Editor's note: This is the second installment of a two-part series by Jack Cashill and James Sanders, author of "The Downing of TWA Flight 800," examining the NTSB's claim of an exploding fuel tank bringing down Flight 800. Read Part 1 here.
There is a well known principle of logic known as "Occam's Razor" – the simplest explanation is usually the best one.
Consider its application in the case of TWA 800: Hundreds of witnesses watch streaks of light head towards the plane; FAA radar picks up what appears to be a missile; and the plane explodes catastrophically without a word from the cockpit.
The New York Times adds detail. On Aug. 14, 1996, four weeks after the crash, Don Van Natta Jr. reported that "the pattern of the debris they [investigators] have recovered off the ocean floor has also persuaded them that a mechanical malfunction is highly unlikely." Van Natta acknowledged too that "in 10 field tests at Calverton, L.I., chemists have detected residue consistent with an explosive" on the recovered aircraft. These tests, he added, rarely show false positives.
But there is more. The Times article stated emphatically, "Now that investigators say they think the center fuel tank did not explode, they say the only good explanations remaining are that a bomb or a missile brought down the plane off Long Island."
Occam's Razor says, yes, missile – but the NTSB had little use for cutting to the clear conclusion.
If "senior investigators" were telling Van Natta that "the center fuel tank caught fire as many as 24 seconds after the initial blast that split apart the plane," NTSB "officials" were not so ready to concede. They needed a viable alternative explanation, a politically safe one like a mechanical failure, and would use their considerable powers to make the obvious explanation go away.
''I don't think anything rules out anything at this point,'' Robert T. Francis, vice chairman of the safety board, told Van Natta. Although, as Van Natta reported, this finding "deals a serious blow to the already remote possibility that a mechanical accident caused the crash," he also acknowledged that NTSB "officials" were "unwilling to rule out a mechanical failure." Van Natta then added prophetically, "By keeping open the possibility of a malfunction, safety board investigators can continue to pursue all possibilities, no matter how remote."
Truer words were never spoken. The NTSB would pursue the remotest possibilities imaginable, and with each new test, they would only move further from the truth. In the next four years they would not discover one new fact to revive a theory that was discredited within one month of the crash.
But as Van Natta noted, "While investigators, speaking not for attribution, said they have concluded that the center fuel tank did not explode, publicly they have refused to say that." They dared not. They understood the consequences. With the investigators silenced, the "officials" would control the microphone. In time, they would wear the media and the public down and make the story go away.
To make their strategy work, NTSB officials hoped to find a lab or university somewhere in the world that would validate a mechanical explanation for the crash in much the way the CIA animation had invalidated the eyewitnesses. As related in Part 1, they did not succeed. Despite all the temptations to comply, the science community refused to provide the necessary cover.
Without facts to back up its contrived hypothesis of mechanical failure, the NTSB resorted to fiction. It presented its conclusions to a distracted public and an increasingly docile media in a novella titled, "Factors Suggesting the Likelihood that a Short-Circuit Event Occurred on TWA Flight 800."
One is hard pressed to identify a single fact in this tortured report. Guesswork and supposition run rampant. To reveal the conspiratorial intent of the NTSB, at least an element within the agency, it is useful to quote this document at length. Only the italics are added:
Much of the insulation on the wiring recovered from the accident airplane was cracked or otherwise damaged, often exposing the inner conductor. When powered, such damaged wires would be vulnerable to short-circuiting. Although some of the damage to the accident airplane's wiring insulation probably occurred as a result of the accident or search and recovery operations, the degraded condition of wiring insulation found during inspections of other transport-category airplanes of about the same age as the accident airplane suggests that at least some of the damage to the wiring insulation of the accident airplane very likely existed before the accident. Given what was found during the inspections of other airplanes, it is also likely that metal shavings and other contaminants were interspersed with the wiring system on the accident airplane before the accident.
Evidence of arcing was found on generator cables routed with wires in the leading edge of the right wing, near the wing root. Although this arcing might have been caused by the breaking of the forward wing spar and subsequent fuel fire, it is possible that it could also have been caused before the explosion. Because this wire bundle included wires leading to the right main wing tank fuel flow gauge and right wing FQIS wiring that would have been routed to a connection in the CWT [central wing tank] at terminal strip T347, a short circuit in this bundle could have carried excess energy into the CWT FQIS.
