TWA 800 - back in the news

Rafterman

Member
I did a search and couldn't find any previous TWA 800 threads, but wanted to throw this one out there because of a new documentary debuting in July which "questions" the official findings of the NTSB investigation. The press release distributed by the documentary's producers has been picked up by numerous news outlets in the past few hours. Here is the CNN version:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/19/us/twa-crash-claim/index.html

This is pretty much what you'll find everywhere as none of these news organizations seem to be interested in actually investigating the group's claims, but rather they're simply regurgitating the press release.

Personally, I have yet to see any evidence that conflicts with the official accident investigation's findings, but I'll watch the documentary next month with an open mind.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's the NTSB report:

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/summary/AAR0003.html

The problem with documentary films is that it's easy to present what looks like a compelling case by just presenting one narrow perspective on a very complex situation. The filmakers claim: "the radar data shows a(n) asymmetric explosion coming out of that plane" and I'm sure they will show something that could have multiple interpretations, but they will present only one, and then combine it with eyewitness recollections to make wat seems like an unassailable case.

Tom Stalcup has been doing this for years. This is his site:
http://flight800.org/

He uses a similar line of reasoning to 9/11 truthers to ensure it's impossible to ever fully debunk his suggestions:

During the investigation, the FBI unlawfully denied the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) access to forensic results and eyewitness interview documents. Without access to evidence and analyses withheld by the FBI, the NTSB's final report is incomplete and its conclusions are in doubt.
Content from External Source
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
The problem with documentary films is that many of them are better described as propaganda films. A good documentary film should perhaps conclude with a good debate by well-informed participants asserting their differing opinions on the subject.

If no clear statements displaying differences of opinion on a subject are shown in a documentary, such as the 'chemtrail' movies, they are 'mockumentaries'.

Call it the Michael Moore syndrome. It's hard not to like his films (and many of us do: "Fahrenheit 9/11" grossed nearly $120 million in the U.S. alone), and yet you don't need to be a right-wing nut to see that he twists his material to suit his perspective.

From the loins of Moore sprang Morgan Spurlock, of the Oscar-nominated "Super Size Me," who decided the best way to expose the malfeasance of the fast-food industry was to eat nowhere but at McDonald's for 30 days and monitor his health deterioration. While we didn't learn much from that movie that serious journalists hadn't objectively reported in far greater detail, it proved to be good for Spurlock. He got his own documentary television show on the FX channel, "30 Days," wherein he (or occasionally someone else) got immersed in an alien culture and lived to tell the tale: surviving on minimum wage, serving time. You get the picture.

Actually, we don't get the picture. In Spurlock's work, and in the work of many contemporary documentarians, we get a picture of the filmmaker's p.o.v. and not much else. That's because this crop of documentarians doesn't seem to believe that shooting real life — what happens without their interference — is sufficiently interesting.

Along the way, a strange thing happens. The filmmakers' hipper-than-thou preachiness (or, in Gore's case, unhipper-than-thou earnestness) makes us inclined to pick fights with them. Before too long we find ourselves arguing against dire predictions about global warming and eating Big Macs while we're doing it. Why? Because even though these movies are labeled "provocative," there used to be another word for this style of film. It also starts with the letter P.

That's not to say that the true-believer "embellishments" in "An Inconvenient Truth" deeply discredit the movie. But if Gore gets his own show on FX, I may start cutting down trees. On the other hand, he could team up with Spurlock and spend 30 days in the White House. From there, he could propagandize with impunity.
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-daum19mar19,0,6820673.column
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
There are some 'documentaries' about the BP spill and oil and fracking (think Gasland) , that I and others have dubbed 'mockumentaries'.

The filmmaker starts with a premise and ONLY shows what supports their premise, even when they know it is wrong. i.e. the 'flaming' tapwater in Gasland. Other residents had told him that they had seen that happen occasionally for years before there was any fracking in the area
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
I have always wondered about this, I remember the night it happened very well. I live almost straight up on the north side of the island from where the plane hit the Atlantic. At the time I was a member of a church in Westhampton Beach. One of my church friends lived in Moriches and he was going out fishing with 2 other friends from the church. They all saw a line heading up into the sky before the explosion.

