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Another Plane Down in New York 1113

Another plane has crashed, this time in Queens. You can read a blurb at Yahoo. isn't responding for me. LaGuardia, Newark and JFK are closed now. Update: 11/12 14:54 GMT by T : New reports indicate that the plane was departing from JFK, not arriving. Also, CNN has confirmed that this was American Airlines flight 587, an Airbus A 300. Update: 11/12 14:57 GMT by T : Further information is that the plane was en route to the Dominican Republic, and that the disaster actually involves two crash sites, not just one -- an engine fell from the plane some distance from the fuselage.
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Another Plane Down in New York

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  • Unknown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbarclay10 ( 70443 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:48AM (#2553572)
    Just to let you all know - as off press time for this posting, nobody knows whether this was an accident, or another terrorist attack.

    Let's not jump to conclusions.
    • Possible cause (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cperciva ( 102828 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:07PM (#2554255) Homepage
      Since the latest reports seem to suggest that there was a mid-air explosion before the plane came down, people might be interested in reading this notice from the FAA [] requiring that modifications be performed on Airbus A300 series aircraft in order to eliminate a possible cause of fuel tank explosion. Judging by the dates on the notice -- effective September 10, modifications must be performed within 18 months -- I'd guess that many planes haven't been modified yet.
  • Everyone knows what everyone is thinking at this moment, possible cause for the accident.

    They have the public scared, even if this had nothing to do with terrorism, more people will be afraid.
    • I dunno about that... I don't live anywhere near NYC, and talking to real people (i.e. not listening to people on TV) I haven't heard of anyone actually being scared. If you look at the big picture, there really isn't much widescale "terror" to the terrorism; the country is just too big.

      Get away from the northeastern USA, and the only way the terrorism is really affecting most people's lives, is the reaction that it has provoked from the government. The actual plane crashes themselves are just Yet Another television thing.

      That must sound really weird or insensitive to New Yorkers, I guess. But it's true.

  • Step 1: Take 3 deep breaths.
    Step 2: Find out if it was terror or something else entirely.
    Step 3: Take deliberate and appropriate action.

    Moderators, please mod knee jerk posts accordingly...

  • I can see the smoke (Score:4, Interesting)

    by richieb ( 3277 ) <richieb&gmail,com> on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:49AM (#2553582) Homepage Journal
    I can see the smoke from our office window in downtown Manhattan. It seems that the plane went down in Far Rockway. This would make sense if the plane was on a landing approach, as the wind is out of the south east in NY this morning...


  • CBC coverage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gordo ( 5765 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:49AM (#2553586) Homepage
    CBC []
  • by jimmu ( 227057 )
    According to ABC News (I got a little bit of the vieo blurb before it totally crapped out on me)
    eyewitnesses are reprting that an angine exploded on the approach to JFK, and that several buildings are on fire.

    My Girlfriends family lives in queens, as does the family of someu very close friends of mine . . . . here's to hoping they're all okay.
  • by jamesbrown1000 ( 39200 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:50AM (#2553594) Homepage Journal
    it's an airbus A-300 jet, according to MSNBC. or it's a flying saucer, according to Fox News ... :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:50AM (#2553600)
    The greatest terrorist attack on the US happened just two months ago and you have the gall to be discussing "Another Plane down in New York"?

  • BBC News story (Score:2, Informative)

    by DanKolb ( 66859 )
    Their coverage is here [].
  • Airbus (Score:3, Redundant)

    by Keelor ( 95571 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:50AM (#2553604)
    CNN just said that it was an Airbus 300 that nosedived into Queens. At least 4 homes are on fire.

    No word on cause.

    • Re:Airbus (Score:3, Funny)

      by Stele ( 9443 )
      Yeah, they also said it was a Boeing Airbus, and the size info they got was from Boeing's web-site.

      Um, yeah. Way to go CNN.
  • As opposed to being "rerouted", like before.
  • I was thinking of going across the office area I'm in to check out CNN but I thought twice, I have better things to do, although there's no word yet I'm betting this has nothing to do with "terrorist" attacks, just another plane crash? If you want to call plane crashes routine.... I'm sure (ok, I hope) this is just a non-event that the media will be all over, news at eleven.
    • Plane crashes in major American cities aren't routine at all. Whether this is a terrorist attack or not (and it's looking like not), it has implications for AA, the economy and cities like New York.

