Lockerbie — Why I ruled out the bomb theory [Technical Analysis of the Debris Lines]

“I tend to the view that the disaster is due to mechanical failure. Although I keep an open mind, I have great doubts about the bomb theory.”

William Trench — Chief inspector of Air Accidents from 1974 to 1981 (December 27 1988)

No sound of an explosion is recorded. Only the sound of the break-up of the plane is recorded at a time perfectly consistent with the first (southern) debris line. Many seconds BEFORE the break-up of Pan Am 103, an unexplained Radar Return (black square) was recorded by TWO radar stations. And you can guess where it may have landed.

July 06 2021 — As I explained, there is ZERO evidence of a bomb having caused the tragedy of Pan Am 103. I have summarized all my research on this subject in a single graphic. I would argue that anyone who understands these data does not need to wait until at least 2026, and possibly much longer, to determine the real cause of the tragedy. It is plain obvious! Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

RELATED POST: LOCKERBIE 30th Anniversary — PT/35(b) : An Overview of the Lockerbie Case

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

QUICK NOTES — To make it easier for the readers to retrieve various chapters of my book, I have created a special page  “Lockerbie” where all the links to the chapters will be listed with a brief description. You can access that page directly as it appears at the far right of the top bar of this blog.

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

“This verdict is based on a fictional story. Any similarity with real events or characters is purely coincidental.”

Lockerbie – Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!

This post is a bit long but not very difficult to read. Be patient and take it one step at a time. That is all it takes to get you to the conclusion. Enjoy!

Using the National Grid

Great Britain is covered by grid squares measuring 100 kilometres across and each grid square is identified by two letters, as shown in this diagram.

On Ordnance Survey [OS] maps, these squares are further divided into smaller squares by grid lines representing 10 kilometre spacing, each numbered from 0 to 9 from the south west corner, in an easterly (left to right) and northerly (upwards) direction.

Here are the location of three area which I will discuss in this post. All are located in the NY square.

Lockerbie: NY 136814

Waterbeck: NY 248776

Torbeckhill: NY 249777

Last Normal Radar Returns

The path of Flight Pan Am 103 was tracked by several radar stations. For this analysis, I will use the data from the Great Dun Fell Radar which has a rotational speed of about 8 seconds.

At the time of the tragedy, the plane was cruising at a speed of about 434 kts. 1 kts is equal to 1.852 km/h, or 0.223 km /sec. Thus the plane travels about 1.8 km in between two radar returns.

The last ‘normal’ return occurred at position A [NY 153 777] at a time estimated to be 19h 02m 46.9 s.

The Debris Lines

A strong westerly wind (260°, 115 knot) spread the debris over two trails, know as the northern and the southern trails.

The northern trail was created by debris released from the back of the aircraft in a vertical dive between 19,00 and 9,000 feet overhead Lockerbie.

The southern trail was created by debris released during the initial disintegration of the aircraft at cruising altitude.

High density items only drifted a small distance downwind while low density debris drifted much farther to the East of the flight track.

A single loud sound

The analysis of the loud sound recorded at the end of the tape has never been clearly explained.

Not surprisingly, this information is greatly misunderstood, including by the FBI top experts.

After the TWA 800 black box was recovered, the American investigators concluded that the sharp noise at the end of the tape was clear evidence of a bomb explosion.

“Sound spectrum analysis of cockpit voice recorders has proved to be one of the most effective means for spotting and describing explosive damage.

The Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie left such a detailed explosive signature that the recording alone was evidence of a bomb.” [Washington Post]

Assistant FBI Director James K. Kallstrom claimed that the sounds recorded on TWA 800 and Pan 103 tapes were exactly identical.

That statement became a bit of an issue when the FBI had to admit that there had been no bomb aboard TWA 800.

In truth, the sound recorded on the PA 103 tape is clearly produced by the destruction of the plane. It is not the sound of an explosion. Allow me to explain how we know that.

A loud noise was recorded at 19h 02m 50 s. [Uncertainty +/- 1 second] This is 3.1 second after the last normal radar return.

Knowing the speed of the aircraft and its trajectory, we can calculate the position of PA 103 at this instant. The result is point B, located at OS Grid Reference 148.2-782.6.

Before we can reach a conclusion, we have to locate the position of the plane at the time it disintegrated.

As explained above, this point will be at the intersection of the aircraft track and the southern debris line.

