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"ROCKET LIGHTNING, MAYBE"
POSSIBLE GEOPHYSICAL ORIGIN OF THE TWA FLIGHT 800 TRAGEDY et al.
NOTE FOR VISITORS
1. TWA FLIGHT 800 EXPLOSION
my opinion on Tunguska event, I am not
completely convinced that the July 17, 1996 TWA Flight 800 tragedy was caused
by a geophysical phenonenon. I can not completely rule out "missile" idea, or
anything else, as I am not very deep in this investigation. Nevertheless, I
think that some remarkable aspects of the crash are worth to consider.
Several years have past since an explosion of the Boeing 747 TWA Flight 800,
but its origin is still disputable (see for example,
ARAP www-site, and
For example, 2/3 of participants of AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY magazine
poll were not satisfied with the NTSB investigation.
In 1997 I read several articles in AVIATION
WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY magazine
about the tragedy. An idea came into my head, that maybe it was neither
missile strike, nor just accidental fuel vapor explosion, but a geophysical
event. As a result, I wrote a letter to the magazine, which was printed after
some editorial board shortening.
Here it is, published in the July 28, 1997 (p.8) issue
of AVIATION WEEK & SPACE TECHNOLOGY magazine
with the idea that the July 17, 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash possibly was caused
by a geophysical phenomenon, which sometimes is called 'geophysical meteor', or
'geometeor'( see my geophysical meteors article ). But
as the name 'geophysical meteor' was (and still is) poorly known, I had to call
it "rocket lightning", which is better known. Unfortunately the latter one
hints on a thunderstorm nearby, as there is no need for any thunderstorm in the
case of a geophysical meteor.
A geophysical meteor is a moving luminous (sometimes dark!) more or less
compact object, often looking like a meteoroidal meteor, and having properties
of a ball lightning. Its dimentions sometimes can be much larger than a classic
("thunderstorm") ball lightning. Empirical data reveals that geometeors are
used to appear during atmospheric instable conditions i.e. atmospheric
airpressure variations, before cloudiness increase (besides thunderclouds, of
course), etc., and gravitate to
geological inhomogeneties (faults, ore and water deposits, etc.). It hints
that geometeors are result of a coupling between atmospheric and
subterranean (tectonic) processes. In an utmost case, when atmospheric factors
strongly dominate, we have a classic ("thunderstorm") ball-lightning. In
another utmost case, when tectonic factors strongly dominate, we have
meteor-like "earthquake lights".
Probably, nowadays we can consider geometeors as a a high-speed kind of
ball-lightnings. Despite that their physical mechanism is unknown, there is
some observational/empirical knowledge about them.
"ROCKET LIGHTNING", MAYBE
Reading the details of the TWA Flight 800 crash, I found
facts about "the streak of light" and radar "blip" interesting.
These facts hint that the TWA 800 aircraft could have been a
victim of the rare natural phenomenon called "rocket lightning". It
often shoots up in a single streak of light like a rocket and can
burst like fireworks. Its nature it not clear but is between ordinary
and ball lightning. In 1963, a Boeing 707 flying near Elkton, Md.,
was destroyed by lightning. It probably entered the fuel tank and
caused vapor to explode. Lightning strikes against aicraft miles
from thunderstorms are known; they're called "bolts from the blue".
Also interesting was the sound captured by the cockpit voice
recorder. Lightning can be accompanied by a swish, click, hiss,
rip or other sounds.
Please, pay attention that apparently a geometeor is much more dangerous
for an aircraft than ordinary (linear) lightning. The reason is that the
linear lightning hardly penetrates inside metal aircraft, while geometeor,
(being evidently a kind of high-speed ball lightning) makes it much easier
(examples are in the text below).
Since that time much more info appeared on the event, icluding witness's
accounts. Through Internet I get some limited geophysical data associated
with the event. And it seems that the data is in favor for the proposed
But at first, let's talk about the most disputed explanations.
Official explanation excludes a bomb explosion, a missile strike, and
states that it was a center fuel tank explosion due to unknown origin,
probably an electric short-cut.
But the "missile" advocates point to apparent incompatibility of the official
explanation with numerous eyewitness's accounts on a "flare" or a "streak
of light" in the sky flying towards the airplane. Also they attract
attention to other shortcomings of the official explanation.
But till now it is the only argument for the "missile theory".
Let's compare this with shooting down a Russian TU-154M airliner by Ukrainian
S-200 missile over Black sea on October 4, 2001. In that case there were
no any eyewitness of a missile, just an explosion of the airliner was seen.
Almost all fragments and 'black boxes' had sunk at 2km depth. Russian
president V. Putin in a few hours after the crash announced that a hit by
Ukrainian missile can be ruled out, and Pentagon, after initual claim for
possible Ukrainian missile hit, prefered not to be involved (insist).
militaries, and even Ukrainian president L. Kuchma denied the missile hit.
But evidences (of the missile strike) from the few fragments found on
a sea surface were so compelling and overwhelming (numerous holes in the
airplane fragments, fragments of a missile) that in a few days
a state commission was to recognize the Ukrainian missile strike, despite
very strong political problems it resulted.
And compare this with TWA Flight 800 situation, where almost all airplane's
fragments were recovered from shallow-water area!
The TWA Flight 800 missile theory has many problems. Besides well-known
ones ( i.e. that
no traces of missile explosion were discovered ), I would like to attract
attention to the fact that in reality the witness's accounts don't conform
the missile theory too! Here are the arguments.
- Reported trajectories of the "object" (arc-like turns with diving to
the airliner from above, after initial ascent (!), etc.) don't
conform with real antiaircraft missile's trajectories.
- "Missile" supporters estimated a time of the "missile" strike in
the aircraft approx. at 00:31:13.8 UT (see
what was the origin of the electric power loss at 00:31:12 UT, and
moreover, of the anomalous noise recorded by a flight data recorder at
- Remarkably, that the "objects" were well-seen from distances at 10-15 km,
comparing with low brightness and small dimensions ( ~ 0.5 X 0.5 X 5 meters )
of Stinger-type missile exhaust flame;
- Several witnesses reported about a "loud sharp noise", and "paper
cracling sound", simultaneous with the "object" explosion (as it was
predicted in my letter above!).
- Real experience with Stinger-type missile shows that it usually brought
down rather small military aircrafts by knocking out their engines. It
is practically impossible that a small Stinger-type missile warhead could
tear off a giant "head" (cockpit) of Boeing-747. On the other side,
according to "missile" supporters, the missile was able also to
easily the giant aircraft (and leaving no traces inside!)
By the way, I even don't discuss here what is to successfully launch (being
almost outside of the missile range) a missile from a
small boat moving at 56 km/h in a sea...
Moreover, some of triangulated (see www.twa800.com)
"missile's launch sites" show that they were originated in clear
water, i.e. without any vessel nearby, and/or far outside
Stinger-type-missile launch range!
But even presence of a superman with the mysterious supermissile can not
missile interpretation, as some witnesses stated that at first they heard
thunder-like sounds (some of them shook the ground! - according to an
at least in order of 1 t TNT must be exploded...), then saw an "object" in
flight (a Stinger-type missile reaches its maximum range about 5 km for
about 10 seconds, and its sound could travel just 3 km for this time, while
majority of witnesses were on shore at least 10-15 km away...).
In other words, as soon as supporters of "missile theory" begin to try to
develop their theory, they completely confuse with large descrepances at once,
and practically the only what they can say is about the streak of light, and
problems with NTSB explanation.