      I have to say it's a hell of a bad run of luck for AA, though. And the aviation industry in general... I always thought it was a little bit nuts to have jets flying low above dense areas of the city.

      246 passengers, plus 9 crew.

  • Buildings burning.

    Yahoo map of impact zone &a ddr=&city=Rockaway+Park&state=NY&slt=40.580000&sln =-73.836700&mlt=40.578000&mln=-73.844100&zip=&coun try=us&mag=9&cs=7&BFClient=&BFKey=&poi=&poititle=& map.x=107&map.y=204
  • by Fiery ( 21015 ) <> on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:54AM (#2553640) Homepage [] is a load balancing mirror for CNN. How long till they go barebones again?

    Current headline:

    An American Airlines plane has crashed in the Queens borough of New York City. The FAA identifies the flight as American flight 587, an Airbus A300 from JFK airport to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Thick smoke was billowing over the area, and local media reported several houses on fire.
  • by Escoutaire ( 518305 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:54AM (#2553650) Homepage
    The BBC news site is still responding, albeit slowly. [] Escoutaire When a dream dreams the dreamer, the dreams the real.
    • Sky News: Plane Crashes In New York A plane has crashed into a residential area of New York. It is understood the plane was an Airbus A300 and suffered engine failure shortly after taking off from JFK airport. Reports say the aircraft may have been carrying up to 246 passengers when it plunged into homes in Queens. The jet, thought to be flight 587, was heading to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. There are reports the plane hit a number of homes near Rockaway beach. One eyewitness said pieces of the plane were falling off mid-air and flames were seen on "I saw a large piece hit a hood of a car," one women told Fox News. "It seem to fold and fall onto a residential area," adding that she initially thought the plane was a Concorde. F15 fighter jets are now in the skies of New York - the incident comes two months after the US terrorist attacks on the US. They were believed to be in the sky when the plane crashed. Security chiefs said there was no evidence of terrorist activity but all airports in New York have now been closed as a precautionary measure. Bridges and tunnels have been closed The city has also been put on the highest state of alert. A huge plume of smoke is rising above the New York skyline as the wreckage burns. The Dow Jones dropped 200 points as news of the crash reached the markets. Early reports said the plane was a Boeing 767 - the same type which crashed into the World Trade Centre. More follows .. Last Modified: 15:20 UK, Monday November 12, 2001

      The BBC in the UK is carrying live TV footage of F15s fighters flying very low over the area.

  • by Ami Ganguli ( 921 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:54AM (#2553656) Homepage

    For example: Canada's Globe & Mail []

  • bandwidth/capacity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mgkimsal2 ( 200677 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:57AM (#2553674) Homepage
    Did every news site return all the extra servers and bandwidth they acquired during the 9/11 attack? Suddenly I can't get to cnn, yahoo news, and many other sites. What happened to their extra capacity?
    • "What happened to their extra capacity?"

      The sad thing is that it's probably not cost-effective. The only time I've seen this happen is when it's been news so big (WTC and this recent crash) that I've heard about it even though I'm at work. On average, it seems that news big enough to get transmitted through the school/office grapevine happens less frequently than yearly. It's things like:

      • The Challenger exploding
      • The OJ verdict (someone actually left the class I was in, found out the verdict, and wandered in whispering, "Not guilty"; even weirder is that it wasn't my class -- I was taking notes for fraternity brother that wanted to watch it on TV)
      • The WTC disaster

      I'm probably leaving some out, as my memory isn't the best, but these things are infrequent occurances. Unfortunately, news sites have to worry about doing what turns a profit. CNN is, at least, transferring servers over from less critical departments (such as Cartoon Network), but it's hard for them to justify having servers there that're idle 99+% of the time.

      It's a shame there's not a technology-based solution that automatically kicks in for obscenely popular sites. Some sort of popular site caching mechanism or a P2P system might do the trick (and provide a more legitimate use for P2P technologies). Such a system would also help out in non-emergency situations, such as when a given novelty site gets its 15 minutes of Internet fame.

  • First people hear the initial incorrect reports (incoming flight, 767), then other people post more up to date information. Then the first wave berates the second wave for not having the correct info. Then they just look stupid for getting knee-jerk news reports anyhow.

