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The Mystery of American Airlines 587

 "There's no use trying, " she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen.
"When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day.
Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Lewis Carroll 1832 - 1898

Could it be possible that it was a storm in 1987 that caused the crash?  
Impossible you say but investigators are now in "unknown" territory and this may become a "mystery crash".
How about a "hertofore unknown type of rudder malfunction" or "hidden damage that eluded inspectors".  
Still not convinced?   Then how about "some combination"?
January 2, 2002; Page A04  Washington Post

The mechanics of flight remain to many a mystery.
NY Times Editorial - February 3, 2000

This article is still in development and will be updated periodically as this story unfolds


In the September 2002 issue of Vanity Fair on page 236 it was reported that on June 27, 2002, a calm, sunny day over the green patchwork of Gloucestershire, England, Captain Pete Bruder was in command of an American Airlines A300-600 on its way from London's Heathrow airport to New York. At 22,000 feet, he says, "it just went, Bang!  It was like someone pushed the whole plane.  It went left, right, left, and back to where we started. We got slammed." In the main cabin, a flight attendant was thrown into a passenger's lap as the plane lurched from side to side. "Everyone in back was terrified," Bruder says.

Unwilling to risk an Atlantic crossing, he returned to Heathrow.  The Air Accidents Investigation Branch, the British NTSB, held an investigation.  There was nothing on the flight-data recorder that indicated what might have happened, and no evidence of a fault. The weather was stable. Minutes ahead of the A300-600 had been a Boeing 777.  The investigators could not be certain, but reported that "it is most probable that the reason" for the Airbus's experience was the 777's wake vortex.  

Bruder - who at the time had 10,500 hours' flight experience - is unimpressed. "When you hit wake vortex, the plane rolls: up one side, then down again when you get through it. This was different. Something made an input on the rudder on that plane, and you'll never convince me it didn't."

A similar incident occurred on November 12, 2001 when American Airlines Flight 587 went into an uncontrolled dive and crashed within minutes of takeoff.  Excessive rudder movements by the pilot trying to transit wake turbulence was declared to be the cause. The crash occurred on the fourth anniversary of the conviction of Ramzi Yousef for the bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993.

November 13, 1997 New York Times
It was almost five years ago, but the images are still etched in memory: the explosion rumbling over the city like summer thunder, a blast furnace of fire under the World Trade Center, smoke and panic rising through the falling snow, jangling alarms, death and America awaking to the horrors of terrorism. ... But Wednesday (November 12, 1997), in a courtroom a few blocks away, the conviction of Ramzi Ahmed Yousef as the leader of the plot, and of Eyad Ismoil as the accomplice who drove the enormous car bomb into the Trade Center's underground garage and helped Yousef detonate it, brought the tangled case to a kind of close….. Thus, questions were unanswered: Did a country or terrorist group sponsor Yousef, as some investigators suspect? Or did he act independently, as others believe, recruiting and training amateurs in New York, Manila and elsewhere for diabolical plots to topple the Trade Center, kill the pope and blow up 12 U.S. airliners? And, not least, who is Ramzi Ahmed Yousef? Much about him -- his nationality, associations, even his name -- remains unclear. In his six months in the United States before the bombing, officials say, he repeatedly changed disguises and identities, and over the years used 11 aliases and many passports and other false identity papers. While much about his origins are murky, investigators say he was born on April 27, 1968, to a Pakistani mother and a Palestinian father and grew up in a working-class Kuwait City suburb. Like many Palestinians in Kuwait, he and his family were second-class citizens, exiles in a diaspora who despised Israel for taking their land, and blamed the United States for supporting Israel. Yousef, who speaks Urdu, the main Pakistani language, as well as Arabic and English, studied engineering at Swansea University in Wales from 1986 to 1989. Intelligence reports say he went to Afghanistan after the mujahedeen rebels, backed by the CIA, drove Soviet troops out in 1989, and was trained in guerrilla fighting. Some reports say he learned bomb-making in Peshawar, a Pakistani town near the Afghan border that was a center of guerrilla activity in the 1980s. The town is near the Khyber Pass frontier, a lawless land that has long been a training ground and sanctuary for terrorists. In 1991, Yousef moved to the Philippines and joined the Muslim extremist group known as Abu Sayyaf. A former deputy commander of the movement recalled Yousef as a bitterly anti-American Palestinian militant who had resolved to wage an ambitious campaign of terrorism around the world. Yousef arrived in New York on a flight from Pakistan on Sept. 1, 1992. Using a false Iraqi passport, he asked for political asylum, and was released pending a hearing. Ahmad M. Ajaj, a Palestinian, accompanied Yousef on the flight.

Yousef began seeking recruits through the Jersey City mosque of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric whose most ardent Muslim followers were militant opponents of the United States. In 1995 the sheik and 10 followers were convicted of conspiring to blow up the United Nations headquarters and other New York buildings, bridges and tunnels in a campaign of urban terrorism. Through the mosque, investigators say, Yousef recruited Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Mahmoud Abouhalima. They helped him buy and mix explosive chemicals in cheap apartments and a rented storage space in Jersey City. Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi, also was recruited, officials say. ..... Yousef set the fuse and fled before the blast. Within hours, Yousef flew to Karachi, Pakistan, and Ismoil to Amman, Jordan, leaving the others behind. Yasin also fled, and remains the only fugitive. Yousef ... renewed his campaign of terror, traveling to Pakistan, Thailand, the Philippines and eventually back to Islamabad, where Pakistani and U.S. agents, acting on a tip, seized him on Feb. 7, 1995. It was on the flight back to New York that he talked to Brian G. Parr of the Secret Service and Charles Stern of the FBI. His confession was said to have included plans for a kamikaze attack on the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and an attempt to assassinate President Clinton with phosgene gas. When Yousef fled the Philippines, he left a computer full of plots, one to kill Pope John Paul II in Manila in days, another for a horror to surpass that at the Trade Center: a coordinated bombing of 12 American jetliners in 48 hours. (For the latter, he was convicted in New York last year and faces mandatory life in prison.) In his trials and statements, there has been no evidence that Yousef was working for a foreign power or terrorist group. But other investigators say his ability to travel the world as a fugitive with relative ease make it unlikely that he acted on his own. Likely sponsors include Syria, Iran, Libya or a terrorist organization, they theorize. Thus Yousef, to the end, has remained an enigma. By refusing to testify in his own defense at either of his trials, he has avoided exposing himself to prosecutors' questions about possible sponsors and financing by enemies of the United States, or even to more searching questions about who he is.

Which raises the question: Was American Airlines Flight 587 brought down by an act of terrorism?

November 13, 2001 (Reuters)
Investigators on Tuesday combed the wreckage of an American Airlines Airbus crash in New York that killed up to 269 people, searching for clues to a possible mechanical failure that might have brought down the Dominican Republic-bound jetliner. Flight 587, an Airbus A300 jet bound for Santo Domingo crashed on Monday in a residential neighborhood in the borough of Queens less than two minutes after takeoff from John F. Kennedy airport, killing 251 passengers and nine crew and leaving up to nine people missing on the ground.While officials refused to rule out any possible causes, the National Transportation Safety Board which is leading the investigation of the third catastrophic American Airlines crash in two months, said early indications pointed to an accident. "All information we have currently is that this is an accident," said NTSB Chairwoman Marion Blakey. The Federal Aviation Administration, law enforcement authorities and the White House made similar statements. The plane crashed about two minutes after taking off at 9:14 a.m. EDT (1414 GMT) from JFK, and eyewitnesses said they saw debris falling from the aircraft before it crashed in a residential neighborhood in Rockaway, on a barrier island between Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

November 15, 2001 Reuters
A JetBlue Airways pilot waiting for take-off at John F. Kennedy International Airport saw the American Airlines flight that crashed on Monday as it fell from the sky accompanied by smoke and a smaller piece of the aircraft, according to an internal report. The pilot told the JetBlue officials that in its final moments American Airlines Flight 587 appeared to be in a very steep descent, falling nose down at about 80 degrees in a spiral dive. Before it exploded on impact, the aircraft was accompanied by the smaller piece above and to the right or southwest of the smoke trailing behind the main body, according to the internal JetBlue report provided to Reuters

American Airlines 587 is the fourth aircraft to have crashed since 1996 after a departure from Kennedy airport.

February 1, 2000  The Associated Press
On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 was climbing gradually after taking off from New York City and well along in its flight when it exploded at about 13,000 feet. All 230 people aboard were killed. Last October, Egypt Air Flight 990, a twin-engine Boeing 767, was cruising at 31,000 feet off Nantucket, Mass., when it suddenly dove, and plummeted at breakneck speed into the cold Atlantic, killing all 217 people aboard. The reason for the dive is still a mystery. About two months earlier, on Sept. 2, 1998, Swissair Flight 111, was also cruising along a similar route on a flight from New York to Geneva when it crashed off Nova Scotia, killing the 229 people aboard. "We don't see any common threat (sic) in these accidents,'' emphasized Capt. Dwayne Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association".

In all of these crashes, TWA 800, Swissair 111, Egyptair 990, and now American Airlines 587 the U.S. Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dismiss terrorism as a possible cause despite strong evidence to the contrary for each of these crashes. For details on TWA 800, Egyptair 990 and Swissair 111 the reader should read : 1) On a Clear Day You Can See Forever which presents most of the eyewitness accounts of the crash of TWA 800; 2) The Mystery of EgyptAir 990 in which an uncontrolled dive was blamed on pilot suicide; and 3) The Mystery of SwissAir 111 which describes that while flying the same track as TWA 800 Swissair 111 lost all radio contact for 13 minutes when it passed over the same location where TWA 800 was downed.  The SwissAir aircraft crashed on the tenth anniversary in the Islamic calendar of the bombing of PA 103.  (Click on the underlined links above to access the articles.)

