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Report: NW/DL Bomber Could Not Crash Plane  
User currently offlineAirBuffalo From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 138 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8383 times:

Interesting study ... Mythbusters style, it seems ... from the BBC on the Christmas day attempted bombing of NW flight 253:


Boeing 747 survives simulated 'Flight 253' bomb blast :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8547329.stm

A test explosion on a Boeing 747 has shown that a US Christmas Day flight would have landed safely even if a bomb on board was detonated successfully. ... However experts said it showed the suspected bomber and the passenger next to him would have been killed.

[Edited 2010-03-04 08:38:49]

37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKaiGywer From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 12163 posts, RR: 36
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8349 times:
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I much prefer the actual outcome regardless of whether the plane would have landed safely.


911, where is your emergency?
User currently offlineAirport From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8319 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 1):
I much prefer the actual outcome regardless of whether the plane would have landed safely.

   And I would've even more preferred it if intellegence had gotten him before he could've ever walked through the airport terminal doors.

Interesting study, though, and interesting to think about what might have or might haven't happened.


User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 9957 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8207 times:

Shouldn't the test have been done on the same type of a/c as the real thing? I would think that would be a more realistic test of what might have happened.


"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineJER757 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2006, 350 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8198 times:

Still, I wouldn't fancy being sat next to that bloke with that going bang.

Scary stuff.



Gale force fog... don't you love it?
User currently offlinegr8circle From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 3069 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8132 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 3):
Shouldn't the test have been done on the same type of a/c as the real thing? I would think that would be a more realistic test of what might have happened.

Exactly! The DL plane was an A330....completely different structure.....moreover, this test was conducted on the ground....an aircraft in flight will have all sorts of additional stresses already acting on the fuselage....wouldn't that have made some difference....?

somehow I'm not convinced by this test.....


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3045 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8115 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 3):
Shouldn't the test have been done on the same type of a/c as the real thing? I would think that would be a more realistic test of what might have happened.

My thought as well. How does one determine exactly what effect an explosion would have if the relationship of the bomber's seat to various structural components is entirely different on the test aircraft than it was on the actual aircraft?



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4281 posts, RR: 20
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 8080 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 3):
Shouldn't the test have been done on the same type of a/c as the real thing? I would think that would be a more realistic test of what might have happened.

Not to mention, the explosion would have occurred at altitude, with pressure differentials potentially playing a role in the outcome.



Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineAirBuffalo From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 8049 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 7):
the explosion would have occurred at altitude

It was on approach (closer to 1 atm than 30k ft pressure), right?

It's a valid point, but i'd guess the other factors (aircraft type especially) are more important ...


User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1763 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 8022 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 7):
Not to mention, the explosion would have occurred at altitude, with pressure differentials potentially playing a role in the outcome

I kept looking for the part where they pressurized the test plane, but apparently they didn't. I wonder whose money was wasted on this piece of junk science.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineexFWAOONW From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 383 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7972 times:

Did they actually detonate a device on an actual plane for this test? If so, there aren't too many A330s sitting in the dust bin compared to 741s. The cabin can be pressurized to simulate the difference inside/outside in air pressure.


Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
User currently offlinegr8circle From Canada, joined Dec 2005, 3069 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7940 times:

...and end of the day, what does this prove....? It just sends out a message to all would be terrorists that they should pack more explosives into their !#%%% when boarding the next flight that they intend to bring down...a totally pointless excercise in my opinion....

User currently offlinecontrails From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 1829 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7940 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 1):
I much prefer the actual outcome regardless of whether the plane would have landed safely.

I couldn't agree more.



Flying Colors Forever!
User currently offlineAirBuffalo From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 138 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 7504 times:

Quoting gr8circle (Reply 11):
just sends out a message to all would be terrorists

Or, it could put in perspective the magnitude of the threat for a traveling public that is often told that grandmas' cough medicine could be the next 9/11.


User currently offlinetonymctigue From Ireland, joined Feb 2006, 1933 posts, RR: 9
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 7475 times:
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Quoting gr8circle (Reply 5):
Exactly! The DL plane was an A330....completely different structure.....moreover, this test was conducted on the ground....an aircraft in flight will have all sorts of additional stresses already acting on the fuselage....wouldn't that have made some difference....?

I thought it was a B767-400? Still though, point taken. The test is not really valid unless the exact circumstances have been replicated and even then, it is very difficult to say with any degree of certainty what the outcome would have been.



Next Flights: 18/04/14 QF1011 MEL-HBA; 21/04/14 JQ712 HBA-MEL
User currently onlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 9957 posts, RR: 14
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7349 times:

Quoting tonymctigue (Reply 14):
I thought it was a B767-400?

Nope, it was an ex-NW A332 because at the time, it still had a NW flight number.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineAeolus From Mexico, joined Aug 2007, 372 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 7119 times:

Hey, it's an ex-CX B747!

-Aeolus



Flying under the clouds above!
User currently offlinedevildog2222 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 141 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6636 times:

They probably got something wrong because remember that DC-10 that was tested with the same amount of explosives as the underwear bomber and the out come of the test was totally different. The front part of the DC-10 basically fail down to the ground.

User currently offlineDelta763 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 287 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6473 times:

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 1):
I much prefer the actual outcome

  

I'm sure glad we have those body scanners and liquid bans keeping our skies safe.  


