This story needs to be integrated into our 9-11 histories: i.e. the crash of the Egyptian Airliner


Egypt Air Crash: The Hidden Hand Behind the Disaster

From Al Ahram Newspaper
POSTED: 26 ZULHIJJAH 1420, 2 APRIL 2000

The following article was published in Al Ahram newspaper (Egypt’s main paper).

Still after the tragedy hit the Egypt Air 767 Boeing a 112 kilometers off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Many questions come to mind about the cause of the airplane’s sudden “fall” after its explosion at 11,000 feet elevation after 40 minutes of its take-off from Kennedy International Airport in New York.

A Great Mystery

This tragedy, the worst in the aviation history of Egypt and the worst of the century, has been shrouded with a great mystery more than any other similar tragedies. What made it even more mysterious is the confusing and strange conclusions reached by the American authorities about the details of the incident, which puzzled the intellect of many in the investigation and police fields.

Many neutral investigators are almost definite that the tragedy happened as a result of “sabotage”. They ask: What has hit the plane (in the tail) without leaving any trace or evidence of the cause?

They also ask about the nature of “the sabotage”: was it something that was done from outside the plane while flying or if it was actually something “implanted” inside the plane. Whatever the cause, there has to be someone who caused the incident.

Some investigators used the “know who would benefit from the act to know who did it” in their research. Meanwhile, others searched closely in a series of events that came before, during and after the bodies of all 217 victims ended up in the bottom of the ocean or eaten by its sharks and whales. So those events became givings that lead them to draw a sketch of the culprit, or, at least show his fingerprints.

16 Coincidences Worth Contemplating

Here is a “series” of events or “coincidences” as in the language of investigators:

1. There were 34 generals of different ranks from the Egyptian Armed Forces on board the plane. Among them was a general who has a Doctorate in atomic sciences, and more than 20 pilots who successfully completed training in operating Apache helicopters that were sold recently to Egypt. Also on board were other generals who successfully completed training in launching the famous American Patriot missiles. The training of all those generals lasted 3 years and has cost Egypt $3 billion, which Egypt paid in full.

2. Israel vehemently denounced the training program of those generals upon their arrival in the US 3 years ago, and Israel called the training program “a threat to Israel’s security”.

3. Cairo started a big campaign to rid the region of weapons of mass destruction. The campaign has targeted mainly Israel since it is the only country in the region that possesses such dangerous weapons.

4. Israel started a campaign accusing Egypt of seeking to modernize its armed forces, and of possessing missiles that threaten the security of Israel, especially so because the army generals who came to train in the US will be exposed to the secrets of the joint American-Israeli missiles and jet fighters technology.

5. Egyptian defense minister, Muhammd Hassan Tantawi, announced last October that war with Israel is not ruled out. He also announced that Egypt therefore is continuously building its armed forces to be in a state of readiness.

6. One day before the tragedy, the American authorities provided hotel accommodation in a 3-star hotel for the airplane crew, which constitutes a violation of the simplest norms of international aviation, where the crew is usually accommodated in the airport hotel or in a 5-star hotel.

7. On the same day, a crew of pilots and flight attendants of Israel’s airline (Al A’al) checked in the same hotel with a general form the Israeli Intelligence (Mossad) who was in charge of the crew’s luggage and personal belongings.

8. Just a few hours prior to the incident, one of the Egypt Air flight crew complained to the hotel security that someone has sneaked into his room, because he noticed signs of someone’s attempt to open his suitcase by breaking the locks. But the hotel security assured him of no foul play as long as nothing was missing.

9. The day of the incident, Edward Mcglauglen, an American Jew, who is a vice president of an American civil agency was one of the passengers of Egypt flight form Los Angeles to New York City in route to Cairo. But when the plane landed in New York City, Mcglauglen refused to continue his journey to his final destination (Cairo) for fear of possible “planting of a bomb” by “one of the passengers” at its first stop (New York City).

10. The same day of the incident, the American authorities opted to take the flight crew’s luggage from the hotel through the halls to the plane itself. Meanwhile the Mossad general opted to take the luggage of the crew of Al A’al flight to the Israeli plane himself. But the luggage of the crews of both Egypt Air and Al A’al ended up being taken from the hotel to the airport in the same car that took the Mossad general to the Israeli plane.

11. Prior to the Egypt Air flight departure, the American authorities have inspected the plane for 3 hours, which is a very unusually long time in aviation norms. Also it has been reported that airport security have not given similar attention to any other plane that day.

12. After 40 minutes of the flight’s departure, contact with the plane was lost over the Edward American naval base, which is known to have anti-aircraft missiles, some of which are ready to be launched automatically by the mere sensing of an object passing over at a certain elevation.

13. After the incident, 3 eye witnesses testified to the investigators that they saw the plane on fire as it was falling down. Fox News also has confirmed in its own investigation of the incident that the plane had exploded in mid air before its fall according to what was seen on the radar screens.

14. The American investigation team reported that the plane fell down from 33,000 feet to 19,000 feet in 40 seconds, “which, according to aviation experts, is a speed equal to a free fall due to earth gravity, which makes it evident that the plane has fallen down in pieces and not as one body. Because the body of the plane is designed in a way that makes it impossible for the body of the plane to descend at a speed in access of 7,000 feet per second”. Aviation experts also add that “even if the engines of the plane stopped working, it would still be possible to land the plane at the nearest airport.”

15. After 10 hours of the incident, a member of the American investigation team announced that they have found the “black box” that records the secrets of the events in the “last moments” just before the plane’s fall. However, the next day, the American official spokesman denied finding the “box” and said that the investigation team is still searching for it!

16. There were 34 generals from the Egyptian army on board “the plane”, which is a violation of Egyptian army rules that “prohibit” more than 3 generals to be on board the same flight, domestic or international, for security of the generals. This decision was reached in 1978 after “the downing” in the Western Sahara of the flight that had Ahmad Badawi on board (in which 12 generals have died). At that time the fingers pointed to “the Israeli enemy” and the American intelligence.

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About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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3 Responses to This story needs to be integrated into our 9-11 histories: i.e. the crash of the Egyptian Airliner

  1. eslkevin says:

    ANOTHER LOOK AT EGYPT AIR CRASH

    http://www.wnd.com/2001/12/11863/

    Nearly two years before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Egypt Air Flight 990 took off from Kennedy Airport bound for Cairo and inexplicably crashed into the Atlantic off Nantucket, Mass., killing all 217 aboard.

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    U.S. investigators determined the relief co-pilot, Gamil el-Batouty, deliberately crashed the plane. Those findings were released just five months before Sept. 11.

    Batouty’s last words, according to investigators, were in the form of Muslim prayer in Arabic: “I rely on Allah.” He said it 11 times before the aircraft began its sudden descent from 33,000 feet to 16,000 feet.

    The auto-pilot was switched off before the steep dive and both engines were shut off. Mechanical failure was ruled out.

    Among the passengers were dozens of high-ranking Egyptian military officers.

    Can I ask a stupid question?

    Why haven’t there been serious questions raised about this disaster in light of the events of Sept. 11? Does it seem logical, following the recent events and all we have learned about the suicidal nature of Islamist terrorism, that this crash was part of a chain of events including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, possibly the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building in 1996 and possibly the downing of TWA Flight 800 in December 1996?

    Think about it. What we know about the Egypt Air crash is that a Muslim co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane into the ocean. It was carrying high-ranking Egyptian army officers. If Osama bin Laden and his Islamist terror gang hate anyone as much as the United States, it may well be the current regime in Egypt.

    Yet, with all the extensive media coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks, there has been precious little interest shown in this earlier suicide downing of an airliner. There has been no linkage made by government officials.

    Why is it important to re-examine this earlier incident? Because knowing the truth is always important. Because it is critical that Americans – and the rest of the civilized world – understand the extent of the threat we face. Because this war is clearly not winding down, despite the advances in Afghanistan.

