New Items will be added to the top and run off the end
|In a message dated 10/04/1999 8:57:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time, BabsF342 writes:
The most refined estimate we have encountered puts the number of aircraft with Kapton wiring at slightly less than half the current fleet: 48 percent. It was prepared by Chris Smith, manager of aging aircraft nonstructural systems research at the FAA's Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
> Barb et al,
> Since this estimate of 48 % is made by the FAA, I have serious doubts as to its accuracy. Ask Ed Block for his opinion. You might ask Bill Hogan for his estimate. If he hasn't got one right away, ask him to put one of his
staff on coming up with a fair estimate. We need it.
Another AC interpretation
(Puts FAA's AC 25-16 in a whole
new light -i.e. Admissible as evidence of negligence)
> >> "Broome also objects to the district court's inclusion in 08 Oct 99
> >> the charge of FAA Advisory Circular 150-5200/30,
> >> relating to maintenance of runways during bad
> >> weather. Broome argues that the circulars do not
> >> have the force of law and that the district court
> >> therefore erred in telling the jury that they may infer
> >> negligence from a violation of the advisory. We have
> >> held that FAA Advisory Circulars are properly
> >> admitted into evidence and charged to the jury to aid
> >> it in formulating a standard of care to assess
> >> negligence. In recent Air Crash Disaster at John F.
> >> Kennedy Int'l Airport on June 24, 1975, 635 F.2d 67,
> >> 77 (2d Cir.1980). Judge McCurn's charge, that failure
> >> to comply with the circulars may be considered as
> >> "some evidence of negligence, along with the other
> >> evidence in the case," was thus entirely proper."
> >> RELIANT AIRLINES, INC.; Linda Hendricks,
> >> Plaintiffs-Counter-Defendant-Appellees,
> >> v.
> >> BROOME COUNTY, New York, Defendant-Counter
> >> -Claimant-Appellant. 122 F.3d 1057, 1997
> >> WL 416912 (2nd Cir.)
> >> NOTICE: THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED OPINION.
This was a finding of fact in the same N-500L case:
is undisputed that Franklin had a duty to be, and actually was,
familiar with information regarding wake turbulence avoidance published in the Airman's Information Manual and in the FAA advisory circulars.
See 14 C.F.R. § 61.105(a). He prolonged his approach in an attempt to avoid the wake left by the helicopter, but tragically, those measures were insufficient to prevent the accident."
DYER v. U.S. 832 F.2d 1062 at 1070
"In addition to these general safety regulations, the
"In addition to the FARs, the FAA publishes the Airman's Information
It could take eight years, not the four years proposed, to properly assess the job and to replace metalized Mylar thermal acoustic insulation blankets in some
700 Douglas-built aircraft, according to the Air Transport Association (ATA). The organization represents major U.S. carriers and believes the price tag of
AIR EUROPA emergency landing at ZRH ukraenzle
10/04/1999 01:57 am EDT
On Sunday, a B757 of AIR EUROPA (Spain) made an emergency landing with 202 +
Crew on Board at Zurich-Kloten-airport. There was smoke in the plane. The
aircraft was on its way from ZRH to Palma de Mallorca (PMI). Nobody was hurt.
A second aircraft of the airline came in from MAD and transported the pax to the island off the Baleares.
I believe you will find that this is an older 757 and as such, it was wired with BMS 13-51 KAPTON wire. I would appreciate any information from anybody, as to the Model and age of this 757 plane.
.From the TWA800 House S.C. Hearings
Mr. DUNCAN. Go ahead, Mr. Barcia.
Mr. BARCIA. I thank the Chair and of course, the committee members, for their indulgence.
I would just like to echo the sentiment of the gentlelady from Florida, Congresswoman Fowler, and raise some additional concerns with regard to this issue. I first brought the composite wire issue to the attention of the FAA on September 19, 1996, when I asked then-Administrator Hinson during a Science Committee hearing to look into the technological advancements made in airframe wiring in light of the fact that the current regulations governing airframe wiring were written more than 20 years ago.
On March 13, 1997, I asked the FAA for an update on my original question during a Technology Subcommittee hearing, to which the FAA replied, and I quote, ''The wire industry is providing outstanding products to the airframe manufacturers, including hybrid composite wire insulation construction. The airframe manufacturers select the best wire type based upon their independent evaluations and installation practices.
page 97 PREV page TOP OF DOC
The FAA believes that with regard to
flammability and smoke, the choices that are being made for today's
aircraft provide outstanding performance. To assist manufacturers in the
selection of the best available firesafe aircraft wiring,
the FAA has developed smoke and arc tracking test methods for
incorporation into an upgraded aircraft material fire test handbook,
which will be published within the next 6 months.''
In a message dated 9/30/99 3:30:28 PM Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
I am preparing a Resume of Issues and am currently condensing the 135 page Memorandum that was sent to KLM outlining IASA's submissions on Wiring Anomalies and Flight Safety. I have a number of questions that I would appreciate some input on:
1.. An August 1988 FAA study that concluded that the thermal degradation process of Kapton results in carbonization of the insulation material leading to arc-tracking and in-flight fires. Is this the Study that formed the basis of the July 1989 FAA Report "Flammability, Switch and Dry Arc Tracking Tests of Aircraft Electrical Wire Insulations"?
2.. is the 30 June 1997 letter (TWA to Boeing) in the public domain? I know that it featured on the Panorama programme but need to be sure.
3.. In 1982 Capt. Donald R Eaton made certain findings available to the pentagon. Do we have any documentary evidence of his findings/concerns?
4.. I note that in December 1981 the USN ordered the replacement of Kapton BUT Capt. Eatons comments follow in 1982 - which came first the chicken or the egg? There will no doubt be more and I apologise in advance if there are year 1, lesson 1 questions!
1.)These FAA attempts to understand Kapton and wiring problems, go back to my briefing the Energy and Commerce Committee in 1988, and them sending out letters of inquiry to the FAA. The 1988 wet arc-testing lead to the dry arc-track testing where only Kapton arc-tracked. In the wet, cross-linked Tefzel also arc-tracked. This material is still being used by Boeing even though it was; banned by Grumman for manned aerospace applications due to its smoke toxicity, found by the FAA in 1995 that it had a 97% smoke obscurity rating compared to 2% from any other insulation, banned by NASA in oxygen enriched areas due to its flammability.