Here's his quote:
". . . a pencil thin white trail rising like a Grucci fireworks in the
middle of the night sky, until it turned into a big ball of just plain
white. Seconds later, as the ball of light descended, it exploded into
an orange-red fireball."
"[The FBI] said, 'Are you sure you didn't see something going down and not
going up?' I said, 'No....Gosh sakes I ain't that stupid. I ought to be able
to tell if something is going up in the air or going down in the air. No,
and I said I'm not changing my mind about it. I'll stick to that until I
die. I said I saw something going up and I said there was no question in my
mind. I said I'm telling you what I saw."
- Roland Penney, Flight 800 eye-witness; quoted from an interview with Cdr.
William Donaldson presented at the AIM conference, October 18, 1997.

Penney: "There were three or four of us standing on the dock and we saw basically what that women [Suzanne McConnell] had just said. We saw this stream of smoke go up...[and then] it disappeared for about a second and a half...and then we saw a big bright white light....The white light descended down about two seconds I guess and then there was another explosion and then we saw the red flames and we saw the plane break into two pieces."
Penney also testified that the "[stream] was going basically straight up...[and] just a tad off to the west." Without interviewing Penney, the CIA concluded that the object he saw was Flight 800 continuing eastward. But other witness observations matched Penney's, and thus conflicted with the CIA animation.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Lots of people saw a line of fire - a "bright streak" - before the "explosion".......because the aircraft continued to fly after the centre-wing-tank (CWT) "explosion" - but the CWT explosion was not actually the explosion that people saw - what they saw at the end of the trail or streak was the explosions of the wing tanks that still had a great deal of fuel in them when those wings broke up.

the witness statements are discussed in depth in the NTSB report from pages 265-270 - there were 258 witnesses that saw a trail, of which 56 were not consistent with what they thought the a/c had done:

The Witness Group noted that documents pertaining to 38 witnesses described a streak of light ascending vertically, or nearly so, and that these accounts seem to be inconsistent with the accident airplane’s calculated flightpath. The Board recognizes that, in addition to these reports, 18 witnesses reported seeing a streak of light that originated at the surface or from the horizon, which also does not appear to be consistent with the airplane’s calculated flightpath and other known aspects of the accident sequence
Content from External Source
the NTSB went so far as to conduct "missile visibility tests" in 2000 to see what a missile launch would actually look like:

Investigators determined that if witnesses had observed an actual missile attack on TWA flight 800 (beginning about the time that an airborne missile would have become visible to the time that the wreckage from TWA flight 800 fell into the ocean), they would have seen the following: (1) a light (the burning of the missile motor) ascending very rapidly and steeply for about 8 seconds (this rapidly moving light, which would have been visible for at least 12 nm from the launch point, would not descend like a firework or flare); (2) the light disappearing for up to about 7 seconds; (3) upon a missile (or warhead fragment) striking the airplane and igniting the fuel/air vapor in the CWT, another light (flames coming from the CWT), moving considerably slower and more laterally than the first light (although ascending somewhat for a short time), for about 30 seconds; (4) this light descending while simultaneously developing into a fireball falling toward the ocean. It is noteworthy that none of the witness documents included a description of such a scenario.