    This war has been going on for a long time under the radar screen. It seems clear to me there was a deliberate and conscious attempt by the previous administration to minimize – at all costs – the threat of Islamic terrorism to the United States. It was evidently a politically inconvenient reality, so it was not just ignored, it was covered up, it was obscured. The American people were deliberately deceived.

    Personally, I’d like to know specifically who was on that Egypt Air flight. Who were those Egyptian military officers? Who were the other passengers? This was not just a “suicide” as we were told; it was most likely an act of suicide terror – just like the attacks of Sept. 11.

    Egypt, too, has officially rejected this possibility. No wonder. Hosni Mubarak has always sought to minimize the threat to his regime posed by Islamists – even though they assassinated his predecessor, Anwar Sadat.

    I believe the reason there’s been such stunning silence about Egypt Air Flight 990 is because the truth about it would raise other questions – questions about TWA Flight 800 and the Oklahoma City bombing. For some reason, probably because deliberate government cover-ups tend to be bi-partisan in nature, even the new administration has been unwilling to reopen investigations and re-evaluate old evidence in the light of new developments.

    But, I believe, it’s time for the truth – no matter what the cost to individual careers.

    Government officials and investigators do not work for politicians. They work for the people. And the people deserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    For those who have not read WorldNetDaily’s extensive coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing and the TWA Flight 800 crash, this might be a good time to catch up.

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  2. eslkevin says:

    The Mystery of EgyptAir 990

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

    Behold, I show you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…
    1 Corinthians

    The links from the TWA 800 downing to the bombing of the World Trade Center, to the Egyptair 990 downing, to Hamas and its State sponsor, Iran, are developed. A former Egyptian army major, former sergeant in the U.S. Special Forces, former CIA operative, and former FBI informant, Ali Mohamed, who worked for Egyptair as a security agent was sitting in a Manhattan cell at the time of the crash accused of being a key associate of Osama bin Laden and helping bomb the U.S. embassies in Africa. Egyptair 990 crashed during a big military exercise in Egypt, BRIGHT STAR ’99, which was held from October 27th to November 5th 1999. Bright Star began as a bilateral military exercise between Egypt and the United States, and has since evolved into one of the largest multinational exercises involving U.S. troops anywhere in the world. Thirty-three Egyptian military personnel were on board the aircraft when it crashed. The NTSB prefers to focus on “prayers” in the cockpit and accusing one of the pilots of committing suicide rather than looking for evidence of a criminal act which damaged the tail section. Gen. Issam Ahmed, a senior Egyptian transportation ministry official, said that the plane crashed because of an explosion. He said the cases of both black boxes, located in the tail, were severely damaged, which “confirms that the tail of the plane was subjected to an explosion at the height of 33,000 feet” because of “an internal or external explosion.” Ahmed said he believed a missile or bomb caused it.

    ————————————————————————————————-

    As EgyptAir 990 prepared for take off from JFK at 1:19 am EST on October 31, 1999 a crew member uttered the following prayer

    01 19 54 In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, crew takeoff position.

    Three high-speed objects were picked up on radar crossing the aircraft’s flight path just before it began its fatal dive. On June 18, 2000 the Chairman of the Egyptian Civil Authority hand delivered a letter (Click for pdf file) to the Administrator of the FAA requesting assistance in identifying these high-speed returns but was denied the information he requested. (For similar reports of high speed objects reported by other aircraft flying into and out of Kennedy airport please read The Tale of the Tapes.) Were these objects missiles fired in the same sequence as that which brought down TWA 800? (See the article “On A Clear Day You Can See Forever”).

    At the following links one will find a transcript from both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder of the last few minutes of EgyptAir Flight 990. The pilot is Ahmed Mahmoud El Habashy and the co-pilot is Gamil El Batouty.

    http://abcnews.go.com/sections/world/DailyNews/egyptair_transcript000811.html

    990_1.pdf

    Below is a timeline of the events depicted in these two links with the author’s comments inserted.

    01 48 03 The pilot tells copilot he is going to take a quick trip to the toilet before it gets crowded while the passengers are eating.

    01 48 04 Whirring sound of electic seat motor is heard. The captain is leaving his seat.

    01 48 18 Pilot leaves the cockpit

    01 48. 22 Four seconds later there is the first “thunk” sound. The problem that will cause the crash of Egyptair 990 has begun.

    01 48 30 Co pilot makes an unintelligible comment which is followed for the next 48 seconds by the sounds of “thumps” and “muffled thumps”. The copilot says to himself “I rely on God” the Arabic equivalent of “God help us”. He thinks something is wrong and alone in the cockpit he is trying to figure out what is happening.

    01 49 18 Whirring sound of electic seat motor is heard again. The captain has returned to his seat. The NTSB rejects this sound as indicating that the captain had returned to his seat.

    The NTSB places the pilot’s return at a much later time after the plane is already in a steep dive which begs the question as to how the pilot could have returned to his seat under negative g forces.

    At this point the pilot had been out of the cockpit for approximately one minute, clearly too short a time to go to the toilet. Presumably, he heard the unusual thumping sounds on his way to the toilet and immediately returned to his seat in the cockpit.

    The thumping sounds continue with the copilot continuing to express his concern with the statement “God help us” (I rely on God)

    1:49:44 Auto-pilot changes state from “engaged” to “not engaged.”

    1:49:45 Pitch attitude values decrease.

    1:49:47 (Sound of two clicks and two thumps.)

    1:49:48 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:49:51 Engine thrust reversed for Engine 1 and, a few seconds later, for Engine 2.

    1:49:52 Elevator positions changed to send nose downward.

    1:49:53 (One loud thump and three faint thumps.)

    1:49:57 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:49:58 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.” (Four tones similar to Master Caution aural beeper.)

    The copilot is now very frightened and continues to ask for God’s help as he strives to determine how to correct the problem.

    1:50:00 Co-pilot: “I rely on God

    1:50:01 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:50:02 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:50:04 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:50:04 (Sound of loud thump.)

    1:50:05 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:50:06 Pilot: “What’s happening? What’s happening?” This is the point where the NTSB says the pilot is returning to his seat. At this point the captain would have been weightless as will be shown from the NTSB data later in this article.

    The pilot has now been back in his seat for about 48 seconds during which time he presumably has put on his seat belts and headgear and begun to check out the problem. After the loud thump two seconds earlier he asks the hypothetical question “What’s happening?” twice. He too is mystified by the ongoing thumps which are continuing and when the Master warning aural signal comes on he asks again if his co-pilot has figured out what is happening.

    1:50:07 (Sound of numerous thumps and clinks continue for approximately 15 seconds.)

    1:50:08 Co-pilot: “I rely on God.”

    1:50:08 (Repeating hi-low tone similar to Master Warning aural starts and continues to the end of the recording.)

    01 50 08 Pilot: What’s happening?

    01 50 15 Pilot” What’s happening, Gamil? What’s happening.

    Note that the pilot is not saying anything to the effect of “Gamil, what the hell are you doing?” or “Gamil, are you trying to kill us all?”

    The pilot is saying that he doesn’t know what’s wrong and is asking his co pilot if he has any ideas.

    At no time during the whole of the transcript does the pilot order the co-pilot to stop any of the actions that he was taking.

    1:50:19 (Four tones similar to Master Caution aural beeper.)

    1:50:20 Engines are cut off.

    1:50:21 Left elevator is set in the direction of the nose up while the right elevator is set in the direction of the nose down.

    1:50:24 Speed brake activated.

    The pilot still can’t determine what the problem is and wonders what is going on. “What is this?” he asks the co-pilot.

    1:50:24 Pilot: “What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?”

    1:50:25 Change and increase in sound. Heard only through first officer’s hot microphone system

    1:50:26 Pilot: “Get away in the engines.”

    Four seconds after the pilot asked if the copilot shut the engines, he orders the engines to be shut!

    1:50:28 Pilot: “Shut the engines.”

