- 2001 OCT 11 -


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01-10-11          0700    Morning routine. 


            This afternoon at about 1500 hrs, Keith STOTHART arrived for the meeting with John GARSTANG & me in the frame room.  John advised us that he had received a very long email from Vic GERDEN regarding the sensitive issues, and generally Vic feels that it is up to the RCMP to disclose the matters.  Basically, they are not TSB areas of concern (not safety issues), so they should have nothing to do with them.  John is very concerned that failure to disclose such now innocuous issues could be later seen as something scandalous.

            John went over their recent meeting agenda, which dealt with locations on the aircraft that could have been fire initiation points.  It was broken down first into areas within the cockpit as ‘1 – Arcing or Thermal in the Cockpit’.  1a dealt with the pilot’s map.  It is interesting that a recent meeting attended by Vic GERDEN revealed that Lufthansa has quite possibly experienced a fire attributed directly to a short in a map light.  1bi dealt with overhead instrument lighting & controllers.  1bii dealt with electrical wiring and components in the bathtub.  1c dealt with the wiring harness outside aft left and right of the bathtub.  1d dealt with wire runs, connectors or circuit breakers behind the Avionics Upper CB Panel.  1e dealt with component or wire on the left overhead side of the cockpit, left windshield/defog heater/left observer’s light.

            Generally, the tables shown presented mitigating factors both in favour and against a fire source in each location.  I have previous knowledge of most of the factors involved, and generally there was nothing new or unusual.  But one area of interest was new to me.  It seems that the fuel isolation valve in the tail was found to be in the closed position.  The valve should have been in the open position for normal flight.  The wires and circuit breaker controlling the valve are on the right side of the cockpit, in the area of the major fire.  It was felt at some time that this must have been the cause of the fire, as a short in this wire would have closed the valve, something that would not have been done in normal flight.  However, Boeing came up with the fact that during a fuel dumping operation, this valve is closed.  So this shows the obvious importance of determining whether or not they were dumping fuel at the time of the crash.  I had no knowledge of this matter prior to this afternoon.  So the evidence of ZINCK, TURPIN, and the father of witness #15 is invaluable.  From their statements to me, I have no doubt that the aircraft was definitely in the process of dumping fuel at the time it passed over Blandford, which was only seconds before the crash.

            The 2nd area dealt with the following:  2 – Outside the cockpit in the Forward Cabin Drop Ceiling area.  ‘a’ dealt with the 1R door ramp deflector, ‘b’ dealt with the 1L door sliding ceiling panel, ‘c’ dealt with the emergency lighting battery pack, ‘d’ dealt with the 1R & 1L door cable routing, ‘e’ dealt with mod block arcing in the cabin drop ceiling, ‘f’ dealt with the emergency aisle and overhead lamp fixtures, and ‘g’ dealt with the cockpit entry light fluorescent ballast.

            The 3rd area dealt with the forward galleys and feed wires.  The 4th area dealt with the two forward lavs, and the 5th area was the IFEN system.  The 6th area dealt with chemical and thermal ignition of aircraft disposals or carryon baggage.  The 7th area dealt with incendiary devices, matches, cigarettes, or sabotage.  The 8th area dealt with EMI/HIRF events.  The 9th area dealt with the avionics compartment and right-side ladder.

            John went over each of the topics and quickly listed some of the key pros and cons for the area being the fire source.  This material right now is in a state of rough draft, but it will be completed in time for the Fire Committee meeting.

            One topic raised was the oxygen line.  John has put forward a considerable effort on the subject.  He feels it is important, even though we never recovered the tube and the end cap.  The feeling is that total loss of the end cap would result in total loss of oxygen to the pilot and co-pilot.  This would force them to remove their face masks exposing them to the gasses in the cockpit.  This would include smoke and heat, as well as possible fluorine compounds that would form acids that burn the eyes, nose and throat on contact.  This could have incapacitated the crew so that they could not fly, and that would result in a crash even if the plane was otherwise flyable.  In other words, the theory is that the last actual direct cause of the crash may have been the loss of oxygen to the crew because of the failure of this line end cap.  However, this would only have occurred after a lengthy chain of events initiated at this time by an unknown fire source.

            Didn’t finish up until about 2000 hrs, then home.  There was to be an Elizabeth SCARRY article on the History Network this evening, however it turned out to be the US History channel and not our channel.



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