**Editor's note: a couple of months back, I asked readers for their best engineering horror stories. Now, as we approach Halloween, EE Life brings you those tales of horror, extreme current and severed body parts, one by one, in terrifying succession. Don't look away....this next shocking tale comes to you from an engineer at Boeing**
The in-flight fire, and resultant crash, of (2) B747Fs [freighters] have been attributed to directly, or indirectly, the ignition of lithium batteries contained within products carried in manifested cargo.
Miss-direction of precision guided munitions [heavy bombs] has caused huge collateral damage [in some cases fratricide], that has NOT been highly publicized.
I investigated the crash of 2 light attack aircraft that developed fire in the cockpit. The fires were directly attributable to the corrosion of a silver-plated starter-generator conductor pin that could not carry current: the adjacent wire [jacket and plastic relay box] ignited due to current over-load.
A Space Shuttle mission was aborted [in space] due to the failure of (2) out of (3) main computers. Numerous other missions had trouble due to EE-EL equipment failure for the same reason: The computers [or related equipment] were found to be contaminated with tin whiskers.
Two refueling technicians were severely injured when a “lightning bolt from the blue” [from a thunderstorm centered ~8-miles away] hit the grounded jet they were refueling.
Radar or communications blackouts in FAA facilities are relatively common.
Scary stuff. --
Wilfred K. Taylor -
KC-135 Structural/Mechanical Design and General Fleet Support Engineering:
Maintenance - Repair - Design - Materials/Processes - Parts - Inspections - Investigations
It could be a great service to the engineering community, and potentially to all of society, to go into enough detail so that other engineers could learn from the mistakes and avoid them. So providing the greater details is a very good idea.