    The co pilot tells him that this has been done already and replies “its shut”.

    1:50:29 Co-pilot: “It’s shut.”

    Clearly the plane is in a worsening dive and the pilots are struggling to pull it up

    1:50:31 Pilot: “Pull.”

    1:50:32 Pilot: “Pull with me.”

    1:50:34 Pilot: “Pull with me.”

    1:50:35 Last bit of data recorded. Altitude listed at 16,416 feet and airspeed at 458 knots.

    1:50:36 Pilot: “Pull with me.”

    1:50:38 End of recording.

    Now let us compare the above interpretation of the timeline with that put out by the NTSB http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2002/aab0201.htm

    At 0147:55, the relief first officer stated, “Look, here’s the new first officer’s pen. Give it to him please. God spare you,” and, at 0147:58, someone responded, “yeah.” At 0148:03, the command captain stated, “Excuse me, [nickname for relief first officer], while I take a quick trip to the toilet…before it gets crowded. While they are eating, and I’ll be back to you.” While the command captain was speaking, the relief first officer responded, “Go ahead please,” and the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor as the captain maneuvered to leave his seat and the cockpit. At 0148:18.55, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the cockpit door operating.

    At 0148:30, about 11 seconds after the captain left the cockpit, the CVR recorded an unintelligible comment. Ten seconds later (about 0148:40), the relief first officer stated quietly, “I rely on God.” There were no sounds or events recorded by the flight recorders that would indicate that an airplane anomaly or other unusual circumstance preceded the relief first officer’s statement, “I rely on God.”

    At 0149:18, the CVR recorded the sound of an electric seat motor. (Note from website author – the NTSB ignores this sound as the most likely point when the captain returned to his seat). FDR data indicated that, at 0149:45 (27 seconds later), the autopilot was disconnected. Aside from the very slight movement of both elevators (the left elevator moved from about a 0.7° to about a 0.5° nose-up deflection, and the right elevator moved from about a 0.35° nose-up to about a 0.3° nose-down deflection) and the airplane’s corresponding slight nose-down pitch change, which were recorded within the first second after autopilot disconnect, and a very slow (0.5° per second) left roll rate, the airplane remained essentially in level flight about FL 330 for about 8 seconds after the autopilot was disconnected. At 0149:48, the relief first officer again stated quietly, “I rely on God.” At 0149:53, the throttle levers were moved from their cruise power setting to idle, and, at 0149:54, the FDR recorded an abrupt nose-down elevator movement and a very slight movement of the inboard ailerons. Subsequently, the airplane began to rapidly pitch nose down and descend.

    Between 0149:57 and 0150:05, the relief first officer quietly repeated, “I rely on God,” seven additional times. During this time, as a result of the nose-down elevator movement, the airplane’s load factor decreased from about 1 to about 0.2 G. Between 0150:04 and 0150:05 (about 10 to 11 seconds after the initial nose-down movement of the elevators), the FDR recorded additional, slightly larger inboard aileron movements, and the elevators started moving further in the nose-down direction. Immediately after the FDR recorded the increased nose-down elevator movement, the CVR recorded the sounds of the captain asking loudly (beginning at 0150:06), “What’s happening? What’s happening?,” as he returned to the cockpit. (Note from website author – The NTSB has the captain returning to the cockpit at a point in the flight were the G forces are going negative. As seen in the next statement at 0150:06 the pilot would have been floating up to the ceiling of the cockpit if he were not already strapped in his seat).

    The airplane’s load factor decreased further as a result of the increased nose-down elevator deflection, reaching negative G loads (about -0.2 G) between 0150:06 and 0150:07. During this time (and while the captain was still speaking [at 0150:07]), the relief first officer stated for the tenth time, “I rely on God.” Additionally, the CVR transcript indicated that beginning at 0150:07, the CVR recorded the “sound of numerous thumps and clinks,” which continued for about 15 seconds.

    According to the CVR and FDR data, at 0150:08, as the airplane exceeded its maximum operating airspeed (0.86 Mach), a master warning alarm began to sound. (The warning continued until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively.) Also at 0150:08, the relief first officer stated quietly for the eleventh and final time, “I rely on God,” and the captain repeated his question, “What’s happening?” At 0150:15, the captain again asked, “What’s happening, [relief first officer's first name]? What’s happening?” At this time, as the airplane was descending through about 27,300 feet msl, the FDR recorded both elevator surfaces beginning to move in the nose-up direction. Shortly thereafter, the airplane’s rate of descent began to decrease. At 0150:21, about 6 seconds after the airplane’s rate of descent began to decrease, the left and right elevator surfaces began to move in opposite directions; the left surface continued to move in the nose-up direction, and the right surface reversed its motion and moved in the nose-down direction.

    The FDR data indicated that the engine start lever switches for both engines moved from the run to the cutoff position between 0150:21 and 0150:23. Between 0150:24 and 0150:27, the throttle levers moved from their idle position to full throttle, the speedbrake handle moved to its fully deployed position, and the left elevator surface moved from a 3º nose-up to a 1º nose-up position, then back to a 3º nose-up position. During this time, the CVR recorded the captain asking, “What is this? What is this? Did you shut the engine(s)?” Also, at 0150:26.55, the captain stated, “Get away in the engines,” and, at 0150:28.85, the captain stated, “shut the engines.” At 0150:29.66, the relief first officer stated, “It’s shut.”

    Between 0150:31 and 0150:37, the captain repeatedly stated, “Pull with me.” However, the FDR data indicated that the elevator surfaces remained in a split condition (with the left surface commanding nose up and the right surface commanding nose down) until the FDR and CVR stopped recording at 0150:36.64 and 0150:38.47, respectively. (The last transponder [secondary radar] return from the accident airplane was received at the radar site at Nantucket, Massachusetts, at 0150:34.)

    The mystery with which the U.S. press has attempted to lull American citizens on the events surrounding the crashes of TWA 800, Swissair 111 (See The Mystery of SwissAir 111), Egyptair 990, Silk Air, etc. is remarkable. The demise of Egyptair 990 began with a loud thump. Pilot suicide is the explanation offered by U.S. investigators, because the co-pilot constantly said “I rely of God”. However, this explanation that can not account for the failure of the flight data recorders at approximately 16,000 feet. As we shall see below a similar explanation was offered for a Silk A ir crash in which the flight data recorders also stopped operating before the aircraft crashed.

    But first let’s start here …..

    February 1, 2000 The Associated Press
    While considered the safest period of flying, there recently have been a surprising number of high-profile crashes, and about 900 deaths, when the jetliners were at or near their cruising altitude. But aviation experts emphasized Wednesday that there is no common thread to these accidents – as many as a half dozen since 1996. And while the causes in some cases have yet to be determined, the suspicions range from electrical failure to mechanical control problems to sabotage by a pilot. 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. While the investigation has yet to be completed, an electrical spark is widely believed to have caused a fuel tank explosion. 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. While the investigation continues, an electrical problem is suspected. Investigators are still not certain what caused a Boeing 737, belonging to SilkAir, to fall out of the sky from cruise altitude and crash into a muddy river in Indonesia in December, 1997. There is some suspicion the pilot may have crashed the plane in a suicide. And in May, 1996, Valuejet Flight 592, with 110 people aboard, was climbing well beyond its takeoff, though still climbing, when it crashed into the Everglades, (in Florida). Investigators said hazardous cargo caught fire, causing the crash. “We don’t see any common threat (sic) in these accidents,” emphasized Capt. Dwayne Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association”.

    Yet several facts are clear and reveal why United States’ policy towards Iran should change abruptly….

