Boeing 747

 


Rupture at Midspan Latches of Cargo Door in Flight
Probably Caused by Wiring/Electrical Fault

 

Accidents
TWA 800, UAL 811, PA 103, AI 182 and possibly CI 611

 

Monterey Airport Noise


Copyright John Barry Smith 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000. 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

Email Author barry@qp6.com

 

PDF Smith AAR and official AAR for Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, and United Airlines Flight 811. These Smith AARs show in pictures and text the destruction of Boeing 747s which suffer inflight breakups of which there are now five, Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, United Airlines Flight 811, Trans World Airlines Flight 800, and China Airlines Flight 611.

 

 

 

Above is Aviation Safety Council of Taiwan picture of the top part of the aft cargo door for China Airlines Flight 611. Also shown is the bottom part of the aft cargo door of China Airlines Flight 611. Note vertical tear lines in skin above door, missing pressure relief doors, intact hinge, longitudinal split, missing lower part, and general shattered appearance of door. Those observations are similar to other cargo doors of early model Boeing 747s that have ruptured open in flight. On bottom part of aft cargo door note detached latches near bottom of picture.

 

 

 

Above is AAIB UK photo of the forward cargo door of Pan Am Flight 103. Note vertical tear lines in skin above door, missing pressure relief doors, intact hinge, longitudinal split, missing lower part, and general shattered appearance of door. Those observations are similar to other cargo doors of early model Boeing 747s that have ruptured open in flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above on left is NTSB photo of aft midspan latch area of the forward cargo door and above on right is private photo of forward midspan latch area of the forward cargo door of Trans World Airlines Flight 800. Hinge is on top. The petal shaped bulges in both pictures are at the aft and forward midspan latches Note vertical tear lines in skin above door, missing pressure relief door, intact hinge, longitudinal split, missing lower part, and general shattered appearance of door. Those observations are similar to other cargo doors of early model Boeing 747s that have ruptured open in flight.


 

Smith Table for Matches for Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, United Airlines Flight 811, Trans World Airlines Flight 800, and China Airlines Flight 611

 

Evidence

AI 182

(Forward Cargo Door)

PA103

(Forward Cargo Door)

UAL 811

(Forward Cargo Door)

TWA 800

(Forward Cargo Door)

China Airlines Flight 611

(Aft Cargo Door)

Boeing 747 Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes
Early model -100 or -200  Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Overpressure relief door(s) in forward cargo door open/jammed Maybe Yes Yes Yes  Missing in Aft Cargo Door
Sudden airframe breakup in flight (partial or total) Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Breakup occurs amidships Yes Yes Yes Yes No, aft of wing. 
High flight time (over 55,000 flight hours) No Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Aged airframe (over 18 years of service) No Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Previous maintenance problems with forward cargo door Yes Maybe Yes Maybe Unknown 
Initial event within an hour after takeoff No Yes Yes Yes   Yes
Initial event at about 300 knots while proceeding normally in all parameters Yes Yes Yes Yes  Yes 
Initial event has unusual radar contacts Maybe Yes Yes Yes   Yes
Initial event involves hull rupture in or near forward cargo door area Yes Yes Yes Yes  In or near aft cargo door
Initial event starts with sudden sound Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 
Initial event sound is loud Yes Yes Yes Yes No 
Initial event sound is audible to humans Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 
Initial event followed immediately by abrupt power cut to data recorder Yes Yes Yes Yes No, FDR cut first, then CVR power
Initial event sound matched to explosion of bomb sound No No No No No 
  AI 182 PA103 UAL 811 TWA 800 China Airlines Flight 611
Initial event sound matched to explosive decompression sound in wide body airliner Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes, Rapid Decompression 
Torn off skin on fuselage above forward cargo door area Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes for aft door 
Unusual paint smears on and above forward cargo door Maybe Maybe Yes Yes Unknown 
Evidence of explosion in forward cargo compartment Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown in aft 
Foreign object damage to engine or cowling of engine number three Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown 
Fire/soot in engine number three

