Skip to comments.TWA 800: Pilots speak out
Posted on 05/17/2003 7:23:43 AM PDT by joesnuffy
TWA 800: Pilots speak out
Posted: May 17, 2003 1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
After my most recent trip to Washington last weekend, I have come to one sorry conclusion: The only people who believe that a fuel-tank problem destroyed TWA Flight 800 sit in America's major media newsrooms.
They certainly don't sit in the cockpits of America's airliners. After some 200 radio and TV interviews and a score of live appearances, I have talked to at least 100 airline pilots. Of those, exactly one supported the government thesis.
What follows are some of the unsolicited e-mails I have recently received from pilots and my comments on the same. I have edited them only for length and for spelling. Not all of the pilots agree with James Sanders and me on every point in our book, "First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America," but they uniformly reject the government thesis.
Each of these individuals identified themselves to me. I have chosen, however, to shield their identities lest there be repercussions.
Ex-Air Force combat pilot
I loved the book. I am an ex-Air Force combat pilot, functional check flight pilot and standardization and evaluation pilot. I flew 145 combat missions. From the first announcement of TWA 800 I believed the plane was brought down by a missile. To me the strongest evidence of the government cover-up is the lack of satellite photo releases to back up the claim that there was no missile. No part of the earth is probably more under satellite surveillance than the mid-Atlantic from New York City to Washington, D.C. If the satellite photos backed up the "no missile" theory, the photos would be everywhere.
There are other interesting questions: Why, if it was mechanical failure, was the entire 747 fleet not grounded? While there were corrective mechanical changes, anything this catastrophic would have deserved far more severe reaction. Why has Boeing never protested this conclusion? Anyway, great book.
Retired airline pilot
As a pilot for 33 years, I have flown many of the different Boeing A/C, all with a center tank, many times empty, with the pumps running, and guess what? Nothing happened. Even after the TWA incident when the FAA required checks of the wiring in all Boeing A/C, even when insulation was found missing from wires, even with empty tanks nothing happened.
None of the pilots or maintenance persons I ever talked with believed that tank explosion was caused by faulty wiring shorting out because the pumps were on with an empty tank.
Retired TWA Pilot and Accident Investigator
The item "Probe's conclusion built on faked interview" is flawed, as is the NTSB conclusions it tries to refute.
First of all, there were not 736 witnesses who saw the missile. There were 736 witness's to the explosion, but only a small fraction, something like 80 or so, saw a streak of some sort. The majority saw no such streak.
Of those who saw the streak, some said it went straight up, a few said it went down from the aircraft, others saw more than one streak, streaks were from several directions. Wire's missile was climbing at a 40 degree angle, etc.
Assuming this "missile" was a heat seeker such as the Stinger which we gave to bin Laden, it would have homed in on the hottest part of the target, the nearest tailpipe, not the fuselage. The aircraft was under climb thrust and putting out a lot of heat.
I don't know what to make of the 3,000 degree climb of the wreckage. The "video" shown alongside this article shows all four engines leaving contrails. At 13,000 degree? Ridiculous.
I don't believe the NTSB conclusions. Of 1,108 B-747s built, only one experienced this problem? Hardly. I think it was a bomb.
When the wreckage of TWA 800 was raised from the bottom and placed on a barge, I noticed the nose section was blown cleanly off. I went around and searched for the wreckage of PAA 103 at Lockerbie. The nose was blown off at the same frame!
PAA was brought down by a bomb. I think that's what happened to TWA 800. BTW, the aircraft was the same one I flew for my ATP rating in September 1972. I knew many of the crew who perished.
Note: Of the 700-plus eyewitnesses that the FBI interviewed, some 270 (FBI's figure) saw streaks of lights ascending or arcing over before the crash. Roughly one-third of those followed the streaks from the horizon. There were many more eyewitnesses who did not share their accounts with the FBI. We too believe it was a bomb, a flying bomb that was exploded somewhere under the plane.
Retired TWA pilot, senior Air Line Pilots Association investigator
Sometime in the late '80s, I was on a flight between JFK and Tel Aviv (TLV). The airplane was a 747-200. During the initial climb out from JFK, a strange rattling and metal-to-metal noise began to emanate from the throttle quadrant.