2.)I have the TWA letter and I believe it is on Patrick Price's website.
3.)I have Captain Eaton's Briefing and was a member of that Pentagon panel. In 1981 Capt. Eaton said no to Poly-X and Kapton, but rather to use XL-ETFE (cross-linked Tefzel). In Fiscal year 1983, he asked for $360 million to replace poly-X in the F-14 and to rewire with Kapton. No mention of XL-ETFE.
4.) There was a briefing I gave McSweeny, the Navy, FBI, GAO. etc. in Apr 97 that covered every bit of this issue. After my 4 hour presentation McSweeny leaned over to Admiral Cook and asked, "What do you mean problems with poly-X?" This statement epitomized the disconnect between what the Navy knew and what they told the FAA.
FAA pulls plug on Interactive's
Thursday, September 30, 1999
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration yesterday ordered U.S. airlines using
Boeing Co. MD-11 aircraft not to install Interactive
Flight Technologies Inc. entertainment systems like the
one on a Swissair jet that crashed off the coast of Nova
Scotia in September 1998.
No U.S.-registered jetliners have the devices, although
they have been installed on 15 MD-11s worldwide.
The Interactive Flight systems, which offer movies and
computer games, have been deactivated on Swissair
aircraft, the FAA said.
Interactive Flight wasn't immediately available for comment.
Authorities haven't determined what caused the
SwissAir crash, which killed 229. An FAA review said
the entertainment system's electrical switching isn't
"compatible with the design concept of the MD-11
because it limits the flight crew's ability to respond to a
smoke or fumes emergency."
In such emergencies, the flight crew must shut down all
non-essential systems in the passenger cabin, including
entertainment systems. Pulling the system's circuit
breaker is the only way to cut off power to the system
on the MD-11, the FAA said.
Earlier this month, Swissair and other SAirGroup units
filed a lawsuit in Zurich against the three U.S.
companies that worked on the entertainment system.
The suit was against Phoenix, Ariz.-based Interactive
Flight Technologies, the supplier; Hollingsead
International Inc., which installed it; and Santa Barbara
Aerospace Inc., which certified it.
Monday, September 27, 1999
Ship to begin recovering Swissair's shattered remains By ALISON AULD -- The Canadian Press
HALIFAX -- Investigators will begin sifting through the tiny, shattered wreckage of Swissair Flight 111 after a ship arrives today to suction the remaining debris from the ocean floor.
The Queen of the Netherlands was to position itself over the crash site Monday.
Officials with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada are hoping to recover critical pieces of wiring and plane wreckage that could explain why Flight 111 suffered a crippling power loss on Sept. 2, 1998, and plunged into waters off Peggy's Cove, N.S., killing all 229 people on board.
"It's going to pick up everything and hopefully within that material there will be aircraft debris that we're interested in," said Larry Vance, deputy investigator with the TSB.
"Hopefully there will be wiring and other pieces from the front of the airplane. That's the whole objective."
Investigators are particularly interested in small pieces of wiring from the cockpit and forward cabin, where it's suspected an electrical firing might have started.
Attention has focused on potentially flawed wiring, covered in controversial Kapton insulation and connected to an inflight entertainment system.
Air-crash experts still haven't identified the cause of a fire that sent smoke into the cockpit of the doomed airliner. Although most of the plane, a Boeing MD-11, has been retrieved, little of the cockpit has been recovered.
The ship will suction the material into a container on board. It will be unloaded at Sheet Harbour, a community on the province's Eastern Shore, and placed in a 100-metre by 200-metre dyke. Water will drain out at one end, leaving about 15,000 cubic metres of plane fragments, mud, rock and other material from the ocean floor.
It will be sifted by hand by several retired RCMP officers and TSB officials -- a process that will likely take more than two months.
Security will be particularly high for the sifting that could identify the cause of the crash. Investigators want to ensure the debris isn't
contaminated or that crucial pieces of evidence are not removed.
"We will check people going in and going out," said RCMP Sgt. Wayne Noonan. "These are people that we trust and we've checked, but by the same token, you never know."
Members will also be made to wear special clothing that won't allow them to conceal anything. Cameras and supervisors will monitor the sifting process round the clock.
Noonan said any human remains that are recovered will probably be subjected to DNA-testing. Family members will determine what happens after that.
The remains could be added to others buried in Bayswater, N.S., on the first anniversary of the crash.
The giant vacuum could also recover millions of dollars worth of diamonds that were on the plane that was bound to Geneva from New York.
Electrical Power - Circuit Breakers
The electrical system within an aircraft can vary from the basic to the very complex yet the one thing each system has in common is circuit protection devices, commonly known as fuses or circuit breakers. The subject of this article is circuit breakers. This article is not intended to supersede specific approved data, but to highlight the general importance of circuit breakers.
It is important to understand that these devices are not there to protect the equipment at the end of the wire but to protect the aircraft wiring. Usually when a fault is severe enough in the equipment to activate these devices damage has already occurred.
Whilst an aircraft is on the ground CASA strongly advises against resetting circuit breakers without having first analysed and corrected the reason for the failure. Rearming a circuit breaker without having taken the necessary precautions could cause extensive damage and have serious consequences. One manufacturer recently reported an incident where a fire started after a circuit breaker, intended to protect the engine starting circuit, was reset several times in quick succession.
When a circuit breaker trips in flight it is sometimes possible to reset it depending on the importance of the circuit it protects. As a general rule no more than one reset should be attempted, however, your flight manual may contain more specific instructions.
A fire on-board a Piper PA 23-250 aircraft during a VFR flight highlighted a potential problem with cable supporting clamps. The fire developed behind the instrument panel and a subsequent investigation revealed that the cable connecting the battery to the ammeter had melted coincident with the point where it passed through the metal supporting clamp. The investigation further revealed that the clamp did not have an insulating sleeve and was too large for the cable. This enabled the cable to rub inside the clamp thus damaging the cable insulation. This in turn caused arcing of the bare wire and resulted in a fire. Inspection also indicated that poor routing of the ammeter cable had allowed the co-pilots control column to rub against the cable.
