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TWA Flight 800: A Missile Shootdown, not a Malfunction

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I've had a casual interest in the case of TWA Flight 800 since the late 1990s, since a few years after it occurred in July 1996, but recently I began to seriously study the case. Of all the flimsy government explanations for controversial incidents, the government version of TWA 800's crash may be the most absurd of all. I've created a website on the subject:


The website includes lots of video links, and also links to articles and other websites on the case. I make no money from the website, nor do I get any royalties when someone uses a link on my website to go to a site where they can rent or buy documentaries or books on the subject. I've created the website only to provide information on the case because I think it's important that we understand the enormous government cover-up that followed TWA 800's destruction.

Over 100 credible witnesses saw an object with an exhaust trail streaking upward toward TWA 800 before it exploded and crashed into the sea off the coast of Long Island. These witnesses were located on boats at sea, in aircraft near the explosion, and on land. A number of them were ex-military personnel.

The FBI-NTSB-CIA claimed that the streaking object that over 100 witnesses saw heading upward toward TWA 800 was really just the burning fuselage flying upward after it separated from the nose of the plane. Not only does this theory defy the laws of physics, but it is refuted by the radar data, which show that the aircraft did not fly 1,500 to 3,000 feet upward. The radar data show that the fuselage did not even fly 300 feet upward, much less 3,000 feet. Instead, the radar data show that the plane traveled a very short distance, then began to turn, and then literally dropped out of the sky, which is also what the witnesses described seeing.

The FBI and the NTSB claimed that the explosive residue that was detected inside and outside the plane was residue left over from a training exercise six weeks earlier in which explosive packages were placed in the plane to train bomb-sniffing dogs in St. Louis. This explanation was proved false. Private researchers interviewed the police officer who conducted the training and learned that he did the training on a different plane. They also learned that the TWA 800 plane was boarding passengers in preparation for a flight at the same time the bomb-sniffing training was being conducted, so on that basis alone the training could not have been done on the TWA 800 aircraft.

Government investigators claimed that the red residue that was visible in a distinct horizontal pattern on some of the seats in the plane was just 3M glue, but when Dr. C. W. Bassett at NASA tested the residue, he found that the residue was not 3M glue. When one of the TWA investigators gave a sample of the red residue to a journalist to have it tested, the testing, done by a recognized lab in California, found that the residue contained a high concentration of metals, indicating that it was residue from explosive material.



Edited by Michael Griffith
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The Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center (EMRTC) in New Mexico conducted an experiment with a center fuel tank in an attempt to validate the FBI-NTSB theory that a spark from faulty wiring ignited vapors in TWA 800’s center fuel tank, caused the fuel tank to explode, and blew up the airliner. The experiment actually provided powerful evidence against the theory, even though defenders of the government version claimed the opposite.

In the EMRTC experiment, the engineers were eventually able to get the fuel tank to explode from a spark they generated inside the tank. Defenders of the FBI-NTSB theory hailed the experiment as proof of the theory. However, even a cursory analysis of the video of the experiment proves it strongly refuted the FBI-NTSB theory. Consider the following facts:

-- The center fuel tank in the EMRTC experiment was from a Boeing 737, not a Boeing 747, and it was only one-fourth the size of TWA 800’s center fuel tank, as the chief engineer admits in the video.

-- The EMRTC experiment heated the fuel tank to 112 degrees because the FBI-NTSB theory is that running the A/C units under TWA 800’s center fuel tank while the plane was delayed caused the tank to heat up to average temperature of 112 degrees, which in turn produced enough explosive vapors to cause the alleged spark-induced explosion.

However, we see in the video that it took the EMRTC engineers nearly three hours to heat the undersized center fuel tank to 112 degrees, even though they were using a high-powered industrial heater. However, TWA 800 was on the ground with two A/C packs runnings for right around 134 minutes. Since it took nearly three hours to heat the smaller fuel tank to 112 degrees, this proves that operating the A/C units under TWA 800’s center fuel tank for 134 minutes could not have heated the tank to 112 degrees.