Following the crash of AA 587 a second attempt was made to bomb another American Airlines flight on the anniversary in the Gregorian calendar of the bombing of PA 103 when Richard Reid was denied boarding to AA 63 on December 21, 2001.

December 29, 2001 Electronic Telegraph
FBI agents are investigating the possibility that the shoe bomber Richard Reid was trying to mark the anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing with a suicide attack. He first tried to board a Paris to Miami flight on Friday, Dec 21, the 13th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988.
But it was not until 24 hours later that he managed to get a flight on the American Airlines service carrying 197 people. The 28-year-old Briton tried to bring down the airliner with a highly volatile explosive that could have gone off at any time, a Boston court heard yesterday. His attempt to detonate the device was foiled by the alertness of an air hostess and the prompt action of several passengers. Reid, who converted to Islam while in prison in London, was remanded in custody on charges of intimidation or assault of a flight crew member.

As with TWA 800 the eyewitnesses are again being ignored by the investigative agencies. (Click for audio file of witness 1 and witness 2 and for video files of eyewitnesses John Power, Jim Conrad (Retired NYPD Lieutenant), Ellie Scholfield and Tom Lynch (Retired firefighter). The video files will take several minutes to  download and were made by Victor Trombettas.

The John Power interview was conducted on Wednesday morning November 21, 2001 at the same spot (and time) in the Salt Marsh Nature Center on the north side of Jamaica Bay where John and his wife were standing when they witnessed the flight and crash of AA Flight 587 . The key elements to his interview are:

a. plane was in distress long before the tail flew off
b. there was black smoke coming from the right side of the plane, possibly the engine
c. there was a noticeable flash or fire or explosion coming from the right side of the fuselage in or near the engine
d. the tail fell off only after the plane underwent a violent sequence of a rolls and/or spins

This interview with Tom Lynch took place on Saturday, January 19th, 2002 at the same spot where Tom witnessed the flight and crash of AA Flight 587 . The key elements to his interview are:

a. plane was at about 2,000 feet altitude; about 6 seconds before ground impact
b. there were two explosions, the first, smaller one just behind the wing near the fuselage; the second one much larger engulfed much of the plane
c. the plane was intact (including the tail assembly) at the time of the first explosion

This interview with Jim Conrad took place on Saturday, January 19, 2002. The key elements to his interview are:

a. there were two explosions, the first, smaller one just behind the wing near the fuselage; the second one much larger engulfed much of the plane
b. the plane was intact (including the tail assembly) at the time of the first explosion

The key elements to the interview with Scholfield are:

The rear of the plane was on fire before she witnessed a large explosion

Here are  further details of the eyewitness reports ......

December 2, 2001 New York Post
Litle wonder the National Transportation Safety Board has bleated for help from NASA to help them out in the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587. The NTSB has shown in the past that it is run by a bunch of bumbling bureaucrats who couldn't find a needle in a thimble. Here they were with 265 dead, and God knows how many mourners, giving us this claptrap that the tail fell off mysteriously.  "No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that," said retired firefighter Tom Lynch, who was doing his exercise march along Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Nov. 12.  "I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. "It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car. "The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof' - the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. "It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." Lynch, who lives near the crash site in Belle Harbor, claims he has 13 people who saw the plane on fire before the breakup. Until the explosion the tail was intact. He contacted the FBI, NTSB, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton. "I got no response from anyone," said Lynch, "Sabotage? That's for other people to decide. At first, we hear there were seagulls in the engine, the plane was caught in a jet stream and the tail fell off. No damn tail fell off until after the second explosion."

December 3, 2001 11:07 a.m. EST  Flight 587 Eyewitnesses Insist Explosion Came Before Tail Broke Off
Two eyewitnesses to the Nov. 12 crash of American Airlines Flight 587 said over the weekend that investigators for the National Transportation Safety Board are wrong to focus on potential structural defects as the cause of the disaster - insisting instead that the plane's tail came off over New York's Jamaica Bay only after it exploded in a fireball. "It was after the explosion," eyewitness Tom Lynch, a retired firefighter, told the New York Post. "I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." "No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that," Lynch told the paper's Steve Dunleavy. The eyewitness said there was absolutely no doubt about what he saw.  "I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right-hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car."  He continued: "The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof' - the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I'm telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion." Lynch, who lives near the Belle Harbor, N.Y., crash site, said he knew 13 others who also saw the explosion and/or fire. One, retired police lieutenant Jim Conrad, told Dunleavy: "I saw exactly what Tom saw. I was near a stoplight at the Marine Parkway Bridge. First, the small explosion. The plane kept on going, tail intact, then the big explosion and the plane nose-dived. The first thing I said was, 'The bastards did it again.'" Lynch said he's tried to contact the FBI and the NTSB but they weren't interested in his story. Ditto Sens. Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and his congressional representative, Anthony Weiner, who also gave him the brush-off. "I got no response from anyone," he said. Last week asked New York state's newly appointed public security czar, James Kallstrom, why a traffic surveillance video that reportedly captured Flight 587's midair breakup has not been publicly released. "I have not seen the tape. I heard some mention of it. But I've not seen the tape and I really have no knowledge of it," Kallstrom said. "Why it hasn't been released, I suspect, is because the investigation is ongoing. But I don't know the answer to that."

Eyewitness Tom Lynch took it upon himself to interview other eyewitnesses. Here is what they told him ....

Witness: Four F 16 jet fighters were flying in formation, two above, two lower. They were flying from west to east following the beach in the Rockaway's about near the Marine Parkway Bridge. I saw from the second top plane what appeared to be five quick white puffs. I turned to tell some friends to look at this and when I turned back I saw an aircraft crashing east of the Marine Parkway Bridge. A report was given to the FBI.

Witness Richard Kvies and a friend were sitting in Howard beach near the airport having a coffee outside while waiting to watch the Concorde take off. They were looking to the south and the airplane was traveling from Kvies's left to his right (east to west) and clilmbing slightly. He observed the aircraft for about thirty seconds. A bright yellow flash of light, very much like a camera flash, appeared where the right wing met the fuselage. The size of the flash was approximately the width of the fuselage from top to bottom. The plane stopped its forward and upward progress and descended vertically while maintaining its same attitude. A stream of white smoke rose vertically as it fell from the location where the flash had appeared. Richard is a special forces Vietnam veteran and a retired N.Y. City police officer. Richard expressed the view that it looked like some type of armament hit the aircraft. Kieves was one of the callers to 911 to report the crash. (The white smoke can be seen in the toll booth video released by the NTSB

Witness - Angela Fogarty was traveling east bound on the Belt Parkway just past the Knapp street exit and saw departing from JFK in the upper left side of her windshield. She looked away for a split second and then looked back because she thought she saw an object come in contact with the underside of the plane behind the right wing. She took her eyes off the plane and then as she looked back she saw the explosion. There was a huge orange red fireball (larger than fuselage) that was located where the right wing meets the body of the plane. The fireball turned into black smoke at this time; Fogargy saw what she believed to be the right wing separating from the aircraft. Fogargy reported that the plane was completely intact prior to the explosion and that what she thought was the wing was in fact the vertical stabilizer.

Witness - John Power and his wife were in Brooklyn just northwest of the Bridge. They reported that the plane was in distress long before the tail flew off, and there was black smoke coming from the right side of the plane, possibly the engine. There was a noticeable flash or fire or explosion which came from the right side of the fuselage in or near the engine. The tail fell off only after the plane underwent a violent sequence of rolls and/or spins.

Witness - Neil MacLeod was located at the Broad Channel Subway station. He saw debris coming from the aircraft and fire and smoke coming from under the aircraft near where the right wing and fuselage join. There were small pieces all about the plane moving with it. During the last 2 seconds he saw a long rectangular piece come off which looked like the shape of a wing flap.

Witness - William Leonard is a nuclear engineer, control systems power systems He also spent four years in the navy where he received basic flight instruction. Leonard was located at Beach 134 Street on the ocean. To him it appeared that the aircraft was too low and slow for a twin-engine plane. It approached him almost head on and shortly after he began observing it he observed a single event in which debris came from the fuselage of the plane. The plane continued in level, controlled flight and Leonard thought it would return to JKF. But after about 20 seconds, he observed a small, momentary explosion that erupted from the fuselage. About two seconds after the explosion, he observed violent motions in pitch and yaw. The plane had obviously "stalled". At this point the aircraft was intact and Leonard took his eyes off it to call 911.

Witness - James P. Conrad of Brooklyn. Conrad was on Rockaway Point Boulevard at the Fort Tilden traffic light. His attention was drawn to the plane because it was unusually low and at a location where he normally did not see planes. "I saw a puff of white smoke come from the right side of the plane's body, just behind the right wing. Then, there was a large explosion engulfing the body of the plane from the wing back to the tail. It was then seven or eight seconds before the plane crashed into the ground." Conrad added that "just before the plane passed over the seawall, there were debris pieces of all sizes dropping from the plane and through the smoke."

It is very difficult to question the credibility of a catholic priest whose nephew flies jets for Aer Lingus .....