    October 31, 1999 The Associated Press
    A Boeing 767 plane with 199 passengers aboard disappeared early today on a flight from New York to Egypt. …. Flight 990 took off from Kennedy at 1:19 a.m. and disappeared from radar at 2 a.m. while flying at 33,000 feet ….Weather at Kennedy was good with 3 to 4 miles of visibility and light wind ….. The EgyptAir plane was on a route similar to the one taken by Swissair Flight 111 …. which crashed off Nova Scotia on Sept. 2, 1998, killing all 229 people aboard. Planes on that route fly from Kennedy to Nantucket, then turn north to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland before heading east across the Atlantic. The plane was a Boeing 767-300ER delivered to the airline in September 1989. It had logged over 31,000 flight hours and 6,900 take-offs and landings ….. The United States airline industry went through a fatality-free year in 1998, but this year there has been the crash of an American Airlines jet in Little Rock, Ark., the loss of John F. Kennedy’s private plane off Martha’s Vineyard this summer and last week’s crash of a Learjet carrying golfer Payne Stewart.

    Within days of the crash the NTSB had few hard facts about the cause of the crash but because the auto pilot was intentionally disconnected the NTSB appeared to be in a mad rush to get rid of the case to the FBI. NTSB staff intoned that they could find nothing amiss internal to the plane and so the explanation had to be one that had been proposed before in a similar crash – pilot suicide.

    November 10, 1999 The Associated Press
    The first sign of abnormality aboard EgyptAir Flight 990 came when the autopilot disconnected not long after the plane began what should have been a long period of cruise flight, the National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday. NTSB Chairman Jim Hall, giving the first bits of information from the plane’s flight data recorder, said that eight seconds after the autopilot disconnected, the New York-to-Cairo flight ”begins what appears to be a controlled descent” from 33,000 feet to about 19,000 feet. … Ed Crawley, head of the aeronautics and astronautics department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, called such a descent ”extraordinary.” ”You would not leave altitude unless you are told to do so or there is an air emergency; that is basic piloting,” Crawley said. ”That means he had some kind of emergency that so distracted him that he did not push the button on the control stick so that he could talk to Air Traffic Control.”

    The abrupt descent of EgyptAir Flight 990 was very similar to a SilkAir crash which occurred in December 1997. This crash occurred in a region of the world where Ramsey Yousef had earlier planned to down eleven airliners ….

    November 29, 1998 Reuters
    The first anniversary of Singapore’s worst air disaster, in which 104 people perished when a SilkAir jet plunged from the sky, will pass with accident investigators still no nearer any answers to why it happened. …. Families of the 97 passengers and seven crew on board the 10-month-old Boeing 737-300 have anxiously awaited an explanation of why it plummeted into Indonesia’s Musi river from a stable altitude of 35,000 feet on a routine Jakarta to Singapore flight. …. The theory of pilot suicide has become prevalent in the absence of hard facts to explain the crash, made more mysterious by the unexplained failure of both “black box” flight data recorders in the crucial minutes before the crash. …. Diran — who heads the investigation in line with international convention that gives jurisdiction to the country in which the accident occurs — said he still did not know why the tail section of the nearly new plane was separated from the main debris by about two and a half miles (four km). “We don’t know for sure whether the tail section was the cause or a result of the accident,” he said.

    Is it possible that a “suicide” explanation could be pulled out of the hat again for Egyptair 990? The NTSB and FBI seemed bent on this as the proposed cause. Yet this ‘rush to judgement’ on the co-pilot’s actions reminds one of a similar ‘rush to judgement’ by the FBI in the case of the Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta when Richard Jewell’s heroism, like Gamil al-Batouti’s, was similarly maligned.

    November 14, 1999 BostonHerald.com
    The cockpit voice recorder that could reveal the secrets of EgyptAir Flight 990’s fatal plunge was recovered from the ocean floor 60 miles south of Nantucket late last night. ….. With mounting evidence suggesting a pilot purposefully put the jet into its fatal dive, and no evidence of mechanical problems, the recorder that tapes cockpit sounds and voices is considered critical to solving the mystery of what brought down the Boeing 767 …… The Associated Press, also citing an unnamed source, reported the FBI is investigating the emotional stability of the co-pilot. …. .. Information from the already recovered flight data recorder, one of two onboard black boxes, indicates the autopilot on the plane was shut off during a period of normal flight at 33,000 feet. Cockpit controls were then used to pitch the plane into a steep dive at near the speed of sound. The plane’s engines were shut off with cockpit controls 20 seconds into the dive. Pilots have said they are mystified by the data, saying the actions do not appear to be standard emergency measures. … “The question is why they initiated the descent from the very beginning”‘ said Barry Trotter, a former senior NTSB investigator. “It would have to be something catastrophic which should have triggered the master warning to come on.” But the alarm was not triggered until halfway through the dive, and the cockpit crew never reported a problem to air traffic controllers. The circumstances of the plane’s descent has led some pilots to speculate about a possible suicide dive. In 1997, a SilkAir Boeing 737 crashed on route to Jakarta from Singapore, killing all 104 people on board. The pilot was described as having personal problems and is suspected of purposely crashing the plane.

    November 14, 1999 London Times
    Crash investigators believe that a pilot on board EgyptAir flight 990 may have deliberately switched off its engines and sent it plunging into the Atlantic …. Speculation is intensifying among FBI agents that the disaster …. may have followed a suicidal act of sabotage. ….The theory that a “kamikaze” pilot may have been responsible was strengthened by information extracted from the Boeing 767’s flight data recorder. Outside experts say the evidence points to the possibility of suicide and mass murder. The speculation has prompted comparisons with the December 1997 crash in Indonesia of a SilkAir Boeing 737-300 in which 104 people died, possibly as a result of pilot suicide. It has been alleged that its pilot was in financial difficulties and had taken out a large life insurance policy shortly before the crash. …. The NTSB’s findings so far indicate that after leaving John F Kennedy international airport at 1.19am, the plane followed a normal ascent to 33,000ft before its autopilot suddenly disengaged. Eight seconds later power to the engines was reduced and the aircraft was pushed into a sharp but apparently controlled dive. During the next 20 seconds passengers would have experienced weightlessness. About halfway through this portion of its descent, the plane reached its maximum design speed – equivalent to 86% of the speed of sound – activating a “master warning”. ….As the plane continued to plunge at a 40-degree angle, it reached a near-supersonic speed of 0.94 mach before gradually pulling out of the dive, producing a downward force of 2.5 times normal gravity. The recorder shows that the plane’s two elevators – flaps on the horizontal tail used to change the angle of flight – then moved in opposite directions. This is a sign of a serious malfunction. It was then that both engines were shut down. Seconds later the plane broke up. ……. The FBI has indicated that it is focusing on the “emotional stability” of one of the co-pilots.

    In the Alaska Airlines crash the aircraft was clearly in a powered dive given that the plane was “in negative 3 Gs — meaning objects in the plane were pulled upward at three times the force of gravity”.

    February 8, 2000 CBS.com
    Before it careened into the Pacific Ocean, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 took two near vertical dives … data indicates that the passengers endured two terrifying dives, the last one upside-down, in a high speed plunge into the Pacific. The first happened with the plane at 31,000 feet, about 12 minutes before the crash. Something forced the nose down. The jet dropped at a rate of 7,000 feet per minute, three times the normal rate of descent. The speed brake was deployed, and after about a minute Flight 261 regained controlled flight at 24,000 feet. Over the next nine minutes the plane continued in controlled descent from 24,000 to 18,000 feet. Pilots meanwhile extended the plane’s sleds and flaps for more than 30 seconds and commented that doing so appeared to make the plane controllable. The crew retracted the sleds. As the flaps began to extend again, data shows the airplane pitching nose down at 26 degrees per second, the pitch increasing to 59 degrees in three seconds and reaching 70 degrees before the nose began to edge up. This put the plane in negative 3 Gs — meaning objects in the plane were pulled upward at three times the force of gravity … the final descent from 17,000 lasted just over one minute. Preliminary radar data indicates that at a time basically corresponding to the beginning of the final descent of the aircraft, a piece of the plane may have broken off.