Maybe

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

  Unknown
Foreign object damage to engine or cowling of engine number four

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Right wing leading edge damaged in flight Yes Maybe Yes Maybe Unknown 
Vertical stabilizer damaged in flight Yes Yes Yes Maybe Yes 
  AI 182 PA103 UAL 811 TWA 800 China Airlines Flight 611 
Right horizontal stabilizer damaged in flight

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
More severe inflight damage on starboard side than port side

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Port side relatively undamaged by inflight debris

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Vertical fuselage tear lines just aft or forward of the forward cargo door

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Yes for aft cargo door
Fracture/tear/rupture at a midspan latch of forward cargo door

Maybe

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Midspan latching status of forward cargo door reported as latched

No

 

No

 

No

 

No

 

 Unknown
Airworthiness Directive 88-12-04 implemented (stronger lock sectors)

No

 

No

 

No

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Outwardly peeled skin on upper forward fuselage

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Rectangular shape of shattered area around forward cargo door

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Unknown
Forward cargo door fractured in two longitudinally

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Maybe

 

 Yes for aft cargo door
Status of aft cargo door as intact and latched Yes Yes Yes Maybe No 
  AI 182 PA103 UAL 811 TWA 800 China Airlines Flight 611 
Passengers suffered decompression type injuries Yes Yes Yes Yes Unknown 
At least nine missing and never recovered passenger bodies Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 
Wreckage debris field in two main areas, forward and aft sections of aircraft

Yes

 

Yes

 

No

 

Yes

 

 Yes
Initial official opinion of probable cause as bomb explosion.

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 No and considered
Initial official determination modified from bomb explosion

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 No
  AI 182 PA103 UAL 811 TWA 800 China Airlines Flight 611 
Structural failure considered for probable cause

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

  Yes
Inadvertently opened forward cargo door considered for probable cause

Yes

 

No

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 Yes for aft cargo door
Official probable cause as bomb explosion

Yes

 

Yes

 

 No

 

No

 

 Unknown
Official probable cause as 'improvised explosive device'

No

 

Yes

 

No

 

No

 

 Unknown
Official probable cause as explosion by unstated cause

Yes

 

No

 

No

 

No

 

 Unknown
Official probable cause as explosion in center fuel tank with unknown ignition source No No No Yes Unknown 
Official probable cause as improper latching of forward cargo door No No Yes No Unknown 
Official probable cause as switch /wiring inadvertently opening forward cargo door

No

 

No

 

Yes

 

No

 

 Unknown
Significant Direct and Tangible Evidence Obtained for Four B747 Breakups in Flight

AI 182

 

PA103

 

UAL 811

 

TWA 800

 

 China Airlines Flight 611
   
-

 


 

Contents Cargo Door Website
Page 2 Details on Accidents
Press Kit
barry@corazon.com Email author here.

 

 

Similar Crash Pattern:
The Type Airplane
The Damage Start Location
The Radar Blips
The Sudden Loud Sounds on CVR
The Abrupt Power Cuts to FDR
The Fodded Engines
The Inflight Damage
The Missing Bodies
Same Cut Point Torn Off Noses
The Wreckage Plots
More Similarities
The Red Herring: Bomb!
Similar Crash Cause:
Mechanical Malfunction:
Inadvertent Rupture/Opening of the Forward Cargo Door in Flight
Probably Caused by Wiring/Electrical Fault

 

 

© 1996 1997 1998 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005© John Barry Smith All Rights Reserved
(Not affiliated with the National Transportation Safety Board or any airline, manufacturer, legal firm, government agency, or independent safety group.)

