Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Evidence of missile launch on L.I.

just several days before TWA800



August 24, 2007


By John E. Fiorentino


Recent documents uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) indicate that there was a possible missile launch into the skies of Long Island, N.Y., just several days before TWA Flight 800 exploded in midair on July 17, 1996.


The documents received by former airline Capt. Ray Lahr of Malibu, Ca, were included as part of his request for information under the FOIA pertaining to the TWA 800 disaster.


Capt. Lahr, in a lawsuit naming the National Transportation Board, et al, has sought information relating to the aerodynamic records used to calculate the governments alleged "zoom-climb"  by the doomed aircraft after the initial explosion and separation of the aircraft's nose section.


The "zoom-climb" as depicted in several video animations of the disaster produced by both the CIA and the NTSB was used to repudiate witness statements indicating TWA Flight 800 may have been engaged by a missile before exploding. The government claims the witnesses actually saw the aircraft in various stages of crippled flight, rather than a missile strike. All 230 people aboard the aircraft were killed.


Capt. Lahr through his lawsuit has essentially demonstrated that there was no "zoom-climb," and the CIA and NTSB animations have no basis in fact.


In this latest development, the FBI has released, apparently in error, a formerly totally redacted analysis of a video shot on L.I., New York on July 12, 1996. This was just 5 days before the July 17, 1996 disaster.


The video, analyzed by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) on July 23, 1996 "advised that after a visual analysis of both the videotape as well as a number of still photographs taken from various portions of the tape, the phenomenon captured by (redacted) appeared to be consistent with the exhaust plume from a MANPAD missile." While the document indicates there were scanned images of the still photographs attached as an appendix, Capt. Lahr received no accompanying photographic images.


MANPADS, short for the Man Portable Air Defense System missile is a highly effective weapon proliferated worldwide. Typically containing an Infrared (IR) seeker, the missile offers little opportunity for a warning before impact. Impacts are often lethal. Examples of lethality include 1) the Afghan mujahedeen killing of 269 Soviet aircraft with 340 such missiles, 2) Desert Storm evidence that IR missiles produced 56% of the kills and 79% of the Allied aircraft damaged, and 3) civil aircraft experiencing a 70% probability of a kill given a MANPADS hit.


After a lengthy criminal investigation by the FBI, and a four year accident investigation by the NTSB, the National Transportation Board concluded that TWA Flight 800 was destroyed as the result of a "spark" of unknown origin which ignited the jet fuel in the plane's nearly empty Center Wing Tank.


The controversy over just what did transpire on the evening of July 17, 1996 continues to this day.




Copyright 2007 – John E. Fiorentino – All Rights Reserved No portion of this document may be reproduced by any means without the express written consent of the author. Requests for permissions may be obtained electronically via e-mail at:







  Robert E. Donaldson.  All rights reserved