Airworthiness Directive AD/PA-23/86 was raised to address the immediate problem with the Piper 23 Series aeroplanes. However, the problem may not be isolated to this aircraft type. It is strongly recommended that all aircraft electrical wire supporting clamps be inspected to ensure that they are the cushioned (insulated) type and that these clamps are in good order. Additionally, it is also recommended that all aircraft electrical wire be inspected on a regular basis for abrasions, defective insulation and wire routing methods.
|Monday Sept. 27, 1999
Airline orders pilots to fly 737s faster to avoid malfunction
PITTSBURGH (AP)-- U.S. Airways has ordered pilots to fly the Boeing 737 faster during takeoffs and landings to avoid a rudder-control problem that is believed to have caused at least two fatal crashes. That's according to a report in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review today.
U.S. Airways has told its pilots to fly 23 miles per hour faster during takeoffs and landings. The added speed gives pilots more time to correct rudder problems.
Seattle-based Boeing and the National Transportation Safety Board have recommended such speed changes as a precaution.
Boeing spokesman Craig Martin says U-S Airways' decision is simply a direct result of the safety board's recommendations.
|KAPTON WAS LARGELY BROUGHT INTO USE IN
1976 WHERE IT WAS CONSIDERED THE LAST CHOICE >>
> Ed et al,
Kapton wire (BMS 13-51) wasn't as heavy as Raychem's Spec A55 wire. When Boeing used Spec A55 (BMS 13-48) wire, they had to pay a WEIGHT PENALTY because it was heavier than BMS 13-51 (KAPTON) wire. Boeing DID NOT want to
be bound to a SINGLE SOURCE SUPPLIER like they had been held captive by Raychem in the past. That's why I was ordered to qualify at least TWO wire manufacturers or we couldn't use TKT (BMS 13-60) wire for the 737 and 757
> program. NO MORE SINGLE SOURCE SUPPLIER!!
I still believe that an arrangement between Boeing and raychem was reached allowing BMS 13-48 wire to be used on 747, 767 and the new 777 models.
Otherwise Raychem would have put OUT of BUSINESS as far as supplying Boeing with A/C wire.
> Patrick >>
Smoke became visible in cabin 14 minutes after take off. Crew emptied all
fire extinguishers through decompression holes in an attempt to fight the
fire. Plane landed 14 minutes after first smoke was visible.
However, the denatured version:
A fiberglass cargo bin wall panel in the vicinity was burned. In addition, in the cabin, soot damage was visible on the right cabin sidewall in the vicinity of passenger row 11. The heating element for the primary and alternate static sources was controlled from a cockpit switch, which could be activated on the ground or in the air. A thermal sensor regulated the temperature of the heating elements within pre-determined limits. The circuit breaker to the electric heat for the static ports, located in the cockpit, had not tripped. An insulation resistance check conducted on the right side alternate static port heater revealed lower than normal resistance. The heater element plate and associated hardware was retained for further examination.
RAdm Eaton Briefed the FAA on
use of Kapton in the "80s
Eaton, who ordered Kapton removed from Navy planes in the 1980s, told
USA TODAY that aircraft manufacturers should not continue to
install polyimide wire on new jets.
''The manufacturers need to seriously understand what they're
doing and realize that there are better substitutes out there,''
dealing with aircraft in the commercial fleet, and they operate in different
environmental conditions than military planes,'' says Beth
Erickson, director of the FAA's aircraft certification office.>>
Erickson knows more than RAdm. Eaton??
I DON'T think so. She
talks the same line as Tom McSweeny.
Two peas from the same pod.
The FAA has known how dangererous KAPTON wire is, as they were
briefed back in the '80s by RAdm. Eaton, and the FAA Hughes Tech Center
in NJ has published Pat Cahill's test reports on the dangers of
electrical arcing of Kapton wire.
the FAA takes the stand, that they have to compare oranges and apples
(different environments). Let
us make another comparison. You
take a STICK of DYNAMITE and place it in a Indy 500 race car and place
another stick of dynamite in a chauffeur driven limo.
Different environments but 2 sticks of dynamite that are
dangerous. Kapton wire is a
potential stick of dynamite as evidenced by Swissair 111 and many
Military jet aircraft. So
as long as the FAA maintains this attitude of "SELF DENIAL," people
will die on commercial jets.
Rightly so, the lawyers of SR 111 victims, can sue not only
DuPont, Boeing but also the FAA for NOT banning Kapton wire, as it does
NOT meet the regulations of FAR 25 and they are well aware of the
dangers of Kapton wire.
Eaton stated, . . . ."realize that there are better substitutes out
there,'' he says." Ask
Boeing why they do NOT use TKT (BMS 13-60) on all of their jets.
We know why they use it on 737 and 757s because they could NOT
sell UAL anymore 737 and 757 models with Kapton wire.
The TKT wire was suppose to be used on the 777 model but as I was
told, politics came into play, and Boeing uses Raychem's BMS 13-48
(X-link Tefzel type wire) instead of TKT.
Boeing blackmailed into using BMS 13-48 for 747, 767, and 777 models by
Raychem? John Berlin, CEO
of Tensolite, assured me that they could have supplied all the TKT type
wire for the model 777 as needed. So
ask Boeing, why they do not use TKT type wire on all of their models in
lieu of the following statement by Boeing engineering?
In a letter dated May 24, 1991 B-GlOB-M9l-209
from Alex Taylor, Boeing engineer in charge of aircraft wiring that was
a letter of commendation he wrote: "We now have a released specification for new wire and
cable design that not only we, but the whole company, can be proud of.
As a result of your efforts, we are able to offer the Design Projects,
Manufacturing and our airline customers an alternative to BMS
13-51 and BMS 13-48, an alternative that overcomes the arc
resistance problems associated with the former and the weight
penalties associated with the latter.
We are the only airframe or aerospace manufacturing company that has
developed a specification for, and qualified, lightweight, high
performance, arc resistant, composite construction,
general purpose airframe wire and cable. In addition, we are the first
company in the aerospace industry to issue a wire and cable
specification that uses SPC as the basis for assuring the quality of the
product. BMS 13-60 is the standard to which the rest of the
industry will aspire. Thank
JUNE 25, 1996
TRANSCRIPT (Re-read this. Has anything changed?)
