From:         Patrick Douglas Crispen 
Subject:      Tourbus -- 10 Sep 03 -- CAIB Final Report / Big Thunder

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP(S): CAIB Final Report / Big Thunder

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

Howdy, y'all, and greetings once again from deep behind the orange curtain in beautiful Irvine, California, now available in both original recipe and extra crispy!

By the way, I hope you've recently visited the new Tourbus site at Bob has been busy redesigning the site, and he asked me to tell you that the archives are now back on the TOURBUS website, fully searchable! WOOT! :P

TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please take a moment to visit today's sponsors and thank them for keeping our little bus of Internet happiness on the road week after week.

On with the show ...

CAIB Final Report

Late last month the Columbia Accident Investigation Board released a blistering final report about February's space shuttle disaster, detailing the

1. Physical failures that led directly to Columbia's destruction;

2. Underlying weaknesses, revealed in NASA's organization and history, that can pave the way to catastrophic failure; and

3. "Other significant observations" made during the course of the investigation, but which may be unrelated to the accident at hand. Left uncorrected, any of these factors could contribute to future Shuttle losses.

[Source: CAIB report, p. 6]

While every news organization on the planet discussed the report when it was released [see and for links to some of the more recent news articles about the Columbia disaster], few civilians have actually seen the report. Let's change that.

I know that reading a government report about how and why the Columbia burned up on reentry probably sounds as exciting as a European Parliament report on Balkan sorghum futures, but you have to trust me on this one, folks: the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's final report is rather well written, pretty easy to understand, and downright frightening in some parts. If you have ever shown the slightest interest in NASA in general or in the space shuttle in specific, you really should take the time to thumb (or click) through this report.

You can find an Adobe Acrobat PDF version of the report online at

There is no charge for you to download the report (consider this a gift from the American taxpayers), but I do need to warn you that the full report is 10.2 MB. It'll take about 25 minutes to download over the fastest dial-up connection.

If that's a bit too big for your Internet connection, you can also download the report in smaller, chapter-size chunks. Just point your Web browser to

The report has 11 chapters and three appendixes, but there are three chapters you shouldn't miss:

  • Chapter 2 documents the final flight of Columbia,
  • reconstructing in detail the events leading to the loss of Columbia and her crew;

  • Chapter 3 explains the direct physical action that initiated
  • the chain of events that ended with Columbia's destruction; and

  • Chapter 7 shows how the Board believes that NASA's
  • organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did.

    I also seem to remember that the Presidential Commission on the Challenger Accident released a summary video shortly after their final report, a video that I can no longer find ANYWHERE. Anyway, if the CAIB releases a companion video, I'll let you know.

    Big Thunder

    As long as we're talking about disasters [man, is today's post depressing or WHAT?!], you probably heard that late last week there was a fatal accident on Disneyland's runaway mine train roller coaster "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad." One person was killed and 10 others were injured. It may take weeks to figure out what exactly caused the accident.

    You can find an Associated Press article about the accident at

    and a follow-up story from the Hollywood Reporter (which was picked up by Reuters) at

    For those of you who don't live in Southern California, it may be difficult to understand how important Disneyland is to the local community. I've often heard that as many as half of the visitors in Disneyland at any point in time are "Annual Passholders," Southern California residents who have purchased year-round admission to the park. Say what you want about the APs [and I'm one], but we take Disneyland pretty seriously.

    So it shouldn't surprise you that there are *MANY* Web sites out there dedicated solely to news from, and discussion about, Disneyland. And it also shouldn't surprise you that these sites have been quite busy since the accident.

    Kevin Yee and Al Lutz both wrote articles about the accident at

    MiceAge can be significantly biased at times, though, a fact made apparent in "Marcie's" three page retort at

    Hey, I *TOLD* you Southern Californians take Disneyland seriously!

    David Koenig, author of two great books about Disneyland, reports that neglected maintenance at Disneyland may have caused the accident

    and the Disneyland discussion boards at


    all contain constantly-updated information and commentary about the accident.

    If you'd rather not read about the accident on Big Thunder, you should probably stay away from all of these sites for the next couple of weeks. After then, pop in and see what you think. They are all WONDERFUL sites that contain some great information, advice, and guest commentary about the Magic Kingdom. In fact, I try to visit each of these sites at least once a week just to see what's new in Disneyland.

    That's it for today. Have a safe and happy week, and we'll talk again soon!

               .~~~.  ))
     (\__/)  .'     )  ))       Patrick Douglas Crispen
     /o o  \/     .~
    {o_,    \    {    
      / ,  , )    \   
      `~  -' \    } ))    AOL Instant Messenger: Squirrel2K
     _(    (   )_.'
    ---..{____}                  Warning: squirrels.

    The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
    Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
    CAIB Final Report-Big Thunder, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
    TOURBUS Site Search