Swissair 111 atc recording

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One of the (if not the) most significant flight disasters that was attributed to passenger entertainment equipment.
Plus the wiring or it insulation had a tendency not to work all that well. Supposed to be replaced by 2012 or something on all aircraft with it
One of the findings of the investigation was the toxic fumes emitted by the burning wiring on the passenger entertainment equipment. Apparently, these fumes are virtually instantly debilitating.
Burning insulation....those are some noxious fumes comin off that plastic.
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I think they would or could have been aware of their alternates, on the Canadian coast you always have your standard Alternates like Halifax, Goose Bay, Gander etc the MD-11 has the 'closest airport' prompt on its FMS, telling you the distance and course towards all field suitable for the MD-11 to use. I can imagine in a stressfull situation they were in, they were attacking the problem first before thinking about where to divert to......
They always told us that it was chaffing of the wires above the cockpit, laying the core bare, that set the insulation material around it on fire, the fire apparently was so fierce that the aluminum above their heads began to melt and drop down on them...
The pilots were aware of available landing alternates. What they were not aware of was the actual severity of the situation. Which is why they elected to go back out to sea to dump their heavy fuel load. It was those extra minutes that sealed their fate.

Incidentally, I live about 40 miles from the crash site, and have talked to some of the people who were first on the scene (one of whom is my wife's cousin). Pretty gruesome...The daughter of a friend of mine was on school field trip to the shore in Blandford months later. One of the students found a foot long chunk of human vertebrae...

Close spaces + combustible materials = very VERY short time to get things under control. When the aluminum started to warp and melt, it was waaaaay too late to do anything.

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