I went through the old sr111 board trying to find any information we had on the company that installed the IFEN on swissair 111. As I suspected there was very little information known and yet it appears that the installation was probably the source of the tragedy.(See the TSB Final Report) Here are the very few posts I found:
12/17/98 5:38 p...BarbaraFetherolf.........................406
Now here is something surprising....Yesterday we
put a call into Hollingsead and asked to speak to the
president of the company...it seems as though Hollingsead
may have installed the entertainment unit aboard the
SR111. We called merely to discuss with them the
possibility of coming on this site to comment....A funny
thing happened...although we left him a phone number to
call he never did get back to us. Wow what a big
surprise...I wish that I had the option of ignoring this whole
Not too long after the sr111 tragedy occurred Mark called Tom Mcsweeny, Associate Administrator for
Regulation and Certification of the Federal Aviation
Administration and talked to him on the phone about the tragedy
of sr111. He said several times that the FAA was
going to take a very close look at Santa Barbara
Aerospace who performed the certification of the IFEN
(entertainment system), but not a word about Hollingsead, the
company that did the actual installation of this system
over in Zurich. I find it strange that the FAA
wouldn't have also been very interested in that aspect of
the IFEN considering it is the actual installation
that to my knowledge is still a leading suspect as the
ignition source in the chain of events that caused 111.
I've never really seen any evidence that the FAA
looked into this company at all.
The following information was posted on the Aviation & Safety board:
In a request via the FOIA we have recieved 24 pages of
documentation from the FAA, pertaining to Supplemental Type
Certificate ST00236LA-D. It's called the Hollingsead 'Master
There isn't much to it. In effect,
it's simply a listing of parts that Hollingsead used
in the IFEN installations on Swissair's MD-11
aircraft. It's also sort of a master index - referring to
other documents and drawings that made up the whole
installation / certification package.
The Master Data
Lists were part of a much larger package submitted to
Santa Barbara Aerospace for approval. So these are not
SBA's documents, they are Hollingseads. The only
reference made in them to Santa Barbara Aerospace, is
simply SBA's stamp of approval, and the date.
you recall, Interactive Flight Technologies
contracted Hollingsead on July 30, 1996 to compile this data
for them. IFT also intended to use Hollingsead as the
installer of the IFEN's after the STC was
And though they are not mentioned anywhere in the
Hollingsead Master Data Lists, it should be mentioned that
IFT also entered into a contract with Elsinore
Aerospace Services (owned at the time by Air/Lyon) to
assist them with this certification process.
The Hollingsead data we received is comprised of three packages - each with different 'Revision'
numbers, labeled A, B & D. (Revision C and possibly
others, were not received.)
At first I thought
these Revisions related in some way to the four STC
'Ammendments'. But this wasn't the case. Instead, the Revisions
relate to various aircraft configurations. For example,
Revision A lists parts required for a Swissair MD-11 243
passenger aircraft, where only First/Business Class
passengers had video terminals installed.
Revision D, lists parts required for a Swissair MD-11 257
passenger aircraft, where ALL the seats had video terminals
installed. So each Revision varies depending on the parts
and IFEN layout for a particular aircraft. Revision D
(the full configuration) was approved on January 24
Revisions A & B (first/business class
only) were approved on August 7 1997, and October 22
1997, respectively. Revision C was approved on January
1 1997, but I don't know what aircraft
configuration it was, since we didn't receive any material for
I believe that aircraft HB-IWF, Swissair
111, was configured with Video Displays installed only
in the first/business class (approx. 70 seats).
Since the Revisions do not specify which aircraft
number they apply to, I can't determine from this
material WHEN the IFEN for SR111 was
Each of the Master Data List 'Revisions', are broken
into three sections:
1. LRU COMPONENT LIST -
This is a list of IFEN parts & components for that
particular aircraft configuration. LRU stands for Line
2. INSTALLATION DRAWINGS - Not the
drawings themselves, but an index of drawing numbers to
reference. Each drawing would detail the connection of a
particular component to the aircraft.
CERTIFICATION SUPPORT DOCUMENTS - This is a list of tests
performed, and reports submitted to show compliance, which
are required for certification.