January 12, 2002 Associated Retired Aviation Professionals
Eyewitness Report sent to NTSB
On 11/12/01 at approximately 9:16 a.m. I was in the bathroom of my home on the second story and about to shave. I live at 194 Beach 114th Street with second story windows looking west towards Belleharbor. I heard a very abrupt and loud bang which appeared to be "elevated" or originating from the sky and very different from the sound of two cars colliding. The sky at that time was clear and completely cloud free. I immediately looked westward and saw a large aircraft heading south towards Belleharbor, flying out of Kennedy at approximately 2,000 feet. Flames and smoke were clearly visible in the rear door area and debris ( some large parts) could be seen falling to the earth. The smoke, debris etc was occurring within one second or almost simultaneously with the abrupt bang I heard. At that point the aircraft seemed to hesitate and drop a few hundred feet in the sky continuing for a few seconds on the same flight path, heading south towards the beach and Atlantic Ocean. Over Belleharbor it suddenly made a sharp turn to the left and nose dived into the ground behind some houses. I was deeply shocked and prayed for the unfortunate passengers. I did notice, before the plane hit the ground that the wings seemed to be relatively intact. The aircraft looked beautiful in the last seconds of its life with the morning sun glinting on the fuselage. I had my cell phone and immediately called the 100th precinct. I took note of the time which was approximately 9:17 a.m. I then called the NTSB with an account of what I had seen and ran to the crash site. As a Catholic Priest (retired) I got as close as I could to the impact zone and gave a general blessing and absolution to the dead. I feel I am a reliable eyewitness with a deep interest in aircraft. My nephew is presently a captain with Irish Air Lines (Aer Lingus.)

Sincrely Yours
Patrick Twohig

Notice that in the following letter to the NTSB a former Special Forces member identified in the letter as Witness Alpha (Richard Kieves who is familiar with ordinance) saw the typical white color of an ordinance explosion. (Fuel explosions are low velocity explosions and have an orange color.  A similar pattern of events was reported by eyewitness Meyer to the TWA 800 downing - an initiating white ordinance explosion.)

February 14, 2002  Open Letter to Chairman of NTSB from Victor Trombettas
(The map mentioned in the letter may be viewed at Trombetta's website)

I just want to confirm that you have Witness Alpha's testimony.

Alpha, a former Special Forces member familiar with ordinance and now a retired New York City Uniformed Officer, spotted the doomed flight very early in it's ascent. This makes Alpha--and others like Alpha (like John and Jackie Power) who spotted the plane as it neared and attained its peak altitude before it spun out of control and lost the rudder and tail--key witnesses.

Alpha was in a backyard, relaxing, and looking up at the southern sky, watching the planes takeoff from JFK on the morning of Nov. 12th. Alpha was at (deleted) Avenue and 1 block east of Cross Bay Blvd. If you look at the attached picture of a map of the area (with Alpha's location marked with a red X on the far left), Alpha was just a little more than 1 mile north of JFK. Flight 587 crossed Alpha's line of sight just as it was nearing and passing Cross Bay Bridge/Blvd; initially the plane looked just fine. After a short while, Alpha noticed a white and yellow explosive flash appear behind the right wing in the fuselage. Alpha knows what ordinance explosions look like, and to Alpha that's what this appeared to be. The flash was followed by a stream of smoke. This appears to be the stream of smoke John and Jackie Power spotted at least 5 seconds before the plane spun violently, and then began its descent into Belle Harbor. Prior to that initial flash, the flight of 587 seemed perfectly normal.

If John Power's estimate that he witnessed at least the last 22 seconds of the flight is accurate, then Alpha saw more than that (since John Power was standing west of Alpha, and the first thing John saw was the smoke from the right side). In fact, Alpha saw this plane in distress so early in it's flight, Alpha was on the phone with emergency services before the plane hit the ground.

Here's what I, and many others, have trouble with Mr. Chairman. The NTSB had this testimony (and similar accounts) very soon after the crash. Yet, the NTSB has "all but ruled out" criminal or terrorist activity (based on comments Marion Blakey made to National Public Radio on January 8th). Since November 12th, the official word has been that Flight 587 was being treated as an accident. The only way the NTSB can reach such conclusions would be if:

(a) the NTSB doubts the veracity of any of these witness testimonies.

(b) the NTSB has a sound mechanical explanation (such as compressor stalls), consistent with an accident, for all these fire and explosion reports, but for some reason has decided not to share those educated speculations with the public. We've heard educated speculations about possible pilot reactions and use of the rudder, so some educated speculations about what many witnesses saw would not be inappropriate. They would help to dispel terrorism concerns and concerns of disregard for witnesses.

(c) as some people have speculated, including at least one former NTSB Board Member, the NTSB was under political pressure to conclude an accident was the cause.

Thanks for your consideration, and I look forward to your reply.

Truly Yours,

Victor Trombettas

The NTSB admits that there was no fire in the engines which leaves them with a big problem in explaining the fire and smoke .....

December 18, 2001   NTSB Advisory National Transportation Safety Board Washington, DC 20594

The National Transportation Safety Board today released the following updated information on its investigation of the November 12 crash of American Airlines flight 587 in Belle Harbor, New York, which resulted in the deaths of all 260 persons aboard and 5 persons on the ground.

Both engines were transported to an American Airlines heavy maintenance facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. An engine "teardown," or detailed examination, was conducted from November 28 to December 4. There was no evidence found of an uncontained engine failure, case rupture, inflight fire, foreign object damage such as a bird strike, or pre-impact malfunction.

On December 10, 2001 Steve Russell published an excellent article in YOWUSA.COM entitled "AA 587, Another TWA 800 Cover-up?" in which he documents the twists and turns of the investigative agencies to avoid the obvious explanation that AA 587 was a terrorist attack.  Russell writes .....

On the day American Airlines (AA) Flight 587 crashed, various government agencies initially treated the possibility of terrorism as a real possibility. However, within a few hours after the crash, they issued confident statements that precluded the possibility of a terrorist act, even though there was an obvious lack of substantial facts at that time. This quick about face was then followed by a long list of contradictory explanations that changed over time. Also many credible witnesses and experts were clearly ignored as well. The American economy is in a recession and record levels of layoffs are slamming the travel and tourism industry. A total collapse in these critical market sectors could spell economic tragedy for a nation of travellers who are now postponing non-essential trips. This would be reason enough for the government to tell everyone shortly after the crash that they should remain calm, as terrorism had been eliminated as a possibility.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 American Airlines Jet Crashes in NYC
Fighter jets flew over the scene in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens. All three metropolitan-area airports – Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark, N.J. – were closed for several hours, and international flights were diverted to other cities. Major bridges and tunnels into New York were also closed for hours. The United Nations was partially locked down, and the Empire State Building was evacuated.

CNN, November 12, 2001 No terror link to plane crash
News of the crash sparked the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to scramble jets already on “strip alert” at a number of other bases around the country.

CNN,November 12, 2001 Governor: Pilot dumped fuel before crashing
As part of the increased post-September 11 security environment, the Pentagon ordered additional combat air patrols over the United States and its coastlines after Flight 587 crashed.  CNN confirmed Bush postponed a scheduled meeting with Russian and American reporters so he could meet with advisers to discuss the crash. “The president is on top of it. They’re alert; they’re watching everything else all over the country,” Giuliani said. “So I think people should remain absolutely calm. This can be handled, and we’re just being tested one more time. We’re going to pass this test, too.”

Why would an airplane crash that was not linked to terrorism prompt President Bush to discuss it with advisors? What kind of situation is Bush “on top” of? Why would the President and his advisors stop their other activities to discuss low-level details, such as ins and outs of vertical stabilizer structures, turbulence velocities and composite delamination problems? Could they have been talking about the economy instead?  Once the government agencies found some time to think things through, they began collectively formulating as many different theories as possible for the ensuing investigation. Eager for breaking news, the media released news stories about these and every other pundit theory under the sun, while carefully sidestepping the possibility of terrorism. The only mention of terrorism was a few token quotes from officials that it was not being ruled out.

Here is a summary of the trial balloon explanations organized in an approximate order of release.

Flight 587 -- Day One

Firstly, the White House went into damage control by announcing that it was not a terrorist attack.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 Official: Crash May Not Be Terror
WASHINGTON – White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said there were no unusual communications from the cockpit of an American Airlines plane that crashed Monday in New York, and a senior administration official added, “It’s looking like it’s not a terrorist attack.”

Then, there was news that the flight had been delayed due to a technical problem.

BBC News, November 12, 2001 What went wrong?
Its original take off slot was reportedly delayed due to a technical fault, though it is not known what that problem was.

Next, the pilot apparently knew of a problem and dumped the fuel into the bay, but there was actually no technical problem before takeoff.

CNN,November 12, 2001 Investigators: No terror link to plane crash
“We have been advised that the pilot did dump fuel over Jamaica Bay before the crash, which is consistent with the pilot having some belief that there was a significant mechanical failure on the plane,” New York Gov. George Pataki said at an afternoon news conference. The plane had not been delayed by mechanical problems, said American Airlines Chairman Don Carty. “It was delayed at the gate, as so many airplanes are since the (September) 11th, largely to ensure that the security arrangements were fulfilled,” he said. “And they were.”

The FBI then confirmed reports that an explosion occurred on the plane.

The Washington Post, November 12, 2001 American Airlines Jet Crashes in NYC
Bush administration officials said the FBI believed an explosion occurred aboard the jet, and witnesses reported hearing one and seeing an engine fall off. But investigators suggested the noise was caused by a catastrophic mechanical failure, and a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “It’s looking like its not a terrorist attack.”

Then, there was no such explosion.

MSNBC,November 12, 2001 Jetliner crashes in New York City
Despite reports from witnesses that one of the jet’s engines exploded and separated from the aircraft shortly after the plane took off, an initial examination of the wreckage by explosives experts from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms found the pattern of the wreckage was not consistent with an explosion.

Flight 587 -- Day Two

Governor Pataki changed his initial announcement regarding the dumping of fuel.

