Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

The American Spectator


The Goblin on the Wing of Flight 990

  By Reid Collins

  In the wee small hours of the morning of Halloween a
  goblin was attached to the tragedy of Egypt Air's flight
  990 that may haunt it forever.

  One network said it "had learned" and wire service
  reports carried the word also that the plane had made a
  stop at Edwards Air Force Base after departing Los

  None of the coifed and brow-lilting anchors seemed to
  find this bit of intelligence intriguing and for several hours
  of nauseating "breaking news" this stop-over was merely
  repeated as a factoid of the tragedy. No one seen here
  stopped in mid-brow-lift to note that a regularly
  scheduled commercial flight landing at a secured base
  where the latest in Air Force and NASA developed craft
  are tested would be a singular event, demanding
  immediate and full inquiry. Finally, however, the
  Edwards unscheduled stop was excised from the
  coverage as a "mistake." No explanation.

  But for the conspiracists, the Edwards stop story was and
  is a bonanza.

  With the tragedy of TWA 800's demise still wrapped in
  enigma, with JFK Jr.'s mysterious plunge into essentially
  the same waters wanting final explanation, the simple
  expungement of the Edwards landing from the 990 copy
  cannot be enough.

  What is needed is what the media never does: autopsy
  the story. Backtrack to the original point. There is a
  source. A report of a commercial 767's unscheduled
  landing at a base where the other craft have "X" as a
  pre-fix (if any designation at all) does not produce itself.
  A living person originated that unfact, perhaps an
  innocent trying to pretend he knew why the flight was
  late out of LAX, but not likely.

  Too imaginative for your average flak.

  A network with regard for its own integrity would busy
  itself the moment the "breaking news" banner came
  down with ferreting out the singular fact: Who told us
  that and why?

  A wire service mindful of its history would quietly
  re-check through its desks, foreign and domestic, to
  discover the source.

  And then, each would tell the world. Not only that it was
  an untruth but also that the untruth came about thusly. 

  And a shovel's worth of conspiracy fodder would be
  removed from a world whose garden of truths gets more
  weed-infested every day. 

  Reid Collins was a reporter for CBS and CNN.

  (Posted 11/2/99)

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