Kwame Holman reports on the House hearings on the ValuJet crash and the issue of airline safety.
KWAME HOLMAN: Employees of ValuJet held a rally on the East front of the capitol this morning calling on Congress not to make a political football out of the problems at their now shutdown airline. Meanwhile, inside a nearby hearing room members of the House Transportation Committee were listening to a broad attack on the Federal Aviation Administration's oversight of ValuJet and the nation's other air carriers. Mary Schiavo has been inspector general of the Department of Transportation for more than five years.
MARY SCHIAVO, Director General, Transportation Department: In answering the question of what's wrong at the FAA, at least for myself and for my office, we only have to go back to the history of what I have been doing for five and a half years. Starting in 1991, we were addressing these very same issues. We were asking what is wrong with FAA inspections? And we came up with a virtual laundry list of things that were wrong. We had a hearing. There were promises made and promises not kept. And this back in 1991. You know, a totally different leadership, a totally different administration, but the problems go on. We found problems in safety oversight, problems in maintenance, problems in repair stations, problems in foreign manufactured parts. ValuJet is kind of a microcosm for the problems that we have uncovered at the FAA.
MR. HOLMAN: Republican Senator William Cohen of Maine has followed aviation issues throughout his 20-year congressional career. He contradicted statements by the FAA and the Transportation Department in the wake of the May 11th crash that ValuJet had no serious problems.
SEN. WILLIAM COHEN, (R) Maine: A review of these documents, as well as FAA's inspection results since October '93, clearly show that ValuJet began having problems almost immediately after it began flying, and some of those problems persisted throughout its period of operation. But to me, one of the most serious violations was discovered in September of '94, when an FAA inspector found that a ValuJet aircraft made 148 flights while unworthy. And then a February '96 memo from the FAA to the president of ValuJet stated that the FAA had concern that ValuJet was not meeting--not meeting its duty to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest as required by law. And this memo further stated that ValuJet did not have a structure in place to handle its rapid growth, that it may have an organizational culture that is in conflict with operating at the highest possible degree of safety, and then, moreover, a February '96 report provided by three FAA inspectors recommend that the FAA considered having ValuJet go through an immediate recertification.
MR. HOLMAN: And Jim Hall, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the FAA also has longstanding problems regulating airlines that like ValuJet contract out their maintenance work.
JIM HALL, Vice Chairman, NTSB: The Safety Board first addressed the issue of FAA oversight of contract maintenance operations 20 years ago following an accident in Van Nuys, California. We addressed the issue of contract maintenance again in 1982, following a Boeing 737 accident in Washington. Now we are looking at what some have dubbed a "virtual airline," one that provides transportation but conducts none of its own maintenance and training. And this brings me to an observation, Mr. Chairman. Last week, the FAA announced that it would now require airlines to demonstrate the regulatory compliance of each of their major contract maintenance programs and facilities. The implication is that the airlines have not done that until today. If this is true, Mr. Chairman, then we may not just have a ValuJet problem here, we may also have an FAA problem.
MR. HOLMAN: Moments later, FAA Administrator David Hinson told the committee his agency should have scrutinized ValuJet more closely before the May 11th Florida crash that killed 110. But he stressed the lack of oversight did not necessarily contribute to the crash.
DAVID HINSON, FAA Administrator: There is no apparent relationship between the accident and any issues of compliance at ValuJet. The problems at ValuJet from a compliance perspective, in my opinion, are a function of their rate of growth--and require us to reassess the way in which we look at the rate that an air carrier grows.
REP. JAMES OBERSTAR, (D) Minnesota: Appearance is given that the airline really was not at the highest level of safety; you just didn't know it. And the public flew in jeopardy for a period of time. That, at least, is an appearance.
DAVID HINSON: I don't, I don't want to make it too academic, Mr. Oberstar, but it is, it is a logic problem, and it flows something like this. When an airline is compliant and it moves to non-compliance and based upon the data that we had that Sunday, the airline was compliant, how does that work? Last year, as you mentioned, we did ground five airlines, or someone mentioned. If you had asked me about any of those airlines a week before, two weeks before, a month before, six months before, my statement would have been something like this: the airline is compliant, Airline A is compliant, Airline B is compliant, and so forth. And, yes, they're safe. Yet, somewhere in that, in that timeframe because of inspector insights and investigations or for a host of other reasons, that airline migrated from being compliant to non-compliant and was asked to stop flying, or parts of the airline were asked to stop flying. At what point do you find out that they're non-compliant and then ground 'em? That is a logic problem that has caused the FAA lots of heartburn over many, many years.
REP. JOHN DUNCAN, (R) Tennessee: I know you deeply regret this accident, as all of us do. Do you think that the FAA allowed ValuJet to grow too quickly?
DAVID HINSON: Yes, sir, in retrospect, I do, and, uh, where I think the FAA could have done a better job is probably a year ago in April when they were flying I think about twenty-five airplanes and they grew to fifty by February, fifty-one when we asked them to stop growing. It's in that timeframe that, that we might have done a better job of saying to them, why don't you slow down, though your systems may not be quite capable of helping you manage your growth--and there are some lessons learned there for us.
MR. HOLMAN: Florida Democrat Corrine Brown pointed out that not all low-cost airlines have poor safety records.
REP. CORRINE BROWN, (D) Florida: Southwest Airline, a low-cost carrier with an outstanding safety record, how are those operations different from ValuJet?
DAVID HINSON: Southwest Airlines has experienced their growth over a very long period of time since 1972, for example, so 24 years. Umm, ValuJet has been growing much more rapidly. Southwest Airlines has a system that's proven and demonstrated and in place for maintenance, particularly on the maintenance system management area, and ValuJet has had problems in this area. And I think in broad context, those would be the two principal differences.
REP. CORRINE BROWN: Well, in keeping in mind that the growth in the industry is in these low-cost carriers, what precautions, umm, or what planning or how should we regulate the growth?
