“The design of the air-conditioning/depressurisation-venting systems on the Boeing 747 (and on most other commercial aircraft) is seen as a significant factor in the transmission of explosive energy,

as it provides a direct connection between the main passengercabin and the lower hull at the confluence of the lower hull cavitiesbelow the crease beam. The floor level air conditioning vents along the length of the cabin provided a series of apertures through which explosive shock waves, propagating through the sub floorcavities, would have radiated into the main cabin.”

This is one of the main findings of the aviation fatalities investigation unit on the Lockerbie crash which has been neglected for more than 20 years.

Scotland is considering to re open the investigation into the Lockerbie crash.

Reasons to do so are numerous:

Thus structural characteristics of the aircraft as well as the material might have led to or worsened the catastrophe. This conclusion can be drawn from the „Air Accidents Investigation Branch“ [= aaib] -es´ report „Boeing 747-121, N739PA: Main document Aircraft Accident Report No 2/90 (EW/C1094) Report on the accident to Boeing 747-121, N739PA at Lockerbie“


motto photo susanne haerpfer

motto photo susanne haerpfer

Why didn´t anybody write about the amazing findings? Or, maybe there even exist experts publishing, but they have been washed away by the masses of media coverage foccussing on the alleged culprit, who died these days and until his very end swore to be innocent.

„The airport security and criminal aspects of the accident are the subject of a separate investigation and are not covered in this report which concentrates on the technical aspects of the disintegration of the aircraft“


The aaib- authors themselves give as one of these potential reasons, why what some victims´relatives want to know until today has neither been uncovered nor published.

The investigation of what happened at Lockerbie faced the same effect as the plane:  it disintegrated into thousands of small pieces, scattered in a huge number of experts hearings, subcommittees and technical issues – so that it was difficult even for nosy journalists and family members to hold the strings together and  at the same time  fight against the wave of media coverage focussing on the sexy story line of the alleged bad guys of Libya.

What led to the crash has been written very knowledgeable and easy to read at the same time by bestselling author Michael Chrichton in his book „Airframe“.

Unfortunately without ever mentioning explicitly the name Lockerbie. Only those who discovered the above mentioned aircraft accident investigation unit´s report can conclude that the facts he has been describing fit those of the Lockerbie crash event. The reasons for this one could ask his publishing house, his family and/or colleagues – under the premise that there will be an assignment for it.

Within his book he created the figure of a television producer being mislead by interest groups with sub-sub-contractors who don´t want to loose their job and a television boss commanding that he is forbidding to air a story on what´s it all about: (electronic) components.

motto photo for potential sources of electromagnetic interferences from vehicles (taxi to ground) to consumer electronics
motto photo for potential sources of electromagnetic interferences from vehicles (taxi to ground) to consumer electronics

Whether this happened to reporters as well while trying to dig into the electronics issue within the Lockerbie story can be one further question.

Did you know for example that there is no such thing as t h e black box but:

„There´s a hundred and fifty-two black boxes?“

“Oh hell”, Smith said, “they´re all over the aircraft. But we´re only after the main ones now – the ten or twelve NVM´s that count,” Michael Chrichton has been writing.

„The black box“ in reality as well is the plane as a whole or its electronic components as such – respectively its embedded „mems“ – memory systems.

Maybe reporters looking into the Lockerbie story didn´t have the visual realization potential to figure out how a real life-documentery thriller based on electronics might look like.

On the other hand at that time critical infrastructure was already a topic.

And the movie „war games“ showed already in 1983 how visually attractive and easy to understand such an abstract topic as electronics with global security dimension can be aired for a mass audience.

„The analysis of the flight recorders, using currently accepted techniques, did not reveal positive evidence of an explosive event.“ 

is one of the amazing conclusions of the aviation investigation unit –

contrasting with the general coverage as the crash being caused by a terrorist´s bomb.

On page 25 the report increases the doubt into the bomb attack:

„It is not clear if the sound at the end of the recording is the result of the explosion or is from the break-up of the aircraft structure.