    If a similar powered dive was occurring with EgyptAir 990 would it be surprising that a pilot would shut off the engines? Further, if one of the plane’s elevators was being deliberately forced up and the other was being forced down, why did the aircraft not enter a “corkscrew” dive? Alaska Airlines Flight 261 did exactly this …….

    February 3, 2000 United Press International
    National Transportation and Safety Board members told reporters Tuesday night that they interviewed three pilots flying in the area at the time of the (Alaska Air 261) crash Monday and that they all described the jet’s fatal plunge as “tumbling,” “spinning nose down,” “a continuous roll,” “corkscrewing” and “inverted.”

    Pulling the engines’ cutoff does not mean that the engines could not be restarted once an aircraft was recovered to level flight ….

    November 14, 1999 The Washington Post
    Federal investigators, still puzzled as to why EgyptAir Flight 990 went into a steep dive and took 217 people to their deaths, said today they will attempt to re-create the crash sequence on a Boeing simulator and will consider new salvage methods to find the plane’s cockpit voice recorder. The increasing amount of information being gleaned from the plane’s flight data recorder has only added to the mystery of why a Boeing 767 in smooth flight at 33,000 feet would suddenly go into a dive so abrupt that it left the passengers weightless for 20 seconds…. That wild ride included movement of the left and right elevators in opposite directions, something that rarely happens. These flat panels at the end of the plane’s horizontal stabilizer, which make the plane go up or down, can be made to move in opposite directions if the pilots push hard in opposite directions on the control column. This does not prove there was a fight in the cockpit, but that is one possible explanation. Someone also pulled the engine cutoff switches as the plane began to climb out of the dive. That could mean two things: an attempt to shut the engine down, or an attempt to restart a stopped engine. Pulling the engine cutoff is the first step in an engine restart.

    Instead of speculating about “pilot suicide”, “fights in the cockpit”, and maligning a co-pilot who gave his life in an attempt to save the aircraft, the NTSB, the FBI and the news media should “speculate” if stabilzer problems were the cause of the crash of EgyptAir 990 and if so was criminal activity involved …

    November 15, 1999 CNN
    Many people in Cairo believe a conspiracy lies behind the crash of EgyptAir Flight …. On the streets and in the cafes, fingers and rumors point in predictable directions — toward Israel, the CIA, the U.S. military. “No, they are not telling the truth,” said one man. “At the time being, you don’t expect anybody to tell the truth.” It was broadcast that an American official said the plane was hit by a missile, said one store owner …. “Why is America making a coverup?” demanded another man. “Any other country would have already figured out why the plane crashed.” …. For days, speculation focused on a possible suicide by the pilot or co-pilot, on a mad struggle for the controls in the cockpit. It was all nonsense, says his sister. “They speculate, everybody speculates,” said Didi Farid. “….. Everybody come and say his opinion, but where is the truth? We don’t know the truth. Do you know what happened to the plane?” Habashi’s sister …. travelled to Rhode Island …. But her stay there did little to relieve the pain of her brother’s death. “We were introduced to all those big shots — who is expert in this, expert in that — and we don’t want to hear about that,” said Farid. …. All she is left with are doubts — and suspicions that something is being hidden. “Nobody knows what happened to TWA. Nobody knows what happened to Swissair. It’s the same here. I think we know what they want us to know, that’s my feeling,” said Farid. Like so many other Egyptians, the pilot’s daughter, Enji Habashi, suspects foul play. “It’s something intentional and I think this plane has been sabotaged,” Habashi.

    The official explanation that the pilot in the SilkAir crash committed suicide defies logic when one observes that both black boxes failed and the tail of the aircraft involved in this incident (a 10 month old Boeing 737) was damaged. The tail was found miles from the crash site indicating that it had separated from the aircraft early in the crash sequence. The tail section of Egyptair 990 may also have been damaged as evidenced by the behavior of the elevators which appear to have been operating in opposite directions yet none of the government agencies questions if they were damaged by a criminal act. The Egyptians want the aircraft’s tail recovered for a detailed examination. The U.S. government decided to recover the cockpit.

    November 23, 1999 CNN
    The heavy-duty salvage ship Smit Pioneer is headed to the crash scene and is expected to arrive early December. Its main mission is to retrieve the cockpit of Flight 990.

    December 11, 1999 NY Times
    After appearing eager last month to turn over the investigation of the Egypt Air crash to the F.B.I., the National Transportation Safety Board said on Friday that it would hold on to the case for at least another month and do a thorough investigation. This was partly because they were looking for a cockpit instrument that could confirm or refute their theory that a co-pilot deliberately crashed the jet. ….. The investigators are particularly interested in a part called a torque tube, which is under the cockpit and connects the controls of the pilot and the co-pilot. They are concentrating on the part because the flight data recorder showed that the elevators, moveable panels at the back of the horizontal tail, moved to different angles, instead of in unison, as they are supposed to. Investigators theorize that this occurred because one pilot was pushing forward, to make the plane dive, while the other pulled, to make it climb. The torque tube is designed to break if 50 pounds of force or more is exerted in opposite directions. If that happened, the tube should show rivets that were shorn off; if the elevators moved separately because of a mechanical problem, the rivets would not be shorn.

    Perhaps instead of looking for the torque tube one should be looking for the tail of the EgyptAir flight. The cockpit voice recorder showed that the pilots were caught completely by surprise and it seems a stretch to believe that a “suicidal” pilot would work with his collegue “to try to fix it”. ….

    November 14, 1999 Associated Press
    Cockpit voice recordings from EgyptAir Flight 990 show the pilot and co-pilot talking “like pals” before something goes wrong and both men desperately try to fix a problem that soon caused the plane to crash into the Atlantic, a source close to the investigation said Sunday. “Something happens. Alarms go off. Both work to try to fix it,” the source said. “There is some kind of problem that they’re dealing with. It gets progressively worse. And the tape stops.” The recorder was found to be in good condition and it provided about 31 1/2 minutes of data. The tape provides no evidence of an intruder in the cockpit or of any fighting among the crew, the source said. It was reviewed by American and Egyptian officials, including representatives from the FBI.

    Both pilots in the Alaska Airlines incident worked for about twelve minutes “trying to fix it” but their problem got progressively worse too.

    One of the co-pilots of EgyptAir 990, Gamil al-Batouti, said: “Tawakilt ala Allah” numerous times as trouble with the aircraft unfolded. The expression can be translated literally as “I put my faith in God”. Yet this utterance has been presented to the U.S. public as a “prayer” as part of a desperate attempt by the U.S. government to get the EgyptAir 990 incident under the control of the FBI. Yet what could be more natural for a pilot knowing that something was about to destroy his aircraft to say something to the effect: “God help us” as he initiates emergency action to save himself and his aircraft.?

    November 16, 1999 Associated Press – Cairo, Egypt
    Despite an FBI probe into the case, an EgyptAir pilot who often flew with the two pilots assigned to Flight 990 believes neither would intentionally or erroneously cause the plane to crash. Reasons for their actions, including shutting down both engines, can be explained, said Yusri Hamid, if they needed to slow the plane following an explosion or another catastrophic event. “I know them very well and I know their capabilities and their skills,” Hamid said Tuesday of Capt. Ahmed el-Habashy and co-pilot Adel Anwar. “Neither would have done such a thing” as intentionally crash the plane. Someone in the cockpit, apparently someone in the copilot’s seat , uttered a prayer before the jet’s autopilot disengaged and it began its fatal plunge. The wording of the prayer was not immediately disclosed. Hamid dismissed speculation that the prayer could indicate the plane was crashed intentionally as part of a suicide mission. “Any pilot who sees he is heading toward trouble will say religious prayers, whether he is a Muslim or a Christian,” said Hamid, a 59-year-old veteran who has clocked some 5,000 flight hours on a Boeing 767. “If the pilot did turn off the autopilot it means there was a problem and he was trying to solve it,” he said. “If you are in a dangerous position and you do not know what to do, you may do almost anything.” The flight data recorder shows the plane was cruising normally at 33,000 feet until its autopilot was turned off, its nose pointed sharply down, its throttles cut back and engines shut off. ….. Some American pilots have said they cannot think of an emergency situation that would prompt the crew to take those steps. But Hamid said there were possible explanations, including that the pilots cut the engines to try to slow a downward plunge. “They are going down. The speed is faster and faster. The plane can collapse. They are trying to reduce the speed, so they (turn) off the engines to reduce the speed,” said Hamid.