CNN,November 13, 2001 Investigators find second recorder from Flight 587
Pataki said there were “inconclusive” reports the pilot dumped fuel into Jamaica Bay, an indication he may have known of a problem on board. Officials said the Coast Guard had found no evidence of a fuel slick in the waters off Kennedy airport.

Eventually, even the bird theory had a brief moment in the spotlight.

Aviation Now, November 13, 2001 AA Disaster Still Considered Accident
Investigators found what appeared to be bird remains inside one of the jets engines, the Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition Tuesday, helping bolster the theory that a bird strike may have started Monday’s chain of events. But a source with knowledge of the evidence significantly downplayed the bird-strike theory, telling that birds “don’t appear to be the cause” of the crash.

Despite previous assurances that it was not a terrorist attack, partly because they had no threats, reports of at least one threat did hit the media.

The Washington Times, November 13, 2001 Crash not seen part of terrorist warning
U.S. intelligence agencies received a warning that terrorists were planning an attack timed to Nov. 11 but so far do not believe yesterday’s airliner crash was part of an attack. One intelligence official said a warning was sent to senior Bush administration officials last week stating that unidentified terrorists were planning to carry out some type of mass attack on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day – at 11 a.m.

Attention then turned to wake turbulence from another plane.

The Washington Post, November 13, 2001 Pilots Struggled to Control Jetliner
The pilots on Flight 587 also spoke of encountering wake turbulence, which is believed to have contributed to other deadly airline crashes. Black said a Japan Airlines jumbo jet took off two minutes and 20 seconds before Flight 587 – a full 20 seconds longer than the normal separation time between takeoffs.

Flight 587 -- Day Three

Officials quickly changed their original statements again, this time concerning the distance between Flight 587 and the Japanese Airliner.

CNN,November 14, 2001 Crashed plane may have flown too close to another jet
A senior federal transportation official said investigators believe the American Airbus A300 was only about 90 seconds behind a Japan Airlines 747, a much shorter time span than originally reported.

Reports of rattling sounds heard on the cockpit voice recorder were earlier attributed to wake turbulence. Another theory was added to the mix, this time it was loose bolts.

Guardian Unlimited, November 14, 2001 Loose tail may have brought down Airbus
Instead, it is thought now that the pilots’ mentions of rattles, caught on the cockpit voice tape, might have been unwitting references to a loosening of the bolts fixing the vertical stabilizer to the tail.

Personally, I believe it would be impossible for the pilots to hear a few bolts rattling 177 feet away when you are travelling at several hundred kilometers per hour. After the third day, interest in this prematurely declared accident had waned, and practically all of the major news agencies had stopped covering what little developments were being made public. By day eight, there were some new developments that warranted attention after American Airlines inspected their fleet of Airbuses.

Flight 587 -- Day Eight

BBC News, November 19, 2001 American Airlines clears tailfins
American Airlines has announced that it discovered no defects with the tailfins on its fleet of 34 Airbus A300 aircraft during an investigation ordered in the wake of last week’s deadly New York crash. One issue being investigated by the NTSB is whether the tail was weakened in 1994 when the plane hit an air pocket while flying to Puerto Rico. The turbulence in that incident was so severe that 47 people were injured.

Despite their previous speculation of wake turbulence playing a significant role, the NTSB once again changed their statement.

MSNBC,November 19, 2001 NTSB: Jet flew into normal wake
Washington – An American Airlines plane that crashed last week, killing up to 265 people, encountered wake turbulence that was “not outside of normal limits,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairwoman Marion Blakey said Sunday.

The biggest contradiction made so far in this investigation is not like any of the previous trial balloon excuses reported so far. It is the tampering of time itself.

Tampering With Time

After recovering and analyzing the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), the NTSB issued all the relevant details to the media. TIME magazine and every other major form of media published very fancy diagrams explaining the short and fatal trip based on the NTSB information. A basic version of these diagrams looks like this: See pages 1 and 2 of this pdf file. What is important is the fact that the data from takeoff to crash lasts a total of 144 seconds. However, what very few organizations reported, was that on November 20 the NTSB published an update on their web page which deleted 41 seconds from this original timeline that everyone had previously taken as gospel.

NTSB,November 20, 2001 Update on NTSB investigation into crash of American Airlines Flight 587
The Safety Board has calculated that the time between flight 587’s liftoff from Runway 31L until the end of the recorded FDR data is 93 seconds. The CVR continued to record information for about 10 more seconds (this is a correction of the time announced last week); it is believed the CVR ends at or about the time of the plane’s impact with the ground. Therefore, the Board estimates that the time from lift off to impact was 103 seconds.

What is missing from this press release is any explanation, justification or even excuse as to how and where 41 seconds were removed from the timeline. A new example of this timeline based on the added information looks something like this: See page 2 of this pdf file. Another interesting point that seems to have gone unnoticed by the media is that the FDR data suddenly ends after only 93 seconds. Detailed specifications of the FDR state that they are capable of 25 hours continuous recording. Why did the FDR stop sending data? Perhaps the answer could be found by examining the container.

CNN,November 14, 2001 Crashed plane may have flown too close to another jet
The investigation was hampered by a damaged memory module that prevented access to valuable information from the Airbus A300’s flight data recorder. Investigators shipped the recorder to its manufacturer in Sarasota, Florida, for help.

Whatever was responsible for the unprecedented damage of the plane may have been responsible for the damage to the FDR. If so, it could mean that the cause of the crash came from within the aircraft itself and to the rear of the plane where the FDR is stored. It has been reported that the rudder information from the FDR became unreliable 2.5 seconds before it stopped recording. What, however, does the NTSB mean by “unreliable”? Had the rudder stopped sending data altogether, or was it at least sending something to the FDR? Perhaps they are calling the data unreliable because they do not like what they see.

It is widely believed that the NTSB has tampered with FDR data in previous investigations. Remember TWA 800? There was a storm of controversy surrounding the famous TWA flight 800 disaster. If you look at all the evidence the NTSB refuses to consider in this case, you cannot help but agree with those who claim that terrorists shot down TWA flight 800 with a surface to air missile.  Upon closer examination of public records, the American flight 587 and TWA flight 800 investigations appear to share two identical aspects: Missing or modified FDR data and the involvement of NASA.

TWA 800 All Over Again

The 41 missing seconds, and 2.5 “unreliable” seconds from Flight 587, demonstrate a striking resemblance to the protocol used in the TWA investigation.

Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, December 15, 2000 Analysis of Flight Data Recorder
In this detailed analysis he proves beyond any doubt that the NTSB is withholding data from the end of the FDR tape. The analysis shows that the printed data released by the NTSB, which was revised several times, does not match the analog tape segment waveform received under the Freedom of Information Act. Glen’s analysis shows that there could be up to 4 seconds missing from the end of the tape, or in the alternative, the end of the tape was edited to remove some data, causing the difference between the printed data and the waveform data.

Another similarity is the involvement of NASA.

Space.Com, November 29, 2001 - NASA Langley to Assist in American Airlines Flight 587 Inquiry
The plane’s tail section and rudder parts, made up of a composite of carbon-fiber reinforced epoxy, are on their way to NASA’s Langley Research Center, where scientists specializing in such materials can study them. Transportation safety board officials hope the scrutiny will lead to an explanation of how and why the tail section separated from the rest of the plane. Officials with NASA’s Office of Aerospace and Technology said the center has also participated in studies of debris from crash of TWA Flight 800 in July of 1996.

If NASA was involved and cooperated with the allegedly corrupt TWA investigation, why not bring them in again to hopefully come up with a believable explanation for an unbelievable crash? Despite the fact that dozens of credible witnesses came forward to testify they saw a missile hit TWA, the government ignored their testimony so as to arrive at a completely contradictory conclusion.

Persistence of Truth

After the crash of Flight 587, Jim McKenna, the Executive Director of the Aviation Safety Alliance appeared in the Newsroom where a chat participant asked him an interesting question.

CNN,November 13, 2001 Jim McKenna: What happened to American Airlines Flight 587?
CHAT PARTICIPANT: Mr. McKenna, have you heard whether any amateur video of this plane crash has turned up?
McKENNA: I haven’t. I’m sure if there was, some TV network would have bought and aired it.

That is of course, if the investigators had nothing to hide.

NewsMax.Com,November 16, 2001 FBI Sitting on Flight 587 Videotape
A videotape that could show exactly what happened to American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed three minutes after taking off from New York’s JFK airport on Monday, is in the hands of the FBI – but the bureau has thus far declined to release it. New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Tom Kelly confirmed to the Daily News Friday that the agency has given surveillance videotapes from Cross Bay Blvd. and Marine Parkway bridges to the FBI. When an Air France Concorde jetliner crashed after catching fire on takeoff from a rural French airport last year, an amateur video of the accident was released within 48 hours.  

What is also highly suspicious regarding this videotape is the fact it was initially given to the FBI and not the NTSB. The FBI is supposed to be the secondary investigating team being led by the NTSB. The FBI cannot take over until such time that the crash appears to have been a criminal act. But this is not the only video available.

Aviation Now, November 14, 2001 New Clues Deepen Flight 587 Crash Mystery
Black said a construction worker shot video of Flight 587’s takeoff roll, but turned his camera away as the A300-600’s gear was retracting.

This video has not been bought and aired on any major news television either. A big news agency will usually buy any footage it can get if it means an exclusive look at the final moments before a disaster. Since this footage was personally owned and not the property of any government agency, why did they manage to refrain from obtaining such an exclusive this time? As the NewsMax article above states, the suppressed footage may contain exactly what really happened. The government can only keep this knowledge hidden for so long. The truth will eventually be known.  The beauty of truth is that it has a strong persistence and tendency to reveal itself against the wishes of those that strive to keep it hidden. Recent statements regarding TWA 800 by key figures during the September 11 attacks are a perfect example of truth rearing its head in order to be heard.