The short period between the beginning of the event and the loss of electrical power suggests that the latter is more likely to be the case.“

The main report does not explain what this remark might mean; maybe one of the hundreds of sub-reports at the court in the Netherland or in Scotland do.

One explanation can be that indeed nothing exploded.

If there was a failure within the electronic system, no explosion was the original first step into catastrophe,  but failure, interference into or simple power shortage of the electronic system.

coffee mugs have corrosive effects

coffee mugs have corrosive effects

On page 24 the main report states indeed:

„electrical power supply to the recorder had been interrupted at 19.02:50 hrs ±1 second.Only 17 bits of data were not recoverable (less that 23 milliseconds)and it was not possible to establish with any certainty if this data was from the accident flight or was old data from a previous recording.“  For which reasons?

A flight data recorder being used as teenage tape recorder playing and replaying again and again the favorite songs!  Hard to imagine, but this is exactly the conclusions the aircraft investigators draw in their main report!

The report announces:

„EUROCAEworking group during the investigation, was incorporated into ED55, it is also recommended that Airworthiness Authorities re-consider the concept of allowing buffered data to be stored in a volatile memory.“

And the reports stresses that the findings:

„respond to events that result in the almost immediate loss of the aircraft’s electrical power supply“.


the electronics and power shortage is a „smoking gun“

as a strong hint is called – a Sachbeweis.

Even moor so as any further investigation was made unpossible:

according to the main report the essentially necessary data is no longer available!

Today computer forensics has technical better capabilities. Perhaps it is the perfect time to re-open the investigation, or to start an investigation. As till today one only did a first rough summary. Really following and investigating the to-do-list of issues still is a task (or has been burried in the pile of papers in Scotland and the Netherlands. If the latter was the case one has to go back to those shelves and read again, and then maybe everything will fall into pieces – literally speaking… -:)

One could and should ask e g the court as well as the involved subsidiaries to the construction of the plane resp of the components:

– whether and who has tested the interaction between electronics and the mechanical system of the plane. 

This is even more of importance, as parallel to the catastrophe of Lockerbie, another scandal  occurred:  

Tornados crashed in series in Germany. 

Investigation committees found out, that it was electromagnetic incompatibility between the steering electronics of the Tornado and the reconnaissance system „Cerberus“.

Pilots lost their lives. Investigation committees found out, that the reconnaissance system „Cerberus“ was developed with black money being transferred as cash in suitcases by German BND agents [Bundesnachrichtendienst] to Israel.

Due to the secrecy, so the explanation of German and Israelian secret agencies the interaction between the tornado as such and the „Cerbereus“- reconnaissance system never was tested; with fatal consequences:  electromagnetic interference.

Until now the issue of electromagnetic interference of one technology interfering with further electronic systems is of major concern. This is why  I reported those  current interference problems as fully employed television journalist at metaproductions for the network sat.1.

A follow up would be possible from my side.

Assigning me could lead to me reporting about the current events of gas intruding into the passenger cabins of aircrafts and thereby not only endangering the health of the passengers, but being a hint to potential security risks, as the Lockerbie aircraft report has concluded:

“The design of the air-conditioning/depressurisation-venting systems on the Boeing 747 (and on most other commercial aircraft) is seen as a significant factor in the transmission of explosive energy.“

In addition:

Further material faults and damages of the plane may have led to the crash.

On page  15 of the 35 pages, the main report lists up:

„It also identified a number of other regions of structural damage,remote from the explosion, which were clearly associated with severe and rapidly applied pressure loads acting normal to the skin’s internal surface.“

Thus, even if there was an explosion, one question ist: how „explosion“ is defined? The gasoline of the plane explodes – that´s for shure; but which different components might explode before?

The authors write about the subsequent events taking place:

„The two types of damage, i.e. the direct blast/tearing/petalling damage and the quite separate areas of ‚pressure blow‘ damage at remote sites were evidently caused by separate mechanisms,though it was equally clear that each was caused by explosive processes, rather than more general disintegration.“

So how can explosions occur? By baggage and cargo fatally interacting with one another, for example. If nail lacquer and deodorants interact and set of fire.

