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Tags Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi , Lockerbie bombing , Scotland cases

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Old 25th October 2015, 03:21 PM   #361
LondonJohn
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Could you explain what you think this proves?

It's an illustration, not a proof. It was never presented as a proof. It's a straw man of you to ask what it proves. It was in response to another member asking where (s)he could "read more about" the time between push-back and wheels-up. And given that this video shows a long haul flight departing LHR taking some 6m15s from push-back to wheels-up, it also threw some light on that poster's statement that:

"I'm pretty sure all the long haul flights I've taken from LHR have been longer than 15 mins to get from pushback to take off."

I'd also venture to suggest that it's a huge deal more informative than your earlier breezy statement that

"Anyone who's ever flown more than a couple of times would know that wheels-up 20 minutes after the published take-off time is not at all unusual."

Especially when added to the fact that LHR was a far, far less crowded airport in 1988 than it was in either 2010 or 2015.


I'd also add, once again........... that the issue of delays which I raised was exclusively in support of a thesis that it's impossible to conclusively rule out the use of a timer. I'm not surprised that it's been seized upon and turned into something it never was nor was intended to be. That's the strange way this place works all too often....

Last edited by LondonJohn; 25th October 2015 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 25th October 2015, 03:30 PM   #362
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Camp Zeist trial, day one, 3rd May 2000.

Quote:
THE LORD ADVOCATE: My Lord, the first witness for the Crown is Number 1 on the Crown list, Richard Ellis James Dawson.
Number 1 on the Crown list, My Lord, Richard Dawson.
WITNESS: Richard Dawson, sworn [....]

Q what’s your present occupation?
A I am an air traffic control officer.
Q For how long have you been employed as an air traffic control officer?
A For 33 years.
Q And where are you based?
A I am based at London Heathrow Airport.
Q Could you tell us, please, what qualifications you hold.
A I hold an air traffic control licence. And within that licence I hold ratings to carry out my duties in aerodrome approach and approach radar.
Q Aerodrome approach and approach radar; is that correct?
A That is correct.
Q When you obtained your licence, do you have then to do a period of on-job training, as it were?
A That is correct. After completing initial training, you are posted to your final unit. And then at that unit you have to undergo on-the-job training until you are considered at the required standards to sit a further exam, whereby then you become unassisted in the manner of your control.
Q And what is the process of on-job training called?
A It’s just called OJTI training, for short. On-the-job training is in fact what it is.
Q Okay. Thank you.
Now, you are presently employed at Heathrow Airport, you told us. Have you always been at Heathrow Airport, or have you been elsewhere in the service?
A After I completed my three-year training between 1966 and 1969, I was posted to Heathrow, where I remained until 1983, when I took up a position as an instructor at the College of Air Traffic Control at Bournemouth, and I was there until 1987, after which I returned to Heathrow and have been at Heathrow ever since.
Q And can I perhaps then -- oh, sorry, one other matter. Do you -- are you presently the president of the Guild of Air Traffic Controllers in the United Kingdom?
A I am president of the Guild of Air Traffic Control Officers, yes.

[snip pages of tedious technical detail about take-off procedures]

Q Mr. Dawson, there is one other matter. You’ve been an air traffic controller at Heathrow for quite a number of years now; is that correct?
A That is correct, yes.
Q And I think that you will be familiar with the time that it takes for an aircraft, once it leaves the gate, to get into the air; is that right?
A That is correct.
Q Can you tell us, please, what the average time is that an aircraft might take from leaving the gate to being airborne?
A It very much depends on where the gate is in relation to the departure runway. But on average you can say a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 25 -- 20 to 25. But it also depends how many aircraft there are taxiing for departure at any one time.
Q Mr. Dawson, thank you very much.

Personally, I'm inclined to take Mr. Dawson's word for it, I mean all these qualifications and so on, and under oath.

Airliners aren't buses or trains. They don't run to a stop-watch timetable. I'm astonished that anyone could claim that a flight which had a nominal gate departure time of 18.00, whose doors were closed a couple of minutes after six and which was logged off-block at 18.04, was "late". It then took 21 minutes before "wheels up" from the runway. As Mr. Dawson says, this was perfectly normal.

The flight didn't miss its departure slot. Its departure was unremarkable and on-time by all relevant metrics for its schedule. Someone (John Stapleton, I'm looking at you) confused the timetabled departure time and the wheels-up time the following morning on the BBC1 News and announced that the plane was 25 minutes late. Somehow this became a bit inflated over the years and the mistake became part of Lockerbie lore. A "factoid" that simply wasn't true. (Like Sollecito calling the cops after the postal police arrived.)

It led to a lot of fictitious accounts of what happened, like that fanciful journalistic account of the pilot apologising for the plane being delayed by half an hour. But it was a mistake and it always was a mistake. The advocate questioning Mr. Dawson tried to set it right but I don't think anyone was listening. The date on that daft article was after the court case.
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Old 25th October 2015, 03:44 PM   #363
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What Mr. Dawson's evidence demonstrates is that the earliest the flight might reasonably have made it into the air, with a nominal departure time of 18.00, was 18.15. That would require the crew to slam the doors shut bang on time and the crew immediately to get the plane off-block within a minute. It would then assume the minimum time Mr. Dawson gave for taxiing to the runway and making the take-off run.

In my experience, 15 minutes is bloody good going from large hub airports, and in particular from Heathrow. Last time I left from there, I took note just because of this very question. The (short-haul) flight left the gate more or less on time, but I don't know what happened on the taxiway because 63 minutes after nominal gate departure time (the gap between 103's timetabled departure and the IED detonating) we were just beginning the take-off run. That wasn't normal of course, but nobody was issuing apologies, and what struck me as noteworthy was that we still landed at Edinburgh bang on time.

So, 18.15 was the earliest wheels-up could reasonably be expected. It actually happened at 18.25. There is a BBC documentary somewhere that spotted this but still managed to translate it into "the plane was ten minutes late". Again, couldn't let go of the factoid even when the disproving evidence has been uncovered. That particular documentary decided the plane must have been due to make a sharp left turn immediately after Lockerbie and so ten minutes later it would just have been crossing the Ayrshire coast around Prestwick. That was when the plane had been expected to ditch, in the sea!