In fact, in the video, the chief engineer says, “we've been heating this now for about three hours and we're finally approaching the temperature that we need for testing.” In other words, even after about three hours of heating the fuel tank with an industrial-grade heater, the fuel tank was only “approaching” the needed temperature of 112 degrees.

-- The video narrator says that the engineers sought to set the conditions “to mimic that hot summer day in 1996.” “Hot summer day”? TWA 800 took off at 8:19 p.m. When TWA 800’s delay began at 7:00 p.m., the temperature at JFK International Airport was 74 degrees (https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/ny/new-york-city/KJFK/date/1996-7-13). This was hardly sweltering heat. As William Donaldson, a retired U.S. Navy Commander said,

          The NTSB would have you believe that Jet A fuel vapors are a virtual bomb waiting to go off, yet every day hundreds of 747s are sitting on hot runways in places like Saudi Arabia, India, etc., with empty center tanks and none have ever exploded. Every day aircraft with empty fuel tanks are hit by lightning, a spark thousands of times greater than necessary to ignite this vapor, yet these aircraft do not explode. (https://twa800.com/pages/fuel.htm)

-- The EMRTC engineers had to increase the electrical spark to 75 millijoules to get the tank to explode. They started with 4 millijoules, then 8, then 32, then 50. No explosion. The undersized fuel tank did not explode until they increased the charge to 75 millijoules. This was at the upper end of the range theorized by the NTSB, which was 5 to 100 millijoules.

Furthermore, a key point to note is that in the EMRTC test, the charge was not introduced through faulty wiring but from a charging probe placed in the fuel tank. The NTSB theorized that a short circuit outside the tank caused electrical energy to enter the tank through faulty wires connected to the fuel quantity indication system (FQIS). 

The NTSB was unable to duplicate this alleged energy transfer mechanism. In fact, when the center fuel tank's FQIS was recovered and tested, not one of the parts failed due to an electrical stress. The Boeing report on TWA 800 noted that "there was no evidence of electrical stress or arcing found on any of the FQIS indicators, probes, or wiring" (p. A-10).

Boeing engineers designed their tanks with the assumption that the vapors were always flammable; therefore, they took steps to prevent any energy from entering the tank through wiring to ignite these vapors. To do this, they added extra protection to fuel gauge wiring by adding a nylon sheath; they also included proper surge protection. Although only 120 volts were available on a Boeing plane to short into these wires, Boeing engineers tested their wiring up to 3,000 volts on new airplanes; they also did wiring testing after the crash of TWA 800 on many older airplanes still in service. No electricity ever escaped from the wiring in fuel tanks in any of these tests.

Perhaps this is why there was never an in-flight fuel tank explosion from an internal cause in any Boeing airliner before TWA 800 and why there has never been one since. The EMRTC experiment is powerful evidence that TWA 800’s center fuel tank did not explode from a spark from faulty wiring.

-- The EMRTC test made no effort to simulate the cooling effect that would have been produced when TWA 800 took off, increased speed, and gained altitude. As many experts have pointed out, when an airliner climbs, the air temperature outside the plane decreases. The higher the altitude, the colder the air gets. Plus, the effect of cool air blowing rapidly under the center fuel tank would have helped to decrease the tank’s temperature. In short, TWA 800’s center fuel tank would have experienced substantial cooling as the plane increased speed and gained altitude in the 12 minutes between takeoff and destruction.


Edited by Michael Griffith
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I just found out that a few months ago a major TWA 800 lawsuit was filed by the Boston law firm of Bailey and Glasser against several federal agencies on behalf of numerous family members of those killed on the flight. Bailey Glasser is a large law firm with offices in 14 states. The firm includes 27 Ivy League and/or Top 20 law school grads, one Rhodes Scholar, one Fulbright Scholar, and one Truman Scholar, and 80% of the firm's attorneys received education honors. Thus, this is no fledgling law firm taking on a dubious case to get publicity. Here's an article about the lawsuit:

Could the TWA 800 Cover-Up Finally Come Undone?

Edited by Michael Griffith
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