Fact is – according to the aircraft main report,  that:

„Blast damage to the forward face of container 7511 was as a direct result of hot gases/fragments escaping from the aft face of container4041.“

Which kind of gas originating from what precisely, „escaping“for which reasons? the report does not say.

„Vulnerability of commercial aircraft structures to explosive damage“ says a subtitle of a main report´s chapter.

„The potential variation in charge size, position within the hull,and the nature of the materials in the immediate vicinity of the charge (baggage etc) are such that it would be unrealistic to expect to neutralise successfully the effect of every potential explosive device likely to be placed on board an aircraft. However,whilst the problem is intractable so far as a total solution is concerned, it should be possible to limit the damage caused by an explosive device inside a baggage container on a Boeing 747or similar aircraft to a degree which would allow the aircraft to land successfully, albeit with severe local damage and perhaps resulting in some loss of life or injuries.“

Exactly this is what one would expect. So why and how was the plane destroyed completely and allegedly within seconds?

This essential question still remains unanswered  more than 20 years after.

The experts

„recommended that Regulatory Authorities and aircraft manufacturers undertake a systematic study with a view to identifying measures that might mitigate the effects of explosive devices and improve the tolerance of the aircraft structure and systems to explosive damage.“

This is necessary as long as sky marshals, bodyguards and other security personal flying transport ammunition by plane.

The regular procedure has been to hand over a pistol to the pilot while having checked in the ammo into the regular baggage or specific transport cases.


how their airworthiness is tested

is of crucial importance. If they are tested the very same way as insulation material for buildings

then it is mere luck, that not more planes already have crashed and set fire.

Insulation for buildings are officially „tested“ and „approved“,

but they set buildings on fire resp worsen an original small fire,  critical experts found out within the past two years. The same can be true for baggage cases.

„Department of Transport fund a study to devise methods of recording violent positive and negative pressure pulses, preferably utilising the aircraft’s flight recorder systems“, the Lockerbie report concluded.

If there were royal military on board formally legally transporting their ammunition why was it not mentioned? Why were they not given the opportunity to really carry out explosion tests? Was the „Rarde“ ordered to cover it up? Why was the „Rarde“ chosen at all? why not an independent expert in explosives? Involved parties investigated themselves – the same is true for further aspects of the crash:

„Numbers 1, 2 and 3 engines were taken to British Airways EngineOverhaul Limited for detailed examination under AAIB supervision in conjunction with a specialist from the Pratt and Whitney EngineCompany.“

No wonder that the core issues were not mentioned. As e.g. why were the engines set on fire at such an early stage?

As well as

„It was not possible initially to determine whether any of the general damage to any of the engine fans or the ingestion noted in No 3 engine intake occurred whilst the relevant engines were delivering power or at a later stage.“

Thus the fatal crash could occur due to engine failure and until now this has not been investigated.

The main report writes in chapter:

„2.4 IED position within the aircraft

From the detailed examination of the reconstructed luggage containers,discussed at paragraph and in Appendix F, it was evident that the IED had been located within a metal container (serial number

AVE 4041 PA), near its aft outboard quarter as shown in Appendix F, Figure F-13.2.“

But the main report had not investigated whether ammunition and/or dangerous cargo was loaded.

Neither did they investigate what the baggage contained in detail and if and how it might interact with the cargo or the fuselage. They did not investigate such vital issues at all. 

The unit delegated a part of the question to

Royal Armaments Research and DevelopmentEstablishment (RARDE).

In appendix f of the main report this department described their work. They stated the fact that the plane was a wreck –  to their knowledge only „detonating high performance plastic explosive“ could have led to such desastrous effects tearing apart a complete plane.

They did not investigate whether and where on which tiny bits and pieces which tiny marks of which explosives and/or inflammable material was found.

According to the appendix F they did not carry out any blast or explosive tests at all.

many aspects photographed by

many aspects photographed by


They just deductively concluded from what they knew from previous cases. They concluded theoretically that there had to be a bomb. And from this conclusion they draw further conclusions: that it had to be in the baggage.

