British Airways Boeing 737 Fire 1985 which inspired Maurice Ward to experiment with plastic and fire retardant materials. He was horrified by the loss of life, on the ground, when escape should have been a simple matter.
"Thirty years ago, catastrophe came to Manchester Airport when a packed passenger jet burst into flames, killing 53 passengers and two crew members. Hearing a loud thud as the Boeing 737 raced along the runway, the pilots at first suspected a burst tyre. In fact, an engine failure had sparked a chain reaction, leading to a punctured fuel tank. Take-off was abandoned and the plane was brought to a swift halt, but smoke and flames soon engulfed the rear of the aircraft, leading to panic in the cabin. Nearly all 55 victims died from the effects of smoke inhalation as the passengers scrambled towards the front exits - one of which had become jammed - creating a bottleneck effect and stranding people at the back." --BBC
September 22, 1998
The 1998 Swiss Air Crash occured when a fire was sparked by wiring and highly flammable insulation was ignited. 229 passengers and crew died when the jet crashed a mere 30 minutes after the crew smelled smoke and diverted to the nearest airport.
The jet a McDonnell Douglas MD-11, a company which Boeing had recently purchased.
Janes International Defense Review--Article about Starlite
Tomorrow's World BBC England Report on Starlite
Dateline NBC America Report on Starlite with Jane Pauley and Stone Phillips
NASA Spokesman Rudy Naranjo
Biographical Sketch: Dr. Raymond Clinton is a supervisory aerospace materials engineer with NASA's Materials and Processes Laboratory at the Marshall Center, specializing in nonmetal materials development and evaluation for rocket engine applications; composite materials (polymer matrix, carbon matrix, and ceramic matrix) selection, processing, performance evaluation and verification testing. He holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Raymond 'Corky' Clinton Jr. Named Deputy Director of Science & Technology Office at NASA's Marshall Center
Chris Bennett attends President Clinton 's book signing in Austin, Texas and shakes his hand, handing him his card for Starllte Technologies, not knowing at the time that Clinton's cousin, Dr. Raymond Clinton, had already been working on the stolen Starlite technology at NASA for ten years.
BusinessWeek Magazine--"Plastic That Can Withstand A Nuclear Blast
1997--Chris Bennett reads the Businessweek article about Starlite and is intrigued. He tracks down Maurice's contact information on the internet and calls him, explaining his interest in working on Starlite. Chris soon travels to England and spends a few days talking to Maurice about the potential of Starlite and visiting his horses.
Dr. Raymond Clinton met with Maurice Ward from the beginning of his negotiations with NASA regarding their interest in Starlite, in 1993 or early 1994. He was involved in the testing of Starlite and in NASA's involvement from then on.
Allan McDonald, one of two engineers who tried to stop the launch of Space Shuttle Challenger, had worked with Dr. Clinton after the Space Shuttle Challenger loss, and introduced Clinton to Chris Bennett around 2010. Chris had a dozen conversations with Dr. Clinton, attemting to get Starlite funded, but he steadfastly refused--even though his department had soliciations seeking innovative heat shield materials.
Dr. Clinton told Chris that he had samples of Starlite tested by Dr. Eric Rice at Orbitec--which Dr. Rice confirmed. Chris questioned how he got the samples, since Maurice only parted with such after Boeing engineers stole them. Clinton said "there was a dispute about ownership of the samples".
Dr. Allen Atkins interviewed for Tennessee Tech University Newsletter about Starlite:
"We see the possibility of preventing injuries and death during aircraft ground fires with this material." (Click picture to read full interview.)
Maurice Ward and his daughter Carrie Ward travel to the United States for more testing of Starlite for Boeing. They work on the flammable insulation problem, and set up a laboratory at Boeing's facility in Huntington Beach, California. The Wards visit Chris Bennett at his home for a week, and Chris drives them to the Boeing facility for their work.
Maurice returns to England, leaving his test lab locked with a seal on the door. One day Chris gets a call from Maurice, he is very upset because Boeing engineers called him claiming there seems to be a chemical spill in the lab, so they must enter and inventory/test all chemicals,, for safety. This is how Boeing aquired confidential information about the Starlite formula.
