's Forum Archives - Non-Cycling Discussions

Archive Home >> Non-Cycling Discussions(1 2 3 4 )

Anyone reconsidering TWA Flight 800?(27 posts)

Anyone reconsidering TWA Flight 800?jose_Tex_mex
Dec 3, 2002 2:42 PM
I don't know about you. However, I for one never fully excepted the explanation given for the "crash" of TWA flight 800. Here's a few points which have led me to believe this flight met with foul play.

1) Numerous credible eyewitnesses who said they saw the streak/contrails of a missile going upward prior to the explosion.

2) The fact that the NTSB and crash investigators would not let the French help in a recovery effort in any way.

3) The actions of the USAF in the weeks after. Those of you around the east coast may remember several instances of the USAF setting of the collision avoidance systems in passenger aircraft. That is, they were traveling alongside planes - why?

4) It has been said (I have only heard this and have yet to confirm) that TWA 800 bound for France actually got pushed ahead in the flight schedule while on the runway - a last minute thing. Who was supposed to be leaving at that time -as Israeli airliner.
not memohair_chair
Dec 3, 2002 3:35 PM
Why did no organization ever take credit for it? When has a terrorist organization been shy about taking credit?

Why would the US need or want French help? Have the French ever allowed another nation to help in recovery in French waters?

How many people have ever seen the streak/contrails of an anti-aircraft missile? How many of those people live on Long Island Sound?

Considering the on-time performance of airlines, is it really realistic that a terrorist would shoot an aircraft at a pre-determined time and assume it was the one he was looking for? No verification was done of the markings?
Gave it a moment's thought...but did we shoot down Flight 93?retro
Dec 3, 2002 4:27 PM
I don't really believe flight 800 was bombed or shot down, for one reason because I can't figure out why the government would hide that from us. The reaction to known terrorist attacks has been fast and furious, so why cover up that one incident?
The thing I'm not absolutely convinced about, though, is the crash of that plane (was it flight 93?) in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. Given the circumstances, I'd have no objection to the Air Force shooting it down to prevent a possible crash into a crowded area--but I think a lot of people WOULD object, and it's politically better to paint the passengers as tragic heroes than to say they were blasted by our own planes. I really don't believe that DID happen, but I believe it COULD have.
modern mythsmohair_chair
Dec 4, 2002 7:46 AM
I have always been skeptical of the flight 93 story, but not enough to completely doubt it. It seemed too perfect to me.

When I first heard about what the passengers supposedly did, including direct quotes ("Let's roll"), the first thing I thought of was the Columbine massacre. Remember all the myths that came out of that? The best one was that the killers asked a girl if she believed in God, she said yes, then they killed her. Her mom even wrote a book about it: "She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall." Problem was, it didn't happen, certainly not to her, and probably not at all according to survivors who were there.

There are a lot of questions about flight 93 that arise because the government refuses to release the cockpit recordings. Some of the relatives of the victims heard the recordings, except for the final three minutes, which the FBI would not explain. You have to wonder about stuff like that. It's not much of a stretch to assume that the FBI is covering something up. Maybe it's that the passengers had nothing to do with the crash and the pilots were inept, but that would destroy the heroism story. Maybe it's that the plane was shot down. Who knows?
modern mythssn69
Dec 4, 2002 8:27 AM
Compelling thoughts, but the shoot-down theory doesn't hold much augua. The fragmentation pattern and debris field doesn't suggest and in-air break up, which a continuous rod warhead from an AIM-9 Sidewinder would cause. The crash was a high angle terrain impact, suggesting that the aircraft was in an extreme nose-down attitude.

What I think is most likely is that the fight progressed into the cockpit, where the terrorist/pilot either chopped fuel to the motors during the melee, or the combantants dog-piled onto the pilot/controls, forcing the aircraft to depart controlled flight.
Time for the military guy again....sn69
Dec 3, 2002 5:10 PM
TWA 800 crashed because of the reasons listed, specifically that a chafed wire bundle arced inside an empty main fuel tank, igniting the residual fumes inside. The structural "spine" of the aircraft was severed, the nose section sheared off at a major structural stress point, ignited fuel trailed down behind it from the other ruptured cells, and the remaining fuselage briefly lifted upward as ram air filled the cavity in excess of 500 mph and the CG shifted aft dramatically. It only takes seconds for those events to occur, and from a distance in the twighlight haze of dusk, that could look like any number of things. The delayed "bang" that witnesses reported was simple physics--it took a while for the sound of the explosion to reach the shore.