To show the complication of the event, I give just several accounts here
(some interesting parts are marked in boldface). The first two I took from
On July 12, 1999 Paul Angelides gave an account of what he saw during the
TWA 800 downing to Cmdr. Donaldson. In the interview Angelides stated:
Paul Angelides: After work on July 17, 1996, I went to our ocean front
summer rental house to have dinner with my wife and 1 year old son. After
dinner my wife was bathing our son before putting him to bed so I decided to
go to the ocean side deck to enjoy the view. As I walked through the sliding
doors to the deck a red phosphorescent object in the sky caught my
attention. The object was quite high in the sky (about 50-60 degrees) and
was slightly to the west and off shore of my position. At first it appeared
to be moving slowly, almost hanging and descending, and was leaving a white
smoke trail. The smoke trail was short and the top of the smoke trail has a
clockwise, parabolic shaped hook towards the shore. My first reaction was
that I was looking at a marine distress flare which had been fired from a
boat. I said to myself, someone must be in trouble. I quickly realized
that the object was too large and then began moving too fast to be a
distress flare. I followed the object as it moved out over the ocean in the
direction of the horizon. I lost sight of the object, as it was about 10
degrees above the horizon. In the same area of the sky out over the ocean,
I then saw a series of flashes, one in the sky and another closer to the
horizon. I remember straining to see what was happening as there seemed to
be a lot of chaos out there. There was a dot on the horizon near the action,
which I perceived as a boat. The flashes were then followed by a huge
fireball, which dropped very quickly into the sea. I yelled to my wife. Come
here quickly you've got to see this.
Tom Dougherty: "I looked up because it sounded like thunder.
I kept looking trying to figure out what it was. And that's when I saw a
flare come off the water. The flare, trailing orange flame, shot up
roughly at a 45 degree angle, then rapidly increased it's angle of ascent....
Then it appeared to strike something." After the missile hit the plane,
the plane glowed very bright as part of it fell and then, after becoming
luminescent, it burst into flames. This was the strangest thing I ever saw.
Everyone calls it a 'missile theory,' but when you see something, you know
what you see, and I didn't see a theory."
Witness No. 238:
"While he was fishing in Moriches Inlet, he was standing in his boat facing
northeast, trying to untangle his fishing line, when something caught his
attention out of his right eye. He looked in an east/southeast direction and
saw what he described as a perfect column of red yellow flames with a black
"spinal cord" of smoke running down through the center. He compared the
and shape to a radio tower. He stated that he thought that perhaps a propane
tank might have exploded on the sand bar which separated him in the inlet
from the ocean. He said he watched the flames for about ten (10) minutes
[seconds?] and then went back to his fishing line. When he looked up again
later, the flames were gone, leaving a column of black smoke with a small
gray mushroom cloud on top. He did not see any objects and only heard
two muffled sounds approximately fifteen to twenty (15 to 20) seconds after
seeing the flames. He stated that it was a clear evening and there was
still daylight [8:15-8:30PM]."
Witness No. 372:
"He was on a boat located west of Ponquogue Bridge. He was facing southwest.
His friend brought the incident to his attention. From behind the dunes, a
tube of reddish/orange fire appeared to go straight up into the sky. It
off like the space shuttle. It appeared to be 100 feet wide and 1/2 mile
high. When the fire reached the highest point, it appeared to split into
two pieces. At this point, the flame disappeared and a big black smoke
cloud appeared. The black smoke remained for a couple of seconds. Then,
a white puff of smoke appeared above the area of the black smoke cloud.
The black smoke disappeared and the white smoke remained for at least
four or five minutes. The smoke remained after he left the area. Twenty to
twenty-five seconds after the initial sighting, he heard two booms 'back
Here is the last one from
(see a map here):
USAir Flight 217 crossed Flight 800's path heading NNE about 24
seconds after Flight 800 passed. Flight 800 was at 13500 ft. and climbing.
USAir217 was above at 21500 ft. When Flight 800's transponder stopped
sending data, it was approximately 2 miles ahead, one mile to the right
and 8000 below USAir217. Navy Chief Petty Officer Dwight Brumley was on US
Air Flight 217 from Charlotte, North Carolina to Providence, Rhode Island.
Mr. Brumley was seated in seat 5F at the window on the right side of the
aircraft. He saw a streak of light overtaking his aircraft from right to
left. As he lost sight of the streak he saw a large fireball erupt going
from his left to his right. He then lost sight of the fireball as
it disappeared underneath the right wing.
In other words, D. Brumley saw an "object"
flying approx. from the south to the north. But "missile" supporters
the missile struck (approx. at 00:31:13.8 UT) from the north
blewing out debris southwards (by the way, this "blew out" is also strange
for Stinger-type missile strike)!
The accounts forced some "missile" supporters to put forward a proposal
that there were several "missiles" fired: some raising from the ground
and/or sea surface, as others flying almost horizontally (and far outside
Stinger-type missile launch range). And indeed, several witnesses said they
saw several "flares", one after another. In the most clear form the conclusion
about "several missiles" is stated
it makes the question "who and how launched them" into practically insoluble
one. And even such extraordinary idea doesn't resolve all of the
In other words, it is practically impossible for "missile" advocates to fit
even just witness's accounts into their theory, and the only way to the
missile theory to survive is an extremely large deep and successful US
government's cover-up, including mass-distortions of data, mis- and
dis-information, etc., with many people involved. I think, that despite
such super-cover-up can't be completely excluded, it seems to be rather unlikely.
HINTS AT GEOPHYSICAL METEORS
Besides the above-mentined successful prediction of the sounds simultaneous
accident (by the way, in a case of a lightning their physical mechanism is
still disputable), there are many other facts hinting at geometeors.
Here is an extract from
NTSB Meteorological Factual Report [DCA96MA070], regarding NTSB investigation
on possible lightning strike in TWA Flight 800. Please, pay attention to the
text I marked in boldface.
On November 26, 1996 an individual with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) in Norman, Oklahoma was interviewed by phone. The
following is a summary of the interview:
It is very important for the geophysical meteor interpretation, that there
was a local electromagnetic disturbance at the time of the accident. And,
of course, it could be unlike the linear lightning one.
Clear air lightning can occur in clear air in the vicinity of a thunderstorm
i.e. within a few kilometers of a thunderstorm. Clear air lightning probably
does not occur in totally clear air. Some convection in the vicinity is needed.
Cloud to ground lightning data from the National Lightning Detection Network
(NLDN) prepared by Global Atmospherics Inc. [see Report to Vice Chairman
10/23/96] showed that the closest cloud to ground lightning stroke for the
time period 0020 to 0035Z was located in East-Central North Carolina, about
361 miles from the accident site. The NLDN does not detect cloud to cloud or
intra-cloud (within cloud) lightning strokes. Detection efficiencies off the
coast probably drop to 60% (sensors are land based although the sensors have
a very long range capability - 1,000's of kilometers).
An Optical Transient Detector (OTD), a space based sensor developed at NASA's
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), can detect the full spectrum of lightning
flashes, including cloud to ground, cloud to cloud, and intra-cloud. The OTD is
on a satellite which is in a near polar orbit. According to an individual from
the MSFC, phone contact 12/5/96, the satellite was over New Guinea at the time
of the TWA 800 accident. Therefore, no data pertinent to the accident was
A Senior Engineer with Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico
reviewed lightning detection data from the National Lightning Detection Network
[NLDN] and from the Niagra Mohawk Power Company lightning detection sensor
array in Western New York State.
