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Case Study Analysis

Activity Title: TWA Flight 800 Case Study
Name: Kamellia Othman

For your fourth case study (and first one submitted online), complete an analysis of the TWA Flight 800 accident. You will analyze the case study in terms of mechanical and structural factors and provide a two to three page word-processed review of the study.

  On July 17, 1996, at about 2031 eastern daylight time, TWA flight 800, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near East Moriches, New York. The TWA flight 800 was scheduled for an international passenger flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York to Charles DeGaulle International Airport, Paris. The flight departed JFK about 2019, with 2 pilots, 2 flight engineers, 14 flight attendants, and 212 passengers on board. All 230 people on board were killed.

Cause of Accident
  The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the TWA flight 800 accident was an explosion of the center wing fuel tank (CWT), resulting from ignition of the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank.

The source of ignition energy for the explosion could not be determined with certainty, but, of the sources evaluated by the investigation, the most likely was a short circuit outside of the CWT that allowed excessive voltage to enter it through electrical wiring associated with the fuel quantity indication system.

Contributing Factors
  The design and certification concept that fuel tank explosions could be prevented solely by precluding all ignition sources, the certification of the Boeing 747 with the heat sources located beneath the CWT with no means to reduce the heat transferred into the CWT or to render the fuel vapour in the tank non-flammable, the cracked insulation of the FQIS wiring due to maintenance lapses that could have caused the ignition are some of the contributing factors to the accident.

Investigation Board Findings
  The National Transportation Safety Board conclusion was...

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