Now, that said, this sort of malfunction has occurred before and always with the same catastophic results. BUT, it has typically only manifested itself in military aircraft, where chafing is often the result of high g maneuvering or of the excessive vibrations of high-powered military helicopters.

Pierre Salinger's US Navy SM-2 missile theory? Stupid, amateurish conspiracy theorism, plain and simple. First, the nearest missile shooting ship, a Ticonderoga class cruiser, was over 250 NM away. The SM-2 ER Block 3 missles that class is armed with cannot engage a target that far. Second, at well over $1 million a missile, these are not throw-away consumable items like bullets or artillery rounds. They are all inventoried and accounted for on a regular basis, not only for safety/security, but also for preventative maintenance cycles.

A shoulder-fired infrared SAM (called a "manpad") like the SA-7s that were fired at the El Al flight? Nope. The aircraft was too far away to engage with a weapon that has a reasonable, unclassified kinetic envelope of about 3 nm. Additionally, early generation manpads are extremely difficult to use, even by trained/skilled operators. They require the shooter to aquire the target visually, "dead eye" the missile's seeker onto the target, aquire the target's hot spot with the seeker head, super-elevate the launch tube, and then fire. ...And that doesn't guarantee that the missile will hit. First and second generation manpads have lousy engagement envelopes (even the early Stingers), and it's almost impossible that one would track that far into the relatively cold high-bypass turbofans of a 747. Hell, three of them couldn't get a 757 at close range....

Why didn't we want the French to "help?" That question answers itself if you think about it.

Why the military aircraft in close proximity to other civilian aircraft shortly afterwards? We do it all the time. Air intercept is a difficult task with complex geometries and technical nuances that I won't explain here. The ANG has always been tasked with continental air defense and passive intercepts. Often, aircraft entering our airspace do so without ATC's certainty, prompting an "unknown rider" call and possible intercept. ...And the airliner never knows because ATC realizes their mistake quickly. Also, the ANG has to practice somehow, so they do it by joining on other aircraft under ATC's (NOT the Air Force's) direction. No, they aren't armed, and no, they don't come dangerously close. TCAS systems go off with standardized calls when another aircraft is within 1-3 NM...that's well within the safety/comfort zone.

A little information combined with imagination can lead us all down the wrong road on occassion. I hope this allays your fears.
Well....Eager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 1:29 AM
that's their bonfire well and truely pissed on :-)
Dec 4, 2002 5:51 AM
...although I wasn't trying to urinate on anyone. Truth be told, there have been some marvelously fantastic conspiracies over the past 50 years that have yielded some remarkable results. The code breaking work on the U-boat at Fletchley (sp?) Park and the entire first generation stealth project come to mind. But, in terms of evil, wicked conspiracies, there simply aren't that many in existance.

In my former assignments I flew combat search and rescue/special warfare support helos. The aircraft were painted dark gray and we flew terrain following routes for training in rural areas, on moonless nights, with all of our lights off. We made single-ship and section landings at unprepaired LZs throughout the desert southwest of the US. And, yes, I took great delight in unexpectedly buzzing the trailer-homes of idiot survivalists in the wee hours of the morning. In short, I was the fabled "black helicopters" of the secret UN army that the right wing conspiracy goons would have us believe in. Truth? Just a bunch of Navy pilots training for the unthinkable and also having a bit of fun. Most conspiracies are like that...there's a little bit of truth mixed with a lot of partially educated conjecture and seasoned with a small pinch of fear. It's likely that there are saucer shaped aircraft flying from Nevada's desert, but they are almost certainly new aircraft designs (5th generation stealth perhaps). They are not aliens.

...But, I can assure you that Elvis is alive and well, thankyouverymuch!

Hey Scott....PaulCL
Dec 4, 2002 6:24 AM
...who cares about Elvis...I saw him riding a recumbent last week in rural Kentucky. Loves his good bourbon...