A pause here is in order. Consider the choices the NTSB presents as to what caused the arcing found on the generator: a) the catastrophic breakup of the forward wing spar and the subsequent fuel fire, which did take place; b) a short circuit in the wiring, which might conceivably have taken place before the explosion. An honest investigation would focus on "a." The NTSB, however, focused on "b." To put this in perspective, it is as if the L.A. cops completely ignored OJ and went after the "Colombian drug dealers." The report stumbles forward:
In addition, two non-FQIS wires at body station (STA) 955, which would have been corouted in the same raceway as CWT FQIS wiring, were found with possible arcing damage. (Although the FQIS wiring recovered from this area did not contain evidence of arcing, it should be noted that some of the FQIS wiring from this area was not recovered.) These wires were located near structural repairs from a burst potable water tank and numerous other floor repairs. These repairs could have disturbed nearby wires, cracking or otherwise damaging the wire insulation, and could also have generated metal shavings. In fact, metal drill shavings were found adhered to fragments of a floor beam from STA 920, within 2 inches of where the CWT FQIS wiring would have been routed. This area is also near galley C, which was the site of numerous reported leaks in the 2 weeks preceding the accident. Leakage from this area could have dripped onto electrical wiring located immediately beneath the galley floor and caused a short circuit that affected the CWT FQIS wiring.
Repairs to the area around the upper flight attendant lighting panel could also have created conditions conducive to short-circuiting. A lighting wire and pin in that panel had been repaired on June 20, 1996, about a month before the accident. Although no evidence of arcing was found on the repaired wire, during the repair other wires bundled with it might well have been moved. The repaired wire was part of a bundle that branched off from a larger bundle that contained CWT and left wing FQIS wires that led to the upper deck AIDS unit and also contained high-voltage wiring for lighting; thus, manipulation of wires during the repair could have resulted in movement and cracking of these wires. In addition, there was evidence of extensive structural repairs in this area, and the cabin interior had been altered, both of which could have disturbed these wires and introduced metal shavings, possibly damaging the wire insulation. Further, condensation, which is common in transport-category airplanes, could have provided a mechanism for short-circuiting of such damaged wires when powered. Finally, in addition to being bundled with FQIS wires, the lighting wires were also bundled with CVR wires and No. 4 fuel flow wires along some portions of their path. Therefore, a short circuit involving these lighting wires could also explain the electrical anomalies indicated on the CVR recording and the No. 4 fuel flow indicator.
Curiously, this report contradicts what the NTSB experts had stated in December of 1997 at the Baltimore NTSB hearings. Although they acknowledged that the flight crew observed an erratic fuel flow indicator for engine number 4, 10 minutes after take-off, they rightly dismissed this as "a common occurrence in the 747."
But now, two and one-half years later, the NTSB was desperate. They were forced to grasp at any straw. So an erratic fuel indicator once thought to be routine suddenly became a major lead in pursuit of the mythical spark that jumped into Flight 800's center wing tank:
Although no evidence of arcing was found in any of the components connected to the CWT FQIS, investigators considered the possibility that a short circuit in one of those components could have been a source of excess voltage transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring. The interior of each of these components contained numerous complex wiring and circuit assemblies that could have obscured the evidence of a short circuit. Further, it is also possible that a short circuit at lower power or through moisture could occur without leaving evidence of arcing. Therefore, there are several possible locations at which a short circuit of higher-voltage wiring could have affected the CWT FQIS wires in the accident airplane.
Further, as noted previously, there are several indications that possible anomalous electrical events occurred in the airplane just before the explosion. First, the captain's CVR [cockpit voice recorder] channel recording has two "dropouts" of background power harmonics, indicating some type of electrical anomaly, less than a second before the CVR lost power. Second, captain's comment about a "crazy" No. 4 fuel flow indicator were recorded on the CVR about 2½ minutes before it lost power, which also suggests that some type of electrical anomaly occurred that affected the wiring. And third, the recovered CWT fuel quantity gauge from the cockpit displayed a reading of 640 pounds, which does not agree with the quantity recorded by the ground refueler (300 pounds). Safety Board testing showed that applying power to a wire leading to the fuel quantity gauge can cause the digital display to change by several hundred pounds in less time than is required to trip the circuit breaker. This suggests that an electrical anomaly might have affected the reading of the cockpit gauge.
