting fire.
>In the program, Boeings official comment was that the _actual_
>counterweights are made of steel. Does anybody know which material was
>used to balance the earlier versions of the 747 ?

When I was briefly associated with British Airways in the field of
radiation protection*, the only aircraft that I was aware of in the BA
fleet that used depleted uranium mass balance weights was the L-1011.
BA's fleet at the time included the -100 -200 and -400 versions of the
Boeing 747, not to mention 737-200, 737-400, 757, and 767 amongst a host
of others.

Mass balance weights are used to increase the flutter speed of an
aircraft's flying controls, and as such must be matched to the control.
This occasionally requires machining and other operations on them and if
they are depleted uranium special facilities must be provided so this
can be done safely.

* An airlines involvement with radiation mostly involves the
non-destructive testing of aircraft components, and radioactive isotopes
carried as freight - these have special labels as approved by IATA, not
to mention having to be carried in approved containers.
John Wright

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