Time's Running Out
Progress is not keeping pace with a mandate to remove all metalized Mylar thermal acoustic blanketing material from hundreds of Douglas-built jets within five years. An outgrowth of the 1998 crash of a Swissair MD-11, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued two airworthiness directives on May 26, 2000, calling for removal of the material, the burned evidence of which was recovered from the wreckage of the Swissair trijet (see ASW, June 5, 2000).
AD 2000-11-01 affected approximately 600 Douglas twinjets (DC-9, MD80/90). AD 2000-11-02 addressed the DC-10 and MD-11 fleet numbering some 76 airplanes. With 65 percent of the allowed time elapsed, the work has been completed on less than half the fleet, according to FAA sources.
So far, the work has been completed on about 260 aircraft, suggesting an average retrofit rate of about seven aircraft per month since the effective date of the ADs. With 21 months remaining to the June 5, 2005, deadline and work still to be done on more than 400 aircraft, the pace of the retrofit rate will have to pick up by a factor of three, to an average of about 20 planes per month having the material removed and replaced with more flame-resistant blanket material.
It is pretty disturbing to see that this dangerous material is still on any jets flying around today. How strange the government is. When my kids were little it became a law to have them ride in car seats. To me that was an excellent law to protect children from serious harm. There are many laws designed to protect kids that make a lot of sense. Wisely kids pajamas were required to be flame proof. Yet if they get on an airplane all bets are off. The airlines are special. They seem to be exempt from common sense rules ironically with the FAA's blessings. The TSB has clearly stated the obvious- there should be NO material on a jet that is potentially flammable. Now why on earth knowing the horror and destruction that was sr111, would the airlines not be in a big darn hurry to remove that material from their planes? I think this is disgraceful. The dangers of mylar insulation were known well before the swissair tragedy. There had been other incidents and plenty of warning. Yet here we are- 5 years after this tragedy with far too many jets flying around with this potentially volatile insulation. Guess 229 victims wasn't enough to convince the FAA & the airlines that this is a deadly serious issue. Like I said to a top FAA official in Washington D.C. on a visit to their offices. 'What do you think it was like to be 16 years old and be on that aircraft knowing that your life was over?' The official was very upset by that comment and yet look where we are today.
|Powered by Social Strata|