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Safety report irks Swissair group
The Daily News
Transportation Safety Board investigator Don Enns displays Mylar insulation from the cockpit wreckage of Swissair Flight 111.

A list of in-flight fire safety recommendations released Friday by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is burning up an international aviation safety group because the recommendations make no mention of the Swissair Flight 111 crash off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1998.

“It’s an absolute disgrace to the people killed on that flight,” said Lyn Romano, the founder of the International Aviation Safety Association. “Everybody knows what these (recommendations) are about.”

The final report on the cause of the Sept. 2, 1998, crash is not expected until later this year, but Canadian investigators speculate a devastating electrical fire originated in the cockpit of the MD-11 jet and disabled the plane, sending it plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean near Peggy’s Cove.

All 229 people aboard the New York to Geneva plane perished in the crash. Romano, whose husband Ray died aboard Flight 111, founded the International Aviation Safety Association to lobby airlines and government regulators for tougher safety standards aboard passenger jets.

Canadian investigators with the Transportation Safety Board probing the Flight 111 crash made sweeping recommendations in December 2000 calling for dramatic changes to aircraft design to prevent the spread of fires and improved fire detection procedures to prevent a similar tragedy. Last year, the Canadian safety board called for tougher flammability standards for wiring and materials used to make aircraft.

The recommendations are similar to the U.S. safety board’s recommendations issued over the weekend, but National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Paul Schlamm said the similarity is just coincidence.

“If it had anything to do with Swissair, it would have been mentioned,” he said.

The NTSB cites a number of in-flight fires — including the 1983 Air Canada DC-9 fire in Cincinnati, Ohio, that killed folk singer Stan Rogers — as the rationale behind making the recommendations.

Romano said the U.S. airline regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the NTSB are being forced by the impending release of the Flight 111 report to look at fire safety and flammabilty standards.

“They either know or they don’t know what is coming out and they are trying to get on the record before it’s released,” said Romano.

“ But they knew about these issues long before Flight 111.”

© Copyright2002 The Daily News


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