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