Of course no such turn was scheduled. Ten minutes later on the route it was on it would have been near or over Glasgow.

Ages ago Caustic Logic plotted all this out with a map and a set of compasses. The actual distance travelled by 103, extrapolated to the west across the Irish Sea doesn't get anywhere near the east coast of Ireland, let alone the west. If you add ten minutes to this, you're really pushing it to declare the flight might have come down on Dublin. The west coast of Ireland isn't even in the frame.

This is all pretty academic though. Anyone with a count-down timer and an IQ greater than room temperature would have set the thing to go off somewhere round 23.00 to 24.00 GMT, not three minutes past seven. If this was a count-down timer then either there was some very weird logic going on (the risk that the plane might lose its slot and still be on the tarmac at 19.03 is far from negligible), or someone made a mistake.

Weird logic or mistake, the result of this was that 103 blew apart at precisely, more or less on-the-nail, the moment when it would in fact have blown up if a Khreesat device with a 30-minute capacitor had been used. Most of Khreesat's capacitors were the 30-minute sort. Khreesat was making bombs of this nature designed to blow up aircraft in flight in just this manner, in October 1988. Pan Am 103 crashed in December 1988. Might just have been a coincidence, but it bears examination.
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Old 25th October 2015, 03:57 PM   #364
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Would it be fair to say that to detonate the device with a plain timer would be a pretty stupid plan? That anybody going this far would certainly come up with something much more suited to their purpose?
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:07 PM   #365
LondonJohn
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
What Mr. Dawson's evidence demonstrates is that the earliest the flight might reasonably have made it into the air, with a nominal departure time of 18.00, was 18.15. That would require the crew to slam the doors shut bang on time and the crew immediately to get the plane off-block within a minute. It would then assume the minimum time Mr. Dawson gave for taxiing to the runway and making the take-off run.

In my experience, 15 minutes is bloody good going from large hub airports, and in particular from Heathrow. Last time I left from there, I took note just because of this very question. The (short-haul) flight left the gate more or less on time, but I don't know what happened on the taxiway because 63 minutes after nominal gate departure time (the gap between 103's timetabled departure and the IED detonating) we were just beginning the take-off run. That wasn't normal of course, but nobody was issuing apologies, and what struck me as noteworthy was that we still landed at Edinburgh bang on time.

So, 18.15 was the earliest wheels-up could reasonably be expected. It actually happened at 18.25. There is a BBC documentary somewhere that spotted this but still managed to translate it into "the plane was ten minutes late". Again, couldn't let go of the factoid even when the disproving evidence has been uncovered. That particular documentary decided the plane must have been due to make a sharp left turn immediately after Lockerbie and so ten minutes later it would just have been crossing the Ayrshire coast around Prestwick. That was when the plane had been expected to ditch, in the sea!

Of course no such turn was scheduled. Ten minutes later on the route it was on it would have been near or over Glasgow.

Ages ago Caustic Logic plotted all this out with a map and a set of compasses. The actual distance travelled by 103, extrapolated to the west across the Irish Sea doesn't get anywhere near the east coast of Ireland, let alone the west. If you add ten minutes to this, you're really pushing it to declare the flight might have come down on Dublin. The west coast of Ireland isn't even in the frame.

This is all pretty academic though. Anyone with a count-down timer and an IQ greater than room temperature would have set the thing to go off somewhere round 23.00 to 24.00 GMT, not three minutes past seven. If this was a count-down timer then either there was some very weird logic going on (the risk that the plane might lose its slot and still be on the tarmac at 19.03 is far from negligible), or someone made a mistake.

Weird logic or mistake, the result of this was that 103 blew apart at precisely, more or less on-the-nail, the moment when it would in fact have blown up if a Khreesat device with a 30-minute capacitor had been used. Most of Khreesat's capacitors were the 30-minute sort. Khreesat was making bombs of this nature designed to blow up aircraft in flight in just this manner, in October 1988. Pan Am 103 crashed in December 1988. Might just have been a coincidence, but it bears examination.

I accept what you say, but I point you again to the video I posted showing a transatlantic United flight departing LHR taking 6 minutes and 15 seconds between push-back and take-off. In 2010 (when LHR was a whole lot more crowded than it was in 1988).

(Or did that just happen to be a totally freakishly quick time?)

And again, the ONLY reason I ever raised the issue of a delay was in the context of assessing whether it was possible or not to categorically discount the possibility of a timer device having been used. Once again, I agree that it's a fair deal more likely that a device incorporating a barometric element was used - but IMO it's not possible to state that a timer CANNOT have been used.

Last edited by LondonJohn; 25th October 2015 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:10 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Would it be fair to say that to detonate the device with a plain timer would be a pretty stupid plan? That anybody going this far would certainly come up with something much more suited to their purpose?

No, a simple timer would have worked fine - set for four or five hours later than the actual time the plane blew up. Air India 182 was destroyed in exactly that way in 1985. It went down over the Atlantic, not far from where it would have made landfall over Ireland (it was flying west to east) as if the bombers had left just the leeway we were discussing to allow for the possibility of a delay. It's the very early detonation in the case of 103 that doesn't make a blind bit of sense in this context.

Given that we think the bombers intended to hit 103, there's no particular reason to go for a barometric timer. Khreesat originally designed these for use as postal bombs, when the flight the device would be on couldn't be predicted. They also tried giving them to unsuspecting passengers to put in their luggage, and these devices would protect against someone changing their flight or missing it. If you plan to put the thing directly into the baggage container at Heathrow, which is what appears to have been done, a timer set for say 23.00 would have been very workable.

