- 2000 OCT 13 -


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00-10-13          …..

            Just before lunch, had a short conversation with Peter ERNST of Swissair.  He had been at the hangar for the meetings.  He asked about the magnesium, and if there was anything further on it.  I mentioned the FIB/TEM process, and that it was still ongoing.  To his question regarding BROWN’s report date, I suggested that we might see something before Christmas, and that he had refused to put out a partial report prior to collecting all of the data.  I suggested that this was a good sign in that he would not be swayed by anyone, that he was accountable amongst his own peers for his own work, and that he had a set protocol that he would follow.  I told him that I had no idea what would be in the report, but that I thought he would cover all the bases.  Peter was not aware of the recent findings regarding the heavily burnt ceiling panel.  He was quite surprised about the findings and made the comment that perhaps dust could have been the fuel.  My comment was that it could not be piled high enough to cause that amount of heat.  I suggested that a fire in a structure such as a house is about 800 degrees, and this was more than double that with no sign of fuel to cause it.  He then made a comment that Swissair had lost a plane due to a fire in the cargo that he been set off in a radio, sometime back in the 70’s.  He said that he had given the write-up to Vic GERDEN and that I could get it from him.  I explained that this would be difficult for me to obtain, and could he send me a copy of it.  He agreed to either mail me a copy of the material, or hand deliver it in November when he is next over.  This is something new to me.  It sounds like an incendiary device in the cargo hold, but of course I have been told that it has never happened before.  We shall see especially if the TSB have the material and have not informed us of it.


Insp. LATHEM was in late in the afternoon, and I told him of the ceiling tile.  He already knew, as he had spoken with John GARSTANG.  So, he is now informed, and I showed him the position in the MD-11 tour, and that there is limited fuel over this piece of ceiling tile.  The fibreglass 4th duct to the 5th zone is nearby, if it is the 1.1 door slider, but how come we have such limited metal melting in the area if it is the left side of the aircraft.  We do have broom-strawing in the immediate area on the right-hand side - on Exh 1-4955, the door rail, but fuel in the area is extremely limited, and no direct airflow to the area.  In addition, overhead the area, the Metallized Mylar is covered with the green rubber-like covering.  LATHEM was showing a BC Supreme Court judge around the hangar and had no time to discuss the matter.

(Clarification:)    Peter Ernst was one of the senior managers of Swissair and played a key role for Swissair in the investigation.  The fibreglass 4th duct to the 5th zone was later found not to be a producer of high heat.  In later burn tests, only the varnish-like finish was flammable, while the core material failed to burn..



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