These electrical anomalies were not necessarily related to the same event. However, it is possible that one or more of these anomalies were a manifestation of an electrical event that resulted in excess voltage being transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring. On the basis of this and other evidence previously discussed, the Safety Board concludes that a short circuit producing excess voltage that was transferred to the CWT FQIS wiring is the most likely source of ignition energy for the TWA flight 800 CWT explosion.
No other "evidence" was "previously discussed." All was vague guesswork, supposition heaped on top of speculation.
Exposed conductors on FQIS wiring (caused by either mechanical damage or cold-flow) within a fuel tank could provide a mechanism that would lead to arcing inside the tank, which in turn could ignite the flammable fuel/air vapor. Very little of the CWT FQIS wiring from the accident airplane was recovered, and, therefore, the degree to which the wiring in the tank might have been damaged before the accident could not be assessed. However, investigators found preaccident damage, including exposed conductors, on some of the recovered FQIS wiring from inside TWA flight 800's wing tanks, and damaged FQIS wiring was found inside the CWTs of several of the other 747 airplanes examined by the Safety Board. In addition, the presence of a conductive material, such as metal drill shavings or safety wire, could have provided a mechanism that would lead to arcing of FQIS components. Although no clear evidence of arcing was found inside TWA flight 800's CWT, fire damage along the route of the FQIS wiring was severe enough that it likely would have obscured any such evidence.
Another potential source of ignition energy is resistance heating, which could have resulted from a thin filament being heated through contact with a wire, probe, or compensator exposed to excess voltage. Although no clear evidence of a filament ignition was found inside TWA flight 800's CWT, such evidence could also have been physically lost or obscured by fire damage. …
The Safety Board contracted with two research laboratories, Sandia National Laboratory and Christian Michelsen Research, to develop computer modeling in an attempt to determine potential ignition locations. However, because of considerable uncertainties in some aspects of the methodology, the results of that modeling could not be used to determine the most likely ignition location.
Nonetheless, investigators examined all the recovered CWT components, which included portions of all seven fuel probes, one complete terminal block and one partial terminal block, and the compensator. None of the recovered probes or terminal blocks exhibited any noteworthy signs of damage. However, several plastic parts inside the compensator's innermost tube were found burned, with an apparent upward-flowing burn pattern, which investigators hypothesized could indicate that a fire initiated inside the compensator. Similar burn patterns were observed on the compensator believed by the FAA to be the ignition source for the surge tank fire in the 747 that experienced a fuel tank explosion in May 1976 near Madrid, Spain. (Although the Safety Board discounted the compensator as an ignition source in its October 1978 report of the Madrid accident, a different conclusion might have been warranted given what is now known about sulfides and other ignition-related phenomenon.) However, there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the damage to the CWT compensator occurred before the explosion, and, therefore, no determination could be reached regarding the likelihood that the compensator was the ignition location.
188.8.131.52 Possible Ignition Scenario for TWA Flight 800 Explosion. Therefore, the Safety Board concludes that the ignition energy for the CWT explosion most likely entered the CWT through the FQIS wiring, and, although it is possible that the release of ignition energy inside the CWT was facilitated by the existence of silver-sulfide deposits on an FQIS component, neither the energy release mechanism nor the location of the ignition inside the CWT could be determined from the available evidence.
Remember Occam's Razor – the simplest explanation is usually the best. The labored, labyrinthine explanation of the NTSB has "worst" written all over it.
The NTSB, however, was not the only organization to review the wiring. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers did its own assessment. These workers have far less interest in the hypotheticals of how a plane might work than in the reality of how it actually does. Unlike the NTSB, their analysis cuts right to the chase:
We conclude that the existing wiring recovered from flight 800 wreckage does not exhibit any evidence of improper maintenance or any malfunction that led to a spark or other discrepancy.
What did cause the center wing tank to explode? The IAMAW does not mince words:
A high pressure event breached the fuselage and the fuselage unzipped due to the event. The explosion was a result of this event.