    Slow down, don't post so damn quick.
  • This Story [] at the BBC is up and down like a YoYo.
    BBC Radio 1 is reporting nothing at present - actually playing 'heaven is a halfpipe'!
  • Video on MSNBC (Score:2, Informative)

    by InfoCynic ( 71942 )
    Good luck getting through, but there's some video feed available here (you'll have to select the right link since M$ is using JavaScript). []

  • CNN Article Posted (Score:3, Informative)

    by digital_freedom ( 453387 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:59AM (#2553697)
    Since the CNN site is getting hammered (Don't they ever learn?) Here's the text:

    American Airlines jet crashes in New York
    November 12, 2001 Posted: 9:54 AM EST (1454 GMT)

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- An American Airlines jet crashed Monday in the New York City borough of Queens.

    CNN confirmed the plane was American Airlines Flight 587 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The plane was an Airbus A-300. American Airlines did not immediately release the number of passengers on the flight.

    A New York police spokesman said the plane crashed in the Rockaways section of Queens. At least four houses were on fire, and a huge plume of smoke could be seen rising from the site.

    All three New York City-area airports -- Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark -- closed after the crash, according to CNN affiliate WCBS in New York. Mayor Rudy Giuliani declared a Level One emergency, mobilizing all available police, fire and emergency personnel.
  • Map of Queens: (Score:3, Informative)

    by ookla_the_mok ( 461741 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:59AM (#2553700)
    For those that don't live in NYC there is a map of queens here []

    FYI: Far rockaways are very near JFK.

  • Plane crash in NYC
    An American Airlines plane has crashed in the Queens borough of New York City. The FAA identifies the flight as American flight 587, an Airbus A300 from JFK airport to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Thick smoke was billowing over the area, and local media reported several houses on fire.
  • It was an A300 heading to the Dominican Republic.
  • by markf ( 25369 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:02AM (#2553723)
    I'm watching this on TV right now ( still not responding). Some of the initial details have changed:

    - Not a 767, an Airbus A-300 (seats around 300 people)
    - It was American Airlines flight 587; /leaving/ JFK for Dominican Rep.
    - The crash site is a residential/shopping area (Rockaway Beach Blvd.)
    - FAA issued an advisory saying that there is no indication (yet) of a terrorist attack.
    - Bridges and tunnels in NYC have been closed.

  • NEW YORK (CNN) -- Queens police confirm an aircraft crashed Monday in the Far Rockaways neighborhood of the New York City borough.

    The spokesman could not confirm the type of plane but said it crashed in the Rockaways at 122nd Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

    WCBS-TV reported that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it was an American Airlines 767 presumably on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The station showed pictures of a huge plume of smoke.

    karma already @ 50 - not trying to be a whore so relax...
  • Details are sketchy, but WNYC (back online!) reports at least 4 buildings on fire, and some concern that there is a gasoline station in the vicinity. Crashsite is an suburban neighborhood, homes, schools, etc. Capacity of the plane is 285 souls.
  • by scumdamn ( 82357 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:04AM (#2553744)
    A friend of mine just said "Isn't is horrible that we can now think 'I hope it was just a plane crash' when something like this happens?"

    From the location of the crash and proximity to the airport it looks like it might have just been an accident. If not, then it is yet another nail in the terrorist's coffins.
  • by Jetson ( 176002 )
    This is yet again proof of why chat groups, bulletin boards and internet newsgroups are useless as a "breaking story" news source. It's been less than 45 minutes since the crash and already people are posting "facts" that were proven wrong minutes later or are providing mindless speculation. I'll grant you that CNN isn't much better in the first hour of any major story, but at least on TV the incorrect data doesn't stick around for days after the truth is known.

    What you've said so far: It was a 767. It was inbound to NY. It crashed downtown. It might have been terrorists.

    What CNN is saying as of a minute ago: It was an Airbus A300. It was leaving NY on an international flight. It crashed 10 miles from the airport, out in Rockaway (Long Island).

    Let's leave the journalism to the journalists, shall we?
  • An American Airlines Jet, probably an Airbus, was headed to the Dominican Republic and ran into some kind of trouble after takeoff. It tried to return to the airport, but could not make. Maybe an engine exploded or was on fire. FAA does NOT believe it was a terroist attack or any kind of hijacking.

