WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday ordered a special inspection of Boeing Co. after a series of quality-control problems, including the discovery by American Airlines mechanics of 16 improperly tightened bolts in a Boeing 767 tail section, reports The Washington Post (Don Phillips, "FAA Calls A Special Inspection Of Boeing," Nov. 30).
Boeing has determined that an incorrect torque wrench had been used because of a difference between Boeing requirements and the work instructions given to workers.
The FAA ordered inspection gives some credence to questions raised about the stabilizer of the Boeing 767 involved in the EgyptAir 990 crash.
Less than a week ago the independent Austrian Institute of Aerospace Medicine and Space Biology said that, "The abnormal dive of the Boeing 767 could be due to a so-called 'stabilizer runaway... The stabilizer runaway batters the plane so strongly that the autopilot is insufficiently strong and it is automatically turned off on purpose in such a case."
And an "international airline pilots' group has stepped into the controversy over the probe into the EgyptAir flight 990 crash, denouncing what it said was a media frenzy about suicide as a cause."
Captain Ted Murphy of the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations told Reuters, "The big issue is the failure of the industry to resist the temptation to talk. Authorities have to resist giving an answer straight away."
This is not the first time that U.S. government officials, and media have jumped to hasty conclusions.
Five months after the December 21, 1988 explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the U.S. State Department announced that the CIA was confident that the villains were members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine led by Ahmed Jibril based in Syria. But when Syria allied with the U.S. in the Gulf War the blame was shifted to Libya.
When TWA 800 crashed in 1996, The Washington Post, in it's July 23 editorial stated that while the "evidence of terrorism is not yet there," that "courtroom-type proof" may be hard to come by, that "international validation before the act of punishment would be the best way to go, but if that is not feasible a national decision by the injured party, the United States, ought to suffice."
There is one thing of which we may be sure. The cause of such crashes may never be determined with certainty.
Newsweek magazine, in their cover story (Daniel Klaidman and Mark Hosenball, "I Put My Trust in God," Nov. 29) on the crash of EgyptAir 990, states: "Nearly three years after the NTSB determined that a faulty fuel tank aboard the Boeing 747 caused the explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800 in July 1996, Boeing is still trying to prove that the plane was brought down by a missile or a bomb."
Boeing's concerns are echoed by the Associated Retired Aviation Professionals which states: "Recently uncovered information now shows that TWA Flight 800 could have been shot down by one or more shoulder-fired missiles." The association's membership includes Admiral Thomas Moorer former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chief's of Staff.
Says Time magazine (Johanna McGeary, "A Prayer Before Dying," Nov. 29): "The U.S. has a long investigation to finish before it can prove any hypothesis is valid. It took investigators 16 months to conclude effectively that an exploded fuel tank, not a missile, brought down TWA 800. The truth about EgyptAir 990 still lies hidden in the deep."
[The 31 October 1999 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 invites comparison with
the mysterious loss of a United States Air Force EC-135N about 50 miles
north-northwest of Washington DC on 6 May 1981. . . .
EgyptAir Flight 990 carried a sizeable contingent of high-ranking Egyptian
military personnel involved in US-sponsored armaments programs deemed by
many Israelis, including former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
Communications Director David Bar Ilan, to be a dire threat to the Jewish
State.--Stephen M. St. John, "
Precursors to remote control attacks of 9/11?," American Patriot Friends
Network, August 8, 2003]
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