But, how about the "men in black" that's gotta be true. I know there's aliens around us...heck, I once took a good, and I mean good, look at my mother in law. She's definitely from outer space. I'm just waitin for Will Smith to pop out from around the Christmas tree anyday now...

Seriously. Most conspiracy theories are fun to think about, but rarely true. Call me a skeptic. Call me a realist. Thanks for all of the clarification. Paul
Now, the Men In Black are realsn69
Dec 4, 2002 6:36 AM
...and they ain't from Hollywood. I too enjoy conspiracy theories, particularly alien abduction stuff (yes, I've been watching "Taken" on SciFi). I'm fascinated by "the facility" north of Vegas and the strange aircraft that fly there. I'm not much of a crop circle fanatic, but I find certain aspects of the alien abduction cult/syndrome/phenomena fascinating.

Ironically enough, my wife current works for the real Men In Black. She's a molecular biologist (50 pound brain combined with a very girlish, very SoCal attitude--she's a hoot), and she's currently working on a project for DARPA. Those are the creepy people that DOD regards with suspicion.

Elvis is a 'bent guy?! Whodathunkit?! I always figured him for either a banana seat/handlebar streamer cat or a funny bike dude. learn something new every day.
It wasEager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 6:37 AM
Bletchley Park, where we won the war by strutting around covered in tweed and hair oil, smoking pipes 19/12 until the jolly awful beastly Hun (who didn't play cricket) got what was jolly well coming to them.

What a riot - I would have found it impossible to resist that too. Must have been tempting to drop dollups of glow-in-the-dark Silly Putty etc to add to the effect.

Any light to shead on Roswell?
It wassn69
Dec 4, 2002 6:54 AM
Hysterical! I love it. JRR Tolkien and his clones won the war! At my last squadron we used to shit on our FRG Navy exchange guy (callsign "Fritz the Kraut") all the time. When he complained about his callsign, we suggested the alternative--Adolf. He opted for the first and bought another round at the bar. If only we had a Jap to pick on too. Then, combined with Nigel the Grumpy Limey Bastard (our RN guy), we could have all shit on the French together.

Yup, my crewmen used to delight in cracking open chem lights and sprinkling the chem-goo on the trailers. There were a couple wackos, however, that we avoided--they would often laze us, which can blind a person on NVGs. We'd simply report them to the FBI who would visit them the next day. Assault on a Federal Officer is a serious offense, you know.

Roswell? Nope. I've been there, though, for a yearly air warfare exercise. Aside from the various UFO museums in town (including my personal fav, the UFO Enigma Museum), there isn't much there except dust, brown recluse spiders and a bunch of Sonic drive-ins. I even flew with the GPS coords of the crash site one day to take a look from the air--it was a big let-down. The only real activity we saw was from the Army berthing area. The Air Farce stayed at Holloman AFB. The Navy and Marines stayed in the various motels in town. The Army berthed their folks in the old air field hangers (in cots). Tragically, a small number of them contracted hanta virus from the rat crap on the floor. Two of them later died from congestive heart failure. I'm not making this stuff up, either. That sucked.

What happened in '47? Was it Project Mogul? Who knows? I'm more intrigued by the spooky stuff flying north of Vegas. Perhaps it was a crashed war-trophy Nazi/Miete flying disc being prototyped in Roswell. Perhaps it was a Mogul balloon (don't forget, we had stupid test pilots doing silly shit like parachuting from sub-orbital balloons back then). Perhaps it was a crashed saucer from Planet Claire. Dunno....

"Jolly awful beastly Hun who didn't play cricket." I love it!
Rat-crap?Eager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 7:11 AM
If we'd have been there a cup of that would have been traded for at least 4 normal 24 hour ration packs.

Ahhh, Le Frogs. Just reminded me of when our whole JHQ nearly got a collective hernia when a Corps de L'air pilot (called Yvres - huge moustache) failed to clear the top of a 5 bar gate on take off with this Alouiette and planted it bubble down in a bog the other side, before sinking to his waist trying to walk away on exercise in Belgium. Golden days!

