On July 17, 1996, an explosion occurred over the water close to New York. It was Trans World Airlines Flight 800 and all 230 people on board lost their lives. The Boeing 747-100, N93119, exploded twelve minutes after it had taken off from John F. Kennedy International. It set off one of the biggest NTSB and FBI investigations to date. This was one of the worst aviation disasters on United States territory. The wreckage was scattered throughout the ocean floor and was drifting apart on the surface. After many years it was pieced back together and still sits in a hanger in Virginia. The NTSB concluded that there was a short in the wiring that ignited the main belly tank of the 747.
Trans World Airlines Flight 800 Wreckage being removed from a hanger where it was being re-assembled.
There is a new documentary being released soon that refutes this idea however. Many of the original crash investigators do not agree with the conclusion that was reached. They believe it was an external explosion that brought the jumbo crashing down to earth. Many of the eyewitnesses claim they saw a streak of light going towards the plane before it exploded. Some radar operators claimed they saw the same thing on their screens.
I am usually very against conspiracy theories and never put much effort into them. I do think I will watch this documentary however. Something has me interested, could just be that it is aviation related, or there is actually something here. I have spent the last few days reading up on it and have a few questions myself now. I am hoping that the documentary will clear up some confusion. No details of their “proof,” that they claim they have, has been released yet. I do also believe that this could just be a cry for attention from conspiracy nuts.
I will be watching the documentary. I want to see their “claimed” new proof and judge for myself if it is credible. This is a major aviation disaster and it needs to be fully explained. If it turns out to be a conspiracy riddled mess, then I will probably still enjoy the aviation facets of it.
What are your thoughts on TWA Flight 800? Please comment below.
Me at PHNL with the 1998 Cessna 172
The night before was stormy and very windy, unusual for Hawaii, where I lived at the time. I woke up several times that night disappointed because I thought the flight would have to be cancelled. Luckily when the sun rose above the mountains the sky was clear and the wind was gone. I rode my motorcycle to the hanger, on the south side of the airport, where I was meeting Scott my CFI. We walked out the backside of the hanger to a row of tie downs. Nestled between some twins was the airplane we would be flying, a 1998 Cessna Skyhawk 172, N9512F. Scott showed me the checklist and we walked around a pre-flighted the plane. The plane seemed so simple. Cables that activate the control surfaces and a small four cylinder engine turning a propeller. I had flown a lot in my life, but not in something that felt smaller than a car. We hopped in and completed the pre-flight. The Lycoming engine roared to life and the flight had begun.
Honolulu airport is very busy and exciting. Attached is Hickam Air Force Base, there are F-22’s, F-15’s, and C-17’s stationed here. We took off after a large FedEx DC-10 on the 4L runway. I had my hands on the yoke, but Scott took care of everything else. I was astounded by how easily the wheels lifted off the ground at 60 knots. The plane seemed to effortlessly gain altitude over the clear blue water of Oahu. I was nervous when I saw the speed at only 73 knots, surely planes needed to go faster than that to stay aloft?! Scott reassured me that was indeed all the airspeed that we needed. We headed east around the island. We flew past Waikiki and the Diamond Head Crater. It was the most amazing feeling in the world and it felt incredibly natural to control the plane. For the first time in my life I felt how solid air could actually be.
We decided to fly counter-clockwise around the island. The view from the Cessna was incredible; you get a perspective of the land, like none other. The weather was good and we were able to stay below all the clouds. When we flew by the Kaneohe Marine Corp Base we had a C-17 pass about 1000 feet underneath us on its way in to land. We also encountered several coast guard helicopters also cruising around the coastline. The radio calls that Scott were making sounded like gibberish to me, but I didn’t care. For the first time in my life I was controlling an aircraft and I felt at home. The flight took about an hour and we came back and landed on 4L. This flight got me truly interested in aviation and I never looked back.
More Photos from first flight: Aviation Galleries
How was your first flight experience? Please Comment Below
We are in a very exciting and turbulent time in the world of aviation. Sequestration and furloughs are hurting the industry, while new amazing materials and innovations are fueling it. Soon we will be flying in patterns with pilot-less planes. Boeing and Airbus have both created the new generation of commercial aircraft. Alternative forms of energy are being used to power flight. We are living through a new aviation revolution
Mostly carbon planes are starting to take to the skies. The Boeing 787, which just came back into service after a long and costly battery issue, and Airbus test flew its A350XWB this last Friday, June 14. Glass cockpits are replacing steam gauges in almost all new aircraft, in fact, many companies such as Cessna, only build their planes with glass cockpits. Solar and human powered flight is becoming a reality. The Solar Impulse is making progress as it makes it way across the country using only solar power. Not all the changes are good however. The sequestration has put a massive strain on our ATC network and furloughs still plague many professional pilots.
All this change is inevitable and should be embraced rather than scowled upon. All this technologies are making aviation safer and more efficient. Someday VORs will go the way of NBDs and be phased out for GPS intersections. Glass cockpits are becoming the new standard in all planes, from GA to commercial planes. Today’s pilots have more information available to them on the PFD and MFD than ever before, increasing their situational awareness. Pilots need to know and stay up to date with this new information. Being a pilot is a never-ending learning process. The future of aviation is bright and will continue to flourish for the many years to come.