Sunday, 17 July 2022

Remembering TWA 800 26Yrs ago today

On the 17th July 1996, at about 8:31 p.m. EDT, 12 minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport on a scheduled international passenger flight to Rome, Trans World Airlines Flight 800 exploded and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 13 km (8.1 miles) S off East Moriches, New York. The flight was scheduled to depart New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport, NY (JFK/KJFK), United States of America for Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG/LFPG), France about 19:00; however, the flight was delayed because of a disabled piece of ground equipment and concerns about a suspected passenger/baggage mismatch. The aircraft was pushed back from gate 27 about 20:02. Between 20:05 and 20:07, the flight crew started the Nos. 1, 2, and 4 engines and completed the after-start checklist. The flight crew then received taxi instructions and began to taxi to runway 22R. While the airplane was taxiing, about 20:14, the flight crew started the No. 3 engine and conducted the delayed engine-start and taxi checklists. At 20:18:21, ATC advised the pilots that the wind was out of 240-degrees at 8 knots and cleared flight 800 for takeoff. Shortly after takeoff there was an explosion and all 230 people on board died in the crash. It is the third-deadliest aviation accident in U.S. history. Accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) traveled to the scene, arriving the following morning amid speculation that a terrorist attack was the cause of the crash. Consequently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York Police Department Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) initiated a parallel criminal investigation. Sixteen months later, the JTTF announced that no evidence of a criminal act had been found and closed its active investigation.

The four-year NTSB investigation concluded with the approval of the Aircraft Accident Report on August 23, 2000, ending the most extensive, complex and costly air disaster investigation in U.S. history at that time. The report's conclusion was that the probable cause of the accident was explosion of flammable fuel vapors in the center fuel tank. Although it could not be determined with certainty, the likely ignition source was a short circuit. Problems with the aircraft's wiring were found, including evidence of arcing in the Fuel Quantity Indication System (FQIS) wiring that enters the tank. The FQIS on Flight 800 is known to have been malfunctioning; the captain remarked on "crazy" readings from the system approximately two minutes and thirty seconds before the aircraft exploded. As a result of the investigation, new requirements were developed for aircraft to prevent future fuel tank explosions.

Aircraft Information
Airline: TWA (Trans World Airways)
Code: TW/TWA
Aircraft: Boeing 747-131
Registration: N93119
Serial Number: 20083
Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7AH
First Flew: 18/08/1971
Age: 25 Yrs Old

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