George Stephanopoulos from ABC was in the special White House situation room when TWA was happening. He got to hear what was really going on, and he labels it a bombing.

Associated Retired Aviation Professionals, September 11, 2001 ABC News Special Report: America Under Attack (Transcript)
STEPHANOPOULOS: There are facilities in the White House, not the normal situation room which everyone has seen in the past, has seen pictures of, but there is a second situation room behind the—the primary situation room which has video conferencing capabilities. The—the director of the Pentagon, the defense chief can speak from a national military command center at the Pentagon. The secretary of state can speak from the State Department; the president from wherever he is and they’ll have this capability to video conference throughout this crisis and my time at the White House was used in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing. In the aftermath of the TWA Flight 800 bombing and—and that would be the way they would stay in contact through the afternoon.

In addition to the Freudian slips by Stephanopoulos, Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts also slips up on two different programs, lumping TWA into the same category of admitted terrorist acts.

CNN, September 11, 2001 Associated Retired Aviation Professionals Larry King Live (Transcript)
We have always known this could happen. We’ve warned about it. We’ve talked about it. I regret to say, as – I served on the Intelligence Committee up until last year. I can remember after the bombings of the embassies, after TWA 800, we went through this flurry of activity, talking about it, but not really doing hard work of responding.

CNBC, September 24, 2001 Associated Retired Aviation Professionals CNBC News (Transcript)
You know, we’ve had terrorism for a long time now. We’ve had the Achille Lauro, the Munich Olympics, the pipe bomb at the Olympics in Atlanta, the TWA 800, the bombing of embassies, and it’s not going to disappear overnight.

If the similarities between TWA flight 800 and AA flight 587 are more than just coincidence, then a terrorist act against Flight 587 should be investigated openly and honestly. However, this is difficult without the video, but there is plenty of circumstantial evidence and expert opinions in the media, both of which go a long way to proving this theory.

Fighting Fires

The best indication that terrorist activity may have been involved is fire. Nearly all of the theories that the NTSB put forward involved standard conditions like turbulence and structural weaknesses. The NTSB and media outlets initially reported several witness descriptions of fire and explosions during the flight. However, the NTSB later announced that the engines were working properly and they, along with the media, quickly stopped reporting any views of explosions that would undermine their non-terrorism theories. As reported above, the FBI apparently announced that an explosion occurred aboard the jet, but this fact was later retracted. The fire and explosions that forgotten witnesses describe is very similar to the imagery on the video the FBI refuses to release.

NewsMax.Com, November 17, 2001 Flight 587 Video Shows ‘Puff of Smoke’ in Sky
Though Flight 587 probers have not released the key videotape, shot from a Metropolitan Transportation Authority highway surveillance camera, reporters from New York’s Daily News were allowed to view it Friday. “The tape… shows a white outline of the jetliner against a clear sky in fairly steep decline,” the News reported in Saturday editions. “Seconds later, the outline disappears and the video shows a blurry, white, undefined patch as the plane apparently breaks apart.”  Visible in one of the final frames of the sequential videotape is “a puff of white smoke in the sky.”

Credible witnesses such as a firefighter and a policeman that understand fire and explosions have also been ignored; despite the fact that their descriptions seem to corroborate the video.

NewsMax.Com,December 3, 2001 Flight 587 Eyewitnesses Insist Explosion Came Before Tail Broke Off
“It was after the explosion,” eyewitness Tom Lynch, a retired firefighter, told the New York Post. “I’m telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion.”  “No tail fell off, not before the explosion. I swear to that, “ Lynch told the paper’s Steve Dunleavy.  “I had my head up taking in that beautiful, clear day and was staring straight at the plane. It made a bank turn and suddenly there was an explosion, orange and black, on the right-hand side of the fuselage. It was a small explosion, about half the size of a car.”  “The plane kept on going straight for about two or three seconds as if nothing had happened, then ‘vwoof’ – the second, big explosion on the right wing, orange and black. It was only then that the plane fell apart. It was after the explosion and I’m telling you, the tail was there until the second explosion.” Lynch, who lives near the Belle Harbor, N.Y., crash site, said he knew 13 others who also saw the explosion and/or fire. One, retired, police lieutenant Jim Conrad, told Dunleavy:  “I saw exactly what Tom saw. I was near a stoplight at the Marine Parkway Bridge. First, the small explosion. The plane kept on going, tail intact, then the big explosion and the plane nose-dived. The first thing I said was, ‘The bastards did it again.’”  Lynch said he’s tried to contact the FBI and the NTSB but they weren’t interested in his story. Ditto Sens. Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton and his congressional representative, Anthony Weiner, who also gave him the brush-off.  

The majority of evidence indicates a catastrophe involving fire, explosions, and massive structural damage that, given the current circumstances, are more consistent with terrorist activity than with a freak accident. Additionally, there are many prominent people trying to tell us so. If you listen carefully enough, you will hear the pin drop.

Spin, More Spin and Haunting Questions

Six major corporations control America’s main media outlets and a collapse of the air travel and tourism industries would do immediate and deleterious damage to their advertising revenue streams. This no doubt is why they have actually avoided any form of true investigative journalism – they’d be cutting their own financial throats.  Ergo, most of the population will happily accept what they are being told, as opposed to the many knowledgeable experts do not believe so easily. It is the opinions of these independent experts we should be trusting, not the government musicians that are marching in lockstep to the sound of their own beat. A reliable airline industry source with intimate mechanical knowledge of the A300 aircraft told YOWUSA about his concerns. He could see a natural failure happening with the separation of the tail and one engine. However, the tail of Flight 587 and both engines separated. “This,” YOWUSA’s source stressed, “is an unnatural failure. Something else caused it.”  He also told YOWUSA that the Airbus has a considerable history of composite delamination problems. These and other fundamental Airbus design problems make routine servicing of the A300 type much more labour intensive than comparable Boeing aircraft.

Further, YOWUSA’s source is just one of a growing number of professionals who now question the government’s reasoning.

NewsMax.Com,November 17, 2001 Flight 587 Video Shows ‘Puff of Smoke’ in Sky  Independent aviation experts have generally scoffed at the NTSB theory.
“[747 wake turbulence] is not strong enough to be able to break off a tail or to compromise any sort of a normal airplane,” said ABC News aviation analyst John Nance on Friday. “They could turn a little airplane upside down. But especially an A-300, which is a jumbo jet – no way in the world should that ever have any potentially disastrous impact on the aircraft or the tail,” he explained.

Nine MSN, November 17, 2001 Experts probe American Airlines crash
“The wake vortex of a 747 should not bring down an aircraft,” said Tom Ellis, a spokesman for the Nolan Law Group, a Chicago firm that represents victims of airline accidents. “The A300 is designed to withstand forces of that nature. It should be well within its design tolerance. There’s got to be something that interferes with the ability to recover.”

News, November 15, 2001 Doomed flight mystery deepens
It is not unheard of for one engine to break away. Never two. Another expert said he had no recollection of such a strange air disaster. I can’t remember a crash where a plane broke up this quickly,” said former Federal Aviation Administration chief of staff Michael Goldfarb.

TIME, November 26, 2001 If Not Terror, What Was It?
“People are acting almost as if this airplane was randomly designed,” says Paul Czysz, a professor at Parks College of Engineering and Aviation at St. Louis University. “It was fatigue tested, and I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t come apart like that.”

If these witness are not convincing enough that NTSB logic and reasoning should not be believed, then what about a former NTSB official who knows exactly how they operate these investigations?

NewsMax.Com,November 12, 2001 Former NTSB Official Doubts Accident Caused Flight 587 Crash
Aviation expert and former National Transportation Safety Board official Vernon Grose said late Monday that he’s increasingly skeptical that the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 was purely accidental. “I am backing away from the ready idea that this is simply an accident,” Grose told Fox News Channel’s John Scott.

Judicial Watch, November 12, 2001 FBI Irresponsible In Making Early Statement That Crash Of Airliner Not Due To Terrorism
(Washington, D.C.) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government abuse and corruption, today watched, with horror, as yet another U.S. airliner exploded, apparently killing all passengers aboard.  Given the current state of affairs, obviously terrorism cannot be ruled out. Yet, in an apparent attempt to deflect blame from its continuing dismal performance in protecting the American people, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) waited no more than one-half hour before it proudly announced that “there is no evidence of terrorist activity.”  “In short, the FBI does not want to see reality, but instead continues to paint a rosy picture of its performance,” stated Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman.

If we are to believe that it was a genuine malfunction of the aircraft and not terrorism, then the conduct of the FAA could indeed be very criminal.

The Sierra Times, November 14, 2001 Hard Scientific Evidence Proves United States Government Desperately Trying to Mislead the American Public
Trickier still for the NTSB, FAA and Airbus Industries, will be explaining to the general public why, with prima facie evidence proving catastrophic separation along a critical attachment line, the FAA and Airbus Industries failed to immediately ground all Airbus A300-600 models worldwide. This in order to conduct black light inspections of the stabilizer spars, panels, attachment pins, bolts and other critical components. Not only is grounding of this nature a normal operating procedure, it is also a legal requirement. Concorde’s grounding was based mostly on speculation, and partly on trivial circumstantial evidence, flimsier by far than the prima facie evidence already existing in the case of American Airlines Flight 587. In order not to ground all Airbus A300-600 series, the NTSB, FAA and Airbus Industries would have to be convinced that the reason for the crash of Flight 587 was strictly unique, a one-off that could not occur under similar flight conditions to any other Airbus A300-600 worldwide. The only reason unique enough to fit this requirement is an act of terrorism.