Therefore, the Safety Board concludes that the witness observations of a streak of light were not related to a missile and that the streak of light reported by most of these witnesses was burning fuel from the accident airplane in crippled flight during some portion of the postexplosion, preimpact breakup sequence. The Board further concludes that the witnesses’ observations of one or more fireballs were of the airplane’s burning wreckage falling toward the ocean.
Content from External Source
 
J

Joe

Guest
Lots of people saw a line of fire - a "bright streak" - before the "explosion".......because the aircraft continued to fly after the centre-wing-tank (CWT) "explosion" - but the CWT explosion was not actually the explosion that people saw - what they saw at the end of the trail or streak was the explosions of the wing tanks that still had a great deal of fuel in them when those wings broke up.

the witness statements are discussed in depth in the NTSB report from pages 265-270 - there were 258 witnesses that saw a trail, of which 56 were not consistent with what they thought the a/c had done:

The Witness Group noted that documents pertaining to 38 witnesses described a streak of light ascending vertically, or nearly so, and that these accounts seem to be inconsistent with the accident airplane’s calculated flightpath. The Board recognizes that, in addition to these reports, 18 witnesses reported seeing a streak of light that originated at the surface or from the horizon, which also does not appear to be consistent with the airplane’s calculated flightpath and other known aspects of the accident sequence
Content from External Source
the NTSB went so far as to conduct "missile visibility tests" in 2000 to see what a missile launch would actually look like:

Investigators determined that if witnesses had observed an actual missile attack on TWA flight 800 (beginning about the time that an airborne missile would have become visible to the time that the wreckage from TWA flight 800 fell into the ocean), they would have seen the following: (1) a light (the burning of the missile motor) ascending very rapidly and steeply for about 8 seconds (this rapidly moving light, which would have been visible for at least 12 nm from the launch point, would not descend like a firework or flare); (2) the light disappearing for up to about 7 seconds; (3) upon a missile (or warhead fragment) striking the airplane and igniting the fuel/air vapor in the CWT, another light (flames coming from the CWT), moving considerably slower and more laterally than the first light (although ascending somewhat for a short time), for about 30 seconds; (4) this light descending while simultaneously developing into a fireball falling toward the ocean. It is noteworthy that none of the witness documents included a description of such a scenario.

Therefore, the Safety Board concludes that the witness observations of a streak of light were not related to a missile and that the streak of light reported by most of these witnesses was burning fuel from the accident airplane in crippled flight during some portion of the postexplosion, preimpact breakup sequence. The Board further concludes that the witnesses’ observations of one or more fireballs were of the airplane’s burning wreckage falling toward the ocean.
Content from External Source
SO MIKE WHAT DO YOU THINK ? Do you buy the original story ? do you think this is just a conspiracy ? Iv always thought that as well as Egypt Air flight 990 was more to the story . along with flight KAL 007
 

Billzilla

Senior Member.
SO MIKE WHAT DO YOU THINK ? Do you buy the original story ? do you think this is just a conspiracy ? Iv always thought that as well as Egypt Air flight 990 was more to the story . along with flight KAL 007

No conspiracy with TWA800. It was 'just' faulty centre wing tank fuel pump wiring and hot fuel & vapours.
EA 990 was the First Ocfficer deciding to end it all and the wanker took a lot of people with him.
KAL was most likely the crew leaving the autopilot in heading mode rather than the INS keeping the aeroplane on track. On the old Delco INS's there was no visible or audible warning if you were too far off track so it was all too easy to wander off and be somewhere totally different to where you thought you were.
 
J

Joe

Guest
No conspiracy with TWA800. It was 'just' faulty centre wing tank fuel pump wiring and hot fuel & vapours.
EA 990 was the First Ocfficer deciding to end it all and the wanker took a lot of people with him.
KAL was most likely the crew leaving the autopilot in heading mode rather than the INS keeping the aeroplane on track. On the old Delco INS's there was no visible or audible warning if you were too far off track so it was all too easy to wander off and be somewhere totally different to where you thought you were.
Only time will tell what really happened with TWA 800 . Wanker ? thats mild to say the least ? :) KAL with Larry Patton MacDonald I have my doubts But I am the Conspiracy guy here .
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
TWA 800 is a CT that I honestly never looked into beyond the Unsolved Mysteries episode that I barely remember. I'll be willing to look at it with an open mind. They have former investigators and such and I'll be willing to hear what they have to say and weigh the presented evidence accordingly as I think we all should try our best to do regardless of personal bias.

