Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Letter to the Editor - Washington Post

Flight 800: Case Closed? What Case?

Have you ever watched the closing arguments in a
trial?  After hearing the prosecution, you think the
defendant is guilty, only to second guess yourself
when the defense closes with its remarks. 
Non-governmental theories had no defense at the NTSB
Board Meeting on Flight 800.  Any evidence in support
of these theories was ignored, minimized, or

Consider the closest surface vessel to the tragedy. 
Its position is consistent with the origin of a rising
streak of light that blew the front section off the
plane, according to eyewitnesses.  At least three
independent triangulation exercises have confirmed
this.  The NTSB never discusses this surface vessel in
this context.  Furthermore, would you be surprised to
know that this ship (captured on radar traveling away
from the scene at 30 knots) is the only one not
identified by the FBI?  It sure surprises me.  So why
ignore these facts during a summary board meeting?

What about wreckage leaving the plane?  Did you know
that two separate objects and a total of four radar
returns are consistent with wreckage or other object
leaving the plane at Mach 2 (> 1,200 mph) just as
Flight 800 loses electrical power?  Anomalies?  Maybe,
but for fifteen minutes before the crash, no such
anomalies are present in any of the eight plus FAA
radar sites that recorded the crash.  Could a 50 psi
overpressure in the center wing tank launch large,
radar-tracked pieces of wreckage one and a half miles
at an average speed of Mach 2?  This question was
never addressed by the NTSB.

What about the eyewitnesses that we hear so much
about?  Did they really see a missile, or was it just
the plane on fire?  According to the official FBI
eyewitness summaries, 21 witnesses saw one object
hurling toward another.  Thirteen of these described
the target object as a plane.  FBI Witness #73 had a
pretty good view of the disaster.

Witness 73: "While keeping her eyes on the aircraft,
she observed a 'red streak' moving up from the ground
toward the aircraft at an approximately a 45 degree
angle.  The 'red streak' was leaving a light gray
colored smoke trail. The 'red streak went passed the
right side and above the aircraft before arcing back
toward the aircraft's right wing. Described the arc's
shape as resembling an upside down NIKE swoosh logo.
The smoke trail, which was light gray in color was
narrow initially and widened as it approached the
aircraft... She never took her eyes off the aircraft
during this time. At the instant the smoke trail ended
at the aircraft's right wing, she heard a loud sharp
noise which sounded like a firecracker had just
exploded at her feet. She then observed a fire at the
aircraft followed by one or two secondary explosions
which had a deeper sound. She then observed the front
of the aircraft separate from the back. She then
observed burning pieces of debris falling from the

Witness 73 saw what blew the nose off Flight 800 and
told the FBI before this fact was confirmed during
salvage efforts.  But our government is telling us
that this witness saw Flight 800 climbing upward after
its nose fell off.  Doesn't make sense, does it?

Was this witness mistaken?  Maybe, but so many others
(hundreds) are in agreement that statistics points in
the other direction.  Is this letter to the editor
full of baseless accusations that cause pain to the
victims' family members?  Not according to some family
members.  The same day NTSB Chairman Hall blasted
independent investigators, I received the following
note from a family member:

"Thank you again for your continuous efforts.  I pray
every day that one day the truth will come out."

She's talking about efforts at exposing the truth. 
Everything written above is the truth, and was ignored
at the NTSB hearing.  Readers can see for themselves
at  Chairman Hall has been
informed that many family members are not in agreement
with the official theory.  With facts such as those
listed above, I can't blame them.

Tom Stalcup
Woods Hole, MA


This letter was sent to the Washington Post 8-29-00

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