We ignored the noises as a nuisance and since everything else was normal continued on our way. At about 23,000 feet airplane altitude, the FE announced that he cannot control the cabin.
[Later] the FE announces, "I have a Differential Fault" on generator number 3. ... Not more than 30 seconds elapsed from the GenDiff announcement by the FE when he announces that he now has a GenDiff on generator number 4! We not only have the Virgin Mary in first class but Jesus Christ and the 12 Apostles just showed up.
That did it; we declared an emergency, made a 180 degree turn and headed back to JFK. We were just past Nantucket Island heading for Yarmouth in the Canadian Maritimes when we made the turn and dumped about 160,000 pounds of fuel (the natives of Nantucket can thank our crew for having never sighted a mosquito since that day).
... So we had two 85KVA capable generators, running at about half load, dead short against the wing spar. 170KA is equivalent to 1,700 100-watt bulbs; with four generators online, each was running at about one-half load when the first GenDiff occurred and three-quarters when the second went off. The spar also serves as the front portion of the wing fuel tanks which had much fuel and air.
So after F800, I always asked the question if a dead short electrical arc of considerable power on a fuel tank did not cause us to blow up, how did static electricity cause the [center wing tank] to go off in F800?
All of the above can be quantified with crew names, airplane number and log book write-ups if necessary. I truly don't know the consequence of a dead short on an airframe. All I know is that I have five crew members who witnessed it.
PS: After the shoddy investigation by the NTSB on TWA F840 in 1979, I never had much respect for the outfit.
PPS: I just finished the book great job. Thanks on behalf of those friends I lost.
Note: This has been shortened considerably. The pilot's point, however, is clear.
TWA pilot scheduled to fly Flight 800 on July 17
I commend you for the excellent series of articles . I do hope the prosecutions proceed. There is nothing worse than corruption in our government.
My interest in this is that I should have been the captain of 800 that day. Management used its prerogatives and took the flight for training purposes. I lost many friends and associates on that flight. I had flown that aircraft No. 119 only several days prior to the shoot down. Justice over due. Let the trials begin!
Retired airline pilot
I am totally convinced that an outside source blew up TWA 800. In fact I went live on Fox TV on their 10 p.m. newscast that night and stated that fact. (I am their in-house spokesperson for aviation matters.) We can muster up a number of pilots with thousands of hours and years and years of experience to augment and support your theory. Please contact me if you are interested in us pursuing this any further.
Note: Yes, we are. Our best bet for genuine exposure at this time is for America's pilots to force the issue. If some pilot or pilot's organization is willing to take the lead, we are more than willing to help.
Price slashed on "First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America"! New book by Jack Cashill and James Sanders says government lies upped drama ante for terrorists. From WND Books, available in ShopNetDaily.
Purchase Jack Cashill's stunning documentary video, "Silenced: Flight 800 and the Subversion of Justice" from WorldNetDaily's online store.
"Altered Evidence" from Flight 800 How the Justice Department framed a journalist and his wife. Also available from WorldNetDaily's online store!
What altitude was the plane at and what was its airspeed?
The American Stinger missile and the Soviet equivalent, the SA-7. The Stinger has a maximum range of 8000 meters and a ceiling of 10,000 feet. The SA-7 has a maximum range of 4500 meters and a 3000 meter ceiling. The Stinger's warhead is 6.6 pounds. These missiles are designed to take out low flying helicopters, not really high flying jumbo jets.
I would think that something like a jumbo jet would need to be a Standard SM-2 or SM-3 missile from a US Navy ship. Perhaps any former US Army Freepers who know more about the Stinger would be able to post as to whether or not a Stinger could have taken down a jumbo jet at altitude.
I asked him about this once.
He stated that if fuel was in the center tank and making the aircraft unbalanced, thus requiring it to be pumped to the wing tanks, the warning buzzer and light would have gone off within 100 feet of take off if not when the front landing gear left the runway.