DAVID HINSON: You have raised, I think, of all the things we've talked about today, you have raised one of the really important questions, i.e., to see if during the first part of an airline's growth, first, second and third year, for example, there are things we need to do differently than we have done in the past. I think that's a very legitimate question. We may decide no, I don't know what the answer to that will be; we may decide yes in some contexts, but, but you have put your finger on exactly an issue that we're dealing with.
MR. HOLMAN: Late this afternoon, the House Transportation Subcommittee called its final witness. Lewis Jordan is ValuJet's president and as he has done since the tragic accident last month, he defended the reputation of his airline.
LEWIS JORDAN, President, ValuJet: I would have grounded this fleet myself if I had had any reason to believe that the airplanes were not safe. The safety of our customers is our No. 1 priority and far and away ahead of any other priority. I simply do not understand the logic of those who think that running an unsafe airline could ever contribute to profitability, could ever contribute to marketing an airline in the public's eye.
MR. HOLMAN: But Jordan will have to wait until ValuJet can prove it can comply with federal aviation standards before his airline can fly again. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/fedagencies/faa_hearings_6-25.html
JUNE 8,1995 (a prior Valujet Accident)
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable
|Rand: 'Party system' best for crash
The sometimes controversial practice of allowing airlines, aircraft makers such as The Boeing Co. and other interested parties to participate in accident investigations is likely to remain intact, a congressional panel heard last week. The so-called "party system" has been criticized by the families of disaster victims and others who feel it compromises the independence of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
Last year, the board asked Rand Corp. to review the practice. A report is due out in about six weeks. Rand Associate Director Cynthia Lebow told the House Transportation aviation subcommittee the party process could be improved, but the NTSB could not function without it.
"Overall, the party system is something which is essential to the functioning of the NTSB given its size and its mission," Lebow said. NTSB uses the knowledge of these outside experts during the fact-gathering stage of an accident investigation. Its staff then drafts a report for review by the board. NTSB Chairman Jim Hall told the same hearing that theparty system was three decades old and had worked well.
Lebow said it was not possible for the agency's 149 aviation safety staff members to be expected to know every design feature of an airliner, or how to run a major airline.
Wednesday - 06:57 09/22/99, EST
Swissair Crash Families Say Airline Knew Fire Risk
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Swissair knew wiring aboard its Flight 111 posed a substantial fire hazard at least seven years before the MD-11 aircraft crashed off Nova Scotia, attorneys for crash victims' families said Tuesday.
In a 23-page summary of ``facts, theories and contentions,'' filed in U.S. District Court, a committee of plaintiffs' attorneys said a fire sparked by general wiring probably was the cause of the Sept. 2, 1998, crash that killed all 229 people on the New York-Geneva flight.
The Swissair crew reported smoke in the cabin minutes before the plane plunged into the Atlantic off Peggy's Cove.
Canadian crash investigators found 13 wires coated with a material called aromatic polyimide insulation that showed evidence of superheating.
The documents said both the wire coating, sold under the brand name Kapton, and the aircraft's blanket insulation material, known as metalized Mylar, were known safety hazards when Swissair bought the plane from McDonnell Douglas in 1991. Kapton and Mylar are made by DuPont Co.
``Prior to and during 1991, Swissair had actual knowledge that the Kapton insulation used to insulate certain electrical wire could become degraded and worn in the ordinary course of its use ... creating a substantial risk of fire,'' the plaintiff's summary reads.
Swissair, its code-share partner Delta Air Lines Inc. and Boeing Co., which bought McDonnell Douglas in 1997, are among defendants named in 167 lawsuits seeking $16 billion in damages over the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
Plaintiffs contend that the airline and the plane's manufacturer knew the wires and blanket insulation posed a special hazard when placed near each other.
The list of defendants include Swissair's parent, SAirGroup, and SR Technics AG, an SAirGroup subsidiary, as well as Interactive Flight Technologies Inc., which provided the entertainment system that investigators believe may have been implicated in the fire.
In a separate lawsuit, plaintiffs are suing DuPont Co. for $3.8 billion over its role as manufacturer of the insulation material.
The summary document was filed at the behest of U.S. District Judge James Giles, who will use the allegations it contains to gauge how far plaintiffs can go to uncover actual evidence of culpability as a so-called discovery phase begins. Attorneys for the Swissair and its fellow defendants were not immediately available to comment on the filing.
The documents suggest that Swissair Flight 111's crew may have helped the fire spread by following McDonnell Douglas/Boeing procedures that call for circuits to be turned on and off. The action may have channeled more electrical energy through faulty Kapton-coated wires.
The dangers of Kapton-coated wires were known as early as 1980 to U.S. military authorities who banned their use in warplanes later that decade. Trans World Airlines complained about the wiring to Boeing in 1977, blaming it for fires dating back to 1972.
According to the documents, McDonnell Douglas knew about the military ban but continued to use Kapton wires on commercial jets including the MD-11.
The documents said the aircraft maker knew of fires that occurred from 1993 to 1995 aboard aircraft in Denmark, China and Italy in which metalized Mylar was shown to have sustained and spread flames. McDonnell Douglas issued a service bulletin in 1996 recommending that operators stop using Mylar but took no steps to remove the material from planes it had built, the documents
Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed an order to remove metalized Mylar from McDonnell Douglas/Boeing DC-10s and MD-11s because of the material's flammable qualities.
********************************* *********************** ************************************
Thursday September 23 6:32 AM ET
Lawyer: Swissair Knew of Dangers
By MEKI COX Associated Press Writer
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An attorney contends both Swissair and the manufacturer of MD-11 aircraft knew at least seven years before the crash of Flight 111 that wiring aboard the plane posed a fire hazard.
Attorney Lee Kreindler said evidence shows the airline and the manufacturer, McDonnell Douglas - which was bought by Boeing in 1997 - knew that insulation on the plane's wiring could wear down in ordinary use and pose a fire danger.
``That goes to the heart of why the manufacturers are liable, and conceivably liable for punitive damages,'' Kreindler said. The allegations were filed in federal court Wednesday.
The exact source of a fire aboard the plane has not been identified. Flight 111, flying from New York to Geneva, crashed off Nova Scotia on Sept. 2, 1998, killing all 229 people aboard.