  • You guys are up no matter what... thanks for some consise info.

    For you europeans out there, is MIA now, as is the BBC's site.

    Good luck getting info... maybe try #worldtradecenter. That's where I am.

  • the plane: (Score:2, Informative)

    the plane ...
    linky linky" []
  • Coverage (Score:2, Informative)

    CNN may be down but the Washington Post [] is up and has a photo. appears to be down.

    MSNBC [] is up with coverage [].
  • Notice that this time the newssites was _very_ quick on going to a light version of their pages.

    They have obviously learned from prior experiences.

    Dow Jones however dropped 200 points faster than any newssite could update their pages. Consider the impact on US-airtraffic.
    Wonder how much time it will take until someone goes bankrupt and wether it will be a US or some other national agency that drops first.


  • New York Times, 7:03, 11/12/01:

    November 12, 2001

    Homes in Queens on Fire


    EW YORK -- An American Airlines Airbus A300 crashed Monday morning in the Queens section of New York, and buildings reportedly were on fire in the neighborhood.

    The plane crashed shortly after 9 a.m. and thick, black smoke could be seen miles away.

    All metro area airports were closed following the crash, in the Rockaways section of Queens.

    The mayor canceled his morning events and headed to the scene.

    One eyewitness reported debris falling from sky, and told the Fox News Channel four homes were on fire.

    Another told CNN he was 40 blocks away and saw "Just a lot of smoke. Tons and tons of smoke. You can see emergency vehicles heading to area. Lots of people are standing in the streets. It's very tense."

    The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

    The crash came two months after the attack on the World Trade Center, which was destroyed by two Boeing 767s hijacked out of Boston's Logan Airport. One of the planes was operated by American, the other by United.

    An explanation of how the U.S. got into this mess: What should be the Response to Violence? []
  • NBC is reporting that 246 people were ticketed for this flight along with 9 crewmembers. No telling how many people were in the vicinity on the ground, I imagine this part of the Queens is quite densely populated.
  • Quote from CNN: "The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said the plane was carrying 246 passengers and nine crew members. "
  • by daoine ( 123140 ) <moruadh1013@yah[ ]com ['oo.' in gap]> on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:11AM (#2553817)
    * American Airlines flight crashes on takeoff in NYC borough of Queens
    * FAA: American Flight 587 -- Airbus A300 -- from JFK airport to Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
    * NYC Port Authority: 246 passengers, 9 crew
    * All NYC area airports closed, bridges and tunnels leading into city closed
    * Affiliate WCBS reports at least 4 buildings on fire
    * New York Fire Department dispatches 44 trucks, 200 firefighters
  • Slightly more detail (Score:5, Informative)

    by Snackwell ( 126534 ) <.jsacco. .at.> on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:20AM (#2553885) Homepage
    From a local TV station's site -- often a good secondary source of info when the big boys get overwhelmed. ai l.html

    American Airlines Plane Crashes In New York
    Four Homes On Fire

    POSTED: 9:30 a.m. EST November 12, 2001
    UPDATED: 10:13 a.m. EST November 12, 2001

    NEW YORK -- An American Airlines Airbus A300 crashed Monday morning in the Queens section of New York, and four homes reportedly were on fire in the neighborhood in the Rockaway section of Queens.

    The plane crashed shortly after 9 a.m. ET, and thick, black smoke could be scene in televised reports. It was reportedly headed to JFK, but the origin of the flight was undetermined.

    Bill Schumann of the Federal Aviation Administration said there was no immediate indication of what caused the crash. He said the plane could hold up to 275 passengers, and crashed about five miles from Kennedy Airport. There were 246 passengers and 9 crewmembers aboard the flight, according to CNN.

    Asked if terrorism is suspected, Schumann said that all options are open at the time and they have very little information. Defense officials said that while combat jets were flying over the sky as is routine, there were not any reports of suspicious activity or distress calls.

    Television images show thick black smoke rising from the scene. The smoke was seen turning white, which could indicate that the flames were being put out.

    Fox News Channel reports it was an American Airlines flight 587. All three New York City airports were closed to air travel. They include LaGuardia, JFK and Newark airports.

    Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has canceled his morning events and is heading to the scene.

