Friday, September 01, 2006


That's what I thought about trying to bring down an airplane using a couple bottle of liquids and mixing them in the loo. The Register provides a little clarity:

So the fabled binary liquid explosive - that is, the sudden mixing of hydrogen peroxide and acetone with sulfuric acid to create a plane-killing explosion, is out of the question. Meanwhile, making TATP ahead of time carries a risk that the mission will fail due to premature detonation, although it is the only plausible approach.

Certainly, if we can imagine a group of jihadists smuggling the necessary chemicals and equipment on board, and cooking up TATP in the lavatory, then we've passed from the realm of action blockbusters to that of situation comedy.

Now, can I bring my bottle of water back on the airplane for crying out loud?


Anonymous said...

You are wrong. A high school chem class could bring the different chemical required (when mixed) to bring down a large aircraft. A large explosion is not required if placed in the right location. Probably a couple of large firecrackers could do it. Signed: An aircraft mechanic for 22 years.

lokki said...

Sorry... an aircraft mechanic might know where to place an explosion, and maybe even the actual force needed. But to say a high school chemistry class could do it is reaching a bit outside your expertise. Besides, no airplane has been brought down by loss of cabin pressure alone (unless you count pilots losing consciousness).

I actually work with high explosives from time to time, and routinely interact with folks who do it for a living. The first question they asked was "were they planning to build up fumes then light a match?"

As it turns out, there are much more effective things to do, all of which require less care and more planning than attempting to mix chemicals on a plane. Perhaps my favourite is disabling the smoke detectors in the lavatory. It's a federal offense, you know.