Just before Flight 111 crashed, the pilots mentioned a strange smell in the cabin and then complained of dense smoke. Canadian investigators later found heat-damaged wiring on the wrecked plane, prompting U.S. air safety officials in January to recommend that airlines inspect all MD-11 planes for electrical problems.
Mike Holland, an attorney representing Swissair, Boeing and Delta - which had a ticket-sharing arrangement with Swissair - did not return a message seeking comment Wednesday.
Defense lawyers have argued that the Death on the High Seas Act applies to the case, a law that only allows for the recovery of compensatory damages, or real losses associated with income and medical costs, and not punitive damages.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs have rejected a settlement package worth about $300 million in compensatory damages for family members of those killed, saying they believe they can get $1 billion in punitive damages from a jury.
The plaintiffs' court documents maintain that when Swissair bought the plane in 1991, the dangers of the wire coating and insulation were well known. The products were made by DuPont Co., which is being sued separately.
|Wednesday September 22, 8:09 pm Eastern Time
Swissair lawyer says charges a publicity stunt
By David Morgan
PHILADELPHIA, Sept 22 (Reuters) - A Swissair attorney on Wednesday criticized lawyers for relatives of 229 people who died aboard Swissair Flight 111 last year, accusing them of trying to win the case in the media.
Desmond Barry, representing Swissair in a $16 billion liability battle being waged in U.S. District Court, was responding to a 23-page summary of ``facts, theories and contentions,'' which a committee of plaintiffs' attorneys filed on Tuesday at the behest of U.S. District Judge James Giles.
The summary alleges among other things that defendants including Swissair knew aircraft wiring coated with an insulation material called Kapton was vulnerable to superheating, or arcing, before the carrier bought the MD-11 in 1991.
``We have already said we'll pay full compensatory damages under the applicable law. What does it get them to make accusations like this?'' said Barry, speaking by telephone from London.
``I've never seen a document like this in my 27 years of legal practice. I don't know what it is,'' he said.
``This, I would reluctantly view as more a PR effort than a legal effort. It's nothing more to me than trying to litigate this case in the press.''
Leading attorneys on the plaintiffs' committee were not immediately available to respond to Barry's remarks.
The document in question outlines claims of wrongdoing that relatives of the crash victims hope to substantiate when the discovery phase begins in the 167 cases that have been filed to date.
The summary was meant to help Giles assess how far plaintiffs can go to establish the alleged culpability of defendants who include Swissair, code-share partner Delta Air Lines Inc., aircraft maker Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA - news), Swissair's parent SAirGroup, and SR Technics AG, an SAirGroup subsidiary.
Giles has been pressing both sides to reach out-of-court settlements.
Another defendant is Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq:FLYT - news), which provided the entertainment system that investigators believe may have been implicated in a fire believed to have caused the September 2, 1998, crash off Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia.
Minutes before the MD-11 aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, the flight crew reported smoke in the cabin.
Plaintiffs also contend that the companies knew insulation blankets made of metalized Mylar were likely to spread fire and that Mylar and Kapton-coated wiring were especially hazardous when placed in close proximity.
DuPont Co., maker of both Mylar and Kapton, is being sued by the same plaintiffs for $3.8 billion in a separate lawsuit.
Defendants are expected to address accusations in the plaintiffs' summary in a filing on Tuesday.
|Friday, August 13, 1999
Mylar ban risks lives - critics
Four years far too long to remove suspect insulation, transport group says
By RICHARD DOOLEY -- The Daily News
A Canadian aviation safety lobby group says commercial passengers are being exposed to danger in the skies because of regulatory foot-dragging. Transport 2000 Canada, a not-for-profit organization that speaks on transportation safety issues, is applauding recommendations made by crash investigators from the Transportation Safety Board looking for the cause of the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
The safety board has determined acoustical thermal insulation blankets in the fuselage of the MD-11 that crashed near Peggy's Cove last year contributed to the spread of a fire aboard the plane. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but investigators suspect a wiring problem. The TSB recommends metalized Mylar insulation blankets be removed from planes and fire safety tests for aircraft insulation be toughened. The Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S., the world's leading aviation regulator, has ordered the removal of the metalized Mylar insulation blankets from 699 commercial planes, but is giving airlines four years to do it.
Transport 2000 Canada spokesman Michael Murphy says that's too long and puts too many lives in danger. Murphy said the FAA has known about the problem for years. "It's already five years too late," said Murphy. "Giving another four years on top of that and we have a problem that's a decade in the making." There are no planes operated by Canadian airlines that incorporate metalized Mylar insulation blankets, but Murphy said foreign airlines flying into Canada could be using planes made with the inflammable material. He thinks passengers should know the risk. "The travelling, trusting and generally uninformed public is literally being taken for a ride," said Murphy.
He suggests a Web site detailing which airlines operate planes manufactured with metalized Mylar be established or tickets issued to flyers come with warnings. Transport 2000 is also pushing Transport Canada to adopt tough new standards for aircraft flying with aging electrical wiring and stringent policies for dealing with electrical problems in flight.
The lobby group wants Transport Canada to take the lead in airline safety rather than waiting for the FAA.
"We have a lot of respect for the FAA, but they haven't covered themselves in glory with this particular issue," said Murphy.
Relatives of crash victims air complaints
Lyn Romano (AP).
Relatives of two victims of last year's Swissair jet crash off Nova Scotia complained Tuesday that the FAA was moving too slowly to address wiring and insulation issues. Lyn Romano, whose husband, Raymond, was killed in the crash on Sept. 2, 1998, and Barbara Fetherolf, whose 16-year-old daughter, Tara, died, said the agency failed to protect the public last month when it gave airlines four years to replace insulation coating that fails flammability tests. The agency also has said that the four-year schedule gives airlines enough time to do the work without creating problems with other equipment. Investigators still do not know what caused Flight 111, bound from New York to Geneva, to plunge into the ocean. All 229 aboard were killed.