If the warning buzzer and light did come one when they were supposed to have, why would the pilot wait several minutes and several thousand feet to start the pumps to remove the fuel.
As my father said, the damn buzzers are annoying and you would want to correct the problem ASAP, not wait.
Nope. They will not - they would have to be sane & rational, which then precludes them from being liberal.
Bill Clinton refused to recognize terrorism while smoozing with Arafat, watching golf or dallying with interns in the Oval Office, OBL was gathering steam and getting ready to do what eventually happened on 9/11. Bill Clinton was an utter failure as a president and as an American. He governed by polls and appeasement, never by decision of what was best for America unless he was wagging the dog over one of his many scandals. And that flag burning, womanizing, lying SOB is still at it today trying to drub out the most decent, respectable leader, President Bush, with more of his childish out and out lies. Democrats, beware, you are being led by one who by his actions, is determined to bring you down along with your country. Bill Clinton doesnt like America or anything she stands for. He wants to be Secretary General of the United Nations, a rogue organization that, like Clinton, lives and thrives on other peoples money and woes. IMHO flight 800 was due to terrorism.
It was at 13,000 ft, doing about 300 knots in a shallow climb, when it came apart.
Nope. After all, the femi-nazis love the bum even though they know he has committed numerous rapes and sundry sexual assaults.
Seen from below, it would resemble a missile strike - mostly because the eyes would record the incoming trail, without being able to fully analyze the trajectory.
I know from experience meteorites occasionally hit the earth with substantial mass still intact. The results can be mind-boggling !
In 1950, I was riding in the back of a truck near Kingston, New York ( Catskill region ), when I saw a brief "plunging flash", followed by a greenish "fireball" that lit up the northern sky, and that looked like a nuclear blast. ( Months later,when the US conducted the hydrogen bomb tests at Eniwietok , published photos showed the same greenish glow.)
The explanation was given out as a meteorite fall, in the northernmost bays of Canada - (though most of the thousands who called police and emergency services that night were convinced it was some sort of huge bomb. )
I raise this story only as one of the possibilities-even though the comments by experienced airline pilots suggest strongly there might have been an on-board bomb. ( How about a miniaturized thermobaric bomb ? )
Senator Kerry made the same comment right after 911. It "slipped" out only once.
Would it be possible to rig up a Stinger so it could be fired from a small private plane, flying at, say, 10,000 feet?
I am sure there would be problems in this: how to set it up so the missile could be fired without damaging the aircraft or setting it on fire, how to aim the stinger, etc. I'm not sure those are insurmountable problems, if a group of terrorists have enought time and money and expertise to work them out in advance.
I could see several advantages to such a scheme:
1) The big one, obviously, is increasing the effective range of the Stinger. This is the only scenario I can think of that could get a Stinger up to TWA 800s height.
2) Being up in the air and out over the ocean, the risk of detection is obviously considerably reduced.
3) Perhaps a system could even have been worked out to jettison the Stinger gear and dump it in the ocean -- well away from the TWA crash site -- prior for coming in for a landing.
There are probably problems with this hypothesis. But no more than is the case with many other hypotheses that have been advanced -- including the "official" center tank explosion hypothesis.
Here's how I describe this scenario:
1. An LD3 container (the main type of cargo container used on passenger 747's) is holding a number of passenger luggage bags and is placed very close to the suspect fuel tank.
2. Inside one of the luggage bags in that container is a consumer electronic device (likely stereo boombox or laptop computer) with a shorting battery.
3. The battery in suspect consumer device explodes spectacularly from the short (which can happen due to the explosive and toxic nature of modern battery materials) and sends sparks and shockwaves away from the container towards the suspect fuel tank.
4. As the sparks and shockwave puncture the fuel tank, it ignites the fumes inside the tank like a fuel-air explosive bomb with great force.
5. The force of the explosion is strong enough to rip the fuselage in two as described by the official FAA/NTSB report.
The reason why I mentioned this scenario is that a few days ago a United Airlines airliner that was supposed to fly from San Francisco to Hawaii suffered an unusual explosion inside the cargo hold during passenger loading and injured a ground worker. It was later determined that the explosion was caused by a battery in an electronic device exploding, mostly likely due to it shorting out.