Despite Dr. Allen Atkins pleading for funding from Boeing executives for the Starlite program, Boeing senior manager for Strategic Technology Acquisition Daniel Vradenburg bluntly lies about the value of Starlite to his company to Maure and gives him the shove-off--a conversation detailed in the following email by Dr. Allan Atkins.
February 1, 2003--Boeing was a primary contractor for NASA's Space Shuttle fleet.
Several months after closing the door on Starlite, Space Shuttle Columbia blew apart over Texas when the heat shield failed.
Starlite had been initially tested as a possible solution for the fragile heat shield on the Space Shuttles, as we heard in the Dateline NBC report; read in the four page NASA memo about Starlite; and Dr. Atkins mentioned in his emails, frusted because Boeing people had closed the door on Starlite.
We do not know if Starlite might have prevented this loss, if Boeing had gotten right to work on utilizing it in space programs. But they should at least walk away with the lesson that dragging one's feet in the face of opportunities to enhance safety and reliability is grossly ill advised.
NASA had already lost one Space Shuttle to fire, Challenger exploded when the O-Ring was breeched by fire from the rocket fuel combustion chamber. Upon exiting it burned through the external fuel tank, causing it to explode. So there were two Shuttle components which might have been protected with Starlite, if it had been available back then. NASA lost another crew of three astronauts to fire during the testing of Apollo One:
Furthermore, in the area of aviation safety, Boeing people are still refusing to utilize Starlite--and in that case, almost 200 people have burned to death in 737 crashes, the model jet which Starlite was tested as a solution for and found to work better than any product on the market.
Select picture to open all Atkins emails.
JULY 17, 1996
Mid-air explosion of TWA Flight 800. The accident is traced to a spark from wiring which ignited fuel tank vapours, then caused a catastropic explosion. 230 passengers and crew died.
Boeing engineers test Starlite as a fire proof coating for flammable jet insulation :
Dr. Carl Leutze [aka Hank] and Dr. Stan Lawton under the direction Drs. Allen Atkins and John Davies.
NASA Memo summarizes the history of their involvement with Starlite and Boeing.
NOTE PARAGRAPH 3: "Interest in Starlite in the US first came from NASA as a possible solution to address the need for creating a thermal barrier in the Space Shuttle that would withstand the 2000 degree heat of re-entry. That need was recently reiterated when a deep gouge was discovered on the Endeavour's heat shield, again putting our space program at risk.
--SELECT IMAGE TO OPEN FULL MEMO
After Space Shuttle Columbia was lost when the heat shield failed, NASA grounded the fleet until a repair solution could be found, since damage to the fragile heat shield had been a regular occurrence.
Chris Bennett (not knowing all the details presented here about NASA and Boeing's work on Starlite) proposed to Maurice that they approach them again regarding using Starlite in the Space Shuttle program--he agreed. Maurice had kept all details about his work with Boeing and NASA secret from Chris because he had signed confidentiality agreements, and after the traumatic failure of his efforts, he apparently was not in a talking mood.
Despite numerous communications to NASA personel and Dr. Atkins at Boeing, we received no further interest in Starlite. Essentially they refused to deal with us.
Note: Dr. Atkins wrote in the internal Boeing emails that Maurice Ward was a fair person, but then after the loss of the Columbia Space Shuttle he responded to our communications with slanderous statements about the inventor. He promised to tell anyone from NASA or Congress that Maurice was difficult and to blame for the lack of an agreement. Of course this contradicts his own statements and the plain fact that Boeing people never made any monetary offer.
NASA went on to spend one billion dollars to develop a repair solution for the Space Shuttles.
Dr. Raymond Clinton met with Maurice Ward in 1994, and he was involved in the Starlite project from then on. Above is a newsletter for a project to jointly develop "thermal protecction" materials for military and NASA applications, with industry involvement.
August 5, 1998
Boeing testing of Starlite is completed and a report is issued by Steve Richardson at Boeing Phantomworks. Starlite was tested against high powered lasers and a propane air torch. Page 17 of the report compares Starlite to the heat shield on NASA's Space Shuttles, and Starlite was better at blocking heat, at "millimeters" thick.