The barometric trigger still might have had advantages, for example it would fail safe if the entire plot had to be aborted at a late stage. Also, it's what Khreesat did. His signature method. We all stick to what we know. He was certainly sticking to it in 1988, just with the added refinement of the capacitor delay.
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:10 PM   #367
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I think all airplane conspiracies should be merged into one.
It's laughable. Armchair pilots.
Arguing about delays and trying to score playground points over who's ever flown before.
Rolfe, no one else here is old or British enough to know who John Stapleton is.
I do. Nice chap. But, BBC dun did it I guess. Pesky English.
I'm going to buy your pamphlet and see if I can find a youtubey of your interview with the prestigious Russia Today.
I'm in the mood for a laugh but, unlike you, I won't be doing so at the expense of victims family members.
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:12 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I accept what you say, but I point you again to the video I posted showing a transatlantic United flight departing LHR taking 6 minutes and 15 seconds between push-back and take-off. In 2010 (when LHR was a whole lot more crowded than it was in 1988).

I appreciate your desperation not to admit you were wrong, but really, give it up. Pan Am 103 was not late. The fact that some flights might spend less time on the tarmac (as indeed some flights spend longer) is neither here nor there.
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:15 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I appreciate your desperation not to admit you were wrong, but really, give it up. Pan Am 103 was not late. The fact that some flights might spend less time on the tarmac (as indeed some flights spend longer) is neither here nor there.


I'll give it up, readily. It's been long since warped into something I never presented it as, anyhow. What an odd place this can be sometimes.....

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Old 25th October 2015, 04:18 PM   #370
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Originally Posted by Strawberry View Post
Emphasis of what? You've no idea what the woman said, for all you know it might be something that would push you close to anger too.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned it. If Raymond Pagnucco ever finishes his film (what is it with Lockerbie relatives and documentaries?) you might get to hear what she said, as I think she was talking to his gofer at the time. There was certainly a mike and a camera on her.

She repeated the assumption that the plane would have gone down in the Irish Sea if it had been routed by the great circle route, and then said something which demonstrated such callous disregard for the fact that eleven people were killed while sitting in their own homes in Lockerbie that I was utterly shocked. Especially as one of these people was the grandmother of my next-door neighbour, whom I had seen only a couple of hours earlier. I could understand such thoughtlessness from someone in the first throes of grief, but 25 years later, not really. She was standing right there in the actual town too.
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Old 25th October 2015, 04:32 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
I think the only reason to speculate on why the timer went off when it did is to try and introduce the barometric timer idea instead. Why not just stick to the facts? The plane blew up because of an IED. Any evidence of Barometric timer? No. Any evidence of timer timer? Yes. Oh, wait, that evidence was just planted by some mysterious dark force ...

No, it's not quite like that.

From about the first or second week of the Lockerbie inquiry it was believed by the investigation that one of Khreesat's barometric timers had been used, and this belief never wavered for about 18 months. The reasons were three-fold. One was that Khreesat had been caught making the damn things only two months earlier, having been called out of a 15-year inactivity and reactivated. Another was that there was intelligence suggesting that the Iranian government, known to be vowing to bring down a US airliner in revenge for IR655, had transferred $10 million to the PFLP-GC. And another was of course that the crash time dovetailed perfectly with the known properties of the Khreesat devices.

This isn't a theory dreamed up by "conspiracy theorists", it was the investigation's own theory for quite some time, and a pretty compelling one it was too.

The discovery of PT/35b changed all that, but PT/35b is turning out to be extremely problematic. Where it came from and how it got there I am not going to speculate, but the chemical and physical properties of the thing indicate that it's a fake, made to look like one of the batch of timers sold to Libya in 1985, but not actually one of these timers.

And yes, there was also a piece of recovered debris that was believed by the forensics guys to be a part of a barometric timer. These things are simpler and smaller than the MST-13 units though, and it wasn't as distinctive and there wasn't as much remaining. It was apparently forgotten about when PT/35b made its appearance, and then it seems to have been "lost". Oh dear.

This discussion isn't "official theory versus conspiracy theory". It's a discussion as to whether the investigators might have been right in the first place and wrong when they changed their mind.
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Old 25th October 2015, 05:17 PM   #372
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I was shocked because the lady appeared to believe that only the people in the plane mattered. Not the people on the ground, including the grandmother of my neighbour (and friend). I think that's rather the opposite of "belittling the lives of people who died a horrible death".

I have nightmares about that crash. I have spoken at length with the police surgeon who went to the scene on the night of the disaster and walked the fields certifying people dead. If I wasn't a pathologist used to dead bodies lying in fields (albeit not human ones), I don't think I could even have that conversation. I've spoken with the STV cameraman who was the first news cameraman on the scene that evening, and he told me about the hours of footage still in the archives which will never be shown because it's too horrific.

I can't look at the photos of the damaged luggage without remembering the people who packed these cases, looking forward to Christmas, and in some cases the random re-scheduling and missed flights that led to them being on Maid of the Seas that night. The picture in the JFR of Karen Noonan's spare bra, burned by the explosion, brand name "Maidenform", size about a 32A, regularly reduces me to tears. I can't get on a plane without all this going through my mind.

I can stand at the memorial in the cemetery at Lockerbie and know exactly who many of these names belonged to, and where they were going and why, and who was left behind to mourn their passing. And I go there and I leave flowers.

One of the most moving things in my life happened only a few hours after my encounter with the insensitive lady. I was in Dryfesdale parish church in Lockerbie and it was the 25th anniversary of the disaster. I knew there was going to be a 3-minute silence, but it still took me by surprise. At three minutes past seven the minister simply stopped speaking, with no announcement. There was utter silence for about three minutes before he picked up the thread again. At three minutes past seven Alan Topp saw the radar trace of PA103 break up before his eyes. The second time point was the time on the death certificates. The time of the silence was the time it took for the people to fall from 31,000 feet. I don't think there was a dry eye in the kirk. Mine certainly weren't. (Neither were the insensitive lady's. She was there too. I really felt for her, I suppose being very self-centred is something grief does to you. Just - 25 years and no perspective.)

None of these people has had justice. The police and forensic investigation was a train wreck. Millions of pounds of public money was spent convicting someone who was a thousand miles away when the crime actually happened. I want justice for these people, and truth for their loved ones and history. And I want the rivers Alpheus and Peneus re-routed through the sewer that is the Scottish criminal justice system.

