Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Letter from Ray Lahr to Governor Pataki

June 23, 2002

Governor George E. Pataki
State Capitol
Albany, NY  12224

Dear Mr. Pataki:

            We met yesterday at the home of my neighbor, David Horowitz.  You were kind enough to accept my card and my request to write to you.

            First,  let me say that you did an outstanding job of outlining what should be the goals of the Republican Party. You have my support for your reelection in New York and for whatever future offices you may desire.

            The matter  I would like to address is the TWA800 accident off of Long Island on July 17, 1996.  Scores of eyewitnesses saw a missile-like object rise towards TWA800 prior to the fuel tank explosion.  The CIA and the NTSB attempted to dismiss the eyewitnesses saying that after the nose was blown off of TWA800, the aircraft zoom-climbed from 13,800 feet to 17,000 feet trailing flames.  This was supposed to be the bright streak seen by the eyewitnesses.

            As a former Navy pilot, a graduate engineer, and a retired airline pilot, I requested the NTSB’s calculations for the zoom-climb.  I was denied.  I appealed the denial.  I was denied again.  Then I submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to both the CIA and the NTSB for the zoom-climb calculations.

            The CIA responded that it had used data and conclusions provided by the NTSB.  The NTSB responded that it couldn’t release the information because it was proprietary to Boeing.  But the day after the CIA animation was nationally televised, Boeing issued a public statement saying it had no knowledge of the data and conclusions used by the CIA for its animation.

            Simply put, the zoom-climb was aerodynamically impossible. When the nose was blown off, the center-of-gravity moved so far aft that the aircraft immediately pitched up and stalled. The most it could have climbed is about 200 feet.  Other engineers and aerodynamicists have verified these calculations.  The eyewitnesses saw the aircraft debris fall downward out of the fireball, not a zoom-climb upwards.

            Consequently, I have brought a pro se lawsuit against the NTSB in the United States District Court, Central District of California.  The zoom-climb information is the focus of my personal efforts and the subject of the lawsuit.  However, FIRO (Flight 800 Independent Research Organization), a large and active group centered mostly in the Northeast, is researching all aspects of this accident.  FIRO has a petition before the NTSB requesting that the accident investigation be reopened.

            Thank you for allowing me to keep you apprised of these ongoing efforts.


Ray Lahr



Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2001& 2002  Robert E. Donaldson.  All rights reserved