    November 24, 1999 The Associated Press
    Gen. Issam Ahmed, a senior Egyptian transportation ministry official, said today that the plane crashed because of an explosion. He said the cases of both black boxes, located in the tail, were severely damaged, which “confirms that the tail of the plane … was subjected to an explosion at the height of 33,000 feet” because of “an internal or external explosion.” Ahmed said he believed a missile or bomb caused it.

    November 24, 1999 Associated Press
    A senior Egyptian government official said today an explosion caused Flight 990 to crash last month. He urged Egyptian investigators not to let their U.S. counterparts impose a scenario that a suicidal co-pilot brought down the plane. Early on in the probe, U.S. investigators discounted the theory of an explosion or mechanical difficulties, but the explosion scenario has been the subject of wide speculation here in Egypt. The comments by Gen. Issam Ahmed, an expert on plane crashes who heads the state-owned airline’s flight training program, were the first time any senior Egyptian official publicly said an explosion was the cause …… Ahmed said the Egyptian experts in the United States should concentrate on investigating the tail, which “carries the mystery of the accident.” He said the cases carrying the flight data and voice recorders, the so-called “black boxes” in the plane’s tail, were severely damaged. “This confirms that the tail of the plane, where the two boxes are located, was subjected to an explosion at the height of 33,000 feet. It was either an internal or external explosion,” Ahmed said in an interview. He also said the Egyptian experts should “be on the alert” about reports detailing the suicide theory. “Methods aimed at condemning EgyptAir and its pilots have been taken by preparing public opinion to accept what they [Americans] want to impose, which is the suicide theory,” he said. …..Ahmed dismissed the U.S. sources’ contention that el-Batouty put the plane into a dive and the pilot rushed into the cockpit and tried to regain control, as was indicated by his pleas taped on the cockpit voice recorder. Ahmed said the pilots’ words and actions instead indicated their confusion because something had “happened in the tail, and far away from the cockpit.” The two pilots took the right steps, he said, including turning off the autopilot and the engines in an attempt to control the plane.

    November 26, 1999 The Guardian Unlimited.
    EgyptAir’s chief pilot said yesterday that he believed the Egyptian aircraft that plunged into the Atlantic more than three weeks ago had been brought down by either a bomb or a missile that hit the plane’s tail. In an interview with the local Egyptian English-language newspaper, the Al-Ahram Weekly, the pilot, Tarek Selim, rejected as “nonsense” the theory that one of the crew had deliberately brought down Flight 990 to commit suicide. ….. “The plane, weighing 174 tonnes, was descending at a speed of 0.86 Mach – close to the speed of sound – or 23,000ft per minute,” Mr Selim told the newspaper. “This is three times faster than what is usual in an emergency situation… This could only happen when the tail unit is not there.” He said the Boeing 767 tail unit was equipped with a stabiliser that allowed a maximum descent speed of 7,000ft a minute. “It cannot go faster even if the pilot wanted it to, unless the tail unit was not there,” the chief pilot said. There are two possibilities that would cause the tail unit to split off: either a bomb was attached to the tail, or it was hit by a missile.”

    December 2 – 8, 1999 Al-Ahram Weekly Issue No. 458
    EgyptAir’s chairman, Mohamed Fahim Rayyan, has rejected speculation over the possible causes of the crash of Flight 990 on 31 October. In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, he described the theories and analyses put forward by the press and media over the past month as nonsense. ….. “The aircraft started to descend at a rate of 23,600 feet per minute with a speed that reached Mach 0.92, the speed of sound. When we find out why this plunge happened, we may know what caused the crash,” he said. Rayyan expressed the belief that serious damage to the tail unit, caused, perhaps, by a collision with a solid ‘body’, would explain the rapid descent. ….. Rayyan criticised the rush to judgement by the US press and media, which had attempted to put the blame on EgyptAir and its pilots. “It is highly unlikely that accusations would have been made to build a case for a co-pilot suicide had the airline and crew been American or European. It has been years since the mysterious 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747, and the similar unexplained crash of Swissair Flight 111 in 1998. Both remain unsolved, and yet the possibility of pilot suicide has never been raised.” ….. “The initial analysis of the cockpit conversations was tailored to explain every word and move in the light of the suicide theory. We introduced another analysis which proved that all the moves the pilots made were completely correct,” explained Rayyan. ….. Our argument was that the automatic pilot was disengaged to control the plane after the nose had turned down,” Rayyan said. When the speed of descent exceeded Mach 0.86, an alarm was heard, warning against the mounting speed. The engines were then shut down, which is the correct action to avoid a flame-out of the engines, Rayyan added. “When the jet began to dive, the captain said, “Pull with me! Pull with me!” There are no shouts or screams, no threats, no sounds of fighting.

    June 18, 2000 The Washington Post
    Egyptian authorities have suggested to U.S. investigators that co-pilot Gamael Batouti was not alone in the cockpit when EgyptAir Flight 990 abruptly dived into the Atlantic Ocean last fall. The sounds were recorded after the captain left the cockpit, about a minute before the plane’s final dive and 12 minutes into the Oct. 31 flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to Cairo. The Egyptians also said that damaged parts found in the crash indicate that a mechanical problem could have caused the dive, but U.S. authorities said they doubt that theory. The Egyptian suggestions were part of a meeting in late April between senior Egyptian and U.S. safety officials, including National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall. Sources from both countries confirmed details of the meeting, as well as more recent suggestions that Egyptian investigators have offered on the cause of the crash. The April 28 meeting appeared to be more than just an effort by the Egyptians to persuade the NTSB to consider that a mechanical problem caused the crash. The Egyptians are upset at what they see as a failure by U.S. investigators to consider all the evidence in the crash, compounded by news reports–often based on leaks from U.S. sources–that sometimes use the word “suicide.” The Egyptian government and EgyptAir have hired several well-known law firms, public relations firms and former safety board officials, including former NTSB chairman Carl Vogt. But some investigators believe that the Egyptians are losing a war of perceptions, because they have been reluctant to present their theories to the U.S. public. In the April meeting, the Egyptians detailed three main points to the NTSB:

    * There is no evidence that Batouti committed suicide. Batouti was in good spirits before the flight, even offering some pills of Viagra, the male impotence drug, to a friend from the stash he was taking back to friends in Egypt.

    * If Batouti did initiate the dive, he may have been responding to a sudden mechanical problem or to something he–and possibly another crew member–saw in the cockpit or outside. There is some indication that as the plane dived, there was coordination between two or three crew members working to save the plane.

    * The Boeing 767 has experienced problems with elevator controls, and the safety board should consider whether the dive was initiated by an uncommanded downward deflection of the elevators, flat panels on the horizontal tail section that control the aircraft’s up and down movements.

