It's known that at least two photographs were taken purporting to show an object in the sky at the time of the 747 explosion. One photo, held by the FBI and never released, is described by the lady who took the picture as showing a sguiggly white trail rising from the water and moving upward, a description that fits a missile.

As for the photograph that did make it to the press, it is reproduced below under "fair use" for educational purposes.

The "raw" photo. This is the full frame of the Kabot photo. In this low res version, the artifact is not perceptible.

This is a video frame grab of the enlargement of the photo shown over television.

As seen in Paris Match. Note the slight bend in the object.

As seen in Ian Goddard's TWA Page.

It has been proposed by Ian Goddard that the object in the photograph is a cruise missile, the intended target of the missile which mistakenly locked onto the 747. Ian built the above graphic from a scan sent to him by Tom Shoemaker.

As seen in Tom Shoemaker's TWA Page.

General Observations

The bright plume argues against an air breathing engine which excludes all cruise missiles and air breathing drones that simulate cruise missiles.

Cruise missiles also have an air ram scoop on the belly, which is missing from the Kabot photo.

If the object in the Kabot photo is a real object in the sky, the lack of the scoop and the bright plume argue that it is a rocket propelled missile, such as the Sea Sparrow.

It is far from certain just what the object in the Kabot photo really is.

Based on the sky gradations, the view is slightly east of North.

A Likely Target Drone


 Top Speed:  540 kts
 Max Endurance:  65 min
 Range:  200 nm (ITCS)
 Range:  100 nm (VEGA)
 Min Alt:  15 ft (MSL)
 Max Alt:  40,000 ft (MSL)
 Length:  12 ft


 The team is located in the PDC Building in Hawthorne. The BQM-74E is 
 a jet-powered, unmanned, aerial training target which is used by the 
 Navy to simulate threat aircraft and cruise missiles for gunnery and 
 missile training exercises. It is recoverable and reusable for training
 purposes, as well as for test and evaluation of weapon systems such 
 as the Stinger, Sidewinder, Sparrow, and other standard missiles. 
 The international version, called the Chukar III, is used by France, 
 Japan, Taiwan, India, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. 

A reference: HTTP://

 U.S. Department of the Navy, 1990. Controller's Manual 
 Organizational, Target Drone, Navy Model BQM-74E, Naval 
 Air Systems Command, Technical Manual NAVAIR 01-BQM74E-1, June. 

The Target Drone In The misdirected FAX

Fax Gives Glimpse of Crash Investigation
By W. Michael Pitcher

        Official documents faxed mistakenly to a Riverhead resident recently
show that the Federal Bureau of Investigation two months ago was
investigating whether pieces of debris found among the wreckage of TWA
Fight 800 were the remnants of an aerial target drone used by the U.S.
Navy and other armed services training exercises. The FBI apparently
has since determined that the wreckage was not from the aerial target.

        The information came to light after a fax meant for the FBI's facility
in Calverton was sent to Riverhead resident Dede Muma, who forwarded a
copy of the fax to this newspaper. 

        The Calverton FBI facility was established to investigate the July 17,
1996 crash of the Boeing 747 off Moriches Inlet that killed all 230
people on board.

        The fax was meant to be sent from an employee at Teledyne Ryan
Aeronautical to his superior, who was on assignment at the Calverton
FBI facility. The fax shows a diagram of what appears to be a missile,
along with a breakdown of its tail section and a parts list. The fax was
sent by Teledyne employee Erich Hittinger to Walt Hamilton of Teledyne,
via FBI agent Ken Maxwell. Teledyne is based in San Diego and, among
other things, manufactures armaments.

        The object shown in the fax was identified this week by Jane's
Information Services in Alexandria, Virginia as a Teledyne Ryan BQM-34
Firebee I, an air or surface-launched recoverable aerial target. The
Firebee has a wing span of 13 feet, and is approximately 23 feet long.
It can travel at speeds up to 635 knots with a maximum range of just
under 700 miles.

        The targets are used all over the world, including within the military
"warning areas" that come as close as about 10 nautical miles off
Moriches Inlet in the Atlantic Ocean. The Navy practices shooting down
drones within the warning areas.

        Theories that a missile downed TWA Flight 800 began immediately after
the crash when many witnesses reported seeing a streak of light arcing
up toward the plane before it exploded. One theory, popular on the
Internet, is that U.S. Navy forces were conducting exercises south of
Long Island the night of the crash and sent one or more targets--like
the Firebee--aloft. The theory proposes that a missile fired at that
target from either a plane or submarine instead locked on to the TWA 747
and brought  plan down.

        The FBI has publicly dismissed Mr. Salinger's theory, but says it
continues to investigate all possibilities and has not singled out any
cause--missile, bomb or mechanical failure--as the cause of the crash.

        FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette refused to comment on the recent
Teledyne Fax and any other aspect of the agency's investigation when
contacted on Wednesday.

        Former press secretary to President John F. Kennedy Pierre Salanger
created an uproar this year when he announced that he had proof Flight
800 was downed by an errant missile that came from inside one of the
warning areas.

        Mr. Hittinger said this week that the FBI had contacted Teledyne Ryan
because FBI investigators suspected that orange pieces of debris found
among the TWA Flight 800 wreckage might be parts of a Firebee. The
Firebee is "95 percent" international orange in color, he said.

        Mr. Hittinger said Mr. Hamilton flew to the Calverton FBI facility and
examined the debris. Mr. Hittinger sent the fax to Mr. Hamilton to aid
him in his examination of the debris.

        "He (Mr. Hamilton) said it wasn't from our Firebee," said Mr. Hittinger
. "It was all put to bed some time ago." Mr. Hamilton was on vacation
until July 28 and was unavailable for comment.

