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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Life Is Serious

A Cypriot airliner crashed near Athens. It was reported to be carrying 120 people and the crash is being blamed on a sudden loss of cabin pressure:
A text message sent from the plane said that the pilots were unconscious and passengers were freezing to death.
It sounds like there are no survivors.

Mark Steyn justly points out that the 9/11 Commission had no valid reason to dismiss reports that Atta and several of his compatriots were identified early on on the basis that he couldn't have been in the country when the warning was given, because we don't have control over our borders. This is definitely a bipartisan failure too:
A body intended to reassure Americans that the lessons of that terrible day had been learned instead engaged in what at best was transparent politicking and collusion in posterior-covering and at worst was something a whole lot darker and more disturbing.

The problem pre-9/11 was always political: that's to say, no matter how savvy individual operatives in various agencies may have been, the political culture of the day meant that nothing would happen except a memo would get typed up and shoveled into a filing cabinet. Together with other never fully explained episodes -- like Sandy Berger's pants-stuffing at the national archives -- the Able Danger story makes one thing plain: The problem is still political.
Yes. But either both sides of the commission collaborated to suppress this information or the commission staff collaborated to suppress circulation of the information. Either way, the report can't be relied on, and we the people are going to have to face the reality that our government has now failed us twice on this issue.

You know the saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?" It's applicable here. I think most of Congress didn't want the American party to learn that it was more than possible that 9/11 could have been stopped or greatly blunted. It's beyond my powers of suspension of disbelief to swallow that the idea that the Commission had never heard of illegal aliens in the US.

So I'm not feeling any comforting assurance that the US government is on top of other dangers, either. Instead I want the bloggers to read it and discuss it. This is an Epoch Times article that purports to be a translation of a speech by the Chinese Minister of Defense. Among other things it discusses a plan to decimate the population of the United States with biowarfare. This is an opposition journal and I would normally dismiss this as a fake, but there are certain things within the text that lead me to believe it is not a total fake. Please read this.

Agreed. No questiion it was a bi partisan failure- and a bi partisan effort to cover butts.
The fact the pilots were unconcious and the passengers weren't is odd. I can think of nothing that should work like that.
It sounded like the pilots were out from cold. What if the leak occurred up front? One report said there was a message from one of the pilots.
SC&A. Yeah. A bipartisan effort to ignore reality. How utterly asinine.
Well the cold is either an airconditioning problem or decompression. I just can't believe they let it get so cold and simply fell asleep. A slow decompression should set off all sorts of alarms even if the pilots missed it (missing it is hard to believe due to ear popping etc.) A rapid decompression would not be confined to the cockpit even if it started there so the passengers being awake is odd(think of the Payne Steward accident). The passengers still being awake(if that part is really true) lead me to have doubts about that, besides the fact that crews are trained for that. There are blowout panels between the cockpit and the passenger cabin to stabilize the pressure if something happens so the passengers would have had the same problem.

The information right now makes no sense so something is being missed.
Well, they got the black boxes. The intercepting jets were the ones who said they saw the copilot slumped over and oxygen masks. They were up over 30,000 feet.

I suppose it could have been an attempted hijack and a deliberate depressurization as a desperate measure. The passengers in the back may not even have known exactly what was happening. My guess is that they will be looking at the passenger list very carefully.
Spiegel is reporting that this aircraft has had air pressure problems before. There is supposedly some unrest at the airport combined with a threat to lynch the manager of the airline.


It's never safe to discount human stupidity and complacency:
Anrufer berichteten in Radio- und TV-Sendungen, sie hätten auf Helios-Flügen schon Probleme mit der Klimaanlage erlebt. Einige sagte, es sei unerträglich heiß geworden, andere erklärten, ihnen seien wegen der Kälte in der Kabine Decken gebracht worden.

In der jetzt abgestürzten Boeing soll es vor wenigen Monaten, am 18. Dezember, auf dem Flug von Warschau nach Larnaka ein vergleichbares Problem gegeben haben. Es habe damals Probleme mit dem Kabinendruck gegeben. Menschen seien "wie betäubt" aus dem Flieger herausgekommen. Drei Passagiere seien ins Krankenhaus gebracht worden.

Callers to radio and TV shows reported that they had experienced problems with extreme cold or extreme heat on Helios flights.

Problems with the cabin pressure on the 18th of December on this same plane. Passengers emerged stunned and three were taken to the hospital.

PPRuNers are commenting that there might have been a problem with the oxygen in the cockpit.

Here Spiegel reports that Greek media is saying that frozen corpses were found, they had oxygen masks on, the pilot had reported problems with climate control before contact was lost.
"Viele Leichen sehen so aus, als ob man sie in einem Tiefkühlschrank gestellt hätte", sagte ein Reporter am Unglücksort. Dies verstärkte die Vermutung, dass die Maschine vor dem Absturz Probleme mit der Klimaanlage und dem Luftdruck-Ausgleichssystem hatte.
Discounting human error (which is virtually always a factor in these things, it's just a question of which human and which error) there is no reason to lose an airplane over any type of pressurization problem. The first two things done are donning the oxygen masks and then descending. Time of useful consciousness at those altitudes in a rapid decompression is somewhere around 15 to 20 seconds, so it's possible that happened, they put the masks on and oxygen was bad (which is why we check the O2 and cockpit masks prior to each and every flight, I don't know the JAA or Hellos rules over that) and they passed out.

The problem with this scenario is why were the passengers still alert? the same consciousness rules apply to them. I also doubt anyone really knows the disposition of crewmemebers wearing masks yet, it's just too soon.

The information that is out there makes no sense, the only thing I can do is point out why the theories that are floating around have holes in them, otherwise just wait to see what they find.
Yeah. There's a reason why they have professionals do these investigations.
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