Saw a fansatic Russinan video of some infanteers trying a new low-level deployment technique over the Steppes somewhere. Basically, each man was in the middle of one of those big round hay-bales, which they then pushed out the back of a Hurc-type thing at about 20' AGL and 200kts. The project did not, apparently, come to furition.

Actually, there was a bit on the wireless here this morning about the Defence Ministry hushing up some UFO sightings from the early 80s somewhere over the UK. I'll see if I can find a link.

Miete flying disc??
Here ya goEager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 7:20 AM

better linkEager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 7:27 AM
History always repeatssn69
Dec 4, 2002 7:30 AM
And I'm not quoting the "Split Endz" song, either. The Soviets tried a similar tactic during their botched invasion of Finland during WWII. They tried jumping men from aircraft at stall speed into the snow in the hopes that most would emerge in-tact and ready to fight. What they didn't count on was the Fins painting the hills, valleys and crags with white paint. Splat!

I know some of the details on those sightings. Again, please forgive me because I'm sure I'll butcher the name (I've always been a PACFLT guy, and I've never deployed to the UK or Europe).... There were a series of documented sightings by USAF personnel at Barscomb Down in the 80s, complete with videography, audio recordings from the Security Police detachments involved and photography. There have also been a number of unsubstantiated photographs of wedge shaped aircraft flying from bases in Scotland. Some are easily recongizable as F-117s, while others remain a mystery, assuming the photos are real (big assumption). There are numerous conflicted theories that these could be a number of experimental stealth aircraft from the early 90s, including commonly referred to aircraft like Aurora, Tier 3, Black Manta, etc. Again, no formal records exist that substantiate the existance of these airplanes.

Rumor and conjecture suggest that Miete's discs were, along with some other experimental cutting edge aircraft, captured at the end of the war and brought to the US for test and eval. Some were relatively pedestrian by way of comparison--ME 262s and V-2 rockets. Others were more exotic like some early flying wing designs that lead to Northrop's attempts at various configurations eventually evolving into the B-2. Others are only rumored to exist, but with some credibility. Miete's disks are one of those projects. I've always heard/read that 5 discs were captured in-tact. The aircraft are/were supposed to be a varition in aerodynamic design to explore radar masking, high speed flight, etc.... Also, there was a single stage to orbit project that I've heard referred to as the Saenger Brent Spaceplane. That too, supposedly lived on for a while after the war. ...If you believe any of this rubbish....
YeahEager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 7:40 AM
It's Boscombe Down, Wiltshire - home of the Empire Test Pilot's School. I used to fly from Middle Wallop, which is just next door. You always get a lot of reports around there, as there's always exotica being flown in for testing and demonstration/evaulation. You also get a lot of foreign pilots in fast jets with a sketchy understanding of ATC procedures, which is "intersting" for the rotary fraternity.

I love civilians and their descriptions of aircraft. It's neatly summed up by my wife, who on trying to describe a helicopter she had seen, said "it looked a bit like a comma". Actually, she was describing a Puma, so I can see what she means, but it's not a lot to go on as a sighting report in broad daylight at a range of about 1km. Take a few beers, some dark, a bit of astigmatism, and there you have about 90% of reports.

Fascinating stuff re the discs - I'm gonna look that up.

Ahh - those cunning Fins. Fin end of the wedge...
The "pointy nose" types are often of that ilksn69
Dec 4, 2002 8:22 AM
Rules are meant for those of us who beat the air into submission apparently (although I will reluctantly admit that I've returned to the land of stiff winged flight).

A commah. That is, by far, one of the funniest descriptions I've ever heard. My wife and I have a close friend who flew H-60s with me and recently left the Navy to fly HH-60J Jayhawks for the Puddle Pirates--the USCG. My missus described the Jayhawk as looking like a great big coy fish. I liked that too...and she was sober even.

I might have spelled Meite wrong. There might be an "r" in there somewhere--damn Krauts and their goofy spelling. I'll see if I can find some of the web resources that reference it as well. In the meantime, run a search for UFOMind, Bluefire and Blackbird. That will take you to some good sites. I think the Bluefire sight is great; unfortunately, it's been static for a few years.
Meier craft, I think. nmOldEdScott
Dec 4, 2002 10:53 AM
Here's a rather fanciful linksn69
Dec 4, 2002 12:51 PM

The Meier stuff is based on several supposed sightings that have largely been discredited, the most dubious/famous of which is in the poster on the wall behind Mulder's desk in the "X-files."

