The Shoot Down of TWA800


On July 17, 1996, at 8:19 p.m., TWA Flight 800 took off from JFK airport bound for Paris, France.  The Boeing 747-131 (N93119) had 230 passengers and crew aboard.  Off of Long Island, NY, their flight path paralleled   the northern edge of W-105.  Unknown to the crew and passengers, TWA800 was participating in a classified weapons test (GLOBAL YANKEE ’96) being conducted by the DoD inside of the restricted air space of W-105.

In response to the 1988 shoot down of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes, the DoD was developing a missile can discern from a hostile target and a civilian airliner.

W-105 was filled with US Navy vessels guarding “Neutral Vessels” when a BQM-34 “Firebee” target drone was launched and controlled by a P-3 Orion and headed to the coast. The missile being tested was fired from the USS Seawolf (SNN21). The Navy’s newest  SNN was participating even though it had not been commissioned yet. It would be commissioned a year later.


The Seawolf’s Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC), which linked its weapon systems with the Aegis radar systems installed on other Navy ships participating in the exercise. Once the subsurface missile was launched, the Seawolf’s combat software no longer had control over the missile.


Witnesses saw the missile searching for a target.  When it ignored the target and homed in on TWA800 a second missile was fired to intercept the first. The second missile did intercept the first but exploded inside of TWA800.  The two explosions witnessed were nine tenths of a second apart.  The second detonation exploded the fuel inside of the center fuel tank resulting in the massive fireball.  The fireball that the CIA as TWA800 climbing was the fireball of the test missile disintegrating.


The full  documentary can be seen here:

Silenced: TWA 800 and the Subversion of Justice (2001)

Image result for twa800 missile damage
Intercept Missile


Since 1996, independent investigators have found the following:

  • The “Highest Levels of Government” was Hillary Clinton, protecting her husband’s re-election.
  • According to the former Navy official, the missile test was so important for the Clinton administration, it was being shown live on a Navy closed-circuit television feed at the White House.
  • The Attorney General declared the wreakage a “crime scene and required the NTSB to relinquish control of the investigation to the FBI.
  • The FBI removed evidence and altered wreckage with impunity and without notifying the NTSB.
  • Two FBI agents were caught by airport security sneaking evidence from the hangar in the early morning hours.
  • James E. Hall was a Clinton Arkansas Crony and was the Chairman of the NTSB.  The Washington Post said his only qualifications for the position was his driver’s license.
  • Jim Sanders and TWA employee Liz Sanders were arrested by the FBI and convicted of stealing evidence. The evidence was snips of passenger seat covers with missile fuel residue. 

Two U.S. Navy salvage ships, the USS Grasp and USS Grapple, were sent to Long Island waters to recover TWA wreckage.  The green area was searched by the US Navy and all debris was turned over to the NTSB.  The red area was searched by Navy SEAL divers and none of the debris recovered was turned over to the NTSB.  The yellow area was searched by both teams and it was here that the “Black Box” recorder found.

SEAL’s have come forward stating that their mission was to remove any missile parts found.


  1. Callahan, Maureen, (2016),“Was TWA Flight 800’s fiery crash part of a massive cover-up?” New York Post.
  2. Cashill, Jack, (2016), TWA 800: The Crash, the Cover-Up, and the Conspiracy , Simon & Schuster
  3. Cashill and Sanders, (2003), First Strike: TWA Flight 800 and the Attack on America, HarperCollins Publishing
  4. Fisher, Max, (2013),    The Forgotten Story of Iran Air Flight 655 ,         Washington Post
  5. Schultz, Gwyneth J. , (2009),  Accusations “reckless and a mistake,, U,S. Navy

Alaska Airlines Flight 261


On January 31, 2000, about 1621 Pacific standard time, Alaska Airlines, Inc., Flight 261, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, N963AS, crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles north of Anacapa Island, California. The 2 pilots, 3 cabin crewmembers, and 83 passengers on board were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. Flight 261 was operating as a scheduled international passenger flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 from Lic Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, with an intermediate stop planned at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.

I have a personal connection with this crash.  On that day, I was working as a Ramp Agent with Reno Airlines at McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Alaska was our ramp neighbors and we flew the same MD-83.  We were outside, waiting for our jet to come to the gate.  Looking over at the Alaska gates, I saw that all Hell was breaking loose.  People were running like their hair was on fire.  Flight 261 had left from here bound for  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Before the end of my shift all our aircraft were grounded.  With nothing to do, I wandered over to the maintenance office.  Two Reno mechanics worked there and they had orders to inspect the tails of the eight jets at out gates.  I had an Airframe and Powerplant license and sometimes I’d help them when they were slammed.  They knew the cause of the crash before the NTSB figured it out.  “I bet it’s the jack screw”, said one of them.  They told me what to look for and I watched an inspection.  Under Part 139 of the FAA regulations, that made me qualified to look at the tail assembly.  Since Flight 261, the requirements have been tightened up a bit.

MD-80 Maintenance Stand

I was looking for obvious damage and missing parts.  In addition, I was told to “Make damn sure the trim jack has evidence of grease. ”  The inspection of the stabilizer trim system was part of a C Check inspection carried out at two year intervals for the MD-80 series.  The Emergency Air Worthiness Notice issued by the FAA make it mandatory that the aircraft be inspected before they flew again.  I learned just how much of bitch it was to do the inspection.  Taking the panel off was a breeze but it was a bitch to push the big assed maintenance ladder around.  I wound up doing two inspections.  They had grease, and all our jets had grease.  Don’t know what happened at Alaska, they weren’t talking.

The FAA busted Alaska airlines for pencil-whipping their tail inspections.  Pencil-whipping is signing off work or an inspection youo didn’t do.  Yes, it’s frowned upon and even illegal, but it’s also a widespread practice. Take intake inspections.  You’re supposed to climb into the intake and inspect the engine for damage.  If an engine suffers foreign object damage, it’s obvious.  On some aircraft, you can peek down the tube with flashlight and do the inspection without actually climbing in.  Pilots do it all the time on their walk around.  Watch them do it the next time you fly.  At Creech AFB, we had a guy whip an intake inspection because he thought the other guy had done it.  That’s called “inspecting from the truck”.  The A-10 probably ingested some of it’s own brass on the flight to Nellis but since they couldn’t confirm that with the inspection at Creech, they were busted, fined and retrained.



Cockpit Voice Recorder Transcript