As a former CT, I can say that agree with the comments (1) (2) made earlier in this thread regarding most conspiracy documentaries (hence my sig). So yeah, I might be a bit more wary about buying into any more nonsense lol.
 
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AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
Most conspiracy theories usually have some sort of underlying objectives. I'm curious to know what the objective to this one might have been.
 
J

Joe

Guest
That's not what I meant. 9/11 was to expand national securtiy. JFK was a coup d'état to escalate Vietnam. What was the purpose of shooting down flight 800.
I would say it depends who shot it down . Terrorism ? before a election ? VIP on the plane ? The cover-up it self would be bad enough . Ill wait and see what evidence they present . But iv heard from quite a few people that witnessed what looked like a missile . Some conspiracies wind up being true . Some dont and some we will never know .
 

pseacraft

Active Member
The problem I have with the "Secret Missile System" is the simple fact that the test range is on the Best (West) coast. Why cover it up? It would be easier to come out and say that a fire control system interlock failed during a Battle Stations Drill. Like that has never happened before...
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
The most common theory seems to be that it was an accident by the US Navy testing a secret missile system, and they covered it up to avoid exposure and criticism

http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/CRASH/TWA/THEORY.html

I was working that night (air traffic control). The military warning areas were active off the east coast. When we heard about TWA800 all of our first thoughts were "they (the military) let one of them (missiles) get away."
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
One of the things that makes me wonder about the center fuel tank conclusion is the FAA's seemingly lackadaisical urgency to correct the problem.

From CNN (2006):
Ten years after the explosion of TWA Flight 800, the very problem that led to the disaster still has not been fully fixed -- despite a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration that it is "virtually certain to occur" again without additional safeguards. [emphasis mine]
Content from External Source
According to AirNation.net:
The Fuel Tank Flammability Rule requires airlines to retrofit half of its fleet by 2014, and complete the retrofit by 2017. An airline trade group has proposed an extension of those two dates because of the service instruction delay for certain Boeing aircraft. [emphasis mine]
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I don't mean to sound like a conspiracist, but i think it's reasonable to ask, why would the FAA wait 20+ years to correct a problem that blew up a passenger aircraft which they admit is "virtually certain to occur" again?
 

Scorp3j

New Member
I was working at JFK at the time. My company did all the refueling at JFK.. I remember after they found the problem with the Fuel Pump wiring, they had to come up with a fix.. The FAA told our company until further notice, the temporary fix was to keep the Fuel Tanks at least 1/4 full or more on all 747's until the repair was done..A fully loaded 747 holds 40,000 gals of A-1 kero..Some special 747's can go up to 45,000 + gals..
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I don't mean to sound like a conspiracist, but i think it's reasonable to ask, why would the FAA wait 20+ years to correct a problem that blew up a passenger aircraft which they admit is "virtually certain to occur" again?

Because it takes a long time to design a/c and changes to systems for preventing these sorts of things. It might be almost inevitable that it happens again - but that is an open ended statement with no time limit - improvements in maintenance and wiring practices for example have already cut the chances - hence the 238 directives mentioned that have been issued by the FAA on the problem.

From the Airnation link:
http://airnation.net/2012/07/14/faa-fines-boeing-13-million-twa-800/
The FAA expects that most, if not all, operators will meet both the 2014 and 2017 deadlines, even if they received service instructions later than anticipated. The FAA has advised the trade group that the agency is not considering any extensions to the 2017 deadline for completing the fleet retrofit. However, the agency will consider extending the 2014 deadline if necessary, based on the specific circumstances for a particular operator.
Content from External Source
the 2017 deadline is for a DESIGN change - it is not true to say that the FAA has waited 20+ years to "correct" the problem - 238 airworthiness directives have been issued to do that.