But what they didn´t do was really investigate their theoretical premises!

They did not probe the bomb theory with the other potential explanations, they even mention in the report. They did not put up a thorough „Suchbaum“; as a programmer should do: Which effects are found. Which effects can cause severe damages? How to find them? By which means? Which further explanations exist? Is there a list of all the materials found on the plane? Which characteristics do the found materials have? Are they flammable? How do they react in high air? Under pressure? How do they interact with one another? What are the parameters?

Which forces do we see, feel, get when flying? Which incidents can occur when flying? Do we find such incidents? How? To find out? Did one look for them? If not why?

Where pistols, guns, ammunition checked in? Legally? How were the labelled? Who knew about them? With which consequences?

Within the report there is no logic explanation why and from where suddenly an alleged recorder

plops up. As there is no investigation carried out by the aircraft investigation unit of baggage and cargo. It is not mentioned in the report. Either there wasn´t any investigation into this. Then it is a question, why? If there was one, as media coverage assumes, the question is: by whom, why wasn´t it the aircraft investigation unit? And: when did they enter the scene? Was the bomb theory presented first, and then somebody was ordered to take a look for the baggage? Neither the report nor the appendix F  says how come, that all out of a sudden a radio recorder was the alleged culprit, whereas before it was said to be an alarm clock.

As neither the „Rarde“ nor the aviation unit worked on this issue, somebody must have told them that a bomb had to be found


No bomb actually was found

And this is the core of the affair.

The units deductively concluded that such devastation must have been caused by a high explosive bomb and then they were presented a radio cassette recorder.

Nobody so far has explained why at other plexus within the report one talks about an alarm clock which is something different than a radio recorder. Unless the words are meant in a semantic way. Then an „alarm clock“ can be a catastrophe ringing the alarm, making people think about an issue. Such as „radio recorders“, which can be found within steering electronics of a plane as well. Radio recording is not only a consumer electronics item, it is a vital component within communication between pilot, aircraft and tower for example, between other aircrafts, etc.

This it can well be that the wording mislead independent research, investigation and journalism.

And after a while it was too late, as the first version presented had developed an own „life“. to correct it was not feasable and so the main questions remained unsolved.

For example it is only these days that the broadcast network „n 24“ aired a documentary revealing that the search for the „Titanic“ was a cover up for investigating the whereabouts of two nuclear driven submarines. 

Analog to this cover up of historic dimension one has to ask about the real background of Lockerbie; without being alleged of dubious „conspiracy theory“. History has shown that after years passed by with a different angle, the truth is different from what was told officially before. So it is more than legitimate, it is prerequisite to ask: what has happened at Lockerbie?

Neither the „Rarde“ nor the aviation crew explained how an „Ied“ could tear apart a plane and what preconditions, which predamage must be at place in order to make this happen.

„Though the precise form of the interactions is too complex to predict quantitatively, it is evident that the lower hull cavities will serve to convey the overpressure efficiently to other parts of the aircraft.“

One does not know –

is the summary.

„It was apparent at an early stage that there were no survivors from the aircraft and the search and recovery of bodies was mainly a Police task with military assistance.“


Why was it not possible to land the damaged plane? In simulations this technical possibility is offered  as can be watched for instance in the movie „airport“, which was aired on New years eve, as well as in „Metal tornado“. Extreme leakages, extreme damages occur but in the simulations, the pilots still are able to act and to land.

The parameters must have been the same with the plane in reality so why did the aircraft disintegrated? as the wording of the report says.

if  electronic components receive an information that fits to a catastrophe it can give the order to the other parts to disintegrate = the plane falls apart beause the electronic parts were programmed to interprete parameters as if the crash already had occurred

if electronic components receive an information that fits to a catastrophe it can give the order to the other parts to disintegrate = the plane falls apart beause the electronic parts were programmed to interprete parameters as if the crash already had occurred

And how come that the report describes Lockerbie as a scenery directly resembling the opening of the James Bond-thriller „tomorrow never dies“?  With spoofing of global positioning systems leads to violating frontier to South China, to crash and survivors being eliminated with media being informed of the catastrophe befor it had occurred.