Flight 587 Was Terrorism

There is an old saying, “A fish stinks from the head down.” In this regards, the whole manner in which the American government has handled this disaster doesn’t even pass the “stink test.” At the executive level, the government reacted to Flight 587 as if it was a terrorist attack. Perhaps they quickly realized in their panic that the public could soon react as well if the situation was not sanitized soon after. From initial reactions by the government, to the reasoning for not grounding all Airbuses, the logic appears to have always been the same; this was a terrorist act.  At the congressional level, airport security has been given the good old boy compromise deal work over. Sure, Americans understand that aviation security is currently a bureaucratic mess that is struggling to look respectable, but the day Flight 587 crashed, Congress was still unable to reach an agreement on how to unravel this mess. The net result is that Congress procrastinated until it could reach a good old boy compromise deal (long after the crash of Flight 587) that both sides of the aisle could sell to their constituents when seeking re-election. In a word, Congress acted shamefully.

One must wonder if 'American' Airlines has now become the target of airline terrorists now that Pan Am and TWA are no longer in operation. It seems more than a coincidence that an attempt was made to bomb AA 63 on the anniversary of the bombing of PA 103 ....

December 23, 2001  Electronic Telegraph (Filed: 24/12/2001)
The man in seat 29C should have set every alarm in the airport and airline security system ringing. Refused entry to American Airlines Flight 63 from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris only 24 hours earlier, the man travelling under a British passport in the name of Richard Reid tripped almost every signal switch designed for a potential hijacker or suicide bomber. He was a young male, hairy and olive-skinned and travelling alone. Despite embarking on a transatlantic flight to a holiday destination, Miami, he had no checked luggage. According to unconfirmed reports he was flying on a one-way ticket. Reid was noticed in the departure lounge at Paris by Thierry Dugeon, a French television journalist on his way to Miami for Christmas. "There was nothing that made him stand out," M Dugeon said. In fact, despite delays in the flight that meant it did not take off until 12.15pm local time (11.15am GMT), two hours late, "Reid" did nothing to attract the attention of the flight crew until the Boeing 767, with 197 passengers and crew on board, was midway between the French and American coasts. It was three and a half hours into the flight, just on the "point of no return" when an aircraft with an emergency on board is most vulnerable. Sitting in 29C, an aisle seat, "Reid" rose to let the woman in 29A go to the lavatory. He then crossed the empty seat between them and sat in the window seat himself. An American Airlines hostess saw him bending down in the footwell and holding and striking a match.

December 29, 2001 Electronic Telegraph
FBI agents are investigating the possibility that the shoe bomber Richard Reid was trying to mark the anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing with a suicide attack. He first tried to board a Paris to Miami flight on Friday, Dec 21, the 13th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people in 1988.
But it was not until 24 hours later that he managed to get a flight on the American Airlines service carrying 197 people.

Could it be possible that it was a storm in 1987 that caused the crash?  Impossible you say but investigators are now in "unknown" territory and this may become a "mystery crash". No one found any indication of terrorism and the engines checked out fine even if they did fall off the aircraft before it hit the ground.  How about a "hertofore unknown type of rudder malfunction" or "hidden damage that eluded inspectors".  Still not convinced?  Then how about "some combination"?

January 2, 2002; Page A04  Washington Post
The Airbus A300 that lost its vertical tail fin and crashed into a New York neighborhood Nov. 12 had been blown backward onto its tail in 1987 by a violent storm that swept the Airbus factory in France as the wide-body plane sat outside awaiting completion, said sources close to the investigation. There is no indication that the freak event had anything to do with the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 ..but investigators said they cannot overlook potential evidence, no matter how old or remote, in a crash that has defied explanation and may take investigators into unknown territory. National Transportation Safety Board investigators, Airbus sources and French authorities shy away from calling the disaster a "mystery crash," particularly because they have gathered useful information from the crash site and from the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. Investigators know a lot about what happened but cannot say why it happened. No one found any indication of terrorism. The engines checked out fine. Weather does not seem to have been a factor. But almost everything else remains on the table and many months may pass before investigators can confidently identify a probable cause. All the major possible scenarios -- serious errors by an experienced crew, a heretofore unknown type of rudder malfunction, an unlikely flaw in the composite carbon-plastic tail fin attachments, hidden damage that eluded inspectors, or some combination -- are disturbing.

Despite all of the previous finger pointing that something was wrong with Flight 587's tail the evidence showed that this could not have been the cause. Yet the government still refused to investigate the eyewitness reports of an initiating explosion from the side of the aircraft. Instead, as with Egyptair 990, they shifted their attention to two highly experienced pilots who apparently are to be accused of being unable to fly through minor turbulence .....

January 5, 2002 The New York Times
Investigators looking into the crash of an American Airlines flight in Queens in November have so far found no pre-existing flaw in the jet's tail section and are now focusing on the performance of the pilots, who they believe triggered the airplane's wild rolling and yawing in the seconds before it went down. The data recovered from American Airlines Flight 587 showed that the plane hit turbulence from a plane in front of it and seconds later, began to swing violently and break up before it fell 2,900 feet to the ground, killing 265 people. The vertical tail of the plane, and the rudder attached to it, were the first parts to break off, and investigators began to look early on at whether that caused the crash, possibly because of some undetected flaw.  But now, after extensive testing of the tail, they have found no pre-existing problem. And so they are intensely exploring whether the pilots, in trying to correct and control the plane after the turbulence, might have put more stress on the tail than it was designed to handle. "A brand-new tail would have broken," said one investigator, underlining his belief that the effort by the pilots to control the plane set in motion the fatal series of events. Another investigator involved in the National Transportation Safety Board's inquiry pointed out that it is possible to take an airplane in perfect condition and maneuver it into a breakup, just as a driver could take a sport-utility vehicle in perfect condition and make a radical maneuver at high speed that results in a rollover or other accident.

The plane that crashed, an Airbus A300, is a long airplane — 177.5 feet — and with the fuselage acting like a long lever, sudden movements from side to side produce powerful pressures at the end, where the vertical tail sits. By international regulation, the tail is supposed to be able to withstand a force 50 percent stronger than the largest it is likely to ever encounter, and Airbus officials said that the A300 tail exceeded even that standard. But investigators now believe that the tail was overstressed. The latest developments in the investigation come eight weeks after the American Airlines plane bound for the Dominican Republic went down in Belle Harbor, on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, shortly after takeoff from Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 12.  And although investigators are interested in the latest theory, they emphasize that they are far from declaring a definitive cause. Indeed, some are still trying to determine if the rudder moved differently from the way the pilots intended. The investigation is being led by the N.T.S.B., with the participation of the F.A.A., Airbus, American Airlines, the union that represents American Airlines' pilots and other aviation experts. Investigators had focused originally on the rudder and the vertical portion of the tail to which it attaches, both of which fell off the plane. The tail is made of carbon-reinforced plastic, a composite material that has come into common use in airplane structures only in the last 15 years and investigators have relatively little experience with it.

The Safety Board had the tail trucked to a NASA laboratory in Hampton, Va., for analysis. But the lab has turned up no sign of fabrication error or damage to the tail before the accident, according to people involved in the investigation. Now, investigators think it tore off because of the increased strain placed on it by the pilots' maneuverings — rolling and skidding the plane in the air. The Airbus had hit the wake of a Boeing 747 that was about five miles ahead of it, which is considered a safe distance. That preceding plane created what investigators say was a minor bump, but the encounter may have prompted the Airbus crew to try to compensate. "They thought they had something from which they thought they needed to recover quickly," said one investigator, reflecting the current hypothesis. At the controls of the jet was the first officer, Sten Molin, 34. Mr. Molin was an experienced pilot, with 4,400 hours of flying time, 1,835 of them as co-pilot of an A300. After using the flight controls to steady the airplane, the objective normally would have been to bring it back to its previous orientation — in this case climbing and banking slightly to the left in its first turn out of Kennedy. "Before they could do that, something else happened," the investigator said.

Several investigators said the training of pilots would be carefully examined. Crews at American were trained in the mid-1990's to use the rudder to recover from "flight upsets," but Airbus, Boeing and the F.A.A. later warned against this practice, saying it could produce dangerous stresses. American said it changed its training in 1999 to de- emphasize use of the rudder. Evidence recovered from the plane's data recorder indicates that the pilots were using the rudder to try and stabilize the plane.

This didn't sit well with the Allied Pilots Association which reacted immediately .......

January 5, 2002 4:59 pm Eastern Time Press Release SOURCE: The Allied Pilots Association
Allied Pilots Association Responds to Comments Contained in New York Times Article Concerning American Airlines Flight #587 Accident Investigation: 'Unconscionable and Inappropriate'

FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ --The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which serves as collective bargaining agent for the 11,000 pilots of American Airlines, has expressed serious concerns over comments contained in a New York Times article today regarding the investigation into the November 11, 2001 accident involving AA Flight #587. In that accident, the Airbus A300 aircraft encountered turbulence shortly after takeoff. Almost immediately, the aircraft's vertical stabilizer separated from the fuselage, causing the plane to crash. According to the article, ``after extensive testing of the tail, investigators have found no pre-existing problem.'' The article goes on to say that investigators ``are intensely exploring whether the pilots, in trying to correct and control the plane after the turbulence, might have put more stress on the tail than it was designed to handle,'' which suggests that the pilots made improper, excessive rudder inputs. In response, APA pointed out that the information contained in the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) has not yet been validated. The DFDR includes such information as rudder inputs and other control surface positions that could yield clues to the accident's cause. "Public discussion of theories and speculation regarding the cause of this accident is wrong. It places everyone on the defensive and distracts from what needs to be an objective, factual investigation," said Captain John Darrah, APA President. "We must be patient and permit this investigation to run its proper course so that the true cause can be established." Darrah emphasized that the investigation into the cause of the Flight #587 accident is still in the early fact-finding stages. Moreover, all parties to the investigation, including APA, American Airlines, the National Transportation Safety Board and Airbus, have all been directed to refrain from public discussion of any elements of the accident investigation. "It is unconscionable and highly inappropriate for a so-called 'investigator' to speculate in the news media concerning the accident's cause," said Darrah. "This particular line of speculation is particularly objectionable to us, as it calls into question the professional reputation of two fine aviators who are not here to defend themselves. "It is APA's intention to vigorously defend these pilots and to insist that the accident investigation proceed free of speculation and finger pointing. That said, we urge all concerned with this accident investigation to refrain from further public comment until the investigation has been concluded."