LRU COMPONENT LIST
This is a list of the major components used in the
installation. The fully configured system would typically have
items like a Cabin File Server, up to 6 Cluster
Controllers, 3 Management Terminals, a Network Switch,
Video-On-Demand CPU's, Disk storage for the movies, Channel
Modulators, multiple power supplies, 61 armrest-mounted Video
Displays for First/Business Class, 180 In-Seat Video
Displays for Economy Class, and up to 259 electronics
boxes - one under every seat. An aircraft configured
such as SR111 would have almost the same amount of
electronic control systems, but only about 70 to 80
First/Business Class video displays. There was also one less
There's a list of installation drawing numbers that
accompanies each Revision. The drawings document the
installation and interface of IFEN components to the aircraft.
I believe the drawings and documents are separated
into small segments like this, making it much easier
for subsequent or repeat installations. Some of these
drawings would include Overhead System Cable Routing,
connection of System Circuit Breakers, Galley modifications
for Management Terminals, the IFEN System Wiring
Diagram, Avionics Racks, and seat equipment.
CERTIFICATION SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS
These are documents or reports that are necessary for certification.
They show test results and compliance to regulations.
Sample supporting documents includes things like Weight
& Balance reports, EMI tests, Electrical Load
Analysis, Installation procedures, and Instructions for
1. It's obvious that a system like this consumed a great deal of
electrical current, and generated lots of heat in the
aircraft cabin. Besides concern about the ability for the
pilots to shed power, I would think that proper
separation of power cables from other wire bundles should
have been a major priority for the
2. In the documents received, none of the Revisions
made any reference in their list of Certification
Supporting Documents, to providing Aircraft Flight Manual
(AFM) Supplements or revisions to the AFM.
The Master Data Lists, show the names of several
Hollingsead personnel who signed off their approval of each
Revision. It seems odd that between Revision D (August 16
1996) and Revision A (July 1997), there was almost a
complete change of staff responsible for approvals. That
includes the Draftsperson, Engineer, Manufacturing
Engineer, Project Engineer, and Quality Assurance person.
My guess is that this is because DeCrane Aircraft
Holdings (the parent company of Hollingsead) purchased
Elsinore Aerospace on December 5 1996 - right in between
these two Revisions. It's possible then, that
management elected to assign some Elsinore staff members to
4. There is no mention of the
components that would be required for 'download
capabilities'. IFT mentioned in their SEC filings that the IFEN
was capable of downloading customer gambling accounts
and activities to a central reporting office. From
what I can tell, this option was not utilized in these
5. The initial STC was issued on November 19 1996.
Aircraft configuration (Revision) D was certified by SBA
on January 24th 1997. I believe the first Swissair
flight with an IFEN installed, was on January 26th 1997,
between Switzerland and Singapore. Two days to slap in an
IFEN and put an MD-11 back together? I don't think so.
To me, it means that Hollingsead must have completed
the physical installation perhaps even weeks before -
in early January. I wonder then, if Hollingsead was
doing work AHEAD of any certification steps. Were they
allowed to proceed with all work under the initial STC,
or were they supposed to wait until the paperwork
for Revision D was approved, before beginning their
installation? Maybe someone who knows the process, won't mind
answering that one.
In an FAA document dated December 1999, the FAA
initiated a Prototype Program for DAS's etc. to try out new
The FAA picked out a list of DAS's to participate.
Their goal is to see if this Prototype Program will
work better than the old way.
One of those
chosen to participate is
http://av-info.faa.gov/dst/Ddsltr.doc (link no longer works)
I continue to wonder why the FAA though they did examine the practices of SBA really didn't do an investigation into Hollingsead/Decrane when it was this company that did the actual flawed installation of the IFEN.
For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding the installation of the IFEN check out the TSB's final report issued in late March:
It is Mother's Day of 2003, and I am still wondering why those that caused this tragedy are allowed to walk away from this not answering for their actions. Mark and I are continuing to look into this the best we can, given the information we have to work with... We still have many unanswered questions.
Here is an interesting link I just found. It is a paper written about IFEs. Here is an excerpt that refers to swissair 111.