But before doing this, let us watch an animation of the plane destruction.

Lockerbie – Airplane disruption animation

This airplane destruction was animated by Till Nowak in October 2008 for the TV documentary “History – Das Lockerbie Attentat”, a film produced by ZDF.

If the plane had disintegrated according to the sequence of events displayed in this animation, the debris lines would appear as this:

Both the northern and southern debris lines run parallel along the direction of the strong wind (255°).

Moreover, the southern line intercepts the aircraft track (Point C) a few seconds after the sound of the bomb explosion (Point B). [In this figure, I located point C about 3 seconds after point B]

Break-up point & Time sequence [Intel Today Analysis]

Let us now do the inverse problem. We know the location of the debris. What can we say about the location of Pont C?

The best fit of the southern debris intercepts the aircraft track at Point C which coincides with Point B.

In other words, the final loud sound recorded at the end of the PA 103 tape was caused by the disintegration of the plane. No sound of an explosion was recorded.

When it became abundantly obvious that the FBI had tried to fabricate a case of terrorism to explain the tragedy of TWA 800, the Lockerbie investigators suddenly felt the urge to explain that no sound of an explosion had been recorded in the case of PA 103.

This raise an obvious question. Why did they not say so right from the beginning? Why did they wait almost one decade to tell this simple but highly important fact?

A very suspicious AAIB Report

The AAIB makes several statements regarding the loud sound recorded at the end of the tape.

“Point C was well within the circle of accuracy of the position at which the loud noise was heard on the CVR (Point B). There can, therefore, be no doubt that the loud noise on the CVR was directly associated with the detonation of the IED and this explosion initiated the disintegration process and directly caused the loss of the aircraft.” [p 41]

How can they possibly justify such statement?

The AAIB inspectors fitted the southern debris with a line tilted relatively to the direction of the wind.

This is of course absurd. But, by doing so, they managed to create a small gap between points B and C, and thus they kept the “bomb sound” theory alive.

And yet, in the conclusion, they write:

“It is not clear if the sound at the end of the recording is the result of the explosion or is from the break-up of the aircraft structure. The short period between the beginning of the event and the loss of electrical power supply suggests that the latter is more likely to be the case.”

That is quite a complicate way to say there no explosion sound was recorded…

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. The reader will decide. But I will offer a clue.

Last year, while writing a summary of my research, I came across this plot which is signed by an AAIB inspector. (The document is dated 17 05 1989.)

Obviously, this person knew how to do the work properly. And in case you wonder, the answer is identical to the one I have obtained above.

Indeed, points B and C coincide. There is just a single loud sound which correspond to the disintegration of the plane. There is no bomb sound.

“The first piece off the aircraft indicates where the accident occurred.”

Peter Goelz — Former Managing Director of the NTSB (Feb. 2021)

Suspicious Radar Return

Did you know that Pan Am 103 lost its first piece several seconds before the alleged bomb destroyed the airliner over Lockerbie?

“There was a single primary return received (…) 16 seconds before SSR returns were lost. […] No explanation can be offered for its presence.” [AAIB]

The ‘mysterious’ radar return is displayed as a green square in the following graphic.

Is this signal real, or is it some ghost created by some electronic glitch? Without a doubt, this signal is very real.

First, the investigators watched the recording for one hour both before and after this return for any signs of other spurious returns. None was found.

Second, this event was also recorded by another radar station — Claxby — at the same time and location.

Is this relevant to the tragedy? Well, what do you think…. There is an unexplained radar return just a few second before the disintegration of the plane. Is it just a coincidence?

And yet, this event was quietly brushed under the carpet by the AAIB investigators…

“On the night of the disaster teams of rescue volunteers scouring the area discovered a large object under a red tarpaulin. As they approached it, they were warned off by gunmen in the doorway of a hovering helicopter. A local farmer, Innes Graham, was also warned by US investigators to stay away from a small wooded area a few miles east of Lockerbie.”

R is for red tarpaulin — Lockerbie conspiracies from A to Z — Paul Foot and John Ashton

The 2 No-Go Zones

The first 24 hours are always the most critical for any major investigation. And yet, to this day, we do not really know what went on in the fields of Lockerbie during these critical hours.

But I can tell you that the authorities quickly sealed off two areas for reasons that have never been revealed to the public.

