Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Summary of TWA800 Hearing

September 27, 2004 

            Many eyewitnesses saw a missile streak from the surface towards TWA800 prior to the fuel tank explosion. That was an obstacle to the mechanical failure theory. CIA Agent #1 was alone at his computer at 10:00 p.m. on December 30, 1996, when he had an epiphany.  Perhaps he could discount what the eyewitnesses had seen with a zoom-climb hypothesis. Supposedly, the eyewitnesses only saw the trailing flames of TWA800 after the nose was blown off and it miraculously zoom-climbed from 13,800 to 17,000 feet.  

CIA Agent #1 promptly notified the FBI, and both the FBI and the NTSB joined in support of the zoom-climb hypothesis. With the help of the FBI and NTSB, the CIA prepared a video animation of the zoom-climb.  Then, while the NTSB investigation was still under way, the FBI and CIA preempted the NTSB by showing the video animation on national TV.  It was presented as an authoritative conclusion even though there was no evidence to support it.  Not a single eyewitness supported the CIA's interpretation of their reports, and Boeing promptly denied any knowledge of the data used for the animation. In fact, the NTSB and CIA had never even interviewed these eyewitnesses, and no eyewitnesses were subsequently allowed to testify at the public hearings.  Only the FBI had talked to most of the eyewitnesses, and after the interviews the, FBI hid their identity. 

Normally the NTSB uses a party process, and a group should have been formed to determine the trajectory of TWA800 after the explosion.  Not this time.  A single NTSB technician, using his own personal computer program and secret input data, produced three more video animations that were later presented at the NTSB public hearing.  Any kid who can write a computer game program could have done as much if he didn't have to show the data and the formulas used. 

The sad part is that the zoom-climb has never been verified by an independent party.  That is just not the way an accident investigation should be conducted.  Any conclusion reached without presenting the supporting evidence is worthless.  I am asking for the data and calculations used by the CIA and NTSB for their zoom-climb so that I can find their error.  Actually, there was no zoom-climb. 

In developing our case thus far, the points briefly summarized above have required about 500 pages of documentation, 25 affidavits from expert witnesses, and several video clips of our own. This evidence proves that the zoom-climb never happened, and furthermore, this evidence has never been refuted by the NTSB.  We prepared a Power Point presentation of this evidence for our hearing, but we were not given time to show it.  Judge Matz reasoned that he had already seen most of the evidence since it was contained in the filed documents (see our website at 

Judge Matz is not being asked to rule on the zoom-climb itself. Judge Matz is only ruling on whether or not the data and calculations used for the zoom-climb should be revealed to us as per our FOIA request.  He is especially interested in the points and authorities pertaining to that decision. He presented both parties with a simplified form on which to itemize the specific items requested including their Description/Category, Exemption (Legal Basis), Exemption (Actual Basis), and Production (Basis).   Both parties must complete the submission within 28 days. 

Judge Matz also requested that the NTSB send the data and calculations in dispute to him en camera within 10 days. He is considering the appointment of a neutral expert who can assist him in the technical interpretation of  the data and calculations.   

Judge Matz has not decided whether or not another hearing will be necessary before he renders his decision. 

 Thank you for your support,

 Ray Lahr



 © 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2004

  Robert E. Donaldson.  All rights reserved