 


 

Additional Details on Accidents includes AARs, photos, text, drawings, and related accidents, Air India 182, PA 103, UAL 811, and TWA 800

 


 

Background and Reference


Newer Page Reasoning behind hull rupture door opening
Introduction

Introduction Photograph
Introduction Page
reconstructmatches.html Reconstruction pictures/drawings of AI 182, PA 103, UAL 811, and TWA 800
reasoning.html Reasoning behind cargo door hypothesis
Boeing 747.html Basic Boeing 747 information.
747-121dimensions.html Drawing of Boeing 747-121
747cargo door and nose Pictures and drawings of cargo door and nose of Boeing 747
747crashes.html List of Boeing 747 crashes.
cargodoorfaraway.html Forward cargo door far, medium and close up photo.
crashchart0.html Chart of three Boeing 747 crashes and similarities presenting a pattern.
crashchart1.html Chart of three different Boeing 747 crashes/incidents and similarities.
800summary TWA Flight 800 ,UAL Flight 811, Pan Am Flight 103, Air India Flight 182 Summaries and explanations.
variousdooraccidents.html Accounts of various cargo door accidents/incidents.
forwardcargodoorpict.html Contents of links to door on site to show latch pins, openings, hinge, seal, and lock sectors.
747passdoor.html 747 plug type passenger door failed
Why Does Door Rupture/Open?
Door Goes; Nose Goes? When door ruptures, how and why nose comes off.
Press Kit


 

Cargo Door Opening/Rupture Event 1985
Boeing 747-237B, Air India Flight 182

 

AI182essentials.html Extracts from Canadian report, Boeing 747-237B. Explanations of sudden sound, decompression damage, wreckage plot, and inflight damage.
182summary.html Description of Air India Flight 182 crash with cargo door similarities.
Debriefing
AirIndiareportcontents.html To Canadian and Indian Air India Flight 182 accident report
Air India Flight 182 trial news


 

Cargo Door Opening/Rupture Event 1988
Boeing 747-121, Pan Am Flight 103

 


PA103essentials.html Extracts from AAIB accident report. Descriptions of sudden loud sound, damage location, wreckage plot, and abrupt power cut.
103radarblip1.html Pan Am Flight 103 cargo door caught on radar. Fig C-14, Boeing 747. This image matches radar plot of TWA 800.
Debriefing
Pan Am 103 Not a Bomb? Flimsy evidence for bomb now even weaker with subsequent similar accidents.
103reportcontents.html To UK Pan Am Flight 103 accident report
Pan Am Flight 103 trial news


 

Cargo Door Opening Event 1989
Boeing 747-122, United Airlines Flight 811

 


UAL811essentials.html Extracts from NTSB accident report. Descriptions of sudden loud sound, radar tracking, missing bodies, FOD engines, and sequence of destruction once door opens.
811bigholephotobetter.html Better picture of big hole that 300 knot wind enters and blows off nose of UAL 811, Boeing 747.
811page92conclusions3cause.html Revised probable cause of door opening, faulty switch.
811PS.html Popular Mechanics cover picture and story.
811picture UAL 811 cargo door hole picture
More pictures of UAL 811 cargo door hole
Debriefing
811reportcontentpage.html To UAL Flight 811 NTSB accident report


 

Cargo Door Opening/Rupture Event 1996
Boeing 747-131, Trans World Airways Flight 800

 


747crashes.html List of Boeing 747 crashes.
cargodoorfaraway.html Forward cargo door far, medium and close up photo.
pressurization1.html Aircraft pressurization theory.
aerodynamics.html Boundary layer aerodynamics.
Airworthiness Directive 79-17-02.html First Airworthiness Directive against forward cargo door.
Airworthiness Directive 88-12-04 Original AD to prevent inadvertent opening of forward cargo door, later amended by AD 89-05-54, not available, later amended by AD 90-09-06 below.
Airworthiness Directive 90-09-06 Current AD to try again to stop doors from opening when they shouldn't.
variousdooraccidents.html Accounts of various cargo door accidents/incidents.
NTSB TWA 800 rebuttal letter Letter to officials regarding wiring/cargo door explanation 16 Jan 01


Cargo Door Uncommanded Openings 1991 and 2000 Nonfatal (First instance on -400)

