[back] Introduction and Overview

TWA Flight 800 Analysis

by Steven J. Smith
TWA flight 800 overview:
On July 17, 1996 at 8:31PM (EDT) TWA flight 800, a Boeing 747-100 (registration N93119) experienced an in-flight explosion just 12 minutes, 51 seconds after being cleared for take off from JFK international airport.  The explosion took place over the Atlantic Ocean (Location: 72:37.46N, 40:39.52W), approximately 9 miles south of East Moriches on Long Island, New York.  Of the 18 crew members and 212 passengers on board, none survived.  The ensuing NTSB (national transportation safety board) investigation was the most thorough and comprehensive in American aviation history.  Yet no definitive cause for the explosion was ever discovered.  In it's final report, the NTSB lists the probable cause as an explosion in the center wing fuel tank.

The lack of a definitive cause has led some people to theorize that TWA flight 800 was struck by a surface to air missile.  This speculation is fueled by the reports of several eye witnesses who claim to have seen a bright point of light ascend upward, intersecting the aircraft at the time of the explosion.  However NO physical evidence of a missile strike was ever found in the wreckage...

I believe that TWA flight 800 was the victim of a particle beam weapon attack, launched from the Brookhaven national laboratory in order to test system effectiveness against air born targets.  This would not be the first time an agency of the American government has used unsuspecting citizens as experimental test subjects.  One need look no farther than the Tuskegee syphilis study, or the 1950s nuclear bomb tests on army personnel to discover how little regard the American government has for the lives of it's citizens.

Brookhaven Analysis  

The evidence for this theory falls into two broad categories:
1.  Flaws in the NTSB probable cause, and certain investigative steps that were performed in a superficial manner.
2.  The presence of certain physical and logistical indicators that were completely ignored by the NTSB.

I shall cover each separately, starting with category number one.

Flaws and superficial performance:
Commercial jet fuel (known as JP4) is a refined variant of kerosene, very similar to common diesel fuel used in trucks and buses.  Unlike gasoline, JP4 has a low vapor pressure.  In other words, it does not evaporate quickly.  As anybody who has ever worked around diesel fuel will attest, an open container of diesel does not evaporate, even over time spans measured in days.  While kerosene stoves are no longer common, anybody who has used one will tell you that dropping a lit match into the fire box does not work.  The match is extinguished.  You must use a piece of paper to act as a wick in order to ignite a kerosene fire.

The NTSB claim of an explosion in the center wing fuel tank as the probable cause, while consistent with much of the physical evidence, leaves the question of ignition source completely unanswered.  This is the fatal flaw in the NTSB probable cause.

The following are excerpts from the NTSB Medical/Forensic Group Chairman's Factual Report of the investigation (exhibit 19A).  (Bold emphasis added)

************  Beginning of Excerpts  ************

The first 99 bodies were found floating on the surface of the ocean and were recovered by various civilian, military, and police vessels during the night of July 17, 1996, and throughout the day of July 18, 1996.  The majority of the remaining victims were recovered by U. S. Navy divers and local police divers during the next 96 days.

Pertinent data on the location victims were found, when available, and the circumstances of the recoveries of the victims were also recorded.  The remains were then placed in a refrigerated trailer and transported to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office (ME) in Hauppage, NY.

At the Medical Examiner's Office, the remains of the victims were (1) photographed with and without clothing, (2) radiographed, (3) fingerprinted if possible, (4) dentition was photographed and x-rayed, and (5) clothing and other personal effects were cataloged.  All victims were then autopsied by a forensic pathologist from either the ME or a pathologist temporarily assigned to the ME by the State of New York or a neighboring jurisdiction.  The ME had 5 autopsy tables available and during the early recovery efforts, all tables were utilized.

The thoroughness of the forensic post-mortem examinations was highly variable depending primarily upon the pathologist who performed the autopsy and upon case flow.  The primary objective of the ME was to identify all remains, and the ME was under constant and considerable pressure to do so with minimal delay.  Consequently, a high priority was not placed on performing a detailed forensic autopsy directed toward elucidating mechanisms of injury.  An effort was not made to relate damage to clothing with wounds on the body.  Foreign material removed from the bodies was immediately released to an FBI technician, but autopsy reports did not record whether the material was found loosely within the body bag, in open wounds, or whether the foreign body had penetrated the skin and was found lodged in tissue.  Trajectory information was not recorded.  No record of the condition of the tympanic membranes of the victims was made.