Dense smoke fills UPS 757 cabin on take-off
A. Type: Incident Mid Air:N Missing:N Entry date: 09/21/1999
From: SOUTHERN REGION OPERATIONS CENTER
B. Reg.No.: 426UP M/M: B757 Desc: MODEL 757
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE (CARGO ACFT) EXPERIENCED A MAIN CARGO FIRE
WARNING LIGHT ON TAKE-OFF, AND DENSE SMOKE FILLED THE COCKPIT, THE
ACFT LANDED WITHOUT FURTHER INCIDENT, AND THE CREW EVACUATED
SAFELY, OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES ARE UNKNOWN, JACKSONVILLE, FL.
WX: METAR KJAX 210156Z 00000KT 10SM FEW110 23/22 A2982 Damage: Unknown
D. Location City: JACKSONVILLE State: FL
E. Occ Date: 09/21/1999 Time: 01:58
F. Invest Coverage. IIC: Reg/DO: SO15 DO CTY: ORLANDO
DO State: FL Others: NTSB
G. Flt Handling. Dep Pt: JACKSONVILLE Dep Date: 09/21/1999 Time: 01:58
Dest: ATLANTA, GA Last Radio Cont: JAX GND CNTRL Flt Plan: IFR
Last Clearance: TURN RIGHT WX Briefing: Y
|Re: Delta Airlines reports strange odor EAL1011
(40/M/Kentucky) 09/19/1999 01:08 pm EDT
Yesterday, the NTSB began their investigation of the Delta flight 2030 (MD-88) emergency landing at CVG. It has been reported that a First Class passenger actually notified the crew of a problem when he began to smell an "electrical" odor and realized that the floor boards were beginning to get warm to the touch. Soon thereafter, smoke began to fill the cabin and the emergency was declared.
Officials believe that a heating unit above the forward baggage compartment malfunctioned causing the surrounding insulation to begin to burn. It must be remembered that the FAA has ordered eventual removal/replacement of insulation in Douglas built aircraft following the Swissair MD-11 disaster. This latest incident is certain to expedite the urgency of such an Order.
One incredible irony to this event was that a mock disaster drill was scheduled for CVG early the following morning. When the call went out to emergency departments that the Delta flight was returning, several area units were slow to respond thinking that somebody had inadvertantly jumped the gun on the upcoming mock drill.
Delta 757 makes emergency landing in NYC
NEW YORK (AP) 04 Aug 99 - A Delta Air Lines plane made an emergency landing Tuesday at Kennedy Airport after the pilot reported smoke in the cabin shortly after takeoff from nearby LaGuardia Airport. More than 100 passengers aboard Flight 305 bound for Atlanta were evacuated byemergency chute onto the runway, said Port Authority spokesman Greg Trevor. No injuries were immediately reported. The smoke was reported shortly after the plane took off around 8 a.m. Port Authority police at Kennedy reported seeing a flame shooting from one engine as the plane landed but there was no fire in the cabin, Trevor said.
Another emergency landing due to fire [from: John Flatekval, Waldwick]
|In a message dated 09/17/1999 2:47:42 PM Pacific Daylight Time,
Why Not use TKT Wire?
<< One reason may be its greater cost. According to Mark Roberson, representing the Tensolite Company of St. Augustine, Fla., an aircraft costing $35 million will contain about $3,500 worth of his company's composite wire type, as compared to an estimated cost of $2,800 to install non-composite wire in the aircraft -- a $700 difference. >>
Lyn et al,
I would question that statement for the following reason. I asked John Berlin, CEO of Tensolite, if the cost of his TKT wire was more expensive than BMS 13-51 and BMS 13-48 wire. He replied that the TKT wire wasn't anymore expensive at that time. I asked him in 1997.
Now, in order for Boeing to have made the decison to use BMS 13-48 on their 747, 767 and 777 models, Raychem might have reduced their price of their wire but Boeing has to pay a "WEIGHT" penalty for using BMS 13-48.
Under "QUALIFICATIONS" on my site, there is a letter of commendation from Alex Taylor, chief engineer of A/C wiring for Boeing, that mentions that fact towards the end of the letter. If you want to call John Berlin regarding this fact, his phone number is 904 829 5600.
I want everyone to know these facts. In 1985 when the Monarch 757 "electrical arc tracking fire" forced an emergency landing, it was determined that BMS 13-51 (KAPTON) was the culprit.
> 1. No FAA callout existed for "using arc resistance" A/C wire. 2. No FAA callout in FAR 25 for "arc track testing" of A/C WIRE.
> Boeing, own it's OWN INITIATIVE, set up a "arc tracking test lab' to explore the dangers of KAPTON wire. Knowing that it was dangerous, and that UAL would NOT buy anymore 737 and 757s wired with KAPTON wire, setup their own PROCESS SPEC for TKT wire (BMS 13-60) and under a ground rule that at least TWO mfgs had to be qualified to produce the new wire, issued the spec to potential wire mfgs. They did this on their own. They did NOT want to be held hostage to a single wire producer Raychem.
> The wire should be used on ALL NEW A/C. Then Raychem raised their ugly head and worked out some kind of arrangement that their wire BMS 13-48 would be used on 747, 767 and the new 777 models.
> This points should be explored as to:
> (1). Why the FAA will NOT call for TKT wiring in FAR 25 for ALL new airplanes, wiring repairs, and wiring modification kits.
> (2). What was the arrangement between Boeing and Raychem that prevented TKT wiring to be used in ALL Boeing models.
> I believe you would find a STRONG TIE between Raychem-FAA-Boeing, that goes contrary to promoting AIR SAFETY as far as wiring goes. There-in lies the big problem that prevents SAFE WIRE from being used throughout the industry.
> Ask Ed Block when Raychem exerted pressure on the FAA to change the SMOKE TEST requirements for 180 degrees to 60 degrees so that Raychem's Spec A55 would barely pass!!!
> I believe you could call that a "CONSPIRACY" existed between the FAA and Raychem, to allow their Spec A55 wire to be used in the A/C Industry, knowing that if the FAA didn't change the requirements of the smoke test, that their wire could NOT BE USED for A/C.
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
<email@example.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>;
Cc: <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com>
Sent: Friday, September 17, 1999 10:25 AM
Subject: Re: SWR 111: charges?