He noted on January 21, 1997 in a phone conversation that there is no
convincing evidence of electrical activity at the time and in the area of the
accident based on these data. Although data from the Wallops Island,
Virginia NLDN sensor [LPATS sensor] showed an electrical transient about the
time of the accident, this transient was not verified by the data from the
Mohawk Power Company. The Wallops Island sensor’s area of detection includes
the accident site. The exact location of the electrical transient is unknown.
This electrical transient needed to be detected by more sensors to determine
its exact location. The Wallops Island sensor will detect cloud to cloud and
Also, regarding the text above, I would like to demonstrate, that the "clear
sky lightning" can be really from a clear sky, or at least far away from any
thunderstorm, and not just "within a few kilometers from a thunderstorm",
as stated above. Below is an example, associated with aviation.
It was described in BULL. AMER. METEOROLOGICAL SOC., vol.33, p.348
(1952). On July 21, 1952 an aircraft with trailing cable was struck by a
lightning in a clear sky condition (there were no clouds of any type present
at the plane location). About 10 miles away, there was an altocumulus cloud
emmitting a light drizzle. The nearest lightning was seen about 50 miles away.
Let's check other hints at geometeors.
According to my
research on geophysical meteors, besides
association with thunderstorms, thunderstorm-like clouds, geometeors tend
also to appear on eve of weather worsening (i.e before cloudness increase,
thunderstorms, etc.), during atmospheric front passages, atmospheric
pressure changes (of course, some of these things are related). So let's
check meteorological conditions for the TWA Flight 800 explosion (the data
was taken from [US] National Climatic Data Center www-site, and Unisys Corp.
www-site, unless otherwise stated).
The airplane explosion occured at 00:31:12 UT July 18, 1996 a ten miles
to the south of Long Island (40.6 N; 72.7 W).
stated that at
the time of the crash, there were light winds and scattered clouds in the
area, but there were no significant meteorological conditions that might
have disrupted the flight. Let's look at the situation in detail.
The 12 UT, July 17
meteorological map (i.e. taken 12.5 hours before the explosion) doesn't
show severe atmospheric conditions indeed. According to the above-mentioned
NTSB collection (DCA96MA070), it slightly rained in John F. Kennedy airport
(90 km to the west of the explosion site) about an hour before the explosion.
Weather in Westhampton Beach (20 km to the north of the explosion site) was
the following. At 23:45 UT, July 17 there were the 4 knots winds from SW,
visibility 6 km, haze, scattered clouds (total sky cover 3/8). At 00:45 UT,
July 18 winds calm, visibility 10 km, haze, scattered clouds (total clouds
As I read (Aviation Week &
Space Technology July 29, 1996), in the Mac Arthur airport (Long Island)
there were scattered clouds at 750 m, visibility - 8 miles, and the 3-kt
southern winds at about 40 minutes before the explosion. Some witnesses
pointed to haze (including in a plane above the TWA Flight 800 one), which
is in agreement with the data.
Satellite images analysis by NTSB releals that in the explosion
site clouds tops were below about 2 km, and clouds with more or less vertical
development were about 36 km to the NE of the explosion site. Radar images
analysed by NTSB (radar's beams were centered at about 3.7 km height in the
explosion site) showed that at 00:27:35 UT the closest more or less strong
reflector was about 15 km from the explosion site. At 00:33:25 UT there were
several strong reflectors around the explosion area, with total square 12.3
sq. n.miles, and assigned in the analysis as products of the explosion.
Unfortunately, I failed to find a weather map for 0 UT, July 18, i.e. almost
at the time of the explosion. In [US] National Climatic Data Center www-site
I discovered a weather radar image,
corresponding to 23 UT, July 17 (i.e an hour and a half before the
explosion). Also nothing especially remarkable.
About 12 hours later the haze became so strong that it was even marked
in the 12 UT, July 18 meteorological map.
And finaly, 23.5 hours after the event in
its area a "nuclear" of clouds was formed.
Here, how it was seen 46.5 hours after the explosion by weather radars.
NOAA satellite images (taken from www.saa.noaa.gov ) show the powerful
cloud cover formation (involving the explosion's site, and with an
"epicenter" to the west of it) even more clearly. Just look at the images
in the satellite's band 4 (infrared), and see the development of the
image of 22:44 UT, July 17 (
image of 12:45 UT, July 18 (
The development of the cloud cover is well-seen in the smoothed and
averaged for the 6-hours long intervals cloudiness data, taken from
NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center. On a cloudiness map for
18-24 UT July 17, i.e.
right before the explosion, not much clouds were in the place of the
event. But the situation have changed significantly just some hours
later, and is seen on the map for
6-12 UT July 18.
Details of the development are even more impressive (see for
18-24 UT July 17, and
6-12 UT July 18).
If to establish a scale of my confidence: is weather in favor for
geometeors (0 - "no", i.e. unlikely; 1 - sooner "no", than "yes";
2 - sooner "yes", than "no"; 3 - "yes", i.e. likely), then I will give "3"
in this case.
To summ up: weather conditions at the time of the TWA Flight 800
explosion were favourable for an appearence of geophysical meteors.
Of course, this result alone doesn't prove that the origin of the TWA
Flight 800 explosion was/were geometeor(s), but together with other hints it
make the idea rather plausible, or at least, the interpretation conforms
with known facts much better than other interpretations.
What could be a possible role of the geophysical meteor in the destruction
of TWA Flight 800? The geometeor could affect the airplane in two ways.
The first one is electromagnetic disturbance in electric wiring etc.
(moreover, events, when a ball lightning penetrated inside a metal
airplane are known - see below).
The TWA Flight 800 flight recorder (FDR) recorded
strange sounds (similar to tape damage noise) at 00:31:05 UT.
(at 00:31:03 the FDR recorded as a crew member pronounced some
unintelligible word, just the second such word for the flight).
Couldn't it be caused by some electromagnetic precursor event
( for example, a ball lightning, penetrated inside)?
Remarkably, that Navy P-3 airplane (which flew near the TWA Flight 800
explosion site about 15 seconds earlier than the latter) reported later that
a part of its electronic equipment failed during the flight. Accidental
It was discovered by NTSB investigators, that the airplane
electric wiring was evidently in bad condition, including some problems with
it right before the explosion (read
here), so the investigators even said that a weak disturbance can lead
to a center fuel tank explosion. In other words, a collision with a geometeor
could be just a trigger (a "last drop") in that case. By the way, the
electromagnetic disturbance may be partly responsible for some anomalous data
recorded in the TWA Flight 800 flight data recorder in
its final moments.
For example, it seems to be the only plausible explanation for gyroes
readings of the aircraft's roll jump from 0 degrees at 00:31:11 UT to
144 degrees a moment later (!), and then returning to normal 0 (!), which
at once was followed by the stop/end of recording at 00:31:12 UT.
At least, I can't imagine how moderate (very weak for such giant aircraft,
in reality) shock wave (as the missile supporters say) from Stinger-type
missile could do it...
Some other "strange" damage of the aircraft can also be explained by
electromagnetic effects. For example, the mysterious nosegear tire
shredding (it is known that a lightning strike sometimes shreds and/or
tears a tire), and some others given below.
Remarkably, that on March 12, 2001 Ian Goddard, an advocate of "missile
theory" for several years altered his opinion to
"missile with an
electromagnetic pulse warhead", pointing to numerous evidences of
electromagnetic surge on TWA Flight 800 plane wreckage (to tell the truth,
I did not expected that the evidences of the surge would be so strong, if
their discoveries by I. Goddard's are correct, of course).
Remarkably, that in January 2001 Ian Goddard e-mailed me that he had read
this my www-page on the TWA Flight 800 crash... Hoping that soon he
will alter his opinion further to "natural missile"...
