Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

August 13, 2000
CAIRO (AFP) - - Egyptian aviation officials are asking to see radar 
information witheld from the probe into last year's EgyptAir Flight 990 crash 
to explain high-speed radar images near the plane in its final moments, AFP 
learned Saturday.  An AFP review of 1,665 pages of documents relating to the 
crash revealed a letter from Egyptian Civil Aviation Authority chief Abdel 
Fattah Kato complaining that apparently "classified" US Air Force data had 
not been made available.  In the documents, released on Friday and presented 
on the website of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Kato 
does not give credence to a theory that the plane was hit by a missile, but 
stresses "the need to investigate fully what the Flight 990 crew might have 
seen.  "The investigation of this accident has produced radar data showing 
three high-speed returns in the area of, and along the path of, Flight 990. 
The data shows these returns crossing Flight 990's path just before the 
airplane began its dive," he wrote to US Federal Aviation Administration 
(FAA) on June 18.  Such radar images could be planes with their transponders 
turned off, missiles or atmospheric clutter or "strobing."  Kato said air 
traffic controllers had cleared Flight 990 to pass through military "Warning 
Areas 506 and 105A just prior to the accident.  "It is difficult to 
understand why data concerning the characteristics of radar used in 
connection with United States civil aviation is classified and why it is 
unavailable to analyze apparent targets that were in the vicinity of Flight 
990," he wrote to FAA administrator Jane F. Garvey.  Mohsen el-Missiry, an 
Egyptian investigator into the accident, which killed 217 people off the US 
coast last October, told reporters in Washington Friday that Egypt was 
continuing to request more radar data.  "Additional work remains to be done, 
particularly in ... gaining additional radar information," he said at a press 
conference to announce the release of the information.  "Egypt will continue 
to pursue the truth behind this tragedy," he said.  In his letter, Kato also 
wrote that "it is apparent from the ATC (air traffic control) transcript that 
no FAA controller was actually watching Flight 990 at the time of the 
accident and for several minutes after." 

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