2002-11-23 / Letters

Will We Ever Know?

Will We Ever Know?

Dear Editor;

Last week's "From The Editor's Desk," there was an indication that finger pointing by the major players was involved in flight 587 crash. Your interpretation of the cockpit voice recorder transcript seems to fall within some resemblance of reason. As does your summary of the easy out for the NTSB, in finding that the co-pilot was guilty of flying the tail off the plane. In that column you also stated the following:

"I am convinced that the tail moved due to external forces, that the laminate material making up the connection between the tail and the fuselage was flawed from the beginning and that it was further degraded in several incidents during its flying life. I am convinced that the A300-600 is fatally flawed and that more will crash because more tails will come off."

Yes the rudder moved from external forces that part may true, but retired police Lt. James Conrad and I, and others, saw the tail (vertical Stabilizer) detach only after two explosions; one smaller, and the second a much larger quick burst of flames. Many more witnesses saw the larger explosion. Yes the first small explosion could have resulted from cargo moving violently if the rudder had broken, putting the aircraft into flat spins as seen by some. However, it stayed attached to the vertical stabilizer until after the second burst of flames (presumably the fuel igniting).  So the event (tail moved due to external forces), which triggered the trouble with controlling the aircraft, is what we believe to be the culprit.

This aircraft held together. It was only after the force of that second explosion that it came apart. Even the best-designed fighter jet would fail if an internal explosion took place.
So in fairness to the Airbus 300-600, the laminate material and the joint area might not be fatally flawed. We need to now know if cargo shifting or a faulty electrical or mechanical problem could have caused the small explosion that lead to the fuel explosion or was it, as you stated caused by an external or internal force. Let us not forget the theory about the "shoe bomber," Richard Reid.


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