Does everyone think about IFE systems the same way? - Not exactly, especially on issues related to passenger safety. The amount of wiring increases the risk of failures, arcing and in-flight electrical fires. In a recent spate of airworthiness directives (ADs), the FAA declared that IFE systems that cannot be turned off unless pilots pull circuit breakers must be modified, disconnected or removed outright. The directives stem from a wider investigative net cast by the FAA after the fiasco over the high-power interactive IFE installed in Swissair MD-11 and B747 aircraft. The IFE was connected to a flight-essential bus, not a cabin bus, and the only way it could be turned off was by pulling circuit breakers. In other words, shutting off the cabin bus, one of the first steps in the emergency checklist for troubleshooting smoke and fire of unknown origin (the Swissair case), would not disconnect IFE power. And since the IFE is a ï¿½passenger convenienceï¿½ item, there was no requirement for changes to the pilotï¿½s operating manual to inform the crew about the systemï¿½s (mal)functioning!
To put things in perspective, provision of IFE should not jeopardize the safety of the passengers, as was more candidly worded by Capt. Ruedi Bornhauser, Swissair MD-11 Technical Pilot.
Here is more about Hollingsead/Decrane, the company that installed the IFEN on sr111. A rumor circulating says that people were literally pulled off the streets of London to do work on the IFEN- some of them may have not been qualified to do the job.
When the FAA was conducting an investigation into Santa Barbara Aerospace and a review of the certification process due to the improperly installed swissair entertainment system (and that's putting it kindly)they barely said a word about the installers which is truly mind-boggling in light of the CTSB's final report and what we have known about the installation of that entertainment system. The following information may give you some idea of why Hollingsead/Decrane may have escaped the scrutiny of the proper authorities.
WHY HOLLINGSEAD SEEMS LIKE TEFLON
JULY 17, 1998--Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc. (NYSELJ)
and DeCrane Aircraft Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: DAHX), jointly announced that DeCrane and an affiliate of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners II,
DeCrane Acquisition Co., have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which DeCrane Acquisition Co. would acquire DeCrane for
$23.00 per share of common stock of DeCrane.
DeCrane Aircraft, through its two operating groups (Systems Integration
and Cabin Management) is a leading supplier of products and services,
focusing on the corporate, VIP and head-of-state aircraft market.
Aircraft Holdings, Inc. is a portfolio company of DLJ Merchant Banking
Partners II, L.P., a $3 billion fund dedicated to private equity and
equity-related investments and a part of CSFB Private Equity.
In November 2000, Credit Suisse First Boston, Inc. acquired
Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Inc.
April 16, 2002
10th FAA General Aviation Forecast Conference Monday, April 15 and
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Hyatt Regency Wichita 400 West Waterman Wichita, KS 67202
Continental Breakfast sponsored by DeCrane Aircraft Holdings
Jan 30, 2003
"William Donaldson is giving up a lot to become the new chairman of the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
Donaldson, nominated by President Bush to succeed Harvey Pitt, is
promising to sell millions of dollars in stocks and investments in a half-dozen private equity funds, in order to avoid a conflict of interest in his new job. Donaldson made that vow
as the White House was releasing his 34-page financial disclosure statement, in advance of a confirmation hearing by the Senate Banking Committee.
The Donaldson nomination has been for the most part welcomed on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill. But some have criticized it, saying Donaldson is too much of a Wall Street insider to revive investor confidence in the stock market. Others say Donaldson,72, is too close to the president, noting that he is a longtime family friend."
"But much of Donaldson's money is invested in hundreds of little-known technology, energy, real estate and pharmaceutical companies through his investment in a series of private equity funds. Most of those private funds were ventures established by Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette -- the
Wall Street investment bank that Donaldson cofounded in 1959 with two Harvard School of Business classmates. In November 2000, DLJ merged with Credit Suisse First
December 11, 2002
By Tamara Loomis
New York Law Journal
President George W. Bush has selected William H. Donaldson, a co-founder of investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., to chair the
Securities and Exchange Commission, replacing Harvey Pitt, who resigned last month.
Donaldson's mission will be "to vigorously enforce our nation's laws against corporate corruption," Bush said in an announcement at the White House yesterday.