It is interesting that NTSB in their document "Factors Suggesting the
Likelihood that a Short-Circuit Event Occurred on TWA Flight 800" write
(besides mentioning traces of probably electric arcing in the plane):
"Further, as noted previously, there are several indications that possible
anomalous electrical events occurred in the airplane just before the
explosion. First, the captain's CVR [cockpit voice recorder] channel
recording has two "dropouts" of background power harmonics, indicating some
type of electrical anomaly, less than a second before the CVR lost power."...
The second way of a geometer influence is a direct mechanical destruction, as
sometimes a ball lightning does. For example, the reported numerous holes
(perforation) in one area of the Boeing 747 right wing (see below) resemble
those, which a ball lightning sometimes does.
To better understand the situation regarding to TWA Flight 800, I insert
below several extracts from various www-sites on the event. I mark some
remarkable places with boldface.
The first extract
is from twa800.com, the www-site of the "missile theory". There are also
interesting descriptions of usual (linear) lightning strikes in the
Boeing 747 (please, pay attention to the text I marked in boldface):
...Former TWA pilot Al Mundo then talked about another aspect of the electrical
spark theory: on Good Friday, 1995, when he was flying the plane that would
become Flight 800 in July, 1996, the aircraft was struck not once but twice
The plane did not explode.
"We were descending into Rome. We were at about 13,000-11,000 feet. There
were two strikes of lightning, about three minutes apart. There was a loud
bang, and a yellow flash; initially there was no indication of anything
in the cockpit."
But a photoelectric cell activated an inerting gas whose purpose was to
smother any fire or smouldering that could be caused by an electrical spark.
This was done on the first lightning strike.
Mundo said, "Upon landing it was discovered there was not only substantial
damage to the right wingtip, it was also found that an electrical charge had
gone all the way into the wing area, causing circuit breakers in the cockpit
to pop and the wheel brake temperature indicators to register full scale
the brakes had scarcely been used. It is quite evident from this that a
strong surge of electricty went through the wing.
"The damage incurred was extensive. The plane was out of service for a
But despite the damage that had been inflicted by the two lightning strikes,
the plane was able to land safely. The inference is obvious: if the plane
that expolded fifteen minutes out of JFK in the summer of 1996 was brought
down by an electrical spark igniting the center wing fuel tank, why didn't
two lightning strikes, which would certainly supply infinitely more voltage
to the electrical system of the plane than the theorized stray spark, cause
the aircraft to be blown apart?
Early on in the Flight 800 investigation, Mundo learned that there had been
sooting found on the right wing vent system. "It seemed strange to
me that if
the explosion was initiated by the center wing tank, why would there not be
sooting on both sides of the wing? I contacted personnel in the
team and suggested they check those records from the 1995 flight to
if the sooting came from the lightning strikes. I was later informed that
records could not be located."...
The next extract is from Lloyd L. Mielke's www-site
www.icstars.com/Flight800/TWAflt800Long.html (please, pay attention to
the text I marked in boldface). L. Mielke writes that
probably a meteorite struck TWA Flight 800:
...One of my former co-workers had spent several months at the Calverton
Hanger in New York investigating the accident. He had told me early on of his
findings. Following is some of what he wrote: "something came through Right
Wing Upper area 29 feet (8.84 m) inboard of the Wing Tip and severed the
Wing Skin and the Center Fuel Tank vent/stringer. The vapors in the Center
Fuel Tank Vent/Stringer. were then ignited either by a spark, heat generated
from a moving object or an open flame. A Fuel Vapor Fireball then proceeded
down the Center Fuel Tank Vent/Stringer(65 feet or 20m ) and ignited the
Center Fuel Tank Vapors."
The investigator continued, "The proof of the above will be found on the
applicable Right Wing Upper Skin and Upper Vent/Stringers 29 feet inboard of
the Wing Tip. There will be Trace Materials found on this structure that
possibly can only be detected in a laboratory using the latest equipment."
NOTE: A meteor could cause a puncture in the upper wing skin.
Also according to NTSB data. "At Wing Station 1542, which is at the exit the
outboard main tank vent stringer, the upper skin contains an ~ 1"by 1"
puncture, with the fracture surfaces curled into the surge tank. There is a
yellowish-orange material on the fracture surfaces which is being analyzed."
As far as we can find out this fracture surface has not been analyzed. This
vent leads directly to the Center Wing Tank (CWT). Ref. NTSB Fire &
Explosion Group report Page 105...
And the final extract, this time again from twa800.com. It is a
witness #73 account
(I marked some remarkable text in boldface):
...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
It seems that the object struck upper side of of the right wing,
perforated it, grounded to the fuel tank vent, (and penetrated inside
the fuel tank?), making some burn marks on its way...
I hope a specialist on the damage could check it, and correct, if it is needed.
So there are many hints at geophysical meteors in association with the TWA
Flight 800 tragedy, and evidently the idea should be taken into account.
Moreover that there are confirmed cases of aircrafts collisions with
ball-lightnings (fortunately, lucky ones, so we know about the cases).
2. AIRCRAFTS AND BALL LIGHTNINGS
Examples of aircrafts collisions with ball-lightnings are rather known.
Here you can read (demands DJVU-plug-in)
taken from pp. 38-43 of a book "The Nature of Ball Lightning" by Stanley
Singer (1971, Plenum Press, NY).
Below are more fresh remarkable examples (I marked several interesting points
in boldface) of contacts of an airplane with a
ball lightning-like objects in none-thunderstorm conditions, and having
"happy end", fortunately. Unlucky examples in aviation were not
The first example is remarkable for a large diameter of a ball lightning:
On Oct.16, 1981 a Soviet fighter plane was accompanied in
none-thunderstorm clouds (and no any thunderstorm in the region) by a ball of
light about 5 meters in diameter. The flying ball disappeared, accompanied
with a sound of an explosion. A smell of burning appeared in a cockpit. The
airplane engine stopped, but later a pilot was able to re-start it, and to
land. There was some damage on the fighter plane: some avionics went out
due to an electric fuse burned out, and the
fighters's fin (vertical stabilizer) was damaged.
Here is experience of a pilot R. Kuznetsov, who met with a ball lightning
in autumn 1967 in an airplane (unfortunately no data on the airplane type
is given, hinting that it was a military plane). The account is from
Stakhanov's I.P.book "O fizicheskoi prirode sharovoi molnii" (Moscow, 1985).
Also, please pay attention on rather large altitude:
It was at altitude of 7000 meters, and cloudness was 5-6 points (i.e
clouds covered 50%-60% of sky). No any lightning was detected visually,
as well as by a radar.
A bright white ball lightning, large as a tennis
ball with some halo moved from an antenna connector to the pilot's seat
(1.5 - 2 m) for about 20-30 seconds. Despite that it was for some time
at distance from the pilot less than 1 m, he did not feel any heat from it.
Then the ball lightning exploded and burnt out about 3 cub. cm of metal.
All people in the cockpit were "blind and deaf" for 1-2 minutes after
the explosion. All aircraft radiostations were out due to their electric
fuses burned out. Later black burnt strips were discovered on antennas.
It the next example (taken from the Stakhanov's book), besides a ball
lightning there is also another remarkable luminous phenomenon, resembling
St. Elmo fire:
It happened with TU-104 jet airliner in August 1975. The plane was in
complete cloud cover, and at 1.2 km height its crew saw as blue electric
discharges appearred on window's glasses. They were 15-20 cm long, and
periodically they "took off", and flew forward. Then, about 3-4 seconds
later near the glasses a green-blue ball appeared with diameter
10-12 cm. It was followed by a deafening explosion, and flame covered
the glasses. Later it was discovered, that the principal radiostation
and radiocompass were burnt. Also a small auburn mark was on a metal
strip crossing the glasses.