************  End of Excerpts  ************

As the above excerpts show, of the 230 passengers and crew, 99 bodies were recovered in the first 36 hours.  The bodies were stored in a refrigerated truck.  The ME had 5 autopsy tables available, AND all 5 were used.

Assume 4 hours per body to perform a comprehensive autopsy, with two shifts working 8 hours each.  With 5 autopsy tables, 20 autopsies per day can be performed, and therefore 99 bodies can be autopsied in just 5 days.  Yet the final excerpt paragraph states the ME was under "considerable pressure" to perform with minimal delay, AND the rest of this paragraph enumerates all of the procedures that were NOT performed during the autopsies.  Perhaps most telling, is the last sentence which states that no record of tympanic membrane (ear drum) condition was made.  Such a record would have been conclusive evidence of cabin over pressure (internal explosion), or abrupt cabin depressurization (external explosion).

To perform autopsies in such a superficial manner, in a situation where the evidence uncovered by those autopsies may help in determining the precise cause of an aircraft explosion, boarders on criminal negligence!  Unless of course the true cause is already known, and thorough autopsy reports would raise questions that could prove even more embarrassing than apparent negligence.

Physical indicators:
The photo on the right shows TWA 800 Engine No. 2 fan hub and blades.  The blades are made from an alloy of 90% Titanium, 5.6% Aluminum, 4.2% Vanadium, and 0.2% Iron.  Because this alloy is both very strong, and extremely brittle, the blades are cast in their final shape to minimize the amount of machining required.  Under normal conditions, they will break rather than bend.  Yet as the photo clearly shows, many of the blades are bent, some by as much as 90 degrees.

How do I support this conclusion?  Compare this photo to the next photo (below).
Photo Courtesy of NTSB

The photo on the right shows two views of a typical fan blade failure.  In this case, one of the blades suffered progressive fatigue cracking at the root where it connects to the fan hub.  The failure occurred on January 31, 2001 on a Boeing 777-300 at Melbourne International Airport, during the take-off run, and the flight was safely aborted.  Notice how many of the remaining blades are missing portions of their tips, and one blade (adjacent to the missing blade) broke off at it's mid-section.  However, none of the blades show ANY sign of bending, even though this engine (unlike TWA 800) was operating at full take-off power when the failure occurred.  Clearly, something very odd AND very extreme took place in the final moments of TWA flight 800.

Furthermore, the TWA 800 photo is intentionally posed in such a manner as to imply the blades were bent by the weight of the hub/blade assembly, thereby removing any remaining doubt of complicity on the part of the NTSB.  The NTSB while creating the illusion of great diligence, was in fact, a willing participant in a cover-up of monumental proportions.
Photo Courtesy of ATSB

Logistical indicators:
The following is a partial transcript from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of TWA flight 800, during the last 6 minutes before the explosion.  (NTSB exhibit 12A)

 = Radio transmission from aircraft
 = Boston ARTCC Controller (center)
 = Voice identified as First Officer (right seat)
 = Cockpit Area Microphone sound or source

TWA eight hundred what's your rate of climb?
TWA's eight hundred heavy ah about two thousand feet a minute here until accelerating out of ten thousand.
roger sir climb and maintain flight level one niner zero and expedite through fifteen.
TWA's eight hundred heavy climb and maintain one niner zero and expedite through one five thousand.
TWA eight hundred amend the altitude maintain ah one three thousand thirteen thousand only for now.
TWA's eight hundred heavy okay stop climb at one three thousand.
TWA eight hundred you have traffic at one o'clock and ah seven miles south bound a thousand foot above you he's ah Beech nineteen hundred.
TWA's ah eight hundred heavy ah no contact.
TWA eight hundred climb and maintain one five thousand.
TWA's eight hundred heavy climb and maintain one five thousand leaving one three thousand.
((sounds similar to recording tape damage noise)).
end of recording.