There were over 600 eyewitnesses (click to read On a Clear Day You Can See Forever - The Eyewitnesses) who know what happened to TWA 800 but none of whom were allowed to publicly testify about what they saw. There are approximately 200 eyewitnesses to the demise of AA 587 who have already been informed that their testimony will also not be required ....

January 7, 2002  The NY Post
New Yorkers who believe they saw American Airlines Flight 587 explode in flames before its tail sheared off have accused crash investigators of ignoring their eyewitness accounts and prematurely ruling out a terrorist attack. Six witnesses, including a recently retired police lieutenant, an FDNY deputy chief and a former firefighter, have written to the National Transportation Safety Board, demanding they be called to testify at a public hearing. Tom Lynch, 59, a retired firefighter, said he had also spoken to 18 other people who saw the Airbus A300 flying on fire before it crashed into houses in Belle Harbor, Queens, on Nov. 12, killing 265 people. "The NTSB is not publicly acknowledging the many eyewitness accounts of the in-flight fire or explosion, many from people who are adamant that the fire occurred before any tail or engine breakups," he told The Post. Lynch, who organized the letter, said he was standing on Rockaway Beach Boulevard when he saw a bright orange ball of flame streaming from the right side of the plane. Two or three seconds later, he said, he saw a larger eruption of flames consuming the entire right side of the plane's fuselage. "There were no falling parts until the second explosion of flames - I'll go to my grave with that," he said. The witnesses said they were surprised NTSB Chairwoman Marion Blakey was able to say, only hours after the crash, that all indications pointed to an accident, rather than a terrorist attack.  "How could that statement be made while the flight-data recorder had not been recovered, the crash-investigation team had not yet showed up and initial eyewitness reports included many accounts of one or two explosions in flight?" Lynch said. Another witness not involved with Lynch's group, Michael Benjamin, said he saw a huge orange fire engulfing the front third of the plane's right side while he was driving along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn with his wife and two children. Benjamin, who works for the Oversight, Analysis and Investigations Committee of the state Assembly, said he had attempted to contact the NTSB but had not received a return call. Preliminary reports written by the NTSB have not mentioned in-flight explosions, but have focused on air turbulence, the composite materials used to build the jet's vertical tail, and sudden rudder movements. An NTSB spokesman said more than 200 eyewitness accounts had been recorded and were being considered as part of the investigation. But he said if the NTSB decided to conduct a public hearing, it would most likely seek opinions from air-safety and aeronautical-design experts rather than witnesses. The people who signed the letter, in addition to Lynch, are retired NYPD Officer James Conrad, FDNY Deputy Chief Peter Hayden, retired transit cop Richard Kvies, sales manager John Power and food-services manager Ellie Scholfield.

However, the eyewitnesses to AA 587 do not intend to await an invitation which will probably never come. As citizens they are demanding that they be heard .....

January 7, 2002 Letter to NTSB from Group of Eyewitnesses to the Crash of Flight 587

National Transportation Safety Board
490 L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20594

Subject American Airlines Flight 587

Dear Board Members,

News releases concerning the progress of your investigation of AA Flight 587 on 12 November 2001 have not mentioned the possibility of fire or explosion aboard the aircraft prior to its disintegration. Obviously, your investigators are working on many aspects of the crash which may not be reported publicly as yet.

Those of us whose names are listed below were eyewitnesses to the accident. Further, we all witnessed one or more explosions while the aircraft was still airborne and prior to any portions of the aircraft leaving it on its way down.We understand that the NTSB will conduct a public hearing as part of its investigation. Please accept this as a formal request on our behalf that we will be called to testify in that hearing regarding what we witnessed. This request is made in the spirit of response by all citizens called for by the President immediately following the crash.

A map that indicates each of our locations from which we observed the aircraft is enclosed. In addition to those listed below, we have spoken with eighteen others who witnessed the aircraft on fire while still airborne.

Further, we respectfully request that you advise us as to the process you employ to solicit eyewitness accounts during your public hearings on major accidents so that we can prepare to provide whatever information you will require.

Thank you very much for consideration of our request.

James Conrad NYPD retired police
Peter Hayden NYFD active Deputy Chief
Richard Kvies NYTP retired Lt.
Thomas Lynch NYFD retired Fireman
John Power Sales Manger
Ellie Scholfield Food Service Manger

But the NTSB is determined to discredit them.  Dr. Bernard Loeb observed an automobile crash which led to the following profound conclusions.

June 23, 2002  NY Times - For Air Crash Detectives, Seeing Isn't Believing
Hundreds of people watched the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 near Kennedy International Airport in New York on Nov. 12, and in the course of 93 seconds they apparently saw hundreds of different things. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, which announced this month that it had gathered 349 eyewitness accounts through interviews or written statements, 52 percent said they saw a fire while the plane was in the air. The largest number (22 percent) said the fire was in the fuselage, but a majority cited other locations, including the left engine, the right engine, the left wing, the right wing or an unspecified engine or wing. Nearly one of five witnesses said they saw the plane make a right turn; an equal number said it was a left turn. Nearly 60 percent said they saw something fall off the plane; of these, 13 percent said it was a wing. (In fact, it was the vertical portion of the tail.) The investigators say there is no evidence in the wreckage or on the flight recorders of an in-flight fire or explosion. A plane breaking up in flight, as this one did, might in its last moments produce flashes of fire from engines ripping loose, but the idea that the plane caught fire is a trick of memory, they say. None of this is surprising, said Dr. Charles R. Honts, a professor of psychology at Boise State University and the editor of the Journal of Credibility Assessment and Witness Psychology. "Eyewitness memory is reconstructive," said Dr. Honts, who is not associated with the safety board. "The biggest mistake you can make is to think about a memory like it's a videotape; there's not a permanent record there." The problem, he said, is that witnesses instinctively try to match events with their past experiences: "How many plane crashes have you witnessed in real life? Probably none. But in the movies? A lot. In the movies, there's always smoke and there's always fire." As a result, the safety board generally doesn't place much value on eyewitness reports if data and voice recorders are available. For many investigators, the only infallible witness is a twisted piece of metal. Benjamin A. Berman, a former chief of major aviation investigations at the safety board, said pilots actually make the worst witnesses, because their technical knowledge can lead them too quickly to identify a mechanical problem that may not have occurred. "Children make among the best witnesses," he added, "because they don't tend to place an interpretation on what they've seen." The safety board's skepticism of eyewitness accounts was deepened by the explosion of TWA Flight 800 off Long Island six years ago: hundreds of people saw an upward streak that they assumed was a missile, although investigators said it was the body of the plane itself, streaking upward after the forward portion had fallen off following a fuel tank explosion. That disaster highlighted another pitfall for investigators, Mr. Berman and others say: F.B.I. agents asked witnesses where the missile came from, presupposing the presence of a weapon. "It wasn't good aircraft accident investigation," Mr. Berman said. There are other well-known cases of witness error, including the crash of a Lauda Air Boeing 767 near Bangkok in May 1991. Witnesses said they heard a bomb and saw the plane fall in flames, but it turned out to be a mechanical problem. So why do investigators bother asking witnesses at all? Dr. Bernard S. Loeb, who retired as the safety board's director of aviation safety last year, said, "In the case of 587, it's unlikely that the witnesses will provide much to help the investigation, but you never know that when you begin an investigation — where you're going to get important leads, from the recorders, from witnesses, from the structure itself." And in any crash, he said, conflicting witness statements can still be useful. "What was very clear from the Flight 800 witnesses was that many did see something up in the sky," he said. Even if the accounts are likely to be wrong, they are still routinely gathered and evaluated by both the board and police agencies. "Can you imagine if we didn't interview the witnesses?" said one current board official. Mr. Berman, who left the board last year, said investigators may have released the summary of what the Flight 587 witnesses saw just to show publicly that the statements showed "scatter" — an engineering term for plotted data that does not fit a pattern. A release at this late date is unusual, but a spokesman for the board, Ted Lopatkiewicz, said it was done because it was ready. But, he added, "I don't think I'm making any news by saying that eyewitness testimony at a plane crash and probably at many traumatic events is unreliable." Witness statements can be more valuable in crashes of small planes that don't have flight data recorders or cockpit voice recorders, Mr. Berman said. Mr. Loeb said his experience with witnesses had led him to question the reliability of criminal convictions based on eyewitness identifications. In Illinois, he noted, a commission appointed by the governor recommended in April that the death penalty not be applied to murder convictions based on a single eyewitness identification. Mr. Loeb said his personal experience also played into his skepticism. Recently he and his wife saw a two-vehicle collision, and unlike plane crash witnesses, they both saw it from the same angle. Within moments, they disagreed about what they had seen. Among other key details, Mr. Loeb said he could not recall whether one of the vehicles had been a truck or an S.U.V. (See note from website author at the end of this article)

It took three years before the truth began to trickle out that the crash of AA 587 was probably a follow up Al Qaeda operation to the 911 attacks ......