So give up the personal insults and abuse, OK?
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Old 25th October 2015, 06:12 PM   #373
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I'm really very happy to see you posting, Rolfe. I looked you up on Twitter the other day when an announcement was made about this case, but of course you already knew all about it and were already tweeting about it.

My universe is whole again with you back around here! I have missed you.
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Old 25th October 2015, 06:41 PM   #374
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Hi Rolfe!

Good to see you back! I hope you do stick around.
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Old 26th October 2015, 01:44 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I was shocked because the lady appeared to believe that only the people in the plane mattered. Not the people on the ground, including the grandmother of my neighbour (and friend). I think that's rather the opposite of "belittling the lives of people who died a horrible death".

I have nightmares about that crash. I have spoken at length with the police surgeon who went to the scene on the night of the disaster and walked the fields certifying people dead. If I wasn't a pathologist used to dead bodies lying in fields (albeit not human ones), I don't think I could even have that conversation. I've spoken with the STV cameraman who was the first news cameraman on the scene that evening, and he told me about the hours of footage still in the archives which will never be shown because it's too horrific.

I can't look at the photos of the damaged luggage without remembering the people who packed these cases, looking forward to Christmas, and in some cases the random re-scheduling and missed flights that led to them being on Maid of the Seas that night. The picture in the JFR of Karen Noonan's spare bra, burned by the explosion, brand name "Maidenform", size about a 32A, regularly reduces me to tears. I can't get on a plane without all this going through my mind.

I can stand at the memorial in the cemetery at Lockerbie and know exactly who many of these names belonged to, and where they were going and why, and who was left behind to mourn their passing. And I go there and I leave flowers.

One of the most moving things in my life happened only a few hours after my encounter with the insensitive lady. I was in Dryfesdale parish church in Lockerbie and it was the 25th anniversary of the disaster. I knew there was going to be a 3-minute silence, but it still took me by surprise. At three minutes past seven the minister simply stopped speaking, with no announcement. There was utter silence for about three minutes before he picked up the thread again. At three minutes past seven Alan Topp saw the radar trace of PA103 break up before his eyes. The second time point was the time on the death certificates. The time of the silence was the time it took for the people to fall from 31,000 feet. I don't think there was a dry eye in the kirk. Mine certainly weren't. (Neither were the insensitive lady's. She was there too. I really felt for her, I suppose being very self-centred is something grief does to you. Just - 25 years and no perspective.)

None of these people has had justice. The police and forensic investigation was a train wreck. Millions of pounds of public money was spent convicting someone who was a thousand miles away when the crime actually happened. I want justice for these people, and truth for their loved ones and history. And I want the rivers Alpheus and Peneus re-routed through the sewer that is the Scottish criminal justice system.

So give up the personal insults and abuse, OK?

But you're nice to people at bus stops.
All is well then.
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Old 26th October 2015, 02:23 AM   #376
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I've managed the first three paragraphs of this book.
4.79 wasted. Difficult to purchase actually. Rolfe needs to slap Amazon

Good grief, Bigfoot did it?
Rolfe, for the benefit of our younger viewers could you explain exactly why "Terry Waite, CBE" lends any credibility to your story?
He had a big beard and was taken hostage but I'm pretty sure his knowledge of airplane delays is as lacking as yours.

This is funny. Bring me Teh Barnacles
But I'm still not laughing at the bus stop.
I must be weird.
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Old 26th October 2015, 04:18 AM   #377
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I've managed the first three paragraphs of this book.
4.79 wasted. Difficult to purchase actually. Rolfe needs to slap Amazon

You didn't, did you? Really? You're right about one thing. You certainly wasted 4.79.

A substantial chunk of the eBook is available to read free on Amazon's "look inside" feature, prominently advertised right there on the page. You get the preamble pages, Terry Waite's foreward, and more than 10% of the actual text of the book (you know, the bit I actually wrote as opposed to the fluff Terry wrote), right through to well into chapter 3. Absolutely free as air.

Quote:
Good grief, Bigfoot did it?
Rolfe, for the benefit of our younger viewers could you explain exactly why "Terry Waite, CBE" lends any credibility to your story?
He had a big beard and was taken hostage but I'm pretty sure his knowledge of airplane delays is as lacking as yours.

This is funny. Bring me Teh Barnacles

For the benefit of any passing traffic, Bigfoot isn't mentioned in the book. Nor are barnacles. I'd be grateful if someone would explain what these "barnacles" references are all about, because I've got nothing.

It was suggested (not by me) that having a "name" such as Terry Waite write a foreward would improve the profile of the book. (Noam Chomsky was the original pick, but unfortunately he did have time to do it.) I agree, it doesn't add anything to the argument, to anyone who isn't impressed by "names". Some people are though, and it did attract attention, so job done, really. And Terry is a nice bloke, and three guys who were trying to rescue him were killed on the plane.

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But I'm still not laughing at the bus stop.
I must be weird.

Well, you said it. Who am I to argue?

I have presented a detailed, evidence-based argument showing that the crime in question happened in the late afternoon in London, not in the morning on Malta. Thus, the Lockerbie investigation screwed up big time, and the court rubber-stamped a fairy-story. A fair number of people in this thread have indicated that they are convinced by my reasoning, and indeed several have said that it was the book itself that convinced them.

It's getting on for two years since it was published. I'm still waiting for someone to point out an actual flaw in either the evidence I present or the logic of my conclusions. You could be the first. There may be a prize.

Get to it.
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Old 26th October 2015, 05:59 AM   #378
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"Barnacles" refers to a lengthy discussion in one of the MH370 threads about a flaperon from the airliner that washed up on on a beach in Madagascar. There were many barnacles attached to the piece, and discussion followed about the possibility they may be useful in identifying where they plan went down. One "expert" (not a poster here on the forum) declared he could determine where the barnacles originated within 100 miles. Many here were sceptical of the claim. The discussion ran for many pages, was considered a derail by some, and pointless by others.
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Old 26th October 2015, 06:15 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
And again, the ONLY reason I ever raised the issue of a delay was in the context of assessing whether it was possible or not to categorically discount the possibility of a timer device having been used. Once again, I agree that it's a fair deal more likely that a device incorporating a barometric element was used - but IMO it's not possible to state that a timer CANNOT have been used.

