Associated Retired Aviation Professionals
Post Office Box 90, Clements, Maryland 20624 USA

Stinger vs F-14, July 1999 Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake CA

August 13, 2000

At 0530 hours, three years and five days after TWA-800 was downed by missile fire 7.3 nm off the south shore of long island, US Marine anti-aircraft gunners unleashed a fully operational Stinger war shot missile a mile away from an F-14 set up on a target platform.

The two photos released to the public of this test at <> are worth more then thousands of words because they clearly undermine the constant stream of political misinformation about the visibility of man portable air defense missiles [MANPADS]. False information about these weapons has been dispensed by White House, Justice Department and Transportation Department officials since the first White House press conference the day after the loss of TWA 800, 18 July 1996 .

ARAP countered Chairman Hall of the NTSB’s grossly misleading statements about the closest witnesses being more than 10 miles away with the truth. The closest witnesses interviewed by the FBI were with masterchief Brumley aboard US Air FL 217 only 2.3 miles away. We also went on record more than two years ago stating under TWA-800’s lighting conditions, a Manpad missile’s bright sustainer rocket motor plume and warhead burst could be seen 20 miles or more away. Once again my comments were made to refute the nonsense being spread by the NTSB and FBI political leadership who were claiming these weapons are barely visible.

The bright plumb seen just before impact in the first picture is exactly as the missile would appear if fired at TWA-800 for the first two miles of it’s steep mach 2 climb. The plumb or apparent flare would then “wink out” when the rocket motor burned out about 6.5 seconds after launch leaving the missile in a coasting mode at 700 meters a second about 3-4 seconds before impact on flight 800’s left wing root. The second picture clearly shows the brilliant white flash of the High Explosive warhead burst.

All of these characteristics were seen, including an exact missile impact on the aircraft, and accurately reported by witnesses to FBI agents. The Justice Department then hid these statements for more than three years while the politicians in the NTSB attacked witness creditability.

The second witness I interviewed three years ago on Long Island was MR. Roland Penny. He told me, “I watched a flare shoot up from beyond the dunes to the southeast well out at sea, I lost sight of it for a few seconds, then higher up saw a bright white light like a flash bulb going off.” 

My hat is off to RADM Bert Johnson of the Naval Air Warfare Center and his staff in the weapons division for a job well done. Indeed, a picture is worth very much more then a thousand words.

CDR W S Donaldson USN Ret.

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