Here is one more remarkable example, demonstrating that a fireball can
originate far from an airplane.
On Aug. 28, 1989 a Soviet military pilot was on training flight in the
area about a border between the Rostov's and the Krasnodar's regions. At 17:31
(apparently Moscow time) at 4 km altitude he saw an orange fireball slightly
to the right of his course. The fireball, as well as his airplane, were above
clouds. The pilot reported about the fireball to the control center. The
fireball approached the airplane, increasing to 2 meters in diameter. The
pilot eyes were "burnt", and he hung his head. In his flight report he wrote
that he had a feeling as somebody was looking at him, and in the right side
of his head he said unpleasant feeling. He tried to get up his head but
failed to do it due to unexplained fear. Emergency lamp "generator" switched
on. The pilot reported it to the ground and then "fire" emergency lamp
switched on. He saw a [smoke?] trail behind the airplane. His eyes "burnt"
more strongly and smoke appeared in a cockpit... At last the pilot had to
bail out (successfully).
A remarkable adventure with Soviet top-officials on return from
the May 1960 Geneva top-leaders summit (based on TRUD newspaper article).
The officials had accompanied Soviet leader N. Khruschev in his trip, and
were returning to Moscow from Berlin on TU-104 jet airplane. When the plane
was climbing through thunderclouds taking off from Berlin, it was strongly
shaken. A ball-lightning appeared in a pilot's cabin between seats of First and
Second pilots and went into a floor. A passenger in passenger's cabin saw
as a large spark flew out from a "cigar" of a left wing fuel tank.
All avionics was out of action. Fortunately, the airplane was able to get to
Moscow and made a safe landing in good weather, despite jumping several times
up and down on runaway during the landing.
There was a remarkable event with the giant AN 124 "Ruslan" cargo airplane.
The story is from the article by Vladimir Shunevich: ""Ruslan's" Captain
Artem Kulikov: At the first moment we took fast-approaching giant fireballs
of dazzling beauty for UFO...". It was published in July 12, 2000 issue of
newspaper FACTY I KOMMENTARII (Kiev, Ukraine). Here I retell essence of the
event below. Some of its features look suspiciously similar with the TWA
Flight 800 ones...
AN 124 was in Algerian airport of town of Bousfer (spelling?). On the night
of Dec. 20/21, 1999 there was a thunderstorm in the area. On the morning the
thunderstorm went to the east, towards Tunisia, the weather got better,
stars appeared between clouds. On-board radar showed (along their planned
route to Byelorussia) remnants of cloudness, which followed the thunderstorm.
Such cloudness doesn't produce any danger for aviation. It could produced
drizzle, a weak turbulence, no more. So the airplane took off the the west,
and soon commenced a right turn towards town of Algiers.
The altitude was 250 meters, speed 500 km/h.
Suddenly the Captain saw ahead, just a little bit
to the left of their course an approaching fireball about 2 meters in diameter.
It was covered with turquoise (with yellow-blue tint) glow. For a moment the
airplane "stopped", as it met some invisible soft spring-like obstacle. For
some fraction of a second its speed decreased for 10-15 km/h. And something
explode in the cockpit. The Captain was blinded for some minutes. It smelt
as ozone, or something similar. There was a stalling/surging in one (out
of 4) engine, and it was turned off. Flame was seen passing through
the engine and getting out from its nozzle as a bright comet-like trail.
The flash also was seen from the ground. The whole airplane was engulfed
in a bright blue flame. The airplane glowed as a ghost against black sky
Many electric safety devices were out, but then restored (turned on).
In 2-3 minutes the airplane was on its course. And again powerful flash and
a strike in the airplane nose - much more powerful than the first one.
The Captain was blinded for sometime again. Streams of molten metal moved
flowing over the left windshild glass down of the nose dome/fairing. They
looked like Bengal lights. About 1 meter of a lightning-protection-conductor
was burnt out. The electric safery devices were out again, but but soon
restored (turned on) again. The only exception was an upper radar.
The airplane was able to fly to Byelorussia.
Later detailed investigation revealed that there was a large circular dent
(diameter 120 cm) in the nose dome/fairing. The metal was caved in to
the first airframe. There were holes in the dent, other parts of the
airplane nose, and its belly, as from spot-welding.
devices (trails at the end of wings and fin to prevent an aircraft electric
charging) were half-burnt. In many places paint was out/absent, and in
some places even spackle was missing. The damaged radar was jammed. All
its electronics was burnt, fused and charred. There were fissures on two
blades of the damaged engine's turbine.
Interestingly that about a month later at the place of the ball lightning
strikes, an engine of another AN 124 suddenly was out...
And finally, the possibly most exciting
A Soviet 4-engines
turboprop airliner IL-18 took off from Sochi on the Black Sea, in fair
weather. Soon after the takeoff thunderclouds were noted about 60 miles away.
Suddenly, at the height of 1 km, a fireball about 10 cm in diameter appeared
on the fuselage in front of the crew's cockpit. It disappeared with a
deafening noise, but re-emerge several seconds later in the passenger's
lounge, after piercing in an uncanny way through the air-tight metal wall.
The fireball slowly flew about heads of stunned passengers. In the
tail section of the airliner it divided into 2 glowing crescents which then
joined together again and left the plane almost noiselessly. Upon landing
back in Sochi, holes were discovered in the fuselage fore and aft.
Those were this "thing" can do!
There is also a
remarkable encounter of F-15 airplane with a "surface-to-air" fireball.
An interesting and important report by Dr. R.F.Haines (ex-NASA) called
"Aviation Safety In
America: Neglected Factor" dated October 15, 2000 just appeared. It
deals with about similar phenomena in US aviation.
Dr. M. Stenhoff in his book BALL LIGHTNING. AN UNSOLVED PROBLEM IN
ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS (1999, Kluwer Academic/Plenum publishers) summarizing data
on aircrafts contacts with ball-lightnings, writes (p.117) that altitudes
recorded for three cases of ball-lightning seen outside an aircraft are between
2500 m and 3400 m (mean value 3100 meters). Two cases record that the aircraft
was ascending and one that the aircraft was descending at the time of the
3. OTHER "LIGHTS" NEAR LONG ISLAND
The geometeor explanation fits with all known to me facts of the TWA Flight
800 crash. And, let's check other reports of "missile near miss an aircraft"
in this area, discussed in various www-sites (see links in
www.twa800.com and in
In other words, the situation is well-matched with the TWA
Flight 800 plane...
In general, I found several more or less similar cases, which are given
- November 17, 1995, 22:20 EST.
A strange very bright, green object
passed two commercial aircraft in the vicinity of Long Island, New York.
Here are the radar reflectivity images for
23 hours UT, November 17 (i.e. 3h. 20 min.
before the event), and 23 hours UT, November 18
(i.e. 19h. 40 min. after the event). It seems that there is no need to
comment them. On my scale of confidence it is "3".
- November 16, 1996.
