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Mike,

I agree with you.  If there was no structural defect with the railings, then 
the prescribed minimum loads should be increased.  However, having seen the 
cadets, egged on by TV crews, celebrating and the subsequent railing failure 
on TV, I find it hard to believe that the loading was "excessive."  I think 
that we will have to wait for a more detailed report other than reported on 
ESPN.  That only 10 or so cadets fell would indicate to me that the loading 
probably was not excessive as it did not look like people in other than the 
front row were really demonstrating for the camera.

The fortunate part about the collapse was that it was only (a reported) 15 
feet, but looked like it was no more than about 8 to 10 feet.  Imagine what 
the result would have been if the 10 or so cadets were demonstrating from an 
upper level of a stadium or teenyboppers demonstrating in the balcony of a 
theater.

Railings in situations like this present a real design dilemma;  they must 
protect the occupants, but they also must not obstruct vision.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Michael K. Brown wrote:

. > I just read an article within the espn web page about the railing
. > collapse at Veterans Stadium during the Army-Navy game.  The conclusion
. > was that there was no structural defect, corrosion, etc.  The fault lies
. > with abnormal crowding at the rails.  Apparently this has happened at
. > other sport stadiums as well.
. >  
. > My question is if railings have failed during sporting events due to
. > excessive crowding (which seems to always be the case), why not increase
. > the load parameters for these railings?  I understand that this is an
. > economics question and has to do with probability.  I don't have all the
. > facts, but every sporting event I've been to seems to have "excessive"
. > crowds.
. >  
. > I believe this is an issue with the code authorities.  I'm just bringing
. > this topic up for discussion.  And maybe, if this is an issue worth
. > looking into, an increased load category for railings at sport stadiums
. > will be added to the code.
. >  
. >