        Ms. Muma received the fax from the FBI on May 13. She received another
fax meant for the FBI's Calverton office July 10. That fax was
apparently a background check on a potential federal appointee.

        The problem is a simple matter of numbers--Ms. Muma's fax number is 369
-4310 and the FBI's fax number is 369-4301.

        Ms. Muma said she called the FBI when she received the first fax. She
said the agency's initial reaction was "Oh, s---."

        After the initial shock wore off, Ms. Muma was told to "send it along
to them, and destroy the original." She said she asked what would happen
if she didn't do so, and was told "we'll have o investigate you."

        Unfazed by the threat of investigation, "I told them its D-E-E M-U-M-A
, Roanoke Avenue, Riverhead, the farm with the buffalo," said Ms. Muma.
She is married to Riverhead farmer and real estate entrepreneur Ed
Tuccio, who has about 15 buffalo at his Roanoke Avenue farm.

        Ms. Muma was surprised to receive the missile information over her fax,
but she said she just figured the FBI was covering all the bases in its
investigation of the TWA Flight 800 crash. She said it was probably just
"due diligence" in checking out every possibility that prompted the FBI
to get the information from Teledyne-Ryan.

        When the second fax arrived, Ms. Muma called the FBI again. This time,
she said, the reaction was a pained groan. The error on the first fax
was made by someone at Teledyne-Ryan, but the error on the second was
made by the FBI--the second fax was sent from Special Agent (S.A.) Matt
Womble to SA Paul Raimondi. 

        The second fax is designated "confidential" and is apparently a
background check on a potential appointee. The "appointee" is never
named, but he is reputed to have an unimpeachable reputation and be well
qualified "for a position of trust and confidence with the U.S.

        Among other things, the memo says that the appointee "can maintain
confidences and secrets and exert appropriate discretion."

        "Unlike the FBI," opined Ms. Muma.
        The opinions on the unnamed appointee came from one Walter Lewis of
Dillon Reid and Company on Madison Avenue in New York City, an
investment banking firm. Mr. Lewis's secretary said he would have no
comment on the matter.

        Before sending the second fax to the FBI's real fax number, Ms. Muma
scribbled "From your branch office in Riverhead" across the top of it.

        Ms. Muma said she felt free to talk about the misdirected fax because
"its not a matter of national security." If it was, she said, "I'd die
with that."

        Ms. Muma waits expectantly for her next fax message from the FBI. "I've
started the J. Edgar Hover Memorial Library," Ms. Muma joked.

C 1997 Southampton Press Publishing Co., Inc.

Date on the Firebee

"In the mid-1960s, capitalizing on the proven design of their subsonic Firebee 1 remotely piloted vehicle (RPV), Ryan developed a supersonic version with which the Navy and Air Force could train and test new weapon systems. The Air Force ordered 99 BQM-34Fs and, by February 1974, had started using them. The BQM-34F was rocket-boosted from a short rail ground launcher or dropped from a DC-130 or -E aircraft modified to carry up to four RPVs. They were normally recovered with the Mid-Air Retrieval System (MARS), which included a specially equipped helicopter that "snatched" the target while it descended under its 80 ft. diameter parachute. If the BQM-34 landed in water, it could float for several hours until it was recovered. The BQM-34F carried an assortment of electronic devices to enhance its radar image, permit flying as low as 50 feet, control it from up to 200 miles away, "score" the missiles fired at it, and telemeter information to and from it during flight. The Firebee on display, 69-3374 was retired from active service with the 6514th Test Squadron, Hill AFB, Utah, in August 1978. SPECIFICATIONS... Span: 9 ft. 8 in.... Length: 29 ft. 2 in.... Height: 5 ft. 7 in.... Weight: 2,460 lbs. maximum ...Armament: None ...Engine: Continental YJ69-406 turbojet with 1,920 lbs. thrust ...PERFORMANCE ...Maximum speed: Mach 1.5 dash (for 4 minutes at 60,000 feet) ...Endurance: 73 minutes" ...(source: United States Air Force Museum)

Readers who have photos of the events surrounding the destruction of flight 800 are asked to email them to

Some Real Cruise Missiles

Click for full size image (32.7K)

The above photograph is of a sub-launch cruise missile photographed through the periscope of the launching submarine. Not the absence of a visible plume. This is consistent with cruise missile engines, which are non-afterburning turbofans which trade speed for endurance. Like passenger jet engines, they show no glowing plume; fuel burning outside the engine is fuel wasted.

During the boost phase, cruise missiles do show a visible bright plume from the solid rocket motor used to take them to the speed and altitude where the turbofan engine starts its operation. Once at altitude, the booster rocket is jettisoned. Note the ratio of the plume size to the cruise missile itself, and note the extreme amount of smoke produced.

Some Real OLD Cruise Missiles

The Regulus 1.

The German V-1 or Buzzbomb.

Is this a photo of the missile?

The above is the photo taken by Heidi Krieger on her boat on the night of the crash of TWA 800. Here follows the news account from Newsday.

   "I think its a missile or friendly fire or something like that," said
   Heidi Krieger, 27, a Middle Island realtor, who said she is leaning
   toward friendly fire because there have been no claims of
   responsibility from terrorists.
   Krieger thinks she has first-hand evidence. She was out on her boat in
   the Great South Bay snapping pictures of her father, on his boat, with
   a disposable camera on July 17, and caught the image of a squiggly
   white line in the background of one photo. The FBI was so interested
   they took her negatives but never called back to say what they

The FBI insists that Heidi Krieger's photo is merely debris on the film at the moment the photo was taken. But if you think about it carefully, you will realize that debris onn the film inside the camera will leave a BLACK shadow on the final print, not a white shadow, as Kreiger's photo shows.

The above is a photo of a known missile contrail.

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