The IAMAW is describing a missile or some other external force. But no one wanted to hear what the IAMAW had to say. "We feel that our expertise was unwelcome and not wanted by the FBI," read its final report. "The threats made during the first two weeks of the investigation were unwarranted and unforgettable." When released, the NTSB quietly tucked the IAMAW report away, and the major media never bothered to read it.
The actions and the motives of the NTSB are transparent. By August of 1996, it knew for a fact, as The New York Times reported, that "the initial blast that severed the plane occurred slightly forward of the spot where the wings meet the fuselage," not in the center wing tank.
The agency hoped, however, that somewhere along the line a scientific test would produce a hypothetical setting in which a contrived mechanical initiating event would enter the realm of the possible. A compliant media would then take the hypothetical possibility and turn it into an established scientific fact. Unfortunately for the NTSB, that scientific hypothesis never developed.
Instead, the NTSB reverted to what military people mockingly call SWAG analysis – as in "sophisticated wild-ass guess." But this time it was not even an honest SWAG. The NTSB case sums up thusly: We don't know how the mythical spark could have gotten inside the CWT and, once there, where the initiating explosive event occurred, but one thing we know for certain, it was not a bomb or missile.
Think about this: The NTSB combined a complete lack of physical evidence for mechanical failure with an equally complete lack of hypothetical scientific corroboration for mechanical failure to "prove" that Flight 800 was brought down by – what else? – mechanical failure, this despite the flat-out rejection of the same by the IAMAW and by "senior investigators" as early as August of 1996.
What is shocking is that the NTSB has gotten away with this, at least to date. This should not happen in America. Please share this with those who care.
Fanofjets From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1965 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1546 times:
I still believe some mechanical malfunction caused the explosion that brought down the TWA jetliner. While there are pathological liars whose sole purpose in life is to cover up others' misdeeds and they exist in every area of human endeavor, and the US government is certainly no exception, I remain highly doubful about a missile, friendly or unfriendly. Some freak, not entirely explained mechanical phenomenon set off a chain of events leading to the explosion. Human beings need to understand that there are some things that cannot be readily explained. As Socrates and Plato stated, man's greatest wisdom lies in the realization of the limits of his intelligence.
My two pennies, anyway.
The aeroplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
TWA717_200 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1516 times:
Otter, I think you took my post the wrong way...I was anxious to hear your opinion because I respect your knowledge and personality. Since I have no A&P knowledge of my own, I cannot intelligently comment on the information that you posted. However, I can see how you might have taken me the wrong way. I should have been more careful with my wording.
HlywdCatft From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5321 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1496 times:
I'm not saying I for sure believe that the NTSB and FBI would cover it up or whether the missile theory is true, I am open minded to it.
But one reason that NTSB and FBI might cover it up was the fact that there were several French passengers on board. In recent years the U.S. and France have had strained relationships whether it was France not allowing our F-111s to overfly them during the Libyan bombing attacks in the 80s and the other recent protests and condemnations by France against the U.S. in our involvement in such incidents such as Kosovo. To get to the point- Perhaps the U.S. government does not want to strain the relationships with France even furthur by saying that several of its citizens were just killed by a U.S. missile.
This can go along the lines of the coverups of Waco, Oklahoma City etc. There are believable facts to both sides.
OO-AOG From Switzerland, joined Dec 2000, 1426 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1490 times:
If ever it was indeed a rocket, we will never know the truth anyway. How do you want that the USA admits that they have, by accident, shoot down a US airliner of a US airline over the US territory and full of US passengers with a US rocket? They would be obliged to face a heavy credibility problem, especially in a period where their army has done a lot of unacceptable accidents.
The fuel tank explosion version is acceptable for everyone, and might be the truth anyway, who knows?
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13190 posts, RR: 77
Reply 11, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1475 times:
The wreck of TWA 800 will form the centrepiece of a school for crash investigation being built on the campus near Washington National, due to open in 2003. Not the actions of an agency involved in a cover-up.
Galaxy5 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 2034 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1436 times:
come on, the experts ( the ones who know a hell of alot more about crash investigation than you or I ) have spoken and there has yet to be any evidence of the plane being brought down by a missle. All this article is is speculation by one more conspiracy theorist with no credibility.
