Reconstruction of TWA Flight 800 to be decommissioned this summer

The reconstruction of TWA Flight 800, which has been housed in Ashburn, Virginia and used for National Transportation Safety Board training purposes for nearly 20 years, will be decommissioned this summer.
The wreckage of the plane has been housed in a hanger along with other training tools at the NTSB’s training center and used for accident investigation training courses. According to the NTSB:
“Advances in investigative techniques such as 3-D scanning and drone imagery, lessen the relevance of the large-scale reconstruction in teaching modern investigative techniques.”
TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, was bound for Paris, France, with 230 people aboard before it crashed July 17, 1996. The crash happened minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Wreckage from TWA Flight 800 floats in Atlantic Ocean off Long Island, New York, photo
A four-year investigation determined that the probable cause of the crash was “an explosion in the center wing fuel tank.”
“Evidence indicated the explosion was the result of an electrical failure that ignited the flammable fuel/air mixture in the tank,” according to the NTSB.
“The investigation of the crash of TWA Flight 800 is a seminal moment in aviation safety history,” said NTSB Managing Director Sharon Bryson, in prepared remarks. “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 seats, foreground, and wreckage of TWA Flight 800 sit in a hangar in Calverton, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Ed Betz, File - July 16, 2001)
During its time in Virginia, the plane was never used as an exhibit or for public display, as part of an agreement with families who lost loved ones on the flight. The NTSB says it will “work closely with a federal government contractor to dismantle the reconstruction and destroy the wreckage.”
The NTSB plans to stop use of the reconstruction July 7.
The TWA Flight 800 International Memorial is shown at Smith Point County Park on Fire Island, N.Y., Friday, July 5, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)