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July 12, 2002
Flight 587
An Open Letter to Aviation Week
Brett M. Hoffstadt
Philadelphia, PA
The Wave, a New York publication, published this article yesterday: http://www.rockawave.com/news/2002/0713/Front_Page/A-Witness_Meeting0713.html
Where was Av Week? Why wasn't somebody there from your staff? Will there be any account of this meeting in your publication? If not, why not? Forgive my bluntness, but if you don't see a newsworthy story here, I am shocked. I was at this meeting myself, and can tell you these witness accounts were far too specific, detailed, and consistent to be ignored or discounted. I'd like to ask your New York correspondent to do some basic reporting. (On site, not at a press conference!)
It's one thing for the major media to ignore or bury this story. It's a sad day indeed if the most respected aviation news publication decides the truth, or first-hand accounts, are better left unchecked.
Why were so many witnesses drawn to look at this aircraft because of an *explosive sound*? Why did these same witnesses then see fire, smoke, falling debris, or other unusual events? If you heard the many accounts I did that night, you would have plenty of work to do. I don't know a lot about this incident, and it's a shame I have to travel 150 miles to try and learn about it.
Does your publication have a mission statement? I'd like to know where in that it says you will report and investigate important matters in the aerospace and aviation industry, except when they are politically incorrect. Why bother having a free press if you let our government dictate what the story is, or is not?
If you think you're doing yourselves, our industry, or the citizens of this country any favors, you should have heard from the victims' family members who want answers. You are also losing credibility with more than half the pilot community, who by one pilot's account at the meeting, know you are not doing an honest job. If it was my publication, that would concern me deeply.
I would be honored to reward you with my subscription and advertising dollars if I saw you had the courage and integrity to pursue this story the way it deserves. Indeed, the way you have pursued many stories in the past. I think such a policy would be a huge boost to your business and stature. But until then, I'll continue to spend my own money and time doing the work myself.
Brett M. Hoffstadt

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