Maybe you could point to where I or anyone else declared that a countdown timer couldn't possibly have been used? Oh that's right, nobody did. Blue Mountain raised the point, in the context of there being no sensible explanation for the early detonation in the context of a countdown timer, and pointing out that the detonation time was absolutely consistent with a barometric device. Which is perfectly true.

There of course remains the possibility of a non-sensible explanation for a countdown timer. A mistake, a miscalculation, or some sort of weird reasoning that failed to appreciate the risk of a ground-level explosion if the plane missed its departure slot.

You were the one who leaped in with your own non-sensible explanation based on the long-debunked factoid of "the plane was late" and a bizarre hypothesis of bombers doing trial runs to determine the earliest moment the plane could possibly have crossed into the Atlantic ocean. (Why would anyone want to aim for that point? I simply don't get it.) And you wildly miscalculated that.

You accuse others of "unilateral snark" when even a cursory glance at your own posts reveals them to be dripping with condescension and sneer. It doesn't sit well from someone with a superficial and clearly flawed grasp of the evidence in this case. So as I said right at the beginning, give it up.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
.... the alleged "grand council" meetings of Iranians, Syrians, Libyans and PFLP-GC....

You keep bringing this up. I know a lot about the damaged luggage and the baggage transfer systems at three airports. I know a lot about the examination of PT/35b, the problems with its provenance and the discrepancies in the paperwork, and the anomalies in the metallurgical analysis. I know a lot about the police handling of the eye-witness Tony Gauci and what he did and didn't say about the man who bought the brown checked trousers.

I don't know about this. Educate me.

Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I am not saying Megrahi DID have some involvement. I'm saying nothing more than that it's difficult to conclude with certainty that he did NOT.

What is being said is that we can conclude with certainty that Megrahi had no personal involvement with the actual planting of the bomb on the plane, as he was 1,000 miles away when that happened. This is a pretty big hole that's been blasted in the case against him.

Since approximately all the evidence that was led in court against him has now been shown to be false, then I'm struggling to see what point you're trying to make. You reverse the burden of proof, apparently looking for proof that he can't possibly have been involved in the planning stages of the atrocity.

Such proof is of course impossible to provide. If "you can't prove Megrahi wasn't involved in a back-room capacty" is your preferred line of argument, you have the floor to yourself as nobody is even trying to make that contention.
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Old 26th October 2015, 06:17 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
"Barnacles" refers to a lengthy discussion in one of the MH370 threads about a flaperon from the airliner that washed up on on a beach in Madagascar. There were many barnacles attached to the piece, and discussion followed about the possibility they may be useful in identifying where they plan went down. One "expert" (not a poster here on the forum) declared he could determine where the barnacles originated within 100 miles. Many here were sceptical of the claim. The discussion ran for many pages, was considered a derail by some, and pointless by others.

Thank you. Now that you mention it, I do remember reading a page or so about that point. I'm not sure how that relates to the PA103 evidence though.
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Old 26th October 2015, 12:18 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by ComfySlippers View Post
I've managed the first three paragraphs of this book.
4.79 wasted. Difficult to purchase actually. Rolfe needs to slap Amazon

Good grief, Bigfoot did it?
Rolfe, for the benefit of our younger viewers could you explain exactly why "Terry Waite, CBE" lends any credibility to your story?
He had a big beard and was taken hostage but I'm pretty sure his knowledge of airplane delays is as lacking as yours.

This is funny. Bring me Teh Barnacles
But I'm still not laughing at the bus stop.
I must be weird.
What an utterly irrelevant, mean spirited post this is.

I was originally a believer in al-Megrahi's guilt, but read Rolfe's book and it's clear that there's been a massive miscarriage of justice. I'm happy to admit I was wrong. Others are obviously happy to bury their heads and remain bitter and cynical.

And London John, a single YouTube many years later is illustrative of what? There are a lot more of planes waiting in queues for take-off after leaving the terminal on time. These planes, like the one in question, were not delayed. It's SOP in any large, busy airport.
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Old 26th October 2015, 07:51 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
There's no evidence of any timer.

The fragment of circuit board known as PT/35b was not proved to be part of the IED that brought down the plane. It was never even tested for explosives residue for example.

In more recent times it's been proved using chemical analysis that the fragment did not come from a batch of timers with a similar board that were supplied to Libya.

Where did that fragment come from? - Noone knows. What was it part of? - the closest match to the board is an MST-13 timer, but it's by no means a conclusive match. The fragment itself bears hallmarks of both professional level (for 1988) manufacturing processes, *and* amateur level processes.



The chain of evidence for it is questionable, the prosecution claims it was found embedded in a shirt collar shown to have been in the primary case, but it still remains possible that it was placed into the evidence chain at some other time as the cataloguing procedures for evidence were generally poor, and in this specific pieces case, terrible.

[it was described in detail on an examiners notes, which were loose leaf, and which had page numbers altered. There seems to be no primary evidence photo taken contemporaneously on 35mm film. If there had been a roll of film with this fragment pictured on it, in sequence with other pictures, then all of the doubt about it's provenance goes away, if the forensic examiners notes didn't have the page numbers altered, or were in a bound notebook, likewise.]

We can't say for sure what this fragment is. It's probably not part of the IED but it can't be proved one way or the other, I wish it could.
I find this very unconvincing-since we now have to explain away evidence that we do have.

However, with a little internet sleuthing I have found this interesting little tidbit from page 127 of SCOTBOM:Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation by Richard A. Marquise:

Quote:
...Hijazi* and Fazani* had placed the order for timers from MEBO in 1985. They requested the timers be sand proof, water proof, accurate and detonate with no trace of the timer left after the explosion....


Which also answers a question that's been gnawing away at me for a while. Why were the Libyans testing the MST-13 timers out in the desert? Why destroy a perfectly good and probably expensive Swiss Made timer? You don't need to hook up the timer to explosives in order to see if the timer is doing what it's suppose to be doing. You can hook up to a good multimeter instead.