My link takes you to some of the supposed Nazi disc information, although I've often read some other names associated with the project. Also, during their "if we can dream it, we'll build it period" towards the end of the war, the Nazis also developed a blended, disc-like fuselage lifting body that I've seen photos of at the Smithsonian. It was picked apart by our scientist, becoming the Flapjack (formal designation eludes me at present) in US service and the AVRO Aircar in Canada. Neither one was particularly successful.

I've heard other rumors and hints of Miethe's (or whomever's) work, specifically the discs. Specifically, I've heard severl different references to 5 aircraft that were "procured" at the end of the war and transported back to the US where they were supposedly flown in various configurations through the 1980s.

Again, I'm not saying I believe or disbelieve. I find the story/mythology intriguing. ...That, and I'm a geek.

Quite chuckles...jose_Tex_mex
Dec 15, 2002 9:49 PM
Hey Scott,
Read your reply and had some time - work has been hectic. It's amazing how much time some of the people have during "work."

Anyhow, I agree with much of what you have said. However, I do not share your conclusions. I do appreciate your insight which I found well thought out. I am not trying to get in to a "pissing" match with you. As I always say, when you do so, everyone leaves with wet pants...

First, you list "THE" reason why the plane crashed. No, it is not the single reason the plane crashed but a theory like many others. CDR William S Donaldson USN retired crash investigator wrote that what the NTSB and yourself have concluded is wrong. I am not an expert and I doubt if you are. Point being, even the experts disagree.

Now suppose the hundreds of people (remember the newpaper article?) who claim to have seen a streak of light going up were right - just suppose. What should the gov't do? Say, hey everyone, there's scumbags out there with missiles and we cannot do a thing about it. What would have been the ramifications economically? How many jobs would have gone away the very next day? Gov't is not about doing the morally pure thing but the best thing - agree?

You also appear to believe that terrorists do not have the capability required to take down an airliner. Now c'mon. You know as well as I do there are plenty of stingers still missing that we gave the Afghans and even more Red Eye's that we don't even know about. I hope you don't believe in that dead battery theory either for the Stingers. Let's face it, they have them and after 9/11 can you doubt they will use them.

Finally, as for the ANG ghosting aircraft all the time I disagree. Perhaps, today, however, back then? In fact I remember the brass going out of their way to allay public fears that it was anything but an anomoly that the military jets were nearby. They absolutely did not say this was standard CONOPS. I do think it is ironic that what appears to be our CONOPS post 9/11 was being followed shortly after TWA flight 800.

As for not taking claim, I am sure hundreds of people took claim.

As for the French, IF there was any foul play it would be best to keep the investigation in house - don't you agree?

I suppose it is a matter of in whom you place your faith and trust. I trust my fellow Americans and find it hard to believe hundreds of people saw the same exact wrong thing. I also trust my gov't will do the right thing when confronted with certain dilemnas. Your average American does not have a need to know all of the bad things that might happen tomorrow. Just tuck them in to bed and give them a good night kiss - there's no such thing as the boogeyman.

As for Black Helicopters, if indeed, you should know that truth is stranger than fiction when you are cleared for weird ;-) Tell me you have never quitely chuckled when you heard the official explanation. Tell me you have never wondered - who would buy that?

Boogeyman??Eager Beagle
Dec 16, 2002 7:18 AM
Dances people to death? :-)
It took me a second, but I got it... nm :-)jose_Tex_mex
Dec 16, 2002 8:36 AM
anyone reconsidering JFK assassination? nmtrekkie1
Dec 4, 2002 7:18 AM
And what about Lincoln? nmmohair_chair
Dec 4, 2002 7:30 AM
Linclon is...Eager Beagle
Dec 4, 2002 7:42 AM
the Swahili work for "Alien being". Co-incidence? I don't think so..
Are you suggesting Kennedy was assassinated by a SAM? nmCaptain Morgan
Dec 4, 2002 7:58 AM