At 2025:41 Boston center instructs TWA 800 to climb to 19 thousand feet, and to expedite the climb through 15 thousand feet.  TWA 800 acknowledges 6 seconds later.

Approximately 37 seconds after acknowledgement, at 2026:24 Boston center amends it's instructions to TWA 800.  Instead instructing TWA 800 to climb and maintain 13 thousand feet.  TWA 800 acknowledges 6 seconds later.

Finally, at 2030:15, less than one minute before the explosion, Boston center instructs TWA 800 to climb to 15 thousand feet.  TWA 800 acknowledges 4 seconds later.

Why did Boston center amend it's climb instruction to TWA 800?  Was there other conflicting traffic in the vicinity?  The nearest traffic was a Beach 1900, 7 miles away, at TWA 800's 1 o'clock position, heading south.  Since TWA 800 was heading east, this puts the Beach 1900 safely past TWA 800's flight path.

By keeping TWA 800 at 13 thousand feet, and issuing the climb instruction just 50 seconds before the particle beam strike, the aircraft would still be climbing, thereby presenting a greater surface area for target acquisition.  Was Boston air traffic control center involved in this hideous test of a covert weapons system?  The evidence seems substantial.

The plot on the right shows radar data (the blue dots), obtained by the NTSB from the Islip radar station on Long Island NY.  Each dot shows the position of a an aircraft as the radar beam swept over the aircraft (the solitary, and closely spaced dots are slow moving water craft).  For instance, dot 3 in each series is the position of that aircraft on the third sweep of the radar beam.  The plot shows the last 9 radar sweeps, before the destruction of TWA 800.

Notice the aircraft labeled "Navy P-3" moving southwest. This is an anti-submarine patrol craft, equipped with highly advanced electronic surveillance systems. The aircraft would make an ideal observation platform to record the results of a covert particle beam weapon test. The P-3 is also a very robust aircraft (a variant is used for hurricane hunting), likely to survive even if it gets a bit too close to the target aircraft (TWA 800).
Part of exhibit 13A.  Plot Courtesy of NTSB

Coincidently, the P-3 was flying at an altitude of just over 19 thousand feet, approximately the same altitude as TWA 800 was originally instructed to climb and maintain, before amendment by Boston air traffic control (see above).  Obviously someone was worried about the surveillance aircraft being a bit too close to the test.  According to the navy, this aircraft was on a "routine training mission"...

Effects of a particle beam weapon strike:
An aircraft struck by a particle beam weapon will suffer two distinctly different types or classes of damage.  (1) Kinetic damage.  (2) Electro-magnetic damage.  Each class of damage will have a unique signature, neither of which is likely to be recognized by personnel trained in common explosives and/or structural failure mechanisms.

The electro-magnetic damage will be the most unusual aspect of a particle beam weapon strike.  The EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) will be dissipated in the immediate vicinity of the strike point, causing radical rearrangements in the chemical structure of the material.  The material will momentarily soften, as if subjected to intense heat, but without the normal indications of thermal stress (6.1.3).  Strikes on a living organism would result in intense localized cellular disruption, similar to microwave cooking, but again without the normal indicators of elevated temperature.  This effect would be very noticeable during a thorough forensic autopsy, yet completely inconsistent with usual surface style heating produced by a conventional explosion (6.1.2).  If a fuel tank were to suffer a direct strike, ignition would be instantaneous, regardless of vapor pressure and/or combustibility of the fuel (6.1.1, 6.1.2).

The kinetic damage will superficially resemble traditional structural failure.  The primary cause will be violent shockwaves emanating from the strike point(s), and traveling through structural members.  The result will be fracturing at locations where the shockwaves concentrate, either through geometric focusing, or through standing waves created by reflections.  The structure will literally fall apart into thousands of small pieces.  The appearance will closely resemble the recovered fuselage wreckage of TWA flight 800...

Brookhaven Analysis  

Brookhaven-Montauk-Shoreham Aerial Photo

Introduction and Overview

TWA Flight 800 Analysis