    In the weeks since the meeting, Egyptian investigators said they have seen marks on one of the six hydraulic actuators that move the elevators, possibly indicating it jammed. If two actuators jam on one elevator panel, Boeing simulations have shown, the elevator could move involuntarily. Four of the plane’s six actuators have been recovered. Egyptian sources also said rivets were found sheared in opposite directions on a bell crank that helps transmit commands to the elevator. That also was found on parts of an Aeromexico plane that experienced a sudden, uncommanded elevator movement on the ground, they said. U.S. investigative sources said almost every part of the plane was damaged by the crash, and their metallurgists do not believe that any damage they have seen indicates an actuator jam. Those U.S. sources said Batouti could have controlled the plane by doing what would be natural for any pilot–pulling back on the control column. Flight 990 had four pilots, allowing each rest time across the Atlantic. The cockpit voice recorder revealed that as the plane climbed over the ocean, the captain decided to take a break. U.S. investigators said there was no evidence that anyone other than Batouti was in the cockpit when, according to data from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, someone cut off the autopilot. Six seconds later the plane went into a dive that eventually approached the speed of sound. The Egyptian investigators told the safety board that a voice can be heard on the tape about a minute before the dive, after the captain left the cockpit. They say that voice says either “control it” or “control light.” The voice cannot be identified. Those words could mean that someone else in the cockpit might have pointed out an anomaly to Batouti, according to the Egyptian investigators. U.S. investigative sources said voice recorder specialists could not tell what was said. The Egyptians said there is further evidence of cooperation in the cockpit after the captain returned when he, the co-pilot and possibly another crew member were involved in efforts to save the plane. The flight data recorder shows that the dive was initiated by a downward deflection in the elevators as the plane flew at 31,000 feet. The captain returned to the cockpit before the plane descended to 28,000 feet, the Egyptians said, and at about 24,000 feet the plane began to recover from the dive. Shortly thereafter, both engine fuel levers were turned to “off,” the first step in restarting engines that had cut off because of the near-supersonic speed, the Egyptians said. But U.S. sources have said this would make no sense if the crew was trying to save the plane. The voice recorder indicates someone said, “Shut the engines.” Someone replies, “The engines are shut.” Egyptian investigators told the safety board this also indicates cooperation in the cockpit. But U.S. investigative officials said that if crew members were cooperating at that point, why didn’t someone advance the throttles, as if trying to gain power, just as someone shut down the engines? U.S. investigators say further proof that there was no cooperation in the cockpit comes just before the end of the voice recorder tape. The two elevators–which normally move in tandem–moved in opposite directions. That could happen if two pilots were commanding the elevators to move in opposite directions. But the Egyptians said that the data recorder at that point is less reliable because of the plane’s high speed. U.S. investigators said they believe that the refined data back them up. The Egyptians also asked again the true mystery of the crash: If Batouti did it, why? Batouti, they said, came from a good family, and one of his two sons was about to be married. He had one daughter with lupus, but she was doing well in treatment in California. Batouti was bringing back two tires for a vehicle in Egypt, as well as the Viagra. In general, he appeared to be in good spirits and happy to be going home. The FBI said earlier it could find no evidence to explain why Batouti would deliberately down the plane. So if it did happen, the Egyptians say, it is possible that something he saw influenced him to take the action. The Egyptians noted that radar showed several “primary” targets–planes with the transponder turned off, missiles, flocks of birds or even atmospheric clutter–in the area that night, some of which lasted several minutes and moved at high speed. A “primary” target is any object hit by radar beams that does not have a transponder to report an aircraft’s identity and altitude. The Egyptians say that they are not proposing some missile theory but that investigators should look into the possibility that something outside the plane startled Batouti. U.S. sources said all military airspace in the area was “cold” that night, meaning that no military planes or weapons were engaged in training or tests.

    There were at least two eyewitnesses to EgyptAir 990’s demise. Their observations do not support a ‘suicide’ theory ….

    November 4, 1999 From Newsday (LI) Edition: Nassau and Suffolk
    The dull orange glow caught Stuart Flegg’s attention in the dark sky of a bracing Halloween night on Nantucket island. And for the next four to five seconds, his eyes tracked the light falling down … until it vanished into the horizon formed by the ink-black Atlantic Ocean. Hours later, Flegg and his friend Scott Proffitt, who also saw the dime-sized orange spot, concluded they’d viewed the flaming wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 990, which plunged from 33,000 feet at 24,000 feet per minute on what was supposed to be a routine flight from New York to Cairo. …. they called police, and Tuesday, they told their story to the FBI. “What caught my eye was like an orange glow in the sky. And then it was falling rapidly. I mean, it was falling very fast. And then, about halfway down, it started slowing down,” Flegg, 32, said yesterday. “And then the flame got a little wider. As it was falling down, it got longer. And then it just kept coming down, going slower, slower, slower and then it just passed over the horizon from where I was.” …… At first, Flegg thought the small ball-shaped glow was a meteor, a comet or a shooting star, but it was moving much too fast. It “didn’t look anything like” those things, he said. Proffitt, 22, said the orange light dotting the black sky initially looked like fireworks. “But then I noticed that it was way too far up in the sky to be a Roman candle and too far away,” Proffitt said. “It wasn’t an extraordinary brightness, but it got our attention. It was orange. If I had to pick a shade, I would say burnt orange.” Both men said they heard no sound at all. The men, carpenters who work together, were among a group of about five left after a Halloween party of 40 or so people at the Fleggs’. They were seated in chairs around a backyard fire pit about a mile from the water enjoying the last moments with friends and some beer. Though they cannot pin down the exact time they saw the glow, they said it was between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., when they retired for the night. The plane’s signal was lost shortly before 2 a.m. more than 50 miles south of Nantucket. …. “I believe I saw the plane,” Proffitt said yesterday. “I mean, there is no other explanation for what I saw. We were facing the right direction, it was the right time of the night, and I know it was not a shooting star. So I definitely believe I saw the plane.” The men told their story Monday to local folks and to two local television crews. The next day, two FBI agents showed up with a lot of pointed questions. “They asked me how the lawn was set up with the yard chairs,” said Stuart’s wife, Monica Flegg, 34, who had gone to sleep before the crash. “I showed them the yard and showed them how it was set up. Then they interviewed Stuart and Scott, separately.” Flegg said he told them he was facing south-southeast, with Proffitt sitting to his left. He said he saw it first, tapped Proffitt on the shoulder, and said, “Look at that.” He told them there is very little light pollution off Nantucket, that you can see a “long, long way,” and that he often sits in his backyard and watches airplanes on similiar flight patterns. Sometimes he can even see their shining lights. Flegg acknowledges that he and the others had had “a couple beers” that night, but, “I mean, we weren’t falling over backwards, stone drunk.” “I know what I saw-that’s what I told the FBI guys,” Flegg said. “I don’t care what they say, I know what I saw. It was definitely that plane going down that I saw. It was definitely on fire.” Officials say none of the wreckage recovered so far shows evidence of fire.

    The FBI may prefer that Flegg and Proffitt be perceived as unreliable witnesses given their consumption of “a couple of beers”, yet the wreckage does indeed indicate that the “fire” they saw did not come from the aircraft. Both of them describe the EgyptAir 990 incident using phrases such as: orange glow …. dime-sized orange spot . …. moving much too fast … fireworks … flame …. Roman candle …. no sound …. not a shooting star.

    Flegg stated that there is “no other explanation for what I saw” yet the descriptions he and Proffitt provide are remarkably similar to numerous eyewitness descriptions of TWA 800’s destruction.

    They raise the question: Was Flight 990, like Flight 800, brought down by a missile? …

    November 26, 1999 Reuters
    EgyptAir’s chief pilot thinks a bomb or missile downed the airline’s Flight 990 after blasting its tail, rejecting theories that a suicidal pilot or mechanical glitch caused last month’s crash off the U.S. East Coast. “There are two possibilities that would cause the tail unit to split off. Either a bomb was attached to the tail or it was hit by a missile,”‘ Tarek Selim told the state-owned Al-Ahram English-language weekly before heading off to New York to join Egyptian crash experts. ……. “I flew the Boeing 767, which is one of the best aircraft, for 12 years without any major problems,” he said. “Any problem, and I mean any problem, apart from an explosion, can be handled and the plane will remain under control.” “In all circumstances, the pilot certainly will have plenty of time to talk, contact control points and act according to instructions,” he said. “In case of a serious emergency, all the pilot has to do is say ‘Mayday’ and the distress call will be heard by all airports…but they did not have the chance to utter this word.” Investigators have said Flight 990’s tail broke off during its dive, with its right and left elevators, which make the plane ascend and descend, pointing in different directions. …. Referring to media speculation that a co-pilot had deliberately set the airliner on a suicidal dive, Selim said: ”I believe the speculation fueled by leaks of information from the cockpit tape recorder are ridiculous.”

