PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - BREAKING NEWS: airliner missing within Egyptian FIR
Old 4th Nov 2015, 12:01
  #818 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 72
From we 'know' I see it like this.

The absence of any distress call would suggest a very rapid event. The size/shape of the debris field clearly indicates that the airframe break-up at altitude. The various tail parts and components/systems are identifiable and show only relatively minor signs of heat damage and at at some distance from the rest of the aircraft remains.

Based on various photographs, because the 'one piece' outlines are clear to see on the desert floor, the front section of the fuselage c/w wings must have remained largely intact until hitting the ground with little or no horizontal airspeed in a sort of upside down belly flop. Since the wings appear to have remained attached to the fuselage, it would seem to suggest that the fuel tanks did not explode until hitting the ground - after all I would expect them to be fairly full so early in the flight and had one or more exploded for whatever reason it would have blown the airframe into far smaller fragments...probably.

A single heat flash was detected by IR satellite at a time and location indicating a mid-air explosion of some sort.

The section of fuselage between the wings and tail disintegrated significantly, indicating that whatever caused the explosive event was in this area. If PAX seated in this area did indeed suffer severe burns (with those forward of this section suffering mostly impact traumas of one sort or another), then this would confirm that the event was centred somewhere aft of the wings.

The cause was either 'accidental' or foul play.

It is difficult to see how a structural failure of any sort would have caused a mid-air explosion - consider JAL123 and BEA706, or indeed AA96/TA981 for example.

Hypothesising for a moment, if the central fuel tank was largely empty, an 'accidental' explosion similar to that of TWA800 might have occurred. An engine failure might have caused debris to puncture the fuel tank.

If it was the result of foul play, there is no evidence of any projectile strike. However, at that altitude even a relatively small explosive device in the rear cargo hold would cause a break up. But would it explain the heat flash? Even if passengers at the rear of the plane do indeed show no signs of explosives on their person, it does not mean there was no bomb. They were severely burned anyway, so such evidence might have been lost.

I'm not convinced that the CVR and FDR will provide a clear answer and suspect that definitive explanation will be some long way off...
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