The purpose of the design change requirement is to embed the safety improvements into the designs, rather than have them as "add-ons"
 
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AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
I was working at JFK at the time. My company did all the refueling at JFK.. I remember after they found the problem with the Fuel Pump wiring, they had to come up with a fix.. The FAA told our company until further notice, the temporary fix was to keep the Fuel Tanks at least 1/4 full or more on all 747's until the repair was done..A fully loaded 747 holds 40,000 gals of A-1 kero..Some special 747's can go up to 45,000 + gals..

One of the things that makes me wonder about the center fuel tank conclusion is the FAA's seemingly lackadaisical urgency to correct the problem.

From CNN (2006):
Ten years after the explosion of TWA Flight 800, the very problem that led to the disaster still has not been fully fixed -- despite a warning from the Federal Aviation Administration that it is "virtually certain to occur" again without additional safeguards. [emphasis mine]
Content from External Source
According to AirNation.net:
The Fuel Tank Flammability Rule requires airlines to retrofit half of its fleet by 2014, and complete the retrofit by 2017. An airline trade group has proposed an extension of those two dates because of the service instruction delay for certain Boeing aircraft. [emphasis mine]
Content from External Source
I don't mean to sound like a conspiracist, but i think it's reasonable to ask, why would the FAA wait 20+ years to correct a problem that blew up a passenger aircraft which they admit is "virtually certain to occur" again?

http://youtu.be/sB1dUfVfoG4?t=37m20s
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
Here's a really good documentary that seems to do a pretty good job of hearing out both sides.

[video=youtube_share;zwWzRFsrqAE]http://youtu.be/zwWzRFsrqAE[/video]
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
Alot of people and experts make the claim that flight 800 couldn't have claimed approximately 3,000 feet vertically as suggested by the NTSB......

I think what people are missing is that when the nose of the plane fell of, it caused a dramatic shift in weight which would likely result in an abrupt ascension.
Earlier this year, a 747 (Flight 102) crashed immedeatly after an ascension of approximately 1200 feet. It was determined that the crash was due to a cargo shift.
On Jun 2nd 2013 accident investigators by the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of Afghanistan reported in a press conference that quickly shifting cargo, consisting of three armored vehicles and two mine sweepers totalling at 80 tons of weight, caused the accident. The cargo slammed so hard at the back of the aircraft, that parts of the aircraft separated and wiring in the back was severed. As result of the shift and loss of aircraft parts the center of gravity moved so far back, that the attitude of the aircraft could no longer be controlled, the nose of the aircraft rose beyond the flying envelope of the aircraft and the aircraft stalled destroying the aircraft and killing all crew in the resulting impact. Parts of the aircraft, that separated as result of the initial load shift, were recovered from the runway. The straps used to tie down the cargo were recovered from the accident site, although charred they provided evidence of having fractured before final impact, it was unclear however, whether the fracture(s) had happened before or after takeoff.
Content from External Source
​[video=youtube_share;PI7g94D41dI]http://youtu.be/PI7g94D41dI[/video]

I'm not really sure how they arrive at those numbers when they suggest that the plane ascended to their respective heights. 1200ft and 3000ft, But keep in mind that Flight 800 is said to have been traveling at 450MPH (600KPH) before it exploded. Some people think the plane should have crashed immediately as soon as the nose tore off. I find extremely hard to believe that any aircraft would instantaneously lose it's momentum and fall like a rock when traveling at such a speed. A missing nose would affect the aerodynamics, but they still had engines, wings, and momentum from traveling at 450MPH. I would like to know how fast flight 120 was traveling before it crashed for comparison.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
The probably get it from transponder records and/or black box data both of which will be recording the altitude.

And of course in the case of TWA 800 the loss of the nose is also an instant loss of weight, which means the climb rate will be raised dramatically.
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
Just imagine sitting towards the back of the plane and seeing the front fall off and your still flying. Scary thought!
 

Billzilla

Senior Member.
A missing nose would affect the aerodynamics, but they still had engines, wings, and momentum from traveling at 450MPH. I would like to know how fast flight 120 was traveling before it crashed for comparison.