You gotta be kidding!
Hundreds on witnesses on LI saw a missile rise from the horizon to strike the plane. Triangulation of their reports consistently leads to a spot or two a few miles south of Long Island. These reports are totally inconsistent with a meteor strike.
That was actually one of the theories the investigators looked at. The problem with it was that the breakup sequence and damage clearly shows the breakup started in the CWFT. But there is absolutely no path that a meteorite could have followed to penetrate the tank. To clarify: Imagine the tank as a box, inside a larger box that is the skin of the plane. Both boxes are in pieces, but investigators put them together. When they do, there is no straight path for a projectile such as a meteorite to follow into the tank. Anti-aircraft missiles kill by fragmentation, so if the tank blew up it must have been compromised from outside, if a missile OR a meteorite did it. But it didn't (it's trivial to tell whether a piece of metal was damaged by a projectile going in or a fuel/air blast going out). You can't get here from there. I guarantee Cashill doesn't mention that little fact in his book -- none of the conspiracy nutballs do. When confronted with physical evidence, which is still in existence, that renders their theory impossible, they start raving that the evidence was faked, or that the guy pointing out the evidence is an agent of ZOG, or something.
An SA-7 or Chinese HN-5 could not have overtaken the plane from the ground, and has to be locked on and fired from the rear aspect. The more sensitive stinger can be fired from ahead, but would still be at the very limit of its range (or beyond). FYI the Afghan mujahideen always trained to fire stingers in volleys, because one isn't that reliable. As another poster pointed out, it's a means for infantry to defend against low-flying ground attack aircraft. Missiles that hit planes at 13,000 feet are BIG.
45 Psi differential would be all it would take for the tank to fail, and a spark and residual Jet A fumes would do that. There have been two other Boeings go bang (one before 800, one after) on the ground. If the tank failed, it would fail up into the cabin, rather than down (the skin below is stronger than the floor above, to oversimplify).
Like all these guys, Cashill starts with a conclusion and then marshals only the "evidence" that supports it. If you are going to read his book, also read the official NTSB file and see how selective he has been in picking stuff that supports his idea and discarding facts that don't fit. "If the results don't match you theory, the scientist changes the theory. The hack changes the results".
I've read all this stuff, which you can also get on a CD-ROM: it's a mountain of .pdf files. It includes, for instance, the witness reports, and a lot of investigation into the missile possibility. Conclusion: it can't be possible. Missile fragments don't hyperspace through a/c structure without leaving evidence. Bombs don't go off without evidence, either.
By the way, NTSB does review its work, recently they changed the probable cause of a Colorado Springs 737 accident as they discovered a flaw in 737 rudder actuators that was very, very rare. See, we have designed out most of the things that cause planes to crash... so when a crash is caused by something mechanical these days, it's naturally a rare event caused by a bizarre chain of coincidences. (AA 587 is looking even weirder than TWA 800).
Finally, who would benefit from downing TWA 800, how, and how does this fit their usual MO? And, if it was the "Navy Mistake" that the gummint-haters on the extremist right and military-haters on the extremist left imagine it to be, how does a whole ship, or task force, maintain a cover-up? Also... the Navy has laid some pretty big eggs in the past (sinking the Japanese ship... shooting down the Iranian Airbus...) and what happened in those cases? The Navy came clean, and hammered the individuals responsible.
As you can see, I'm very skeptical of Cashill and the other agenda-driven conspiracy merchants. He has a handful of "my cousin's neighbor's a pilot and says you rule, dood" testimonials but the credentials of the people who participated in the investigation -- including the engineers that designed and built the plane and its motors and equipment -- are unimpeachable. To believe that they are participating in a coverup (a metallurgist? Who doesn't even know what the significance of his report to the overall investigation is? Come on!) requires a zealot's commitment to believe an a priori conclusion.
Oh, yeah, if it's a big conspiracy all those people in theinvestigation (most of the folks involved are not NTSB or government employees, too) are in on it, too.
Criminal Number 18F