Friday, August 27, 2004  Stewart Bell -  National Post. News

A captured al-Qaeda operative has told Canadian intelligence investigators that a Montreal man who trained in Afghanistan alongside the 9/11 hijackers was responsible for the crash of an American Airlines flight in New York three years ago. Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents were told during five days of interviews with the source that Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen also known as Farouk the Tunisian, had downed the plane with explosives on Nov. 12, 2001. The source claimed Jdey had used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 and "conducted a suicide mission" with a small bomb similar to the one used by convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, a "Top Secret" Canadian government report says. But officials said it was unlikely Jdey was actually involved in the crash, which killed 265 people and is considered accidental. The fact that al-Qaeda attributed the crash to Jdey, however, suggests they were expecting him to attack a plane. "We have seen no evidence of anything other than an accident here," said Ted Lopatkiewicz, spokesman for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. "There has been no evidence found, from what I can tell -- at least that's been relayed to us -- that there was any criminality involved here. It appears, at least the evidence we have, is that a vertical fin came off, not that there was any kind of event in the cabin." Jdey, 39, came to Canada from Tunisia in 1991 and became a citizen in 1995. Shortly after getting his Canadian passport, he left for Afghanistan and trained with some of the Sept. 11 hijackers, according to the 9/11 commission in the United States. He recorded a "martyrdom" video, but was dropped from the 9/11 mission after returning to Canada in the summer of 2001. The planner of the World Trade Center attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, claims Jdey was recruited for a "second wave" of suicide attacks. The FBI issued an alert seeking Jdey's whereabouts in 2002. John Ashcroft, the U.S. Attorney-General, told a news conference in May that Jdey was one of seven al-Qaeda associates "sought in connection with the possible terrorist threats in the United States." The information on Jdey's alleged role in the plane crash is contained in a memo on captured Canadian al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Mansour Jabarah. The Canadian government memo was written in May, 2002, and was based on information provided by a "source of unknown reliability." Jabarah is a 22-year-old from St. Catharines who allegedly joined al-Qaeda and convinced Osama bin Laden to give him a terror assignment. He was tasked with overseeing a suicide-bombing operation in Southeast Asia, but was caught and has since pleaded guilty in the United States. The report, which was sent to the Philippine National Police intelligence directorate, recounts what Jabarah said he was told about the U.S. plane crash by Abu Abdelrahman, a Saudi al-Qaeda member who was working for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "In discussions, Abu Abdelrahman mentioned Al Qaida was responsible for the assassination of Massoud, the Northern Alliance leader," the report says. "According to the source, Abu Abdelrahman added that the 12 November 2001 plane crash (btb American Airlines flight 587) in Queens, New York was not an accident as reported in the press but was actually an AL QAIDA operation. "Abu Abdelrahman informed Jabarah that Farouk the Tunisian conducted a suicide mission on the aeroplane using a shoe bomb of the type used by Richard Reid .... 'Farouk the Tunisian' was identified from newspaper photographs as being identical to Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen who had resided in Montreal." Jabarah was initially suspect of the claim about Jdey, but he later believed it after he saw the same information on a "mujahedin Web site," the report says.

August 30, 2004 Original article available at:
American Airlines 587 crashed soon after taking off from New York's Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 12, 2001, killing 265 people. Coming just two months after 9/11, this disaster raised a specter of renewed terrorism attacks, yet investigators quickly dismissed the possibility of foul-play.  Al-Qaeda on a website in May 2004 claimed the plane's fall as an attack - now comes a wisp of evidence to suggest that AA 587's demise was in fact not an accident but an operation carried out by Al-Qaeda. This information has a complex pedigree: It is recounted in a top secret Canadian Security Intelligence Service report written in May 2002 and made public on Aug. 27, 2004 by Stewart Bell in Canada's National Post: its source is Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, a 22-year-old from St. Catharines, Ontario, said to be of "unknown reliability."  Jabarah in turn is reporting on what he heard from Abu Abdelrahman (a Saudi Al-Qaeda member who worked for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the organization's highest ranking operatives). KSM's information has usually turned out to be reliable. So, the information that follows is not exactly rock-hard, but it is a real lead. And this is it: Abu Abdelrahman told Jabarah who told CSIS that the 12 November 2001 plane crash (American Airlines flight 587) in Queens, New York was not an accident as reported in the press but was actually an Al Qaida operation. Abu Abdelrahman informed Jabarah that Farouk the Tunisian conducted a suicide mission on the aeroplane using a shoe bomb of the type used by Richard Reid. "Farouk the Tunisian" was identified from newspaper photographs as being identical to Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen who had resided in Montreal." Jabarah claimed Jdey used his Canadian passport to board Flight 587 but Jdey was apparently a master of aliases (they include Abd Al-Rauf Bin Al-Habib Bin Yousef Al-Jiddi, Abderraouf Dey, A. Raouf Jdey, Abdal Ra'Of Bin Muhammed Bin Yousef Al-Jadi, Farouq Al-Tunisi, Abderraouf Ben Habib Jeday), so one really has no idea what name he might have flown under that day. Jdey, 39, had emigrated from Tunisia to Canada in 1991, becoming a citizen in 1995. Shortly thereafter, he decamped to Afghanistan where he trained with some 9/11 hijackers and recorded a "martyrdom" video that coalition forces in Afghanistan later found. He did not join the 9/11 mission but was to be part of a second wave of suicide attacks. He remains on the loose, with a worldwide alert for him. The FBI has a "seeking information" notice out for him "in connection with possible terrorist threats in the United States.

The story continues ........

(Note from website author)
Unfortunately for Mr. Loeb statistical calculations on the probabilities that what these eyewitnesses reported did in fact happen can be performed. The NTSB can express all of the opinions that it wishes but mathematical truth is superior to NTSB opinion. Since the NTSB has over 349 witness statements we can calculate the statistical accuracy of their reports and the NTSB better take note.

Of the 349 eyewitnesses interviewed let us assume that only 40 of them are "credible". Furthermore, let us assume that the observational capability of each of these eyewitnesses is so poor that he/she can report an observation correctly in only one out of five observations. There is then only a 20 percent probability that an event reported by such a witness would have actually taken place as described. With two of these witnesses independently describing the same event, the probability rises to 36 percent and with ten witnesses it rises to 89.26 percent. With forty such independent and similarly "unreliable" witnesses the probability rises to 99.99 percent that the event reported did in fact take place. This is as close to certainty as one can come mathematically. Further, even if one assumes that the reliability of these 40 eyewitnesses was so poor that each of them could report an observation correctly only one time out of ten, the probability that the event did indeed take place as described by the witnesses is still 98.52 percent. The NTSB has 349 eyewitnesses!

The equation is as follows:

Probability of Event (P) = [1-(U^N) ] X 100 Percent Probability (P)  equals one minus the Unreliability (U) raised to the power of the Number of Participants (N) all multiplied by one hundred.

For example: If you give a coin to one person and ask them to flip it and you hope to see a "head" what is the probability that you will get it? Answer 50%. What if we give two people a coin each and ask both to flip their coins and we hope to have one "head" show up, the probability that we will get it is now 75%. With three people the chances that we can get at least one head is 87.5% and with four people it is 93.75%.

Another way to look at these probability calculations is as follows:  

Assume that one has identical pieces of equipment which need to operate for a set period of time but each can do so with only 50% reliability. How many pieces of equipment do we need to operate simultaneously to ensure with 99.9% probability that we will get the job done?     Answer 10.

Now if a witness is "right" in an observation only 10% of the time (or another way of putting this is that the witness is unreliable in 90% of his observations) then if one had 50 such witnesses what is the probability that what they said happened, actually happened? The solution is shown below:

Accuracy of Witness Groups at Ten Percent Reliability

No of Witnesses                          Probability that Event Happened

           1                                             10.00 % (N=1 and U=0.9)

           5                                             40.95 % (N=5 and U=0.9)

          15                                             79.41 % (N=15 and U=0.9)

          20                                              87.84 % (N=20 and U=0.9)

          35                                              97.50 % (N=35 and U=0.9)

          50                                              99.48 % (N=50 and U=0.9)

Another example:

Suppose an Eastbound red car collides with a Southbound blue car at an intersection controlled by green-yellow-red traffic signals on all 4 corners. There are 100 witnesses. Fifty of the witnesses contend that the signals controlling Eastbound traffic were green when the red car entered the intersection and the other 50 witnesses contend that the traffic signals for Southbound traffic were green when the blue car entered the intersection. Both drivers were alone and both were killed.  Which driver ran the red light? 100% of the witnesses contend that one of the cars entered the intersection when the traffic light controlling it's direction of travel was green. Was it the red car? Was it the blue car?

1) First we must assume that the 100 witnesses are all independent i.e. they did not discuss the crash among themselves.

2) They are each 10% reliable as the table above assumes i.e. there is only a 1 in 10 probabality that any one of them saw the correct color of the lights.

Then you have a 99. 48 % probability that both sets of 50 eyewitnesses were in fact correct. So how does one rationalize this?

What it means is that I can come to fully informed conclusion that there is a 99.48% probability that the traffic lights were indeed showing green in both directions at the same time. We need no further analysis of the eyewitnesses by the police or any opinion about what happened. The evidence is clear, someone needs to go and check out the traffic lights.

With the AA 587 eyewitnesses we need no further explanation from the NTSB of what it thinks happened. The NTSB needs to go and find what cause the aircraft to burst into flames from an explosion on the right hand side of the fuselage and subsequently crash losing its tail on the way down.

Simple. Isn't it?

For further information on eyewitness reliabilities see my article about the TWA 800 eyewitnesses at eyewitn.htm).