Donaldson, 71, said he is up to the challenge.
"It's time for all of us to pull up our socks," he said standing beside
Bush. "Confidence in the U.S. corporate and financial industries has been seriously eroded during the past few years. Let me just simply say that I am firmly committed to doing everything that I can do to restore the
confidence of investors in the U.S. corporate and financial industry."
In 1959, he founded Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette with classmates Dan Lufkin and Richard Jenrette, with a focus on stock research. The firm
later expanded into investment banking and other financial services. It was bought by Credit Suisse First Boston in 2000 for $13.4 billion
"According to Jenrette, Clinton called him on Oct. 18, 1994, telling him
hoped to raise $2 million from "40 friends" for a last-minute blitz
that year's congressional elections. Two days later, Jenrette and his
companies contributed $50,000 to the Democratic National Committee."
Boeing Chairman Phil Condit:
Aug 4, 1997
Condit also explained that, "the company sought the views of its customers, including former Under Secretary of Defense Paul Kaminski, to
gain their perspective on how to best serve them. Customer input was valuable and is certainly reflected in the new structure."
Paul G. Kaminski
Dr. Kaminski, age 57, also served as a director of the Company from 1988 to
1994. He is President and Chief Executive Officer of Technovation, Inc.(innovation consulting) and a Senior Partner in Global Technology Partners(investment banking). He served in the United States Department of
Defense as Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology from 1994 to
1997. He was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Technology
Strategies & Alliances (strategic partnership consulting) from 1993 to 1994. He is a
director of Anteon Corporation; Condor Systems, Inc.; DeCrane Aircraft Holdings,Inc.;
Eagle Picher Technologies, LLC; and General Dynamics Corporation and a Member of the
Board of Visitors of the Software Engineering Institute. His current term as a
director expires in 2001.
EL SEGUNDO, CA, April 26, 1999 -- DeCrane Aircraft Holdings, Inc., a
major provider of cabin management products for the high-end corporate aircraft industry and a
leading manufacturer of avionics components and an avionics systems integrator for the commercial
aircraft industry, today announced it has expanded its presence in the high-end corporate jet market by acquiring Precision Pattern, Inc.
("PPI"). Wichita, Kansas-based PPI specializes in designing,
manufacturing, certifying and selling interior furniture components for
middle to high-end corporate jets.
PPI is also the company which outfitted the two Boeing 747 Presidential
planes, known as Airforce One, and has ongoing contracts to periodically
refurbish those aircraft.
DeCrane Aircraft Holdings, Inc. which was acquired in August of 1998 by
a subsidiary of DLJ Merchant Banking Partners II, L.P., is a
leading manufacturer of avionics components and a provider of avionics
integration services, along with cabin management products, in certain
niche markets of the commercial aircraft and high-end corporate jet
GEORGETOWN, DE -- April 10, 2001 -- DeCrane Aircraft Systems Integration
Group (PATS) today announced it has signed a service contract with Boeing Business Jets.
With the ability to perform warranty work on the Boeing Business Jet(BBJ), DeCrane will be designated as a BBJ Authorized Warranty Repair Facility and BBJ Factory Authorized
Service Center. DeCrane has extensive
experience with Boeing Next-Generation 737 airplanes.
"We are excited about the opportunities that will come from being a recognized BBJ Factory Authorized Service Center," said Bob Martin, group president of DeCrane Aircraft
Systems Integration. "BBJ and DeCrane have partnered on a number of successful projects over the last two years and we look forward to
serving them and their customers in the future."
Credit Suisse First Boston
Board of Directors 1997
- Rainer E. Gut Chairman
-Thomas Schmidheiny BOD
-Vreni Spoerry BOD
If you remember the name Thomas Schmidheiny, it could be because he appeared in the following paragraphs in Gary Stoller's USA Today article as follows:
Haig says he called on airlines to buy IFT's entertainment system but wasn't involved in the Swissair deal. After the deal was finalized, he says he discussed it with Thomas Schmidheiny, a close friend and former member of Swissair's board of directors.
Schmidheiny, one of the world's wealthiest individuals, says that the IFT deal was brought before the Swissair board, and it agreed to go ahead with the project.
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