    FAA said American Airlines Flight 587, an Airbus A300, crashed. It was on its way to Santo Domingo Dominican Republic. CNN reported that the engine came down separate from the rest of the jetliner and that Giuliani confirmed that there are two separate crash sites. A witness said he saw an explosion on the side of the plane.

    It was a "level 1" emergency, which means all emergency personnel are advised to go to the crash scene. All the major tunnels heading into New York have been closed.

    Reports have varied throughout the morning. The FAA said there seems to be no indication of a terrorist attack.

    A witness said he saw debris falling from the sky, at the scene of today's plane crash.

    He told the Fox News Channel that four homes are on fire.

    Another man told CNN that he was 40 blocks away, and saw "tons and tons of smoke." He said, "Lots of people are standing in the streets.

    A woman who lives near the scene of the crash said she heard the engines of a plane -- "loud and low" -- before the crash.

    Phyllis Paul told CNN she looked out the window to see a "silvery piece of metal" falling from the sky, several blocks away.

    Then, she said, she heard an explosion.

    She said she and her son went outside and saw the black smoke rising from the Queens crash site. She said it was "horrifying."

    Paul said the sound of the plane gave her a "chill" -- because of what happened on Sept. 11.

    The flight was an American Airlines jet, which had taken off from Kennedy Airport -- several miles from the crash site. It was headed to the Dominican Republic.

    The crash came two months and a day after the attack on the World Trade Center.

    The American Airlines phone number relatives information line is (800) 245-0999.
  • Crash news via IRC (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ktistec Machine ( 159201 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:33AM (#2554001)
    CNN live closed captioning is available at #CNN_Newsfeed at
  • by darrad ( 216734 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @12:02PM (#2554082) Homepage
    We all need to stop and take a few steps back. The events of the last 2 months have taken this country to the brink of hysteria and back. The mainstream press is in a feeding frenzy. They are reporting any rumor that they can get their hands on, all in the name of boosting ratings. Take a look at the last Presidential election and you will see that the self-control that the press once had has disappeared. We cannot allow their drive for money to turn us into a country full of "Chicken Little's" waiting for the sky to fall.

    Stop, take a breath, and realize that things like this happen. If we allow ourselves to continue down this road, we will accomplish what no country on this planet has been able to do, bring the US to its knees. People are paralyzed by fear, and the press is feeding this fear. It is time to stop.

    Yes, it is terrible when people die, but it happens everyday. Worrying about it will not change it. I believe we should find the people responsible for terrorist attacks and bring them to justice, but not at the cost of our freedom, which is where we are headed. I have heard more members of the press and the government shouting for "National ID Cards", increased security at all public functions, COMDEX banned bags from the convention floor. All of these steps are doing the terrorist work for them. If we allow these criminals to alter our way of life to the point that we cease to function, or regulate ourselves into and Orwellian nightmare then we may as well lie down and die.

    Live you life as you always have. Go to work, raise your kids, spend your money, and be happy until given a legitimate reason not to be. Out of all the posts on this site, how many are from people directly affected by 09/11, who either knew someone who is missing, or has family that lost a loved one. The rest of us need to feel sympathetic to the victims and their families, but we should also feel grateful that we are alive, living in the best country on the planet, and act that way.
  • by deander2 ( 26173 ) <public@kered.oCOWrg minus herbivore> on Monday November 12, 2001 @12:33PM (#2554112) Homepage
    I've seen video footage of engine failures resulting in total destruction. The engines don't seperate from the wing. They're designed so that the plane can keep on flying even with total engine destruction.

    Total engine destruction is the fan blades seperating. Imagine 100 blades rotating at 1000s of RPMs flying in every direction. The engine case takes the beating without the wing being damaged. The engine is destroyed but the plane keeps flying.

    I don't know what this was, but it wasn't like any mechanical failure I've ever heard of.
  • Other Airbus crashes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by c0bw3b ( 530842 ) <cobweb@xmi[ ] ['tte' in gap]> on Monday November 12, 2001 @12:38PM (#2554134) Homepage
    Don't know if this will be useful to anyone, but there have been several other crashes involving this same plane. Here's [] a link to a report dealing with this. -cobweb
  • by NickV ( 30252 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:01PM (#2554218)
    I knew something was wrong when I woke up this morning and none of the news sites were picking up. There was this awful ping of complete and total fear where I literally felt my heart fall into stomach... something was wrong.

