Re: TWA flight 800 and the missile theory

From:         Scott & Cynthia Sullivan <>
Organization: Netcom
Date:         29 Jul 96 02:29:33 
References:   1 2
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Karl Swartz wrote:
> A popular theory for the crash of TWA flight 800 seems to be that it
> was shot down using a missile (a Stinger?) from a hand-held launcher,
> either launched from short (allegedly out of range) or from a boat.

> ...  I'm skeptical,
> though I'm willing to consider a solid argument that even a small
> missile could indeed have produced the observed result.

I agree with Karl.  I am in the air force, and while not an expert on
SAM's or their capabilities, I do have some education on the subject.  It
seems to be unlikely a hand held missile could cause the amount of damage
indicated in this incident.  My understanding is that such missiles have
a warhead of only a few pounds, and limited lethal ranges (about 2-3
miles).  Flight 800 was 2+ miles high at the time.

If it had been a missile, I think a radio call would have occured, and
the plane would not have broken up completely as is the case.

Scott Sullivan