I can't think of a reason why the engines would stop either, and they would have been running at climb power. That, and a much lighter & tail-heavy aeroplane means it'd climb quite quickly. The aerodynamics would be terrible, of course, so it'd run out of speed and then stall.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I was transitioning on to the 767 when the incident happened. It has always intrigued me. It was a black swan event really. A missile strike is possible but I feel that there would be too many eye-witnesses to keep it secret for this amount of time.

Both the 767 and 747 fleets in my airline had to comply with restrictions on use of the CWT's in them; which from memory involved not letting the tanks get empty with fuel pumps still on. It did cause some operational problems at the time till the restrictions were lifted after a couple of years.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I forgot to mention that our latest A330 was delivered with a nitrogen inerting system in the CWT.
 

Billzilla

Senior Member.
I was transitioning on to the 767 when the incident happened. It has always intrigued me. It was a black swan event really. A missile strike is possible but I feel that there would be too many eye-witnesses to keep it secret for this amount of time.

Both the 767 and 747 fleets in my airline had to comply with restrictions on use of the CWT's in them; which from memory involved not letting the tanks get empty with fuel pumps still on. It did cause some operational problems at the time till the restrictions were lifted after a couple of years.

On the 747 Classic I think it was something like 7 tonnes minimum if you needed any CWT fuel, then you could use the main pumps down to about 1.4 tonnes then go to the scavenge pump.
Been a long time, don't quote me on the numbers.
 

Rafterman

Member
Because it takes a long time to design a/c and changes to systems for preventing these sorts of things. It might be almost inevitable that it happens again - but that is an open ended statement with no time limit - improvements in maintenance and wiring practices for example have already cut the chances - hence the 238 directives mentioned that have been issued by the FAA on the problem.

From the Airnation link:

The FAA expects that most, if not all, operators will meet both the 2014 and 2017 deadlines, even if they received service instructions later than anticipated. The FAA has advised the trade group that the agency is not considering any extensions to the 2017 deadline for completing the fleet retrofit. However, the agency will consider extending the 2014 deadline if necessary, based on the specific circumstances for a particular operator.
Content from External Source
the 2017 deadline is for a DESIGN change - it is not true to say that the FAA has waited 20+ years to "correct" the problem - 238 airworthiness directives have been issued to do that.

The purpose of the design change requirement is to embed the safety improvements into the designs, rather than have them as "add-ons"

Thank you for this. I've been involved in the TWA 800 discussion on a couple of other threads and this delay has been presented as "proof" that it was a conspiracy.

Another aspect "proving" the conspiracy is that President Clinton was the one who made the announcement of the crash, which apparently is something that had never happened before or since. To me, however, that makes perfect sense given what was about to kick off in Atlanta two days later and the need to assure folks that it wasn't terrorism.
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
You know there is a certain irony in this. CTs want to dismiss all of the eyewitness accounts regarding 9/11 Pentagon Attack that say it was a plane that hit the building and not a missile as many conspiracy theories suggest. However, in the particular case, CTs are adamantly attached to the eyewitness accounts despite the fact that the vast majority of them never claimed to have seen a missile.
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
Because it takes a long time to design a/c and changes to systems for preventing these sorts of things. It might be almost inevitable that it happens again - but that is an open ended statement with no time limit - improvements in maintenance and wiring practices for example have already cut the chances - hence the 238 directives mentioned that have been issued by the FAA on the problem.

From the Airnation link:

The FAA expects that most, if not all, operators will meet both the 2014 and 2017 deadlines, even if they received service instructions later than anticipated. The FAA has advised the trade group that the agency is not considering any extensions to the 2017 deadline for completing the fleet retrofit. However, the agency will consider extending the 2014 deadline if necessary, based on the specific circumstances for a particular operator.
Content from External Source
the 2017 deadline is for a DESIGN change - it is not true to say that the FAA has waited 20+ years to "correct" the problem - 238 airworthiness directives have been issued to do that.

The purpose of the design change requirement is to embed the safety improvements into the designs, rather than have them as "add-ons"

This is great info. Good to know!:)
 
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