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July 13, 2002
NTSB's Implausibility
Submitted by Ian van de Burgt, a Canadian Journalist
Note from the Editor: My deepest sympathies to the families of those who were lost in the mid-air collision crash on July 1st. Neither myself nor Ian wish to add insult to injury. However, given the dismay that we feel in regards to how the NTSB has continued to smear eyewitness credibility, in combination with unsupported speculations on their part, i.e. wake turbulence encounters, Ian's piece is a rather interesting twist with a refreshing bit of logic.

People who question what the NTSB publicly reports about Flight 587 are being called "conspiracy theorists". But let's look at the agency's statements, and apply NTSB reasoning to the recent, mid-air collision of Bashkirian Airlines Tupolev TU-154 and a DHL Aviation Boeing 757 on July 1 over Ueberlingen, Germany. Followed to its logical extreme, the NTSB theory looks like one from a conspiracy quack, and we skeptics provide the infusion of fresh logic.
How do we know that the two planes actually collided in mid air? One central reason is that some witnesses heard an explosion, saw a fireball, or some such thing. Of course, another is that the two planes were at the same altitude and on a collision course.
But if the NTSB is to be believed, then these planes would not have had to collide at all in order to break up in flight. After all, one possibility is that they had a near miss, passed through each other's wake turbulence, which caused important composite material to break off. The pilots, alternatively, might have found the coming, potential collision so frightening that they made rapid, extreme rudder movements that could also have caused the airplanes to disintegrate in the air, so rapidly, in fact, that the pilots would not have had enough time to make a distress call.
As far as the many witness statements are concerned, there appears to be much disagreement among reports about what really happened. Of the witness statements I have read in the news, about 50% heard an explosion, about 25% felt the ground shake. The remainder only saw "something".
By my reckoning, roughly half the witnesses report seeing a fireball or explosion in the air. A small number saw a "glow"; Several described a "bright flash"; I read one account that even described "black rain".
Before the "alleged" mid-air collision, the vast majority of witnesses did not hear any airplanes overhead. Not one person reports having actually seen even one airplane in pre-incident flight.
I think I read somewhere that 50% of the witnesses report seeing something happen to the right. The other 50% saw it happen on the left. (I know, witnesses can be so confused). It was dark, so no one could possibly have seen anything clearly.
We also know, thanks to the NTSB, that movies and TV have distorted people's perceptions of airline disasters, and if they heard or saw an explosion or fire "in the sky"; it may well be that such events actually happened on impact with the ground, and these witnesses projected the "fire" or "explosion" into the air because that is how they are conditioned by the movies.
For all these reasons we should discount what the witnesses have said.
NTSB conclusion: "A preponderance of the evidence to date suggests that wake turbulence and rapid rudder movements of the pilots caused the demise of the two aircraft over Germany on July 1."
If that raises serious issues in your mind, than you are a skeptic, not a conspiracy theorist. If you buy my (satirical) account of the NTSB, then you are a quack.
Ian van de Burgt

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