> Art et al,
> I would direct the lawyers to subpoena all the test records of the Boeing 'Component Test Lab - Arc Track Testing regarding testing of KAPTON (BMS 13-51) and X-Link Tefzel (BMS 13-48) wire types from Alex Taylor's engineering group. Boeing Engineering has many Videos of my tests, a copy of the NRL Kapton tests conducted by Frank Campbell., and all the test data
> recorded for qualifying TKT wire (BMS 13-60). I would direct them to subpoena the letter or letters from UAL to Boeing regarding NOT going to buy anymore Kapton wired 737 and 757s, being the reason for QUALIFYING BMS 13-60
> TKT wire for selling the 737 and 757s to UAL.
> The two letters of commendation from Alex Taylor to myself concerning the building of the arc testing lab and qualifying of BMS 13-60 wire. I have the latter letter posted on my web site under "Qualifications." Also all the Boeing "Service Bulletins" issued for particular KAPTON and X-Link Tefzel wire problems. The test records for "electrical arc testing" of a THRUST REVERSER to see if it would actuate "while in flight" and the worker who performed the test. It CAN ACTUATE in flight due to "electrical arcing."
> This would establish "Boeing knew all about the wire problems." Then statements from myself and a couple of workers and Lab supervisors in the "Component Test Lab" along with a statement from Pat Cahill of the FAA who witness me testing Kapton and TKT wiring, and statements from Boeing engineers, that I gave my test results to and witnessed my tests, - would TOP
OFF the pile of evidence.
|Hazard Posed by Bad Aircraft Wiring Under Congressional Scrutiny
Aircraft wiring is taking on an importance equal to that devoted for some years now to aging aircraft structures. In fact, the suspected parlous state of wiring throughout the U.S. airline fleet has triggered the first known Congressional hearing devoted specifically to the subject.
Operators could be faced with political pressure to replace wire and install new, high-tech circuit breakers capable of detecting electrical faults.
Last week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Oversight Subcommittee took testimony from half a dozen witnesses on the general subject of aircraft electrical system safety.
Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Fla.), the subcommittee chairwoman, set the tone by asserting at the outset, "Old and damaged aircraft wiring may be one of the weakest links in aviation safety."
Indeed, wire failures may pose a greater hazard than hydraulic system failures. Since critical flight controls are at stake, hydraulic systems have triple or quadruple redundancy. Electrical systems, though, may be just as critical given the greater dependence of modern transports such as the MD-11 and B777 on electrically powered systems and controls. Whereas hydraulic faults tend to be more self-evident, the outcome of an arc-tracking incident or electrical fire can quickly lead to systemic confusion, fire, smoke and potential pilot incapacitation.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has documented at least 15 cases where electrical wiring malfunctions were involved an aircraft incidents and accidents. Yet there seems to be a generalized reluctance to face the implications. According to Dr. Bernard Loeb, director of the NTSB's aviation safety office, the Board's ongoing investigation into the TWA Flight 800 disaster and the Swissair Flight 111 in-flight fire and other recent incidents have "changed the way the industry looks at electrical wiring."
However, Loeb went on to say, "We are concerned. The industry seems to be defining what were are seeing as not very significant."
"We need to address this issue of aging systems and wire," he urged.
Indeed, Safety Board inspections of some two dozen airplanes provide powerful evidence that the wiring deficiencies found on the TWA Flight 800 accident aircraft were not an anomaly, but perhaps more representative of the general state of wiring in the fleet). Even new aircraft may be leaving the factory with problems, as evidenced by the discovery of metal shavings found in wire bundles on brand now aircraft. Over time, those metal shavings can "saw" through wire insulation, exposing conductor and creating the opening for dangerous arcing.
Richard Healing, director of the U.S. Navy's safety and survivability programs, described how the Navy shifted from wire types such as aromatic polyimide, or Kapton, replacing it with a type of wire known as cross-linked ethylene-tetrafluorethylene (XL-ETFE). Although its cut-through, scrape abrasion and smoke characteristics are less desirable, it has become the Navy's preferred wire choice for many aircraft applications because it is a homogenous material throughout the thickness of the insulation, and its plastic characteristics eliminate problems with longitudinal cracking and topcoat flaking.
Retrofitted as part of a comprehensive Navy-wide aircraft wire management program, Healing said the effort, "while not perfect," has been "about 88% effective in reducing risk and eliminating wire insulation-related problems."
Newer, composite wire types -- for example one type that goes by the trade name Tensolite -- provide significantly better arc, flammability and smoke resistance than XL-ETFE. Less than 20 percent of the U.S. fleet is flying with such wiring. One reason may be its greater cost. According to Mark Roberson, representing the Tensolite Company of St. Augustine, Fla., an aircraft costing $35 million will contain about $3,500 worth of his company's composite wire type, as compared to an estimated cost of $2,800 to install non-composite wire in the aircraft -- a $700 difference.
The Navy's success prompted Rep. James Traficant (D-Ohio) to bluntly suggest a similar program for the airline industry. "The Congress wants all faulty wiring to be repaired and replaced, and (to see) that monitoring is diligent," he declared.
In addition to fitting aircraft with newer, safer wire types, witnesses discussed the potential of arc-fault detection circuit breakers -- downsized variants of arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's) finding their way into residential circuit breaker panels.
Capt. Paul McCarthy, executive air safety chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), said flatly, "The circuit breakers we have in the cockpit will not protect" against arcing events where the temperature of the wire does not get to a threshold sufficient to trip the breaker.
While AFCI breakers hold great promise, their development to the point of reliable performance is not a trivial issue, asserted Dr. Armin Bruning. The president of a Sterling, Va.-based wire testing company, Lectromec, Bruning explained that each of the four types of arcing presents a unique "signature." The AFCI breakers would have to be capable of reliably detecting each of the signatures).
The transition from household to aircraft use is years away.
Above all, McCarthy declared, regulations regarding aircraft wiring, unchanged for two decades, need to be brought up to date. He offered five "really quite simple" recommendations:
1. Enhance FAR 25.1353 and AC 43.13. Considering the expansion in the quantity and complexity of electrical devices on today's aircraft, and the resultant amount of wire, existing regulatory guidance does not adequately address the current technologies and practices.