User currently offlinedomokun From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 5771 times:

I don't actually login often here anymore but I really felt like I *had* to say something here.

Really, the conditions of an experiment need to be replicated exactly? If you feel that way then I'd suggest you never step foot on another airplane. My reasoning? A lot of aviation studies are carried out using - you guessed it, airplanes. Every test cannot be replicated (economically) with every airframe. For example, did the wind-shear studies conducted by NASA use a L-1011? No, they used a 731.

My point is, succinctly, that testing the materials and like structures are what is important - not the exact airframe. In the end, it's the geometry of shock waves which is vitally important. This would require less of an absolute model than a computer model which could, in turn, be verified by applying it to a different set of conditions.

IIRC, other cases of explosions causing terrific damage were generally located near the wing root or in the forward-lower section of the airplane which has long been known as a "sensitive" spot on the airplane. In the most recent case, the bomber was not in this area.

In the article I thought it was much more interesting that the researchers implied a CFRP airplane would have suffered more damage than an Al-skin airframe.


User currently offlinebeagleboys From Italy, joined Jun 2006, 230 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4857 times:

Completely useless experiment.

- The plane wasn't pressurised, all the door where open.
When the plane is sealed and pressurised the bomb explosion add a lot of psi to the internal structure of the plane that goes over its limit.

- Plus they are using a 747 that has more internal volume than the A330, so more space for the explosion.

- Only one seat row.



Nervous? Yes. First Times? No, I've been nervous lots of times. -Airplane!
User currently offlineairproxx From France, joined Jun 2008, 600 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 4699 times:

Quoting beagleboys (Reply 20):
The plane wasn't pressurised, all the door where open.

   Exactly what I thought! I don't mean to question the "experts" expertise, but to me, it's a basic fact that if a bomb explodes inside a plane, we'd have a whole different result whether the plane is closed or not! So if it's pressurized or not.. In their test, the aircraft isn't pressurized and not even doors closed, so the air volume expensed by deflagration can easily exit... Not really demonstrative!

Quoting beagleboys (Reply 20):
Completely useless experiment.

   Unless you consider that bombers only blast planes while on the ground during boarding, with only a few people inside, and doors wide open!

Again a good shot of soap science...



If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same
User currently offlinesoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4241 times:

Quoting gr8circle (Reply 5):

Unless this test was conducted with a pressurized cabin in a vacuum chamber, cold soaked with a 500 MPH slipstream passing it, I say results = rubber stamped...VOID!   


User currently offlineLHRlocal From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2008, 261 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 4152 times:

I actually watched this program last night, it was very interesting although slightly scary, and when they were describing how the re-creation would work my first thought was 'but its not pressurised', according to the programme, because the plane was below 10000ft when the incident occured, the lack of pressurisation would of made no difference as the pressure differences would of been virtually the same anyway.

This is what the BBC said, not me  


User currently offlineeugdog From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2001, 518 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3758 times:

Sounds like a complete waste of time. Not to test it under pressurised condition is ridiculous. Also the 747 was designed the 60s and had much more redundancy in its structure as designers knew far less about structural failure They overbuilt the plane to be on safe side . Todays planes are designed to make the plane just structurally strong to meet the needs of the normal flying requirements and not one extra kilo extra in weight . This because designers have a much better understanding of structural failure.

The next suicide bomber will just detonate in flight and not on descent.


25 tharanga : Sounds plausible, at least. For all the armchair scientists and engineers: before you assume the person who put some work into it made some silly mis
26 Post contains images mayor : Well for one thing, wind shear can have an effect on all types of a/c, so it wouldn't make much difference which one they used. Using your logic, car
27 TSS : But what is obvious to all us "armchair scientists and engineers" is that the test was performed on a considerably larger aircraft built by an entire
28 unattendedbag : This is their response at the end of the article: Some readers have questioned the validity of the experiment given that the plane was tested on the
29 AirBuffalo : We're talking about two separate things. (1) yes, the pressure difference btw cabin and outside probably doesnt mean much at 10000 ft. (2) however, a
30 YULWinterSkies : Nope it was an A330-300, not -200. Aircraft N816NW. Absolutely agree. When was last time someone was actually killed by a bomb on an airplane? There
31 Delta763 : Anyway this just lends more credence to the idea that the bomb was not meant to destroy the aircraft. It was meant to instill fear. This is what terro
32 Post contains images m11stephen : Do you have a link to the video? I haven't been able to find it. Thanks I thought it was N820NW? I could be wrong though. The point of this test was
33 Post contains links COSPN : Probally would of been ok with the loss of a few pax PAL 434 landed in OKA one pax was killed But thats not the point ... need to stop this from happe
34 Post contains links devildog2222 : Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy9dyLX4ilc It was on the news and I forget where else where they said only 50grams was used in this
35 Post contains images m11stephen : That explosion came from the cargo compartment though? The underwear bomber did have 80 grams. I don't think that's the right video since I thought w
36 Post contains images soon7x7 : The altitude of 10,000 feet is still a weak argument as if the bomb was detonated next to a production seam or lapjoint, the forces of parasite drag a
37 Post contains images mayor : Thanks for the correction. I thought it was a -200. My memory doesn't work well much past last week.
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