|twa800.webjump.com March 2000
In October 1999, NTSB personnel whined to Washington Post reporter
Grunwald about Boeing's supposed nefarious conduct in not providing
board with a 1980 study on center wing tank fuel heating in the
aircraft, a military version of the 747.
O Perfidy! Chairman Hall was "dismayed" and "displeased"
Grassley claimed that if only this crucial document had been
vigilant federal government would have prevented the TWA 800
This report was said to explain how excess heat from the air conditioning
bay created highly flammable fuel vapors in the center wing tank
of TWA 800.
As the esteemed journalist Christine Negroni notes in her scintillating
book, this report showed that 747s are "fuel tank bombs."
As required by law, the NTSB has made this report part of the
by publishing it on their website. No press releases or
leaks to Post
reporters accompanied the release of this "smoking gun" document.
Why have Senator Grassley and the NTSB been oddly silent about
since their original hissy fits? Perhaps because they read
This study has nothing to do with normal operations of an airliner
pleasant evening with temperatures in the 70's, as was the case
800. This report concerns "self-sustained ground operation
for a 48-hour
period" under "environmental extremes" as defined in Mil-Std-210A.
specification calls for "Hot Day" testing under the following
1. 125°F max air temperature
2. 105°F max air temperature
3. 85°F max air temperature
Fuel supplied to the aircraft at 9O°F under all conditions
Sure enough, the report shows that under these extreme environmental
conditions the heat generated from the air conditioning packs
flammable vapors in the fuel tank. Of course there are
four such packs on
the E-4B as opposed to three on the TWA 800 747 model.
The most important point of the tests conducted under this report
at the outset - these extreme environmental conditions exceed
parameters of the aircraft.
The NTSB was originally intent on presenting this report as a
matter of the
utmost relevance to the TWA 800 disaster. Upon examination,
it clearly is
Yet is Chairman Hall dismayed and displeased that his agency misrepresented
its content? Will Howard Kurtz admonish his colleague for
Will Senator Grassley retract his comments?
A number of observers of the TWA 800 investigation have expressed
for congressional hearings where key participants such as James
and Jim Hall could be questioned under oath. We'd also
like the questioning
to be conducted under Mil-Std-210A Hot Day conditions.