Also, if you want to find the right quantity of plastic explosive to blow out a 747 side panel you don't need the timer (which is how the FBI did their tests).

So what were they testing out in the desert?

Applicability in sand and water environments, certainly, but more importantly to make sure there was no trace of the timer after detonation.

This explains why the plane blew up so early into the flight. They thought it would be untraceable-they could set it for whenever! In fact, if it's untraceable why not set it to go off over land? Maybe, if their lucky, bits of airplane and flesh will rain down on a large metropolitan area? Something just outside of London perhaps?

Unfortunately, there was a snag (see rolfe's post #337). In order to shoehorn the timer and semtex into the Toshiba radio they had to dismantle the timer box to fit it all in there. Is that the reason why that rather large fragment (comparatively speaking) of the MST-13 timer survived intact?

This works on so many levels, people!
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Old 27th October 2015, 01:27 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
I find this very unconvincing-since we now have to explain away evidence that we do have.
The problem is that we can't explain some of the evidence we do have.

We're not trying to explain away anything.
This isn't a crackpot conspiracy theory, we're not trying to fit things into a narrative, we're trying to work out the narrative from the evidence that there is.

We can't prove anything about who did it or why, the best guess is the PFLP-GC in revenge for Iran Air 655 (a plane with 274 civilians and 16 crew that met the same falling from the sky fate as the 259 people on PA103), but we can't be sure about that.

All we are saying is that the official story is wrong, we have evidence that proves this to be so, and that they should re-open the case in an attempt to bring the real bombers to justice.

Quote:
Why were the Libyans testing the MST-13 timers out in the desert?
Who knows, most of Libya is desert.

The timer fragment PT/35b was 100% for sure, definitely not, one of the batch of timers MeBo supplied to Libya. We can't prove that Libya was involved in PA103 at all. Short of tenuous links between Libya and known terrorists, there's nothing much to point specifically at Libya.

Quote:
Also, if you want to find the right quantity of plastic explosive to blow out a 747 side panel you don't need the timer
That would be pointless. You just use 'a lot' and the effect is the same.

Though we do know the bombers were relatively expert as they put the case in the right place and orientation to bring down the plane, the bomb case was placed carefully in the right location, and did in fact have just enough explosive to cause the planes destruction.

The case wasn't taken through airport security, so why the need to be this precise is another question.

Quote:
This explains why the plane blew up so early into the flight. They thought it would be untraceable-they could set it for whenever! In fact, if it's untraceable why not set it to go off over land? Maybe, if their lucky, bits of airplane and flesh will rain down on a large metropolitan area? Something just outside of London perhaps?
Only they packed the case with clothes purchased from a small shop, on a small island. Clothes that were very traceable.

If you're going the "un-traceable" hypothesis, why do that, and not clothes from a large chain?

We're back to stupid terrorists again.
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Old 27th October 2015, 01:41 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Would it be fair to say that to detonate the device with a plain timer would be a pretty stupid plan? That anybody going this far would certainly come up with something much more suited to their purpose?
I wrote a reply to this, and it seems the internet ate it.

It's not that the use of a plain timer was stupid, it's setting it for the time that the explosion occurred that seems stupid.

Though it's hard to workout the mindset of someone who is going to bomb a plane. Most people don't make cold calculated plans to kill ~300 people.
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Old 27th October 2015, 02:20 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
I wrote a reply to this, and it seems the internet ate it.

It's not that the use of a plain timer was stupid, it's setting it for the time that the explosion occurred that seems stupid.
Yes, late night doziness on my part That was intended to be my gist ...
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Old 27th October 2015, 04:20 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
I find this very unconvincing-since we now have to explain away evidence that we do have.

What about explaining the new evidence we have that you seem to be persistently avoiding?

First, that the bomb was introduced at Heathrow airport, London, not on Malta as alleged. This means that we have no evidence at all as to who planted it, which includes no evidence that whoever did it was Libyan.

Second, that the PCB fragment PT/35b, while closely resembling a corner of one of the circuit boards in the MST-13 timers, wasn't from one of the production runs of these timers. The timers supplied to Libya were all made with PCBs supplied by Thuring AG. PT/35b has small but crucial differences from the Thuring boards, specifically the composition of the tinning layer (and now it looks like there are another couple of more subtle differences).

This means that the links that were believed to demonstrate Libyan involvement with the atrocity are broken. If Libya was indeed involved, this is something that requires to be proved, it cannot be assumed.

Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
However, with a little internet sleuthing I have found this interesting little tidbit from page 127 of SCOTBOM:Evidence and the Lockerbie Investigation by Richard A. Marquise:

Which also answers a question that's been gnawing away at me for a while. Why were the Libyans testing the MST-13 timers out in the desert? Why destroy a perfectly good and probably expensive Swiss Made timer? You don't need to hook up the timer to explosives in order to see if the timer is doing what it's suppose to be doing. You can hook up to a good multimeter instead.

Also, if you want to find the right quantity of plastic explosive to blow out a 747 side panel you don't need the timer (which is how the FBI did their tests).

So what were they testing out in the desert?

Applicability in sand and water environments, certainly, but more importantly to make sure there was no trace of the timer after detonation.

This explains why the plane blew up so early into the flight. They thought it would be untraceable-they could set it for whenever! In fact, if it's untraceable why not set it to go off over land? Maybe, if their lucky, bits of airplane and flesh will rain down on a large metropolitan area? Something just outside of London perhaps?

You're running away with yourself to such an extent that the cart is now several counties in front of the horse. I already covered the point about not being able to assume Libyan involvement.

If these are the same tests as we covered previously in one of the run-ins with Bunntamas, we know what the Libyans were trying to do.

First, the timers weren't expensive. That was the point of them - MEBO was asked to produce something essentially disposable. Bollier had hopes of selling hundreds of units to them, and indeed to other markets. But in fact only 20 were supplied to Libya in 1985-86. They didn't actually burn through them very fast and it wasn't till 1988 that they inquired about getting some more. Bollier didn't have any more at the time and tried to fob them off with some Olympus timers he'd bought on the open market, but the Libyans rejected them as too expensive.

