“Hours after the crash the Islamic Jihad – a Shiite Muslim extremist group – claimed it destroyed the plane to prove [its] ability to strike at the Americans anywhere.”
UPI — Anonymous caller to a French news agency in Beirut
“An in-flight fire that may have resulted from detonations of undetermined origin brought about catastrophic system failures.”
Four (of nine) members of the CASB dissenting Opinion
“Governments lie. They do it all the time. And, much as we’d like to believe otherwise, the US government is no exception. There were times when we may have believed otherwise. But after Vietnam and Watergate, we know better.”
Ted Koppel — “The USS Vincennes: Public War, Secret War.” (July 1, 1992)
On the morning of December 12 1985, shortly after takeoff from Gander en route to Fort Campbell, Arrow aircraft 1285 crashed, and burned about half a mile from the runway, killing all 248 passengers and 8 crew members on board. Investigators blamed icing. But many experts think otherwise. Was it really an accident? Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
December 12 1985 — Arrow Air Flight 1285
Arrow Air Flight 1285 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 jetliner that operated as an international charter flight carrying U.S. troops from Cairo, Egypt, to their home base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, via Cologne, West Germany and Gander, Canada.
On the morning of Thursday, 12 December 1985, shortly after takeoff from Gander en route to Fort Campbell, the aircraft stalled, crashed, and burned about half a mile from the runway, killing all 248 passengers and 8 crew members on board.
The Canadian Aviation Safety Board Investigation
The accident was investigated by the Canadian Aviation Safety Board (CASB), which determined the probable cause of the crash was the aircraft’s unexpectedly high drag and reduced lift condition, most likely due to ice contamination on the wings’ leading edges and upper surfaces, as well as underestimated onboard weight. [Wikipedia]
Four (of nine) members of the CASB dissented, issuing a minority opinion asserting that there was no evidence presented proving that ice had been present on leading edges such as the wings.
The minority report speculated that: “An in-flight fire that may have resulted from detonations of undetermined origin brought about catastrophic system failures.”
The Expert : Les Filotas
Icing of the plane was listed as the official cause of the crash, but some members of the Canadian investigative team issued their own minority report, accusing officials of withholding critical evidence and covering up evidence of an on-board explosion – with possible ties to Iran-Contra.
30 years anniversary (December 2015) — Les Filotas, an aeronautical engineer with the CASB, was one of four who filed a minority report on the crash.
He later wrote Improbable Cause, a book which suggests other causes — particularly an explosion — may have been the real reason why the plane went down.
Filotas believes that the crash pattern was not indicative of a plane that had lost altitude because of icing.
“Looking at the report, I did a few calculations and verified that there’s something wrong here. The acceleration is something like 30 knots in seven seconds, that’s something equivalent to turning all the engines off.”
Filotas isn’t alone in his skepticism. [See the 20/20 documentary below.]
President Reagan’s Remarks at a Service in Fort Campbell, Kentucky
President Reagan’s Remarks at a Service in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, for the Members of the 101st Airborne Division who died in the Airplane crash in Gander, Newfoundland on December 16, 1985.
NOTE: I remember reading that president Reagan wrote a cryptic comment in hs diary on the evening of the tragedy. But I was not able to find that quote. It was something like: “This event is a reminder of the high price we pay for our presence in the Middle East.”
(If you know the exact quote, please let us know.)
Arrow Air Fight 1285: Unanswered Questions
To mark the 30th anniversary, ‘Arrow Air Flight 1285: Unanswered Questions’ aired on CBC’s The National.
Arrow Air DC-8 Crash in Gander Newfoundland — 20/20
Improbable Cause: Deceit and dissent in the investigation of America’s worst military air disaster by Les Filotas
“At least 248 American troops didn’t make it home for Christmas when the Arrow Air charter flight bringing them home from peacekeeping duties in the Sinai blew up after refueling at Gander, Newfoundland on December 12, 1985 – the worst peacetime military disaster in U.S. history.
The Canadian investigators ignored the Islamic Jihad’s claim of terrorist action and suppressed evidence of an in-flight explosion. A slim majority of the investigative board blamed the crash on the crew’s inattention to a thin layer of ice on the DC-8’s wings.
The board disintegrated in controversy after a review by a former supreme court justice roundly rejected the ice theory. Les Filotas, one of the minority who disputed the ice theory, gives a fully-documented insider’s account of the infamous investigation – and of the collapse of a long historical struggle to rid the investigation of aviation accidents of bureaucratic and political entanglements.”
Suspicious Aviation Tragedies: December 12 1985 — Arrow Air Flight 1285
On This Day — Remembering Arrow Air Flight 1285 (December 12 1985)