TWA Flight 800 Crash: Missle Theory Bogus


(06/26/2013) Seventeen years after the crash of TWA 800, some of the crash investigators have disavowed the findings of the NTSB that an explosion of the center fuel tank caused this tragedy. They claim that a missile, not the same kind of explosion that blew the sister ship to this one out of the sky in Spain years earlier, was the cause.

One serial number away, that 747, originally also a TWA airplane but sold to the Iranian Air Force, blew up on approach to Madrid. Eighteen other Boeing airplanes have suffered similar center fuel tank explosions.

These investigators contend that TWA 800, an airplane that was on its last revenue flight because it was used up, did not blow up after sitting on the ramp for three hours with its air conditioning packs running under the center fuel tank with very little fuel in it. Temperatures inside the tank above the remaining fuel exceeded 125 degrees F, above the explosive limit for that fuel vapor, and a fuel scavenge pump at the bottom of that tank was turned on with too little fuel left to cool it. These investigators most of whom worked for TWA or its pilots’ say today it was a missile and not a repeat of the exploding center fuel tank problem. What is troubling is a soon to be released documentary will redirect the public and authorities’ attention to what didn’t happen which impacts the chances of getting the problem fixed once and for all. Inerting the air above the fuel in fuel tanks with nitrogenhas proved to be an effective means to prevent fuel tank explosions in aircraft. We have waited seventeen years for this fix and it still hasn’t happened. With this unsupported claim, the fix for existing aircraft will likely never happen.

No claim by any terrorist group was ever made following this accident. Moreover if a missile, a MANPAD, was in fact used by a terrorist, it would have been at the limit of its effective altitude, some 13,000 feet and invisible to radar. Since all the MANPADS at that time used heat seekers for terminal guidance, it is fatal to this missile theory that no missile damage was ever found on the engines, the only source of heat for the purported missile’s heat seekers to lock onto and no missile fragments were ever found among the wreckage.

The cause of the explosion is portrayed in an animation The Wolk Law Firm prepared after the crash. It illustrates just what happened and why. Open it and you will understand why this tragedy occurred and how easily it could have been prevented. These investigators although wrong may be well intended but these erroneous revelations will stymie the already stymied process to fix the exploding fuel tank problem and increase the risk for everyone.

-Arthur Alan Wolk


About Airlaw

For more than 50 years, The Wolk Law Firm has concentrated its practice in the area of aviation law, with Arthur personally generating verdicts and settlements of more than a billion dollars during the last decade alone. He is known for obtaining and on appeal, holding, the largest verdicts for each type of air accident claim in recent aviation history.

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