Multiple tests have shown that fragments of these timers remain after detonation, and Bollier himself (for what it's worth) confirms that pieces would be left. This quote from Marquise is the only reference to a requirement for total destruction and he's not always 100% accurate. (And, as Ambrosia said, it wasn't just the timer. Very identifiable pieces of the radio were also recovered, and multiple pieces of the new, traceable clothes that had been bought in a small shop where the shopkeeper remembered the purchase and the purchaser.)

We know about the tests in the desert. What the Libyan military wanted to do, God knows why, was to drop bundles of explosives from aircraft with timers set so that the detonation would occur just before the bundle hit the ground. That's what they were testing in the desert. They weren't blowing holes in aircraft, 747s or otherwise. (Even the FBI didn't have a spare 747 to blow up.) The tests had nothing to do with blowing up aircraft.

Once again, the incongruity with the early detonation is the non-negligible chance that the plane would miss its departure slot and still be on the tarmac when the device exploded. This didn't happen, but it could easily have happened on a stormy winter's night with the 747 being required to wait for the incoming 727 from Germany, which was in fact delayed by 20 minutes. How stupid are we expected to believe these terrorists were?

Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Unfortunately, there was a snag (see rolfe's post #337). In order to shoehorn the timer and semtex into the Toshiba radio they had to dismantle the timer box to fit it all in there. Is that the reason why that rather large fragment (comparatively speaking) of the MST-13 timer survived intact?

This works on so many levels, people!

It only "works" if you apply extreme tunnel vision to shoe-horn everything into the scenario you favour, the one where Libya did it. But, I repeat, all the alleged links to Libya have been broken. If Libya was involved, that is still something that is required to be proved.

The tests in the Libyan desert didn't have anything to do with destroying aircraft. The PCB fragment in the Lockerbie chain of evidence didn't come from one of the production devices supplied to Libya. We don't know whether the person or people who planted the bomb were Libyan or not.

And forgive me, but my amateur logic suggests that if you remove the PCBs from the (fairly sturdy) grey plastic box and pack them naked right up against the Semtex, they're more likely to be obliterated, not less.
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Old 27th October 2015, 05:48 AM   #387
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Elagabalus, I appreciate the crucial points may be getting lost in the middle of longer replies, so I'll separate them out.

Do you understand that it has been proved that the bomb suitcase was in the baggage container at Heathrow an hour before the connecting flight from Frankfurt landed? Do you understand how comprehensively this destroys the entirety of the scenario presented by the Crown, which depended absolutely on the bomb suitcase having flown in on the feeder flight?

Do you understand that the fragment of PCB designated PT/35b has been proved not to be one of the production runs manufactured for MEBO by Thuring AG? That as all the units supplied to the Libyan armed forces were built around Thuring boards, this means that PT/35b has no known connection to Libya? (In fact we have no idea at all what PT/35b is. It appears to be a deliberate copy of the early-run Thuring boards, remarkably close to these boards in a number of detailed respects, but not perfect.)

Dreaming up fanciful scenarios about what the Libyan military were doing in the desert with their MST-13 toys (I've told you what they were doing and it wasn't what you imagine) is kind of missing the point when you haven't addressed these fundamental issues.
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Old 27th October 2015, 06:26 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Yes, late night doziness on my part That was intended to be my gist ...
We can't rule out that the timer setting was an oversight, or an act of general stupidity on the part of the bombers.

We do know that they were precise in their bomb placement. The IED that brought down the plane was carefully placed in the luggage container so it would be right next to the skin of the plane, had it been dumped in the middle of the container with all the other luggage, the resulting damage might not have been as catastrophic and perhaps the plane could have limped to the closest airport.

It turns out though that a bomb going off at cruising altitude has the most chance of destroying the plane.
It's not enough to blow a hole in the plane, there has to be enough pressure differential between the pressurised air in the plane, and the outside. As well as enough structural damage to the plane to cause it to break apart.

There are events where a cargo door has blown off, or the roof has blown off, or a bomb has gone off, that breached the skin of the fuselage, but the plane made a safe emergency landing. The most crazy was Aloha 243 [metal fatigue caused a huge chunk off the roof to blow off mid flight, and the plane landed safely with few lives lost.]

So it turns out that the timing of the explosion was just about perfect if all you care about is that the plane is destroyed. PA103 had just got to cruising altitude where the pressure differential between the atmosphere and the cabin pressure is the greatest.

10 or 15 mins earlier and the plane probably could have made it to an airport, if all that the bomb caused was a hole in the cargo bay, and depressurisation.

If you look at how precise they were in their placement of the bomb, it follows that they'd also be precise in their timing of the explosion, and to do that with a plain timer means setting it mid flight to be sure the planes at cruising altitude.

If you use a altitude based timer, the plane will always be at cruising altitude at the time of detonation.

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Old 27th October 2015, 06:50 AM   #389
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I think the speed and extent of the disintegration of Maid of the Seas was more comprehensive than even the bombers anticipated. If the hole in the cargo bay had been the only structural damage, certainly the plane would have decompressed, but the passengers and crew should have been able to survive with oxygen masks until the crew could get the aircraft down into breathable air. And Prestwick airport wasn't far away. It would have been dicey, and it still might have crashed, but it wouldn't have been as utterly unsurvivable as it was.

The fast break-up happened because of the over-pressure. The force of the blast was directed into the conduits under the skin of the plane, because of the precise position of the bomb. This caused the skin of the plane to peel off and the plane to disintegrate rapidly. Of course that couldn't have happened at a lower altitude, but I doubt if the bombers expected it to happen at all. It took a major research project to figure out that was what had happened.

Even without the overpressure the crash might still have been 100% fatal, but it would probably have been a crash more or less intact into the ground. I suspect that's what the bombers expected, if their plan worked. Though as I say an emergency landing at Prestwick might just have been pulled off. The plane breaking apart at 31,000 feet couldn't really have been predicted as far as I can see.
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Old 27th October 2015, 06:58 AM   #390
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Made this into a shorter post so it's easier to follow.