Area #1 — The first no-go area is located a few miles east of Lockerbie at position 293 817.

A large object — the size of a small car — was concealed under a red tarpaulin. Overnight, it was removed from the field by a mechanical digger and taken away on a low loader. Never to be seen again.

There is simply no way of knowing what happened there. Over the years, most experts have speculated that this area was probably sealed off to recover items belonging to a CIA crew travelling aboard Pan Am 103.

RELATED POST: On This Day — USMC Col. William R. Higgins Is Abducted in Lebanon (February 17 1988) [2021 UPDATE — The Lockerbie X FILE]

We know that the Joint Intelligence Group [JIG] created a dossier — known as File X — that deals with this aspect of the story.

Three decades later, File X has yet to be declassified and … The truth is still out there.

What do I think? In my opinion, File X contains no information directly relevant to the destruction of Pan Am 103.

Moreover, I know this much for certain. Whatever was removed — from this no-go area #1 — fell on the southern line.

Area #2 — The second no-go area is — in my opinion — far more interesting. Allow me to explain.

In the first book about Lockerbie, David Johnson wrote that several pieces of the plane were recovered on the farm lands of Chris Graham. A specific location — Torbeckhill — was declared a no-go area. 

Lockerbie investigator John Ashton sent me a document ( 77 pages) of plane debris locations prepared by the defence team. Not a single item in that document is recorded anywhere near this area.

So we know that pieces of the aircraft were recovered well below the southern line. These pieces would be compatible with the ‘mysterious’ radar return recorded 16 seconds before the destruction of Pan Am 103.

And yet, the AAIB report does not say a word about these pieces of the aircraft that fell near Torbeckhill?!?. Amazing…

“Your government and ours know exactly what happened but they are never going to tell.”

US President’s Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism (London, February 12 1990)

Why the secrecy?

On July 24 2018, the UK National Archives released files from the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet Office predominantly covering the year of 1993. A Lockerbie file dated 1992-93 was however withheld.

Two years before, on November 2 2016, the UK Government [Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)] decided to withhold all Lockerbie air accident investigation reports [dating from 1990 Jan 01 to 1992 Dec 31] until at least 2026, and possibly indefinitely.

Why on earth?

Why on earth would the UK Government decide to withhold these technical reports if they did not reveal foul play or gross incompetence?

If ever released, these reports will show that the AAIB investigators knew all along that there was no bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, and that they knew the real cause of the tragedy long before the crash even happened.

“The truth must be known.”

Motto of the Pan Am 103 passengers’ families


“The first piece off the aircraft indicates where the accident occurred.” And yet, the AAIB investigators made not attempt to identify this piece and where it landed.

The tale-telling radar return recorded a few seconds before the destruction of the plane was quietly ignored.

The AAIB report makes no mention of the pieces of the aircraft that fell near Torbeckhill, despite the fact that are are necessarily the first that detached from the aircraft.

The analysis of the southern debris line was clearly fudged to allow the possibility of a bomb theory.

All Lockerbie air accident investigation reports [dating from 1990 Jan 01 to 1992 Dec 31] have been classified. When the 30 years period approached, these documents were re-classified until at least 2026, and possibly indefinitely. Why on earth? What do you think they are hiding?

On top of that, as I have explained in my book, there is ZERO evidence of SEMTEX and it is abundantly clear that the evidence of the IED timer has been fabricated.

Therefore, I have come to the only reasonable conclusion compatible with the facts.

Pan Am Flight 103 disintegrated in flight over Lockerbie because of a massive structural failure due to well-known issues of metal fatigue in section 41 and 42 of the Boeing 747 (Series 100 & 200), not because of an explosive device.

The pieces of the aircraft recovered near Torbeckhill almost certainly explained what caused the tragic chain of events.



UK Grid Reference Finder

Convert Latitude, Longitude to UK Grid Reference

Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…! [Chapter X : What Really Happened to Pan Am Flight 103?]


Lockerbie — Why I ruled out the bomb theory [Technical Analysis of the Debris Lines]

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1 Response to Lockerbie — Why I ruled out the bomb theory [Technical Analysis of the Debris Lines]

  1. Allan croft says:

    The first thing to fall from the aircraft was the forward right hand cargo door but in the aaib report it says the right hand nose wheel door came of first then some how reattached it self to section 41 in the field at Tungerharth.


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