Terrorist Inerters Needed
A "breakthrough" discovery has been claimed by Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators looking for a way to prevent fuel tank explosions. Onboard "inerting"
systems have been tried in the past for reducing the likelihood of explosions, but the weight and expense of the
voluminous nitrogen bottles needed to backfill fuel tanks made such a system impractical. The breakthrough came
while experimenting with just how much, in terms of a ratio, nitrogen had to be present in the tanks to prevent an
explosion. Surprisingly, an oxygen content of 12% or less is all that is required to virtually eliminate the
possibility of an explosion. Since air is normally composed of 79% nitrogen, 20% oxygen and 1% traces gasses, the
volume of backfill nitrogen is relatively small, making the systems much more practical. Details are being worked
out, but in the near future the FAA will mandate inerting systems on all commercial airliners. Now, if we could
just develop a practical "terrorist rocket inerter" (ala TWA Flight 800, in 1996)...