Pakistan International Airlines Flight 712 left
Kennedy at 9:25pm (probably local time, i.e. EST), bound for Frankfurt. The
pilot, W. Shah, said his co-pilot saw an orange light coming from the left
hand side to the right hand side of the airplane. The object was 3 - 4 miles
in front of the aircraft and above it. Boston apparently confirmed 'two
unidentified blips' on radar. The tapes were turned over to the FBI and
NTSB since the object(s) rose directly out of Long Island Sound and
ascended almost vertically. Radio 5 in the U.K. reported that the object
which crossed the Pakistani aircraft had exploded. On a McNeill - Lehrer
newshour, when asked about the direction of the object, Mr. Kallstrom (FBI
boss) admitted that it was "ascending". TWA Flight 884 was following
close behind the Pakistani flight. Another report on this incident stated:
"This evening I flew flight 1504 FLL to BOS. It was an extremely clear night
over the Eastern Seaboard. You could see the Connecticut shoreline from Cape
May, NJ. We were at FL 330 just east of JFK proceeding direct to PVD. It
was about 10:15 PM when an aircraft asked center the following question: were
there any fireworks going off in the area. Center replied in the negative, to
the best of their best knowledge. The aircraft then reported they had
something streak up towards them from the left and pass in front of them and
through their altitude. There was silence on the frequency. I asked center
the position of the aircraft reporting the event. Center replied 20nm south
of HTO. It was a foreign carrier, but judging by the accent of the pilot, I
would say it was Air India or Pakistan Intl. I didn't get a call sign, and
to my surprise, center did not ask any more questions. It was a crystal
clear night, and we could see the Hamptons from our position. There were no
fireworks taking place anywhere. Unless the controller was working both
frequencies, the aircraft was at least climbing to or in the high sector.
Fact is someone reported a streak that came from the ground and to the left
of them and passed in front and through their altitude. It was 10:17 when
center replied to me that the aircraft was 20nm south of Hampton. Is it
merely a coincidence this is close to where TWA 800 blew up, or is something
else going on? I don't believe the aircraft was flying inverted and that was
a meteor that streaked by their windshield. Again I was amazed at the silence
of the controller after the report. This event certainly got our attention."
Kallstrom told Lehrer on the PBS Newshour of November 17, 1996
that object observed was probably a meteorite.
Here I don't want to comment the "ascending meteorite". Let's look at
meteorological maps (Unisys Corp.). Here the map for
00 UT, November 17, i.e about 3 h.15 min before
the observations (the observations were at about 03:15 UT, Nov.17). Please,
pay attention on a maximum of atmospheric pressure in this area. The next
map I found was for 12 UT, November 18, ie.
about 33 h. after the observations. The pressure dropped, and cloudness
developed. The latter commenced to appear even earlier, as there is some
cloudness already in a weather radar image of
23 UT, November 17, while at the time of the
observations the the sky was very clear indeed, as eyewitnesses stated (see
radar image of 23 UT, November 16 for
On my scale of confidence I give "2".
- March 17, 1997.
A "missile" was observed by Northwest Airlines 775,
US Air 1937, Delta 2517 and Northwest Airlines 361. Northwest Airlines
Flight 775 was traveling from Newark to Minneapolis and Flight 361 from
Laguardia to Minneapolis. Both flights departed at 6:55 PM and reported the
missile about 15 Minutes into their flights.
I can't locate the place of the observations. Probably, it is somewhere, not
far (to the west of?) New York city.
On the 23 UT, March 17 weather radar image (i.e
taken about 1 h. 10 min. before the observation), there is no clouds in the
area of interest. On the next radar image taken
23 UT, March 18, the area is covered with clouds. Remarkably, that a
meteorological map for 00 UT, March 18 (i.e.
right at the time of the observations) shows complete cloud cover in the
area, and in about 12 hours (or even less, if the observations were to the
west of NY city) a cold front was in the area (see
On my scale of confidence I give "3".
- August 9, 1997.
On August 1997 two Swissair pilots had to "duck"
at 23,000 feet over Long Island. Swissair has revealed that an unidentified
flying object almost collided with one of its planes over the United States. The captain and his co-pilot said an oblong and wingless object
shot past at great speed - only fifty metres away from their Boeing 747.
The Swissair pilot reported his 747 jet was nearly hit by an unidentified
flying object, possibly a missile, near the area off New York where a TWA
airplane crashed in 1996, The Canadian Press has learned. Swissair Flight
127 was cruising at 23,000 feet on Aug.9, 1997, when the pilot interrupted
an address to passengers to report the near miss by a round white object,
says a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. "Sir, I
don't know what it was, but it just flew like a couple of hundred feet
above us," he radioed Boston air traffic control. "I don't know if it was
a rocket or whatever, but incredibly fast, opposite direction." "In the
opposite direction?" asked the controller. "Yes sir, and the time was
2107 (Greenwich mean time). It was too fast to be an airplane." The
controller asked another aircraft if its crew saw anything like a missile
in the area. The reply was negative. He then asked the Swissair pilot again
how far above the plane it was. "It was right over us, right above, opposite
direction, and, and I don't know, two, three, four hundred feet above. All
that I can tell, 127, is that (we) saw a light object, it was white, and
very fast." ..... "It passed over the cockpit, slightly right of centerline.
If it had been any lower, it would have hit the aircraft. The sun was at the
pilot's back. He apparently did not have time to take evasive action. .....
The first officer, whose flight time totalled 7,500 hours, said he was bent
over to adjust the volume on his headset when he looked up and saw the object
pass overhead "very quickly." "It was close enough that he ducked his head
because he thought it would hit them... The FAA report quoted the captain as
stating that the object "appeared to be moving" and "the object did not
appear to have an exhaust plume, or resemble any characteristics of a
rocket". The captain denied that these were his statements in contacts
with staff of the UFO Research Coalition which conducted an investigation of
the incident... The UFO Research Coalition Report on Swissair 127 ISBN
1-928957-00-5 (1999) Pages 7-8. Captain Bobet: 'The object appeared to be
moving...' is a wrong statement. I insisted on the very high speed of the
object at different occasions. So, the object did not APPEAR to be moving,
it WAS moving. "In addition, the object did not appear to have an exhaust
plume, or resemble any characteristics of a rocket ...." I NEVER mentioned
the word "rocket" (or missile). I would have done so only if I was sure
that we encountered one. Even though it was (and still is) very tempting to
use the word, I will never use it as long as I am not 100% sure it was a
rocket. Thus, I certainly did not say that "the object DID NOT resemble any
characteristics of a rocket."
Those who read my early editions of this www-page, are aware that I wrote
that limited meteorological data I got for this event seems to be not
favorable for geophysical meteors (at least what I know about them). Indeed
on that day it was a period of more of less stable weather. In general the
weather went "better", as can be seen comparing meteorological maps for
12 UT, August 9 (i.e about 7 h. 07 min. before
the observation), and for
00 UT, August 10. In the most clear way it is
seen on weather radar images (
20 UT, August 9,
21:45 UT, August 9,
22 UT, August 9, and
21 UT, August 11.
But later I obtain more detailed data which favors to the geometeor's
interpretation. At first, there was some short-term small drop (minimum) of
atmospheric air pressure at the time of the observation.
Also NOAA satellites data (taken from www.saa.noaa.gov), which I obtained
later are favorable for geometers. They show a formation of a large cloud
cover soon after the observation. Look at the images in the satellite's
band 4 (infrared), and see the development of the cloud's cover, detected
from appearence of a cloud "stream/jet" at 17:59 UT, August 10:
image of 22:55 UT, August 9 (
image of 11:12 UT, August 10 (
image of 17:59 UT, August 10 (
image of 22:32 UT, August 10 (
All of the data allows me to reconsider my scale of confidence for this
event, and give "2".
4. THE OCTOBER 31, 1999, EGYPTAIR FLIGHT 990 CRASH?
The unexplained "dive" (40.3 N; 69.8 W) from
10 km altitude of the Boeing 767 at 6:50 UT (1:50 am EST) on October 31
led to a catastrophe. The origin of it is not resolved (see
here and below).