„It was apparent at an early stage that there were no survivors from the aircraft and the search and recovery of bodies was mainly a Police  task (…] of military personnel and a number of helicopters used mainly in the search for and recovery of aircraft wreckage.“

The report does not describe whether this is the normal procedure and – with the crash allegedly occurring within seconds:  how come that so many different units of separate security and catastrophe forces were at site? Did a catastrophe occurr at
Chapelcross nuclear power station

„The Royal Signals and Radar Establishment(RSRE) corrected the radar returns for fixed errors and converted the SSR returns to latitude and longitude so that an accurate time and position for the aircraft could be determined. The last secondary return from the aircraft was recorded at 19.02:46.9hrs“

Why radar has to be corrected? When did it show false data to who with which consequences?

The report does not answer this nor does it even ask these questions.

The unit mailed after my request that they are not willing to say more than written in the report.

In the report chapter 4 describes:

„Space debris re-entry

Four items of space debris were known to have re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere on 21 December 1988. Three of these items were fragments of debris which would not have survived re-entry, although their burn up in the upper atmosphere might have been visible from theEarth’s surface. The fourth item landed in the USSR at 09.50 hrsUTC.“

??? „Space debris“? !!!

Reentered earth atmosphere?

What does this have to do with a boeing passenger plane? What happened at Lockerbie? Did several events take place parallel? Did space debris and what precicely hit the plane?

Being the explanation for the statement: no explosion was found in the recording.

Did the two collide leading to tearing apart the passenger plane, explaining why neither the pilots nor the passengers did have a chance?

But what has been so secret about space debris, that this event was not reported?

Was it politically feasable to allege a Libyen for terror? Where did the Libyan accusation originally come from? Neither the „Rarde „nor the aviation crew mentions it – so who came up with it?

Were military exercises carried out at the same time as the passenger plane was on its way? Did the civil pilots receive any Notams (notice to airmen) or comparable information on military tests occurring?

In 2008 at the Galileo summit in Munich, experts from the Garmish Partenkirchen project criticized that they had to postpone the Galileo navigation project due to interferences.  The origin of the interferences were not known to them and had to be investigated. It took them a month to find out that Austrian military interferred with the civil positioning system. No information sharing between military and civil navigation took place in 2008.

If the same was true in 1988 fatal collisions could happen and lead to the crash of the aircraft at Lockerbie.

This would explain what inhabitants and guests of Lockerbie observed and gave to protocol:

„A large, dark, delta shaped object was seen to fall at about the same time in the Sherwood area of the town. It was not on fire while in the air, however, a fireball several hundred feet across followed the impact. It was of relatively short duration and large amounts of debris were thrown into the air, the lighter particles being carried several miles downwind, while larger pieces of burning debris caused further fires, including a major one at the Townfoot Garage, up to 350 metres from the source. It was determined that the major part of both wings, which included the aircraft fuel tanks, had formed the crater. A gas main had also been ruptured during the impact.“

On page three the report goes even further:

Residents of Lockerbie reported that, shortly after 19.00 hrs, there was a rumbling noise like thunder which rapidly increased to deafening proportions like the roar of a jet engine under power. 

The noise appeared to come from a meteor-like object which was trailing flame and came down in the north-eastern part of the town.“

A meteor-like object“ 


This certainly is not the wording one would expect when a plane is falling from the sky. Thus what really happened at Lockerbie? Did testing took place of hypersonic ultra fast military cargo planes? A mixture of space shuttle and Concorde like object flying between space and civilian airspace? A collision with a newly developed hypersonic ultraspeed military shuttle would explain why the plane was torn apart so dramatically.

A topic to look into, browsing historical  military archives and asking experts and Ministries.

I am looking forward to be receive assignment:


[free lance journalist for television and print media and photography]