"damn, I didnt know prince could Ball like that" - Charlie Murphy
Notar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1430 times:
Think about it, how many other planes suddenly burst into a fireball a few minutes after takeoff? If it was a missile, which I think it was why would the government cover up?- I don't know. But I do know this, that horrible night TWA flight 800 was flying over military airspace. As many sources list, there was some kind of exercise going on that night likely involving practice of a missile launch.
The US Government has made some pretty wild moves over the years, including that time that they shot down an Iraqi airliner. Why? A simple misjudgment. Why did TWA800 suddenly disapear off the scope the night of July 17, 1996? We will probably never know.
Jtdieffen From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 179 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1427 times:
I'm pretty open minded on issues such as this,where there is a little question as to the truth. I guess my problem with buying the conspiracy theory is that the launching of a missile from any US vessel would have had many (even into the hundreds) of witnesses, who would all need to be kept quiet. I feel that most of those witnesses wouldn't have the rank to take it as seriously as would need to have been done. Someone from that ship would have cracked by now.
Miller22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 717 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1419 times:
You're all a bunch of conspiracy therorists. Occams Razor would say the center fuel tank exploded. Plenty of evidence to back that up, including the differential fume rise rates between Jet A and Jet B fuel. An airliner is a flying bomb. With all of that jet fuel, especially at vapor state, as the center fuel tank was. One spark, and the rest is history. The anomoly is that it hasn't occured before...or since. Thats what Occam's Razor says. Think simple, not a government coverup.
GDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13190 posts, RR: 77
Reply 17, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 1421 times:
The most inexprienced investigating team would be able to tell pretty soon from wreckage if it had been a missile impact, as I said previously, NTSB would not be putting it display if it was a cover-up.
Twotterwrench From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (13 years 1 month 2 days ago) and read 1414 times:
I fully agree that one would have great difficulty in coming up with a reason for the government to cover up the downing of TWA8 00. That's the one weak part of the missle theory argument. However, in looking at the evidence and in some cases, the lack of evidence, it is my humble opinion that that the lack of a reason for a cover up is the ONLY argument against a missle being the cause for the downing of TWA 800.
First - One must look first at the evidence that the government destroyed evidence related to the event. Senior NTSB official Hank Hughes testified before a Senate Committee about the disappearance and destruction of Flight 800 evidence. He testified that FBI agents would remove physical evidence from the Calverton hangar without proper notification (other insiders have reported the same). Hughes testified that in one case FBI agents were caught sneaking into the hangar at 3 am on a Saturday morning. Hughes also testified that
"an agent from the FBI was brought in from Los Angeles [he] had some experience in bomb investigations, and I saw him in the middle of the hangar with a hammer in the process of trying to flatten a piece of wreckage. In investigative work, you do not alter evidence. You take it in its original state and preserve it. But I actually saw this man with a hammer, pounding on a piece of evidence, trying to flatten it out."
Hughes testified further that "contrary to universally accepted forensic procedure" all clothing from Flight 800 passengers -- which could contain traces of explosives -- was co-mingled and stored wet, which allowed mold to grow on the clothes. According to Hughes this "destroyed" any evidentiary value the clothing could have provided. Hughes described the standard protocol for handling clothing as follows:
"Stated procedure for any clothing in a crime scene or other accident site -- and the procedures are basically the same, there is no difference between a crime scene and an accident scene investigation in terms of the handling of evidence -- but wet clothing, whether it is wet by chemicals, body chemicals, blood, or water, salt water in this case, the proper procedure is to air dry the clothing, wrap it in clean butcher paper after it has been photographed, catalogit, and put it away for safekeeping."
Hughes also discovered that seat cushions and seats from Flight 800 that disappeared from the hangar had been dumped in a dumpster. Investigative journalist James Sanders had acquired two tiny samples of Flight 800 seat cushioning from the Calverton hangar that was covered with a red residue containing high concentrations of elements found in missile fuels and explosives. Shortly after Sanders published his findings the cushioning from the residue-covered seats was stripped off the seats and removed from the hangar. Incidentally, James Sanders and his wife are now both in prison; an effective way of silencing an anti-government witness if there ever was one.
