Report on the Accuracy in Media (AIM) Conference
October 18, 1997
"The FBI had tried to get them to change
their stories, to convince them that
they really had seen something coming down - not something going up"
J. Greg Miller
I attended the Accuracy In Media (AIM) conference on 10/18/97. James Sanders and Pierre Salinger did not attend as advertised, but Commander Bill Donaldson (retired naval pilot) spoke for over an hour on the topic of TWA flight 800. He had just returned from Long Island where he did follow-up interviews with Roland Penney, Tom Dougherty, and Richard Goss. He also conducted his own simple tests on the CWT of a 747 that had just come from Europe and had sat on the runway for 55 minutes with its air conditioning packs running.
Most of his presentation was on the fact that the CWT could not have exploded as the NTSB claims it did. His presentation was extremely convincing. He started by showing a home video of him trying to cause an explosion using Jet A Fuel. He filled a cookie canister half full with fuel in his back yard at 60 degrees F. He then held a match above the fuel followed by dipping the match in the fuel. Of course, the fuel extinguished the flame. He repeated this with two matches - same result. He quoted the Aviation Fuel Handbook and said this fuel would do the same thing up to 127 degrees F in a closed cup test.
The NTSB document sent to the Congressional committee cited four other accidents where the CWT of other planes had exploded. One of them was even a 747, the other 3 were military. The NTSB, however, did not point out to Congress that the 3 military planes were using JP4 fuel and the 747 was using the commercial equivalent - Jet B when lightning hit it on landing 21 years ago - before Jet A became available. Both JP4 and Jet B will ignite even below 0 degrees F. They were extremely volatile and cannot be compared to today’s Jet A Fuel! Mr. Donaldson went on to relate that he had landed a Navy Fuel Tanker on an air craft carrier after a fuel line manifold had broken during final approach. His plane was leaking vast amounts of JP5 fuel (same as Jet A Fuel). He was signaled to kill the engines and evacuate the plane. As he exited, he saw the whole plane underside was coated in fuel - wings, engines, everything - but it did not explode. Modern fuel is extremely stable.
Mr. Donaldson ran a test on the CWT of a 747. While the NTSB has spent millions of dollars and leased a CIA plane to try proving their theory, Bill spent $15.00 on a good thermometer and got help from some friendly aircraft mechanics. It seems that all CWTs have a low point sump drain. This is accessed on a 747 by opening an inspection panel, and sticking a spring rod into a valve. The plane Bill tested had been sitting on the ground for 55 minutes with its air conditioning packs running. He drained fuel from the CWT into a thermos bottle and measured its temperature. It was 69 degrees F. Fuel gets real cold at altitude on an Atlantic crossing and requires a lot of time to heat up to 70 or 80 degrees.
The Witness Interviews were also excellent. All the witnesses were very clear in what they saw. In each case, the FBI had tried to get them to change their stories, to convince them that they really had seen something coming down - not something going up. Two witnesses clearly described a flare-like red-orange flame rising from the horizon and going away from them to the South or Southwest. After gaining some altitude, the object turned sharply to the left and then there was an explosion. The initial explosion was followed by another explosion and then the big fireball at a lower altitude several seconds later. Another woman who described the same thing said she thought she was under house arrest since an FBI man was posted outside her house for almost a year! [I have pretty good audio tape copies of the witness statements and will make appropriate sections into .wav files in the near future.]
Mr. Donaldson also made reference several times to a separate secured hanger at Calverton where the FBI keeps parts of the aircraft which are secret and not to be shared with the NTSB, Boeing, or TWA investigators. From the inventory, he believes most of the secret parts are skin from the underside of the plane in the front, wing underside skin, and vertical stabilizer skin. He believes these sections would show clear indications of an external ordinance explosion. You know - like the front landing gear doors that were missed by the FBI.
The only part of Mr. Donaldson’s presentation I took exception to was his theory that the missiles came from a Mid-East terrorist attack - not from Navy FF. He did not include anything about the CEC IOC or the reasons for the activated warning zones. My own view is like the Sherlock Holmes story where the dog did not bark because he knew the owner. There was no elevated level of preparedness by our military following the shoot down. The dog did not bark because there was no intruder.
Go to Donaldson, Meyer, Goss interview on Art Bell Radio Program
Go to the Donaldson File Index