In early November, 2000 Boeing Co. released document named:
"Submission to the National Transportation Safety Board for the
Egyptair 990 Investigation from The Boeing Company. October 31, 2000"
. Here is its abstract:
The Boeing Company, as the airplane’s manufacturer, is acting as a
technical and operational advisor to the National Transportation
Safety Board (NTSB) Investigation.
Our conclusions in this submission are based on factual information,
the expertise of our staff, information using analytical tools, and
a methodical investigative process. We devoted approximately 13,000
recorded man-hours to this investigation, as well as the use
of a simulator, two 767 test airplanes, and other sophisticated equipment.
Flight control surface movements recorded on the digital flight data
recorder (DFDR) are capable of generating the airplane flight path
recorded by the DFDR and radar.
Based on the examination of the recovered wreckage, Boeing did not find
any evidence of a failure condition within the airplane flight control
system that could have caused or contributed to the initial pitchover, or
prevented recovery from the dive.
Boeing participated in examining all potential failure conditions
developed during the investigation and could not find a failure condition
that: (1) matched the data recorded on the DFDR or (2) resulted in a
condition that was not recoverable by the pilot.
Therefore, Boeing does not believe that the loss of Egyptair 990 was
the result of a mechanical failure of the aircraft or aircraft systems.
There is another point of view below (I marked some interesting places
There were also 3 high-speed radar returns in the area ( see
Filers Files 45 (1999) interesting info is given:
August 17, 2000 (Reuters). EgyptAir Chairman Mohamed Fahim Rayan said on
Thursday he was 99 percent sure a technical problem and not a suicidal
pilot caused an EgyptAir plane to crash last October, killing all 217
people aboard...The NTSBs 1,665-page assessment appeared to dismiss
Egyptian theories of technical problems but did mention alleged lewd
behavior by the relief co-pilot Gamil al-Batouti...Rayan said the suicide
theory did not fit with the planes controlled descent, mentioned in last
weeks NTSB report. He said that the switching off of the planes autopilot
just before its fatal descent did not constitute evidence for the theory
because it had disengaged itself three times during the planes earlier
flight from Los Angeles to New York... The Egyptian side has demands which
must be seen through, such as radar and air traffic control information...
There are mechanical issues about the hydraulic bell cranks and elevators,
he said. The Egyptian Pilots Federation said last week it wanted U.S.
authorities to release radar images and to question an air traffic
controller on duty at the time of the crash, as well as three pilots from
Germany, Jordan and Britain, said to have seen missiles while flying in
the area where the plane went down. Last week EgyptAir said metallurgical
analysis of wreckage showed that the rivets on two of the three bell cranks
in the right elevator were sheared in a direction that would force the
elevator down. The rivets on the other bell crank were sheared in the
opposite direction, a pattern EgyptAir said was consistent with the
possible failure or jam of power control units that would cause the
aircraft to pitch down...
Several pleasure boaters off the coast of Nantucket report
seeing at least two large and silent triangular craft in the
vicinity before reports of the loss of Flight 990 from radar.
"The huge objects passed over us at an unbelievable speed,"
stated one observer. "There appeared to be a glowing light at
each corner of the object, and stars and clouds behind it
disappeared. That's how we knew it wasn't just an airplane, but
something else." "We thought it was just a jet or something
from JFK, but we had never seen anything like this." reported a
group on a pleasure cruise on their sailboat. 'There were at
least two of them, and they were totally silent and passed over
us very quickly from east to west.'
Please, pay attention, that so called Hessdalen lights can also
form the regular pattern - triangle in flight (see
Let's look at other accounts, this time taken from
November 4, 1999 From Newsday (LI) Edition: Nassau and Suffolk
The dull orange glow caught Stuart Flegg's attention in the dark sky of a
bracing Halloween night on Nantucket island. And for the next four to five
seconds, his eyes tracked the light falling down ... until it vanished into
the horizon formed by the ink-black Atlantic Ocean. Hours later, Flegg and
his friend Scott Proffitt, who also saw the dime-sized orange spot,
concluded they'd viewed the flaming wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 990, which
plunged from 33,000 feet at 24,000 feet per minute on what was supposed to
be a routine flight from New York to Cairo. .... they called police, and
Tuesday, they told their story to the FBI. "What caught my eye was like an
orange glow in the sky. And then it was falling rapidly. I mean, it was
falling very fast. And then, about halfway down, it started slowing down,"
Flegg, 32, said yesterday. "And then the flame got a little wider. As it was
falling down, it got longer. And then it just kept coming down, going
slower, slower, slower and then it just passed over the horizon from where I
was." ...... At first, Flegg thought the small ball-shaped glow was a
meteor, a comet or a shooting star, but it was moving much too fast. It
"didn't look anything like" those things, he said. Proffitt, 22, said the
orange light dotting the black sky initially looked like fireworks. "But
then I noticed that it was way too far up in the sky to be a Roman candle
and too far away," Proffitt said. "It wasn't an extraordinary brightness,
but it got our attention. It was orange. If I had to pick a shade, I would
say burnt orange." Both men said they heard no sound at all. The men,
carpenters who work together, were among a group of about five left after a
Halloween party of 40 or so people at the Fleggs'. They were seated in
chairs around a backyard fire pit about a mile from the water enjoying the
last moments with friends and some beer. Though they cannot pin down the
exact time they saw the glow, they said it was between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30
a.m., when they retired for the night. The plane's signal was lost shortly
before 2 a.m. more than 50 miles south of Nantucket. .... "I believe I saw
the plane," Proffitt said yesterday. "I mean, there is no other explanation
for what I saw. We were facing the right direction, it was the right time of
the night, and I know it was not a shooting star. So I definitely believe I
saw the plane." The men told their story Monday to local folks and to two
local television crews. The next day, two FBI agents showed up with a lot of
pointed questions. "They asked me how the lawn was set up with the yard
chairs," said Stuart's wife, Monica Flegg, 34, who had gone to sleep before
the crash. "I showed them the yard and showed them how it was set up. Then
they interviewed Stuart and Scott, separately." Flegg said he told them he
was facing south-southeast, with Proffitt sitting to his left. He said he
saw it first, tapped Proffitt on the shoulder, and said, "Look at that." He
told them there is very little light pollution off Nantucket, that you can
see a "long, long way," and that he often sits in his backyard and watches
airplanes on similiar flight patterns. Sometimes he can even see their
shining lights. Flegg acknowledges that he and the others had had "a couple
beers" that night, but, "I mean, we weren't falling over backwards, stone
drunk." "I know what I saw-that's what I told the FBI guys," Flegg said. "I
don't care what they say, I know what I saw. It was definitely that plane
going down that I saw. It was definitely on fire." Officials say none of
the wreckage recovered so far shows evidence of fire.
Here is a remarkable
extract from the Egypt State Informational Service www-site:
The FBI may prefer that Flegg and Proffitt be perceived as unreliable
witnesses given their consumption of "a couple of beers", yet the wreckage
does indeed indicate that the "fire" they saw did not come from the
aircraft. Both of them describe the EgyptAir 990 incident using phrases such
as: orange glow .... dime-sized orange spot . .... moving much too fast ...
fireworks ... flame .... Roman candle .... no sound .... not a shooting
Flegg stated that there is "no other explanation for what I saw" yet the
descriptions he and Proffitt provide are remarkably similar to numerous
eyewitness descriptions of TWA 800's destruction.