Major Frederick Meyer, a New York Air National Guard pilot, was assigned to transport a piece of Flight 800 wreckage from the Calverton hangar to FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. About this special piece of wreakage, Major Meyer would later testify:
"I knew from looking at it that it was the leading edge of some aerofoil -- horizontal stabilizer, rudder, or wing -- and it had punctures in it. We're talking about a piece of aluminum alloy that is very strong and rigid. In this were dimples with holes in the center of the dimple, like something was driven through with incredible force."
Meyer said the holes "were about 3/4 of an inch to one inch in diameter." When asked if the punctures appeared to come from the outside, he replied: "The dimples around each hole indicate that something passed through from the outside to the inside." Penetration from the outside to the inside would be consistent with an external explosion, such as the
explosion a proximity-fused missile warhead would deliver.
Unfortunately the whereabouts of that important evidence is unknown. Robert Davey, a Village Voice reporter, tried to tack it down without success. As he reported in the Village Voice, FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette "says the FBI returned the wing with the suspiciousholes in it to the NTSB investigation in Calverton... However, NTSB director Goelz says he is not aware of any piece from a wing edge with
holes in it."
Additionally, the Flight 800 Independent Researchers Organization (FIRO) has filed a lawsuit against the FBI for its failure to release data in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. The data in question pertains to shrapnel recovered from bodies. The chief medical examiner for the crash, Charles Wetli, had stated that "virtually all of the bodies had shrapnel" and that "FBI agents were here and standing with us while we were doing the autopsies and taking the shrapnel
that we found." What became of that critical evidence? Obviously someone at the FBI knows, but it seems they don't want us to know. FIRO is also suing the NTSB for its refusal to release radar data. The radar data in question shows clearly that in it's final seconds, TWA
800 pitched hard up and rolled right, more evidence that would be considered consistant with a proximity burst missle explosion. Once again, this important evidence is conveniently missing.
In light of the recent mistakes that the FBI has made in extremely important investigations (ie Tim McVeigh), it is not a stretch of the imagination to believe that the events I listed above truly happened. This coupled with the fact that the NTSB has no hard evidence to support the theory of the anomolous spark in the CWT at the very least should make one question the validity of the entire investigation. Unfortuneately, my wife says I am spending too much time on the computer this morning, so for now, I have to go. I will have more to come later.
VirginA340 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 15 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1361 times:
There was no explanation of the light. Atlthough the fuel tanl explosion is quite belivable since it has happened 16 times in all before and after TWA 800; I woun't be surprised if it does turn out to be a missle considering that our government has blow up two pax airliners.
1.Iran air A300
2. Spanair DC-9
The DC-9 bombing wasn't revieled til later. My guess is that there are two causes. The US does not want to strain US-french realations and two the government is not looked upon highly in the case of Waco, Ruby Ridge, Richard Jewel among other cases. ant the second is because the US does not want to pay millions in compensation.
Ilyushin96M From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 2609 posts, RR: 12
Reply 22, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1352 times:
I for one have always believed TWA 800 was downed accidentally during some missile and drone test conducted by the Navy. The question is whether a missile actually detonated near the aircraft while it was in flight, causing its break-up, or whether there was an actual impact between the aircraft and another flying object, namely a target drone. Views of the wreckage show punctures on both sides of the fuselage, indicating that some object entered and exited it on a diagonal course. However, I am certain that if there WAS a friendly fire incident, or TWA 800 was, in fact, brought down accidentally during a Navy test, the government will never come clean about it.
We are left to speculate, and those foolish enough to believe the centre fuel tank of a 747 can actually explode in the manner described in the "conclusion" of the investigation of TWA 800 will continue to believe that. I'll never accept that explanation as truth.
B757300 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 4114 posts, RR: 23
Reply 24, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1345 times:
OMG, Alpha1 and I agree on something.
Also, VirginA340, it wasn’t a Spanair DC-9 that was shot down. In 1980, two U.S. jet fighters were fighting with two Lybian fighters and the Itavia DC-9-15 was accidently shot down. I’m assuming this is what you’re talking about since I can’t find anything about a Spanair DC-9 being shot down by U.S. military forces.