    I ran downstairs and turned on the TV and saw the breaking news. I now know, whenever cnn, msnbc and abcnews ALL don't pick up... and then doesn't either... that something awful has happened again in New York.
  • by cvanaver ( 247568 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:57PM (#2554482)
    This [] []article is saying that GW is now meeting with his advisors about whether or not there is enough of a chance of this being a terrorist attack that it warrants shutting down US airspace again. At this time, they have made no decision on the matter.

    My personal thought on the matter is that the only way we are going to know if this was a terrorist attack is:
    A) Somebody claims responisbility (not too likely)
    B) Another plane goes down
    C) The NTSB comes back (after a couple of weeks) and says it was a bomb

    It seems to me that the government is either just going to have to wait and see if it happens again before they make that decision OR, they could shut everything down and start searching engines for bombs, but, in light of the fact that there is no evidence that this is terrorist-related, isn't shutting it all down giving in to terrorism?
  • We dont know! (Score:3, Informative)

    by goodtim ( 458647 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @02:03PM (#2554505) Journal
    it would be very irresponsable for us to jump to any conclusions. So nobody should be saying that it was, or was not, a terrioist attack.

    Its true that planes do crash, and it is possible that this is a conicidence. But given the recent events, it would be just plain dumb to not take into consideration terriosm.

    The AirBus A300 is a very reliable aircraft, and has been in use for 30 years.

    We need to take the time to look at the facts, once the smoke clears.
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @02:12PM (#2554551) Homepage Journal

    Soo... how come no one's talking about Stingers yet? Is everyone taking those 5-point don't-jump-to-conclusions posts seriously? Gimme a break, those are karma whores, through and through. Speculation is where the fun is.

    Here's something to think about, even if it turns out to be completely unrelated to what happened today: the resistance against the Soviets had shoulder-launched SAMs. They were trained how to use them, and used them effectively.

    Commercial aircraft take off on very predictable routes. It should be pretty easy to find an optimum firing position within a few miles of an airport, and park your car. You can study the pattern for weeks if you like. Then a plane goes right over your, you open the trunk, take out your Stinger, and shoot the slow-moving low-altitude plane (with nice hot engines at full takeoff power) in the back.

    Total security checkpoints you had to go through: zero, except when you smuggled the US-made SAM back into the country. (Or maybe you can even make your own right here -- the Sidewinder budget in the 50s was supposedly really low, and stuff that was cheap in the 50s is nearly free today). And you can do the shooting so fast, there might not even be any witnesses.

    Defending against that sort of thing is going to be tricky.

  • by MtViewGuy ( 197597 ) on Monday November 12, 2001 @04:00PM (#2555042)

    While a lot of people a angling towards the idea of a terrorist action, I think there's one possibility that no one has yet discussed: mechanical failure caused by a catastrophic bird strike.

    Far-fetched? Not if you know something about the geography and ecology at JFK Airport and Jamaica Bay. To the west and south of JFK Airport is a very large marshy area that serves as a sanctuary for migratory birds (plus some native waterfowl). This means at this time of the year--when birds are migrating south for the winter--there will be millions of birds out in this sanctuary.

    What happens when you have flocks of birds rising by the thousands getting in the way of the flight path of an airliner taking off out into Jamaica Bay? My guess is that American Airlines Flight 857 may have flown in to a very large flock of birds just after take off, mean the plane's two GE CF6-80 engines may be ingested 40 or more birds per engine somewhere between 1 and 2 seconds. That many birds being ingested will seriously damage the front engine blades, and such a severe bird ingestion may be enough to cause a catastrophic fan section failure, which can spew out very sharp engine fan blades at supersonic speeds, possibly breaking through the engine nacelle and hitting the fuselage, wing flap control lines and wing fuel tanks, which explains the fire on the wings that eyewitnesses saw.

    Eyewitnesses said that the plane flew very low before the plane lost one of its engines and then crashed down at a sharp angle. This sounds consistent with the plane suffering a catastrophic bird strike.

    If anyone remembers, some years ago an E-3A Sentry AWACS plane crashed aftering taking off from Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK after the engines failed due to a catastrophic bird ingestion problem. AA Flight 857 may have suffered a similar unfortunate fate. :-(

In less than a century, computers will be making substantial progress on ... the overriding problem of war and peace. -- James Slagle