We’ve worked with Boeing to further develop the technology so that it will now be mandatory. Older aircraft will be required to retrofit their systems. New aircraft will have the technology built in.Long time readers know I've got my own opinions on 800. Let's just say I'm surprised the 9/11 truthers aren't interested since 9/11 pales in comparison on the weirdness scale. Unlike twoofers I'm perfectly willing to admit a sparked wire caused the crash just as soon as the NTSB finds evidence of a spark. All they found was a fray. Actually, it was the way the authorities handled the investigation that caused some people to become skeptics.
The FAA appeared proud of themselves for finally issuing directives on the dangerous problem of exploding fuel tanks after all these years. The airlines weren't impressed, preferring to continue believing such events are so rare as to not be worth the cost of retrofit. Statistics would back them up--800 was the first in the modern jet age to blow up in midair and has been the last.
Don't get me wrong, this is a good thing. It will definitely make these rare explosions even more rare, regardless of the possible ignition sources. Matter of fact, the FAA was very careful to stipulate that retrofitting would only apply to airliners with Center Wing Tanks (under the fuselage), or about 2730 Airbus and Boeings (not nearly the entire fleet). According to the Washington Post the retrofit would not apply to cargo jets because as we all know, cargo jets never explode.
Interestingly, the FAA's union NATCA was first to ask the obvious question--why just retrofit CWTs and not wing tanks as well? After all, they're close to the jet engines. Part of the explanation comes from a so-called "warm days" provision relating to the center wing tanks' proximity to the tarmac, which was cited as a possible contributing factor in 800 even though the temperature at JFK that day only reached the upper 80s. All I can say is if 87 degree days are enough to cause explosions then Memphis and Phoenix have been unbelievably lucky all these years.
Nuances of that nature will keep the conspiracists going on this one for awhile longer. The bottom line is we still don't know what caused the spark, whether a missile, bomb or spark in a wire. But weird behavior by the authorities, including the CIA, doesn't automatically prove a terrorist attack or Navy shootdown. Matter of fact, a fear of rampant litigation against the airlines or aerospace industry can easily explain some of the weirdness all by itself. Lawyers sue, and we've got lots of 'em.
But amidst all the apparent closure perhaps it was fitting this story popped out yesterday. Kinda speaks for itself.