Flight 800: Accident Or Terrorist Attack? Part 6
Flight 800 Group Touts Missile Theory

Christine Moeser for Suffolk Life Newspapers

December 18, 1998

The Associated Retired Aviation Professionals (ARAP) was founded last year by several individuals who believe TWA Flight 800 was brought down by missiles and not by an explosion in the center wing fuel tank as the National Transportation Safety Board has stated. The organization has caught the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) leadership in a series of misrepresentations and "out right lies" over the past year, ARAPs aviation consultant, Commander William S. Donaldson, said. After speaking with witnesses and sorting through documents, Donaldson said ARAP was able to "force" the FBI officials to admit to Congress they failed to identify a high-speed boat positioned near Flight 800 when it exploded. ARAP is currently looking for anyone who may know the location of a 30- to 40-foot high-powered racing boat, Donaldson said. "Witnesses observed this boat passing through the Moriches Inlet and racing out to sea," Donaldson said. "This should not be overlooked as the FBI has done. We believe the people have the right to know the truth."

The organization consists of former military, civilian, and aviation professionals who organized to independently investigate the TWA crash. Many of ARAPs members are military and civilian aviators and crash investigators, Donaldson said. The senior military aviator is Tom Moorer, a retired admiral, veteran of Pearl Harbor and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff during the Vietnam War. The senior civilian aviation investigator is Captain Howard Mann, a Long Island native with 40 years of experience as a TWA engineer. Mann was instrumental, Donaldson said, in finding the cause of TWAs fatal plane crashes in 1956 and in 1967. Donaldson investigated his first airplane crash in 1977 and after his analysis, Donaldson said it resulted from an accidental air to air missile attack of a Navy A4.

He is a graduate of crash analysis training from the Naval Post Graduate School. Approach Magazine, a monthly publication for pilots, published six of Donaldsons articles on aviation. He instructed advanced air combat maneuvering, air to air gunnery, and towed airborne targets for aircraft and ships. Donaldson has also flown in air to ground combat missions in North Vietnam and Laos. He served as the Fleet Commanders observer for expansive fleet exercises and ran multiple carrier Fleet Air Exercise as the air operations officer. He graduated from air traffic controllers school and for two years ran the carrier air traffic control center. Donaldson was the nuclear weapons targeting officer for the Fleet Commander in Southern Europe. For three years he served as a maintenance officer in a jet squadron and participated in operations against terrorists.