PA103 was caused by an explosive decompression. This caused the plane to break apart mid flight and fall to earth.

An explosion went off in the cargo bay which both weakened the structure around the area, and caused a hole in the skin of the aircraft. The pressurised air (equivalent to ~8000ft above sea level) rushed out of the hole, which put further, very large, stress on the fuselage at that point, and that caused the initial breakup of the plane.

It's the stress caused by the outrushing air that does the most damage, though if the structure of the plane is strong enough to withstand this, once the pressure has equalised then the pilots can make an emergency descent if they need to and get the plane back on the ground if they are able.

The larger the difference between cabin pressure and air pressure, the larger the stress to the planes structure at the time of decompression.

If an explosion causes a decompression at or below 8000ft not lots happens, as the air pressure difference is small. At much higher altitudes decompression is much stronger, and much more destructive.

examples:

Saudi 162 - 29000ft ED - Almost all survived and plane landed safely, caused by a tyre blowout.

United 811 - 23000ft ED, almost all survived, cargo door failure.

Aloha 243 24,000ft ED, 1 air hostess died, metal fatigue.

China Air 611 - 35000ft ED, All died, caused by metal fatigue and poor maintenance procedures.
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Old 27th October 2015, 07:06 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The plane breaking apart at 31,000 feet couldn't really have been predicted as far as I can see.
It's really hard to say, it's possible the bombers only had a small bomb and placed it to do as much damage as they could.

Perhaps they expected the plane to break apart because of a naive understanding of what might happen.

Perhaps they never intended for the plane to crash at all.
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Old 27th October 2015, 07:08 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
An explosion went off in the cargo bay which both weakened the structure around the area, and caused a hole in the skin of the aircraft. The pressurised air (equivalent to ~8000ft above sea level) rushed out of the hole, which put further, very large, stress on the fuselage at that point, and that caused the initial breakup of the plane.

It's the stress caused by the outrushing air that does the most damage, ....

As I understand it, that's not how Maid of the Seas disintegrated. The hole in the cargo bay did what you say, but the initial break-up of the plane was caused not by that but by the over-pressure, which caused the skin to peel off in multiple places remote from the actual hole caused directly by the blast.
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Old 27th October 2015, 07:13 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by Ambrosia View Post
It's really hard to say, it's possible the bombers only had a small bomb and placed it to do as much damage as they could.

Perhaps they expected the plane to break apart because of a naive understanding of what might happen.

Perhaps they never intended for the plane to crash at all.

There was a limit to how much Semtex could be hidden inside a radio-cassette player. That seems to have been the limiting factor. The reason why the bombers used the radio-cassette player disguise isn't entirely clear, given that the device wasn't x-rayed by Maier and was never intended to be x-rayed by Maier. It's possible they felt it might be subjected to an x-ray at some point, or that they were guarding against someone physically searching the suitcase.

I've recently seen some evidence that suggests 450g was a bit of an underestimate of the size of the charge, but probably not by much.

I think they put the device in what seemed to them to be the most dangerous place for the plane, and hoped enough damage would be caused for the plane to crash. I think the catastrophic break-up at 31,000 feet exceeded their expectations.
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Old 28th October 2015, 01:17 PM   #394
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To be a bit nerdy, I believe the damage to Maid of the Seas was caused by two effects of the explosion.The blast created a rapidly expanding gas bubble, causing a mechanical shock wave which punched a hole in the aircraft skin. The gas bubble forced its way through the hole causing petalling of the edges and cracks which grew rapidly. This resulted in the cockpit becoming detached. At the same time, the shock wave incident on the aircraft skin interacted with its reflection to create a Mach stem wave. This wave carried an overpressure double that of the incident shock, and travelled at supersonic speed at right angles to the incident wave, i.e. along the aircraft skin, which acted as a sort of waveguide. The result was almost instantaneous damage at any weak points it could find.
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Old 28th October 2015, 01:29 PM   #395
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
We know about the tests in the desert. What the Libyan military wanted to do, God knows why, was to drop bundles of explosives from aircraft with timers set so that the detonation would occur just before the bundle hit the ground.
A particularly unpleasant kind of anti-personnel weapon. They caused many casualties on both sides in the latter stages of WW2.
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Old 28th October 2015, 02:41 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
To be a bit nerdy, I believe the damage to Maid of the Seas was caused by two effects of the explosion.The blast created a rapidly expanding gas bubble, causing a mechanical shock wave which punched a hole in the aircraft skin. The gas bubble forced its way through the hole causing petalling of the edges and cracks which grew rapidly. This resulted in the cockpit becoming detached. At the same time, the shock wave incident on the aircraft skin interacted with its reflection to create a Mach stem wave. This wave carried an overpressure double that of the incident shock, and travelled at supersonic speed at right angles to the incident wave, i.e. along the aircraft skin, which acted as a sort of waveguide. The result was almost instantaneous damage at any weak points it could find.

And that, people, is the director's cut.
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Old 28th October 2015, 02:43 PM   #397
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
A particularly unpleasant kind of anti-personnel weapon. They caused many casualties on both sides in the latter stages of WW2.

I knew it would be something nasty. But, they weren't blowing up airliners.
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Old 29th October 2015, 02:58 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by pete2 View Post
A particularly unpleasant kind of anti-personnel weapon. They caused many casualties on both sides in the latter stages of WW2.
Air burst was used right through ww2 It was used to some extent in ww1 they just had better fuses as time went on. It's the best way to take on infantry dug in to foxholes or trenches.
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Old 29th October 2015, 04:56 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I knew it would be something nasty. But, they weren't blowing up airliners.
Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Air burst was used right through ww2 It was used to some extent in ww1 they just had better fuses as time went on. It's the best way to take on infantry dug in to foxholes or trenches.
Plus it's more efficient; less energy, and shrapnel, is wasted on the ground.
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Old 29th October 2015, 07:48 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Plus it's more efficient; less energy, and shrapnel, is wasted on the ground.
It depends on what your target is. Trenches and foxholes can survive a pretty near miss especially if the ground is wet and muddy but this is well off topic.
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