Re: False Claim, another (was: airline fuel tanks...)

Michael S. Lorrey (
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 09:03:01 -0500

Ian Goddard wrote:

> IAN: You've already been corrected on that one
> at least twice and yet you continue to make that
> false claim. It wasn't the nose section that the
> video says hits 29 seconds after the 17,000 climb,
> but the main fuselage section that did the climb.
> Since you "explained" the way-too-fast fall with
> an argument based on a falsehood, I guess you've
> run out of arguments for the CIA video. Please
> try to both listen and watch the video this
> time:

I haven't had a chance to go back over the video yet, as I've been moving my computer equipment (now you'll accuse me of being in a conspiracy).

> IAN: Mike, jet fuel is not explosive at temps
> below (I believe around) 165 degrees. Commander
> Donaldson has shown that you can put out a
> cigarette in Jet A-1 fuel.

There is no such thing as Jet A-1 fuel. There is A-1, A-2 and A-3 fuel, all are aviation rated. Jet fuels are J-1 thru J-6. Please get your nomenclature straight. It is true you can drop a lit cigarette in any J class fuel AT ROOM TEMPERATURE without triggering ignition. However, an electrical arc is much higher temperature than a cigarette, as it is a plasma, especially an electrical arc triggering an explosion of kapton insulation, which would not only add high temperature, but high compression from the small blast shock wave to provide conditions similar to that inside the combustion chamber of a jet engine. Not to mention the fact that I have all along been talking about jet fuel FUMES, which are highly flammable at even room temperature, given the proper ignition. There is a significant difference between liquid fuel and fumes, which you can't seem to grasp. The fuel tank and surrounding bulkheads of that plane also had atmospheric temperatures around 130-150 degrees as I recall, which would increase the concentration of fumes. having a good mixture of fuel fumes and air is what is needed for combustion. You don't get that with liquid jet fuel, which is why you can drop a lit cigarette in it. You can do the same with kerosene, heating oil, or motor oil, but if you get a good spray of fumes from any of these, and a spark, you will get ignition, guaranteed.

Commander Donaldson may be a fine pilot. He is not skilled at all as a jet mechanic. I am. I've seen jets explode in mid air, and I've seen minor system failures which only caused minor explosions that jets could fly away from (and these were military jets, which are built much sturdier than commercial planes). I've seen an F-111 flying nape of the earth fly right through power lines and cut a wing half-off, I've seen them come back from flights with corn husks in the bomb bay. I've seen wire harnesses explode merely from the age of the insulation reducing its ability to handle high currents (and the wire harnesses in the area of the fuel tank, were, in fact, kapton insulated). I've seen what happens when a jet engine sucks in just a minor pebble. I've seen what happens when a jet mechanic cross-threads a spark plug on an F100 jet engine (you get a nice little engine bay fire that is positioned just right to burn through the fuel line if you don't catch it in time). You're not talking to a boob here.

Mike Lorrey