Aviation Investigation Report A98H0003

1.12.2  Aircraft Wreckage Examination

  1. - General
  2. - Aircraft Reconstruction  General

Recovered aircraft debris was transported to the CF facilities at Shearwater, Nova Scotia, where it was cleaned and sorted. Each item was examined by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and RCMP personnel with assistance from a large support team of specialists provided by Boeing (aircraft manufacturer), Swissair (operator), and SR Technics (maintenance company). Other investigation agencies, companies, and organizations provided additional specialists as requested by the TSB; for example, the NTSB, the FAA, the United Kingdom Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), the French Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyse, the Air Line Pilots Association, Pratt & Whitney, and other companies were represented. Over 350 people participated in the wreckage sorting, examination, and investigation activities at Shearwater.

Recovered items were sorted and classified by their location on the aircraft and by their potential significance to the investigation. Particular emphasis was placed on debris exhibiting heat damage, burn residue, or unusual markings.

Detailed visual inspections and forensic analyses were completed by RCMP personnel to assess the possibility of explosive or incendiary devices having contributed to the observed damage. No evidence was discovered in the aircraft debris to suggest that criminal acts had contributed to the occurrence.  Aircraft Reconstruction

A full-scale reconstruction mock-up was fabricated to support recovered portions of the forward section of the aircraft (see Figure 19). The original framework encompassed the portion of the aircraft above the cockpit and passenger cabin floors, from the front of the cockpit (STA 275) to STA 595, located within the first-class passenger cabin. Recovered portions of airframe primary structure and skin panels determined to have been installed at identifiable locations from the cockpit enclosure aft to approximately STA 595 were straightened, fracture matched, and installed on the reconstruction mock-up. The reconstruction mock-up was subsequently extended aft to STA 669; a second extension to STA 741 was added to the left side of the reconstruction mock-up to support recovered portions of the two forward air recirculation fans.

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