Rubber-Stamping Flight 800

The Crash Investigation Lands, and the Controversy Soars

Jerry Rekart, a clearly unhappy ALPA chief investigator and a TWA pilot, told the Voice he is still frustrated at the NTSB's failure to publish any details of its sound spectrum analysis, as it is called. A Sound Spectrum Group met once, before Bruntingthorpe, but never since, he said, despite repeated requests from ALPA. The data recorded at Bruntingthorpe was sent to Southampton, the ALPA submission says, but "the Sound Spectrum group has never been briefed regarding the analysis of the data completed by the University of Southampton, nor has the group met to finalize any type of report of its activities in relation to the investigation of TWA 800."

But at last month's board meeting James Cash, the NTSB engineer responsible for that analysis, strove to give the impression that no questions remain about the CVR sound. "We did all we could to glean whatever we could get out of the cockpit voice recorder," he said. Responding to Cash, board member John J. Goglia added, "Every single thought that every single person has on our teams gets explored. We don't overlook anything. I visited you in your lab, and never once did I leave with the impression you haven't turned over every stone."

Not everyone shares Goglia's rosy view of the NTSB's investigation to determine the cause of the crash. Michel Breistroff, whose son was killed on Flight 800, might have been speaking for them all when he said, "What I need is that someone from the team will tell me, 'That's the wire [which caused the explosion].'

"We the families are not technical," he told the Voice. "We need true evidence, not only words."

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