The question imposing itself now is: Why did the US investigation
authorities refused to allow the Egyptian investigation team to review
certain parts of the FBI official report? These parts have been reported to
include the testimonies of two eyewitnesses from an island nearby the spot
of the plane's crash. "The two saw a UFO. One of them thought that it was a
comet. The other said that comets move from up to down, not the opposite,
thus, this UFO can never be a comet." said the report.
And here is The Egyptian Gazette (October 31, 2000) posted at
the Egypt State Informational Service www-site:
Just after their short conversation, they saw that UFO hitting the
plane. They immediately reported the matter to the FBI. The following day,
they knew of the crash of Egypt Air flight 999, what a coincidence!
...At the time, a German was piloting a business jet, some way behind
flight 990. He saw both dives. He was aware that the plane was in distress,
and changed his course to maintain closer proximity.
The lone pilot then picked up on his radar screen a fast-moving blip of
an object coming towards both his plane and the Egypt-Air jet. He performed
evasive maneuvres and watched a missile pass his plane and strike Flight
990 in the tail section.
He saw the jet plunge into the sea. Upon his return to Germany, he was
visited by three FBI agents, who told him that he 'did not see what he saw...
I also have been told by an Egyptian investigator
about a Jordan
pilot, who was shown on Qatar TV, and said that he left JFK 3 hours before
EA990 and after taking off, 45 min at 33,000 feet, the pilot went to the
toilet and then he was surprised to hear the co-pilot screaming and uttering
some religious muslim words, and he was scared to death,the pilot came back
and tried to calm him down, and he told him that he saw a fireball coming
to them at a very high speed and it did in fact pass near...
Please, pay attention, that some aspects of the above-mentioned stories may
sound, to say, strange, but we always should to remember about political
meaning of the results of the investigation... But despite that
mis/disinformation can not be completely ruled out in some cases, appearences
of similar info in completely different sources and some other aspects hint
that probably some phenomena were real indeed.
The idea about missiles means a super-cover-up, and seems unlikely for many
some details of the missiles's descriptions don't resemble known types
By the way, behaviour of the relief co-pilot Gamil al-Batouti also doesn't
resemble behaviour of a man who decided to suicide. My impression is that
the co-pilot became a witness of something extraordionary and dangerous
(probably even scaring), and as a result he turned off auto-pilot, then
7 seconds later he decreased engine's throttles. Finally, a second later
he pushed pilot's column into "dive" (by the way, the sequence of
events doesn't conform with airplane's elevator's failure as origin of
According to the geometeor interpretation, the "missiles", the "burning
aircraft", the "UFO", and possibly the "something" seen by the co-pilot
could be in reality specific manifestations of atmospheric electricity.
Indeed, it is rather strange that no words were said in the cockpit of the
airplane during its final minute on the origin of this extreme dive. For
me there are two most plausible reasons for this: the airplane co-pilot
was scared, and the origin of the airplane dive was evident and
frightening, so it was hard to talk about.
In the absence on any known significant failures in cockpit, the absence of
the words hints that the origin of the dive was seen outside the
airplane, and probably in threatening proximity.
By the way, the presence of the atmospheric electric phenomena can explain
unknown thumps and clicks recorded by CVR in a minute preceding the
auto-pilot was turned off.
Remarkably that according to NTSB investigation, during the final
few seconds of the CVR recording, a noise identified as an unsquelched
background radio noise, was heard on the First Officers radio
channels of the CVR recording. This noise starts at 0150:25.04 EST and
continues until the end of the recording....
Let's check meteorological data.
At Long Island there was fog. In the
crash area: calm sea, light wind, light haze and visibility more 10
miles. It was unseasonably warm. Two days later a storm hit the
Here are details.
More or less detailed meteorological radar reflectivity images
are posted in
it is not completely clear, are the times given in UT or local, and what is
the angle of a radar beam.
interesting is the
2:01 am image with remarkable red reflecting
areas in the place of the crash. If the times are indeed local (as hinted
that the images are "of the crash"), it means that short-living large
and strong "reflectors" appeared at the place of the crash at its time
(even if the times are in UT, that means that the "reflectors" were
detected a few hours before the crash). Please note, that the reflectors are
absent on radar images taken later (at
3 am, and
NTSB investigation doesn't reveal such reflectors, but they looked at
composite radar data (which usually is rather "smoothed"), and at data
of another (KBOX) radar.
Of course, the radar malfunction can't be ruled out, but the
reflectors were in the proper place and in the proper time...
An infrared satellite image taken at
6:45 UT, Oct.31 showed a band of mid (tops about 6 km high) to low level
clouds (not convective) oriented from NE to SW line located over the
accident site (see
NTSB Meteorological Factual Report (DCA00MA006) for details).
Let's look at behaviour of a cloudness level. Here is the GOES 8 satellite
infrared image (from NCDC www-site) taken at 00:15
UT, Oct.31, i.e. about 6.5 hours before the accident. No any clouds are
seen in the
area of interest. As we just see, there were already some clouds at 6:45 UT
in the area. On the next image, taken at 12:15 UT,
Oct. 31, some clouds are seen too. And the
00:15 UT, Nov.1 image shows a large cloud cover in the area.
NOAA satellite images (taken from www.saa.noaa.gov ) show the cloud formation
even more clearly. Just look at the Oct.31 images in the satellite's band 4
(infrared), and see the development of the cloud's formation:
image of 8:34 UT (
image of 10:37 UT (
image of 13:43 UT (
image of 21:55 UT (
You can see "explosive" clouds appearence between 10:37 UT and 13:43 UT.
The development of the cloud cover is well-seen in the smoothed and
averaged for the 6-hours long intervals cloudiness data, taken from
NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics Center. On a cloudiness map for
0-6 UT October 31, i.e.
right before the explosion, there are already some cloudiness in the
place of the event. But on the next map for
6-12 UT October 31 18 the cloudiness
increased significantly, and the rise continued further (
see a map for 12-18 UT October 31).
Details of the explosive cloudiness development are impressive (see for
0-6 UT October 31,
6-12 UT October 31), and
12-18 UT October 31).
It seems that the ill-fated EgyptAir Flight 990 was in wrong place and in
I give "3" on my scale of confidence that the meteorological conditions
were in favor for geometeors.
Another remarkable aspect is ULF electromagnetic disturbances detected
by Charlie Plyler from ELFRAD at the time
of the crash (see here). As it was
shown, at least some geophysical meteors were
accompanied with similar disturbances. Remarkably, that one of the
disturbances exactly coincided with the time of the accident.
Of course, the above-written doesn't prove that the lights seen,
and the reported radar targets were geometeors, but it makes the idea about
geometeors plausible. The airplane could be damaged, as in the
above-mentioned cases, or at least, a pilot could urgently attempt to
avoid/escape such threatening surroundings (if the above-mentioned witnesses
saw the airplane indeed, possibly there was a strong St. Elmo-like fire, at
least), and apparently diving is the best way for such a heavy plane to
Anyway, more investigation is needed to understand an origin of this tragedy.
One more remarkable event occured about a hundred km to the north of TWA
Flight 800 crash site in May, 2000. A small airplane almost collided
with a slow-moving fireball (see here).
A question may arise: why the geometeor's encounters with aircrafts are
concentrated in the Long Island area? For me it seems due to two major
The first one is that air traffic is extremely heavy in this region. And the
second one. It is known that there are some regions where geometeors meet
more often than in others, apparently due to geological (tectonic) and
meteorological peculiarities of these regions. At least meteorologically
the region is a border between continent and ocean, where various
atmospheric instabilities can be expected.
Maybe Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was right, saying: "There
may be something in the atmosphere or weather conditions may be sometimes
very tough there."!
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