Wednesday, April 18, 2018


In my brief flirtation with drag racing cars back in my misspent youth, I learned about things like "scattershields" and "transmission blankets".

See, in your car, there are rotating parts under and next to your feet that are spinning at high rates of speed. In race cars, they are subjected to sudden, violent forces and the torque of high performance engines. Here are a couple pics I found doing a quick Google search:

That there above is what resulted when a Torqueflite 727, a heavy duty automatic transmission, came apart under the force of a 2,000+ bhp blown Hemi.

That's the side of the car, where the bits of transmission exited through the passenger door.

This morning on the news, Savannah Guthrie was mouthing something about "...what happened yesterday on a Southwest Airlines jet, and could this happen to the engines of other airliners?" causing me to yell at the TV screen again...


Surely everyone else who has been confronted with this view has spent at least a few seconds idly contemplating what would happen if the compressor section shredded itself under centrifugal forces, right? Then you accept how unlikely it is and what a marvel it is to have this view at all. And you nod off to sleep.

It must be jarring to go through life not realizing the existence of any of the unlikely dangers that surround you every day, only to have one rear its ugly head unexpectedly.

(I thought for a moment that photo might have been taken on a Southwest 737, but on checking my records, that was a Delta bird, IND-ATL. It would have been a freaky coincidence to have a photo of the engine in question, but fortunately I do not.)