Comment and analysis on all things Charlotte

Plane Fired On While Landing at CLT Airport?

That is what the CBS outpost in Philly is suggesting:

Investigators say they now know what caused a small hole in a US Airways plane that travelled from Philadelphia to Charlotte Monday.

Sources say a stray bullet struck the rear of the Boeing 737-400 as it was landing in Charlotte.

A pilot making a pre-flight inspection during a lay-over discovered the hole towards the rear of the aircraft.

But then this:

Sources say the plane was not the target of terrorism, and investigators have reviewed security footage.

Bullshiat. How in the hell can you deduce intent from a bullet hole? A bullet hole in a passenger jet no less?

And did Charlotte city council spend three hours on the security situation out at the city-owned airport last night? Hell no. There is no margin in that. Instead — frickin’ taxi cabs! I would normally say wait until someone dies — but, oops, that already happened. What until we get evidence of bribery for access….no…. Wait until repeated indications of criminal incursions near the runway…no, got that…. I know, wait to we get evidence of purposeful cover-up of security lapses… no…

Screw these people. The available evidence suggests the mayor, members of the city council, the city manager, the city attorney, the chief of police, the airport director and numerous sub-staff have absolutely no regard for human life.

Update: Tinfoil time, folks. From WCNC:

Sources confirm that the hole found in the fuselage of a US Airways plane Monday was caused by a bullet.

The source told NewsChannel 36 Tuesday that the bullet was likely from a .40 caliber rifle.

Crews inspecting the plane found the bullet intact.

Because of the location of the hole, investigators believe that someone shot a rifle in the air and the bullet struck the plane as it headed back down toward the ground.

According to a representative from US Airways, a pilot found the small hole in the fuselage of a Boeing 737 during a pre-flight inspection in Charlotte Monday afternoon.

So relax Mr. and Mr. Flying Public. This was just a one in a billion case of someone randomly firing a high-powered rifle into the sky, that bullet traveling some thousands of feet up and then back down again to collide with a passenger jet traveling at hundreds of miles an hour. Could happen at any time. Headphones?

But let’s roll with this stuff. First, where exactly was this .40 cal bullet hole found? Just a basic fact that must be supplied by the authorities. From there, they are claiming one hole only — an entry hole on the — one presumes — the top half of the aircraft.

Next, a .40 cal round is a very odd one to find and declare it to be a rifle round. It could either be a pistol round adapted to paramiltary carbine use or a big bore round intended for big game hunting. In either case — very weird.

Too weird not to get me thinking.

There are no shortage of .30 cal rifle rounds out there — go to Wal-Mart and check. But a .40 round? Why use that? Maybe you wanted it for specific FPS and trajectory characteristics. Again why? Perhaps you were using it as a range-finding round. I said you might need tinfoil.

Look, all we know is that an airport with known perimeter security issues has a plane with a bullet-hole in it sitting on a runway right now. And I’d rather be called crazy everyday than lazy the day after something terrible happens.

9 Responses to “Plane Fired On While Landing at CLT Airport?”

  • Mar
    29
    2011

    >> Too weird not to get me thinking.

    Thinking puts you one step ahead of Jerry whOrre and “appeasing” Patsy Cannon.

  • Mar
    29
    2011

    Take off the tinfoil Jeff. Your scenario is extremely unlikely. Merely hitting a target moving in three dimensions is sufficiently difficult that the idea of selecting a round for ballistic characteristics in order to use it as a range finding device is beyond even tin foil hats. It’s into the realm of serious sci if time. (As an aside here, in another life I was a Naval Aviator, so I have some experience with the subject. There is a reason that anti aircraft gunners expend thousands of rounds per hit: it ain’t easy even when you’re well trained and skilled.)

    The scenario speculated on by the locals is the most likely. And given that the press has about as much familiarity with firearms as my cat does, I would bet that they were told it was a .40 cal round but NOT told it was a rifle round, but rather assume it, or alternatively asked and were given an answer they didn’t understand. (If it were a .40 S&W round fired from a rifle, there really would be no way to know that. It isn’t possible to tell what sort of weapon fired a bullet, only what type of bullet it is. The most typical bullet used in rifles is a different shape from a pistol round, but if it were a pistol round -as in the .40 S&W- you’d not be able to tell the length of the barrel used.)

    There’s a pretty limited area in which a firearm is going to penetrate an airplane skin. Noise abatement procedures don’t leave the plane within the effective range of most commonly available ammo, let alone with a range at which it has any accuracy and can be aimed successfully, and the vertical component -shooting up- reduces that range very significantly. Arrival corridors at CLT keep the AC at 9000 ft for much of the approach, so whatever was fired had to be almost directly under the aircraft within a mile so of the approach end of the runway. There very few people capable of hitting a stationary target at 500 meters, and that’s pretty much the shot.

  • Mar
    29
    2011

    You think maybe the plane was sitting on the ground when it got hit?

  • Mar
    29
    2011

    Most likely it was Clay

  • Mar
    30
    2011

    Occam’s razor certainly suggests the plane was hit while on the ground.

  • Mar
    30
    2011

    Appreciate the perspective Tandem, but I’ve got to have more info on that round. That and now I want to hear the tapes of conversations between the tower and Flight 1578 to make sure no one saw or heard anything odd on approach.

    Fair enough?

  • Mar
    30
    2011

    Two highly relevant pieces of info would be (1) the angle at which the bullet pierced the skin of the plane and (2) the relative location on the plane where the bullet entered (somewhere between 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock if you look at a cross section of the fuselage). Obviously it didn’t come in at a 0° angle — that would be a glancing blow and it wouldn’t get into the plane. And it’s unlikely to be a 90° angle through the top of the plane, since that would imply that the bullet was fired almost straight up into the air and then came back down onto the plane — how much velocity does a .40 cal round retain by the time it comes back down from being fired straight up? (I would imagine that air resistance and the inevitable tumbling of the round would cause its terminal velocity to be slowed radically from its initial velocity.)

    If one knew these two pieces of information and knew where the plane was parked (and what direction it was facing at the time), one could make a reasonable guess as to an area from which the bullet was fired.

  • Mar
    30
    2011

    I agree with the guy who said it was not a bullet at all but a ‘Falling Kinectic Projectile’.

  • Mar
    31
    2011

    Clay: the army did tests on .30 cal, 148 grain bullet to determine terminal velocity. The measured 300 ft per second. The the variables there are mass and drag, but if you assume higher drag and only slightly higher mass for a .40 S&W round, the numbers are probably around the same. Their example worked out to 30 ft lbs of energy which is not a great amount. The bullet here apparently passed through the skin but not the interior, which is plastic. That would be consistent with a very low energy projectile expending most of it’s energy in the initial penetration and so failing to pass through the plastic interior.

    In any case that would have to be a projectile near the end of its travel, or at least near the end of its travel powered by the propellant. Or in other words, powered by gravity.

September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

RSS Feeds

Archives

JLF Network Websites & Blogs