- 2000 NOV 28 -


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00-11-28          .....

            The Fire Group meeting started this morning, with people in from Boeing, Swissair, FAA, NTSB, and others, as well as many of the TSB members.  Also present was the film crew and Howard GREEN, shooting the documentary for the Nature of Things, who sat in on the meeting all day.  I had asked John GARSTANG a week ago about attending, and he hesitated, saying that he would have to clear it with Vic GERDEN, even though I am a member of the Fire Group.  However, over the past several days, it was subtly made clear to me that I would not be allowed to attend the meeting.  This is likely in part because of the recent report on the insulation and end cap burns, and the fact that I would not agree to not reporting on anything that I see or hear.  So, what is there to see that shouldn’t be seen by me?  I did have a chance to speak with Pat CAHILL of the FAA, who is in attendance.  She said that she was very impressed with the presentation.  During the conversation, I mentioned magnesium, and she responded by saying that she had heard nothing on the subject in nearly a year (this isn’t exactly correct as we had spoken about it when she had asked on 00-08-25), and what had become of it.  I explained that the source was still unknown, and she wondered why nothing had been said.  I suggested that this is not in the area of the TSB because it implies a criminal act.  She also advised that she had worked on an arson file at Montreal Airport back about 1995 in which someone had set up an arson device in the overhead baggage rack of a North West Airlines plane.  She couldn’t remember all the details and said that she would get me a copy of the data.  During the conversation, I also mentioned the recent tests at her lab with John GARSTANG.  I asked how the items could have passed the original tests, and she said that the tests were designed differently now, and the original tests did not reflect what we now know about incidents like this.  I took it that they had to start somewhere and now they have improved the testing.  But it also seems that in setting up the original guidelines, tests would have had to be conducted to determine those guidelines.  There would seem to be a considerable amount of latitude and subjectivity in such actions.  Our experience is that if you apply a match to Metallized Mylar when crumpled in a ball, it will quickly consume itself in flame.  But this was not the original test and they must have determined for some reason that this would not be part of that test.  It certainly makes one wonder how and who came to those original guidelines.  


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