    On July 12, 1999 Paul Angelides gave an account of what he saw during the TWA 800 downing to Cmdr. Donaldson. In the interview Angelides stated:

    Paul Angelides: After work on July 17, 1996, I went to our ocean front summer rental house to have dinner with my wife and 1 year old son. After dinner my wife was bathing our son before putting him to bed so I decided to go to the ocean side deck to enjoy the view. As I walked through the sliding doors to the deck a red phosphorescent object in the sky caught my attention. The object was quite high in the sky (about 50-60 degrees) and was slightly to the west and off shore of my position. At first it appeared to be moving slowly, almost hanging and descending, and was leaving a white smoke trail. The smoke trail was short and the top of the smoke trail has a clockwise, parabolic shaped hook towards the shore. My first reaction was that I was looking at a marine distress flare which had been fired from a boat. I said to myself, someone must be in trouble. I quickly realized that the object was too large and then began moving too fast to be a distress flare. I followed the object as it moved out over the ocean in the direction of the horizon. I lost sight of the object, as it was about 10 degrees above the horizon. In the same area of the sky out over the ocean, I then saw a series of flashes, one in the sky and another closer to the horizon. I remember straining to see what was happening as there seemed to be a lot of chaos out there. There was a dot on the horizon near the action, which I perceived as a boat. The flashes were then followed by a huge fireball, which dropped very quickly into the sea. I yelled to my wife. Come here quickly you’ve got to see this.

    Some other eyewitness accounts of TWA 800 show the use of similar phrases ….

    Douglas Bushton: The object looked just like a red roman candle. No noise was heard.

    Lou Desyron: “We saw what appeared to be a flare going straight up. As a matter of fact, we thought it was from a boat. It was a bright reddish-orange color”.

    Tom Dougherty: “I looked up because it sounded like thunder. I kept looking trying to figure out what it was. And that’s when I saw a flare come off the water. The flare, trailing orange flame, shot up roughly at a 45 degree angle, then rapidly increased it’s angle of ascent…. Then it appeared to strike something.” After the missile hit the plane, the plane glowed very bright as part of it fell and then, after becoming luminescent, it burst into flames. This was the strangest thing I ever saw. Everyone calls it a ‘missile theory,’ but when you see something, you know what you see, and I didn’t see a theory.”

    Naneen Levine: “The little red dot went up like this [witness draws trajectory] it sort of curved, it came to just a point where I thought little fireworks were going to come down and it would just fade and be a flare. It looked like a dot, it didn’t look like a fiery streak, it looked like a little red dot that went up. It didn’t leave a tail or anything behind, just a little dot. Like I thought it was something on the beach going straight up”.

    Why is it that the NTSB and the FBI can’t believe eyewitnesses? They pulled in the CIA in the TWA 800 case to try to prove that a couple of hundred of them didn’t see what they said they saw and that a center fuel tank exploded from a spark whose source is yet to be discovered. One of the hundreds of TWA 800 eyewitnesses, Roland Penney, discussed his interview by the FBI with Cmdr. Donaldson. Penney’s comments, presented at the Accuracy in Media conference on October 18, 1997, records that his neighbor who also witnessed the missile attack on TWA 800 was so exasperated at not being believed that she commented, like Flegg, about not being under the influence of alcohol …..

    Penney: “They said: “Are you sure you didn’t see something going down … and not going up”? …… I said “No…. Gosh sakes I ain’t that stupid …. I ought to be able to tell if something is going up in the air or going down in the air …. No and I said I’m not changing my mind about it … I’ll stick to that until I die. I said I saw something going up and I said there was no question in my mind. I said I’m telling you what I saw. I’m not telling you what I think I saw. I said I saw something and….. that’s the way I am stating it. I’m not trying to make up a story just to be on the news or whatever… I said I have no desire to be on the news – I don’t even want to get involved in this stuff anymore. But I said there was definitely something going up and then it went behind … I said I’m assuming it’s a cloud and then we saw this white light.

    Donaldson: OK. And when we were off .. when the recording was off … you mentioned that a neighbor … we won’t mention the name .. but had a similar experience apparently with an FBI interview that they were trying to get her to say that it was going the other way…

    Penney: That’s right

    Donaldson: And she talked to you on the phone and got a little bit ….

    Penney: She was upset because she says I’m a grown woman – I don’t drink and she says it wasn’t because I had alcohol in me. She says I saw something definitely going up and there is no question in my mind about that and she says I’m not changing my mind either.

    One TV analyst seems to have realized that the EgyptAir 990 pilots were scared half to death ….

    November 14, 1999 ABCnews.com
    ABCNEWS’ aviation analyst John Nance said that, based on the data known so far, he believed that the rapid rate of the plane’s dive raised questions about what might have been going on in the cockpit in the moments before the crash. ….. “The problem now is that when you look at this dive — and as I say, it’s something that no airline pilot, no rational airline pilot, would do voluntarily — something either had to scare these pilots half to death to get them to put that aircraft into that condition, or something else was going on that was not voluntary,” he told ABCNEWS’ This Week today. Barry Trotter, a former senior investigator with the NTSB and commercial airline pilot, said that while a pilot might turn off an engine if there was a fire, it would be highly improbable for both engines to be on fire at the same time. “The question is why they initiated the descent from the very beginning,” said Trotter.

    Egyptair 990 would not represent the first time airline pilots have had to “duck” because of high speed objects approaching their aircraft ….

    January 6, 1995 4 SHa`baan 1415 A.H. Report on January 26th, 1995 in ‘The Sun’ newspaper.
    Two pilots thought their last moment had come as their British Airways jet headed for mid-air collision – with a high speed UFO. Terrified fliers Roger Willis and Mark Stuart ducked down in the cockpit when the brightly lit mystery craft appeared only yards in front of them at 13,000ft over the Pennines. Captain Willis and First Officer Stuart immediately checked with air traffic control. But they were told theirs was the only plane on the radar. Their flight from Milan, Italy to Manchester Ringway was 17 minutes from touchdown …. An inquiry was launched …. but a CAA spokesman said: “We have not been able to trace the aircraft involved.” The pilots refused to comment. A colleague said: “They are high grade, sensible guys. Everyone’s talking about what they saw.” Theories that the UFO could have been a new military aircraft were discounted by experts. A spokesman for Jane’s Defence Weekly said: “We know of nothing at all being developed that could account for this sighting.”

    The BA incident occurred on the ninth anniversary in the islamic calendar of the bombing of Libya by U.S. jets taking off from England …

    April 14, 1986 4 SHa`baan 1406 A.H.
    U.S. jets bombed Libya killing 37 people, including Gadhafi’s adopted daughter.

    In August 1997 two Swissair pilots had to “duck” at 23,000 feet over Long Island ……

    September 27, 1997 (Neue Zuricher Zeitung)
    Swissair has revealed that an unidentified flying object almost collided with one of its planes over the United States last month. The captain and his co-pilot said an oblong and wingless object shot past at great speed – only fifty metres away from their Boeing Seven-Four-Seven. The American air traffic authorities said it was probably a weather balloon.

    The U.S. preferred a “balloon” to a “rocket” explanation despite the pilots objections …..

    March 5, 1999 http://www.cbcnews.com Ottawa (CP)
    A Swissair pilot reported his 747 jet was nearly hit by an unidentified flying object, possibly a missile, near the area off New York where a TWA airplane crashed in 1996, The Canadian Press has learned. Swissair Flight 127 was cruising at 23,000 feet on Aug. 9, 1997, when the pilot interrupted an address to passengers to report the near miss by a round white object, says a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. “Sir, I don’t know what it was, but it just flew like a couple of hundred feet above us,” he radioed Boston air traffi

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