The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced on Monday that it plans to decommission its reconstruction of the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800. The reconstruction, which has been used in NTSB accident investigation training courses for almost 20 years, is housed in a 30,000-square-foot hangar at the board’s Ashburn, Virginia, training center. Prior to being decommissioned, the NTSB says the reconstruction will be documented using 3-D scanning techniques with the gathered data archived for historical purposes.
“The investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 is a seminal moment in aviation safety history,” said NTSB Managing Director Sharon Bryson. “From that investigation we issued safety recommendations that fundamentally changed the way aircraft are designed. The investigation also led to a memorandum of understanding between the FBI and the NTSB regarding investigations of accidents resulting from intentional acts as well as evidence collection and preservation.”
The NTSB cited advances in investigative techniques that “lessen the relevance of the large-scale reconstruction” along with the upcoming expiration of the lease for its Ashburn facility as reasons for its decision. The reconstruction will be in use until July 7, 2021. According to the board, it is currently “exploring options to continue its robust training program.”