Galileo Rules!

Ian Goddard (
Wed, 17 Feb 1999 23:18:40 -0500

Pan Am 103 lost its forward section (like FL800) and immediately curved downward (unlike CIA video) with all its initial horizontal velocity of 434 kn. The official investigation gives us these numbers:

Initial velocity: 434 knots  (at 31,000 feet)
Nose hits ground: 120 knots  -314 kn (slower)
Engines hit at:   260 knots  -174 kn (slower)
Wing hits at:     440 knots    +6 kn (faster)

Most of the jet slowed down during the fall. The most aerodynamic debris fell fastest, with the wing actually falling faster upon impact. NO part fell faster than an object dropped from total rest. The fastest falling part, the wing, fell 3,750 feet shorter and 443 knots slower than an object dropped from complete rest in a vacuum!

Conclusion: an initial horizontal-cruising velocity of 434 knots failed to cause any part of a falling 747 to fall faster than an object dropped from rest. Physical reality thus refutes counter-argumentation against my initial post on this topic and indicates ( that the CIA scenario contradicts physical law by an even wider margin that initially calculated, since we can see the profound effect of drag.

Also note that since lower air density reduces drag, the high altitude (31,000, 17,000 higher than FL800) and cold winter weather around Pan Am 103 maximized aerodynamic efficiency ensuring the fastest fall.

Data: AAIB Report, Pan Am 103 (Sec 2.10)

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