Difficulty Date : 10/11/00
Operator Type : Air Carrier
ATA Code : 5210
Part Name : CONTROLLER
Aircraft Manufacturer : BOEING
Aircraft Group : 747
Aircraft Model : 747422
Engine Manufacturer : PWA
Engine Group : 4056
Engine Model : PW4056
Part/Defect Location : CARGO DOOR
Part Condition : MALFUNCTIONED
Submitter Code : Carrier
Operator Desig. : UALA
Precautionary Procedure : NONE
Nature : OTHER
Stage of Flight : INSP/MAINT
District Office Region : Western/Pacific US office #29
A/C N Number : 199UA
Aircraft Serial No. : 28717

Discrepancy/Corrective Action:FWD CARGO DOOR OPENED BY ITSELF WHEN CB PUSHED IN. ON ARRIVAL, CIRCUIT BREAKERS WERE PUSHED IN, WHEN PRESSURE RELIEF DOOR HANDLE WAS OPENED THE DOOR LATCHES OPENED AND THEN THE DOOR OPENED ON ITS OWN. COULD NOT DUPLICATE PROBLEM AFTER INITIAL OPENING.


 

From NTSB AAR 92/02 United Airlines Flight 811

1.17.6 Uncommanded Cargo Door Opening--UAL B-747, JFK Airport
On June 13, 1991, UAL maintenance personnel were unable to electrically open the aft cargo door on a Boeing 747-222B, N152UA, at JFK Airport, Jamaica, New York. The airplane was one of two used exclusively on nonstop flights between Narita, Japan, and JFK. This particular airplane had accumulated 19,053 hours and 1,547 cycles at the time of the occurrence.
The airplane was being prepared for flight at the UAL maintenance hangar when an inspection of the circuit breaker panel revealed that the C-288 (aft cargo door) circuit breaker had popped. The circuit breaker, located in the electrical equipment bay just forward of the forward cargo compartment, was reset, and it popped again a few seconds later. A decision was made to defer further work until the airplane was repositioned at the gate for the flight. The airplane was then taxied to the gate, and work on the door resumed.
The aft cargo door was cranked open manually, the C-288 circuit breaker was reset, and it stayed in place. The door was then closed electrically and cycled a couple of times without incident. With the door closed, one of the two "cannon plug" (multiple pin) connectors was removed from the J-4 junction box located on the upper portion of the interior of the door. The wiring bundle from the junction box to the fuselage was then manipulated while readings were taken on the cannon plug pins using a volt/ohmmeter. Fluctuations in electrical resistance were noted. When the plug was reattached to the J-4 junction box, the door began to open with no activation of the electrical door open switches. The C-288 circuit breaker was pulled, and the door operation ceased. When the circuit breaker was reset, the door continued to the full open position, and the lift actuator motor continued to run for several seconds until the circuit breaker was again pulled. At this time, a flexible conduit, which covered a portion of the wiring bundle, was slid along the bundle toward the J-4 junction box, revealing several wires with insulation breaches and damage.


 

Cargo Door Opening/Rupture Event 2002
Boeing 747-209B, China Airlines Flight 611

 

Smith Table showing matches of evidence among China Airlines Flight 611, Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, United Airlines Flight 811, and Trans World Airlines Flight 800.

PDF Smith AAR and official AAR for Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, and United Airlines Flight 811. These Smith AARs show in pictures and text the destruction of Boeing 747s which suffer inflight breakups of which there are now five, Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, United Airlines Flight 811, Trans World Airlines Flight 800, and China Airlines Flight 611.


 

Translant: RA5C Vigilante nonstop flight from Albany Georgia to Rota Spain, 1969.

 

 


 

John Denver Plane Crash NTSB Report
Page 2 Details on Accidents
Boeing Manufacturer of 747
http://www.ntsb.gov/ NTSB
http://www.faa.gov/avr/aai/aaihome.htm FAA

Email author: barry@qp6.com