Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

  Subject:  RE: My Response
   Date:     Wed, 6 Sep 2000 10:58:31 -0700 (PDT)
   From:     Bill Donaldson <>

As You wish, The Seattle Times lack of interest in providing balanced reporting and inablity to understand basic princples of aviation crash investigation is so noted.

Gentlemen you in fact are a major part of the problem. I get emails every day from frustrated airline captains and aerospace pros who can't believe how aviation reporters have swallowed the NTSB nonsense without question.

On the 22nd of August we were treated to the biggest NTSB whopper of them all.  Their final staff briefing blamed the 24 volt fuel quanity indicating system [FQIS] for picking up higher voltage elsewhere on the aircraft and producing a spark in the CWT.  Your people bought it hook line and sinker!

Had you bothered to interview anyone who has hands on knowledge of these aircraft systems they would have said, if high voltage actually crossed to the FQIS: (1) the in line diodes would have burned up at 60 to 80 volts but not before, (2) pegging the fuel indication on that tank. Considering that neither of these happened on TWA-800 the proposed scenerio should have been rejected out of hand. Instead, with your help the NTSB was able to successfully spin a non-event into a cause for the loss of 230 lives. Nice Job!

Another point, in the intire history of jet air transport FQIS wiring has never caused a mishap.

CDR W S Donaldson USN Ret. 
ARAP Aircrash Investigator

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