As for the Iranian A300B2 that the Ticonderoga Class Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser U.S.S. Vincennes shot down, you must remember that the Vincennes was also fighting with Iranian gun boats @ the time. When they tried to call to the A300, it did not respond. It would be learned later that the A300's pilot was busy talking to ATC @ the same time the Vincennes was trying to make contact with it. Since the airport it took off from was both civilian and military, it was assumed the aircraft could be hostile. Also, you must remember this was not to long after the U.S.S. Stark was hit by the two Exocet anti-ship missiles fired by an Iraqi fighter. Tensions in the Straits of Hormuz & Persian Gulf were very high and just about all sides had their finger on the trigger. With all of these factors, an accident like that was inevitable.
I would give up trying to convince the nuts out there that it’s a U.S. government conspiracy. These are the people who dominate websites like worldnetdaily.com and freerepublic.com. They see a government agent behind every tree and some probably believe that the X-Files is based on real life.
Eyewitnesses are notorious unreliable. I remember right after USAir 427 crashed how many different stories the eyewitnesses had. One claimed the aircraft was on fire. Another claimed the engines exploded, while still another said the engines "popped" and then stopped running. The last one was my favorite. A young woman claimed the aircraft simply stopped in mid air and fell straight down. Now we all know what happened to the aircraft. It suffered an un-commanded rudder deflection, not engine failure, fire, or a total stall. Still, the eyewitnesses claimed this was the case.
With the exception of the people who saw a "streak of light" in the sky, there is ZERO proof of a missile. What the people saw was an aircraft explode @ a good distance from their position. Now anyone with ½ a brain will tell you that perception can be distorted by distance.
Lets do a little missile picking for a moment. If it was an U.S. Navy ship, we must assume it was either a SM-1 or SM-2 missile. Other Surface to Air missiles (i.e. Sea Sparrow) are usually carried on aircraft carriers, or non front line ships. That would mean the ship must be an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, Spruance class destroyer, or one of the Aegis Guided Missile ships, the Ticonderoga class cruiser or the Arleigh Burke class destroyer.
Oliver Hazard Perry Class Frigate:187-287 Spruance Class Destroyer:270-351 Ticonderoga Class Guided Missile Cruiser:364-387 Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyer:340-380 Nimitz Class Carrier: 6,000+
Now when these ships fire their SM-1 or SM-2 missiles, not only does everyone on the ship know it but if you don't clear our the area of the ship before firing, someone will eat missile exhaust for dinner. Given today’s climate, I don't think the U.S. government could keep that many people quite, even if the person only spoke anonymously. I’ve spoken @ length with a professor @ my university who is an expert in U.S. Naval history as well as most naval weapons. (If anyone needs proof of his credentials, I’ll post a list of books he has written or contributed to.) He is also of the opinion it would not be possible to hide the fact that a U.S. warship fired a missile @ the same time TWA800 crashed. Someone on that ship would figure it out and blow the whistle.
Some people say “Why would an airliner just blow up in midair?”. Well, two other aircraft have blown up for no good reason. A Philippine Airlines 737-300 suffered a center fuel tank explosion in 1990 and on March 3 of this year, a Thai Airways 737-400 also suffered a succumbed to a fate. Despite the fact a bomb seemed likely, no evidence to that fact has been found @ this time.
Until someone comes back with solid proof of a missile, such as fragments from the weapon, this will remain nothing more than a theory put forward by people who will believe anything bad about the U.S. government no matter how far fetched it might be.
DLL10 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 25, posted (13 years 1 month 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1330 times:
Well, there was a military exercise or something going on off the shore of Long Island and TWA 800 was flying lower than usual for whatever reason. Lateron there was a military eyewitness who said that he knew about a missile missing from one of the ships and that he knew it was accidently fired that night. A few weeks later that eyewitness disappeared mysteriously and the military of course denied everything.
For me it is clear that TWA 800 was shot down by the US military accidentally or "just for fun". But of course the NTSB couldn't say that, could they ???????? The whole investigation since 1996 has been nothing but a desperate and unfortunately successful attempt to hide the truth away.
BTW : Can anybody explain how a 747 can fly from JFK to CDG with an empty center tank ?!?!?!?!