ARCHIVED - An explosion of innovation - researchers equip Boeing 727 with a bomb

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September 21, 2009— Ottawa, Ontario

What do you get when you combine an out-of-service commercial airline jet, powerful explosives and groundbreaking NRC researchers? 

The result: KABOOM 2! 

On September 17, the NRC Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) and its partners from around the world successfully completed a three-day controlled exercise that included the explosion and demolition of a decommissioned Boeing 727. 

The experiment, conducted at NRC facilities near the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport in Ottawa, provided researchers with critical post-blast data on fast-fracture surfaces. These findings will help scientists and aircraft security experts better understand structural failure.

NRC researchers at the Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) detonate an explosive device inside the cargo hold of a Boeing 727.

NRC researchers at the Institute for Aerospace Research (NRC-IAR) detonate an explosive device inside the cargo hold of a Boeing 727.

 "NRC research in aircraft safety contributes greatly to our understanding of aging and stressed aircraft structures and materials as well as security," said Ron Gould, NRC-IAR's test coordinator. "This important exercise is part of NRC's commitment to enhancing air safety for all Canadians." 

The explosion was also intended to simulate a high-risk security environment to test the expertise and capabilities of government and military agencies, security forces, post-blast investigators and firefighters. 

The elaborate experiment included pre-test cargo screening and equipment demonstrations, giving Canadian and international companies an opportunity to reveal their latest security technologies. The exercise concluded with a thorough, six-hour post-blast investigation.

 "These tests help NRC understand what an explosion does to the aircraft structure as opposed to regular wear and tear," said Nick Bellinger, leader of the aerospace structures group at NRC-IAR. "This type of research is instrumental in determining when explosive devices are involved in the loss of an aircraft." 

An Ottawa Police Service Explosives Unit bomb diffusing robot disposes of a suspicious package found during the pre-test cargo screening.

An Ottawa Police Service Explosives Unit bomb diffusing robot disposes of a suspicious package found during the pre-test cargo screening.

The detonation component of the exercise used two bombs that were concealed in the aircraft's luggage-filled cargo holds. The post-blast aircraft fuselage was retained by the Ottawa Airport Authority for use as a unique mobile training aid. 

This was the second KABOOM exercise conducted by NRC in the past two years. The inaugural exercise, in May 2007, was the first-ever Canadian event involving the deliberate detonation of explosives inside a pressurized aircraft.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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