December 12 2021 — On the morning of December 12 1985, shortly after take-off 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
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UPDATE (December 12 2021) — Thirty-six years later, the cause of the crash of Arrow Air flight 1285 is still disputed.
The nine board members of the Canadian Aviation Safety Board could not agree on the cause.
Five of the board members believed that the rain and freezing temperatures had allowed rough ice to form on the aircraft’s wings.
“The Canadian Aviation Safety Board was unable to determine the exact sequence of events which led to this accident. The Board believes, however, that the weight of evidence supports the conclusion that, shortly after lift-off, the aircraft experienced an increase in drag and reduction in lift which resulted in a stall at low altitude from which recovery was not possible. The most probable cause of the stall was determined to be ice contamination on the leading edge and upper surface of the wing. Other possible factors such as a loss of thrust from the number four engine and inappropriate take-off reference speeds may have compounded the effects of the contamination.”
The other four published a dissenting opinion, arguing that there was no evidence to show that there was ice on the wing and that it was more likely that the aircraft was brought down by an in-flight fire.
“In our judgement, the wings of the Arrow Air DC-8 were not contaminated by ice — certainly not enough for ice contamination to be a factor in this accident. The aircraft’s trajectory and performance differed markedly from that which could plausibly result from ice contamination. The aircraft did not stall. Accordingly, we cannot agree — indeed, we categorically disagree — with the majority findings.
The evidence shows that the Arrow Air DC-8 suffered an on-board fire and a massive loss of power before it crashed. But, we could not establish a direct link between the fire and the loss of power. The fire may have been associated with an in-flight detonation from an explosive or incendiary device. Consequential damage to various systems precipitated the crash.”
The Cockpit Voice Recorder might have easily solved this case. As I explained in a recent post, there is no record of a bomb sound for Air India Flight 182, Pan Am Flight 103, and TWA Flight 800.
RELATED POST: On This Day — Air India Flight 182 Warning Report Is Discredited (December 6 2007)
So, what does the CVR onboard Arrow Air flight 1285 tells us about the cause of the crash? Unfortunately, nothing at all.
The investigators discovered that the CVR had not recorded anything. No one had noticed that it had been out of order for some time… I hate it when that happens!
END of UPDATE
Lockerbie — Three Decades of Lies: J’Accuse…!
QUICK NOTE — 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…!
UPDATE (December 12 2020) — Investigative reporter Don Devereux followed the Gander crash for over 30 years.
Devereux speculated that the interior of the plane was engulfed in flames almost immediately on take-off at Gander, the apparent consequences of two bomb components: one containing an explosive incendiary trigger adjacent to a second holding a napalm-like substance.
The Minerva files — ‘released’ in March 2020 — have one again brought back Devereux’s investigative work to my attention.
RELATED POST: Crypto AG — The Ghost of Danny Casolaro
Here is what I wrote earlier this year about him in the context of the CRYPTO AG Affair.
According to the information released from the Minerva Files, “An NSA employee allegedly told a journalist about his involvement in manipulating the Crypto AG devices. This NSA man and the journalist died the same year from non-natural cause.”
Ask yourself a very simple question. Why have the journalists from SRF, ZDF and the Washington Post refrained from naming the journalist and his source?
Intel Today believes that the two unnamed persons are NSA Alan D. Standorf and US journalist Danny Casolaro.
On August 10, 1991, US journalist Danny Casolaro was found dead in a bathtub in room 517 of the Sheraton Hotel in Martinsburg, West Virginia, his wrists slashed 10–12 times. The medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
The suicide theory was so preposterous that even New York Times reporters and FBI agents had troubles swallowing it.
Emma Best has argued recently that there are over a dozen reasons to doubt the official conclusions. [MUCKROCK : The Danny Casolaro Primer: 13 reasons to doubt the official narrative surrounding his death]
“In short, the investigation was incomplete, with evidence being both withheld and fabricated. The FBI was under pressure to conclude that it was a suicide, but still questioned that. Both the police and the DOJ were uncooperative. Multiple lies were told. The chief suspect lied about his alibi, and ultimately doesn’t have one that holds up. What, exactly, happened to Casolaro is still something of a mystery – but there are over a dozen reasons why the official investigation and the resulting explanation don’t – and can’t – answer the questions around his suicide.”
On January 3 1991, Alan Standorf — a civilian employee of NSA at its Vint Hill, Virginia intercept facility — was found beaten to death in the backseat of his car in the parking lot at Reagan National Airport.
Alan Standorf was allegedly the person who provided Danny Casolaro copies of computer printouts from the PROMIS spying database system. The murder was never solved and the investigators assumed it was a street robbery that went bad. Seriously?
A few days before his death, Danny Casolaro contacted American journalist Don Devereux, who agreed to share with him some information about his own investigation.
By now, you are probably asking yourself: Did Devereux committed suicide? No, but…
On May 14 1990, Doug Johnston (35) was found dead in his car in a parking lot. Suicide was immediately suspected.
And yet, Johnston had been shot behind his left ear from a distance of at least twelve inches. There was no powder residue on his hands, and there was no gun found at the scene.
Devereux believes that the killer had mistaken Johnston for himself.
Devereux lived across the street from the parking lot where Doug was killed and drove a similar car.
Stay tune! Truth never dies.
END of UPDATE
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 take-off 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 on-board 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 his 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.)
UPDATE (December 12 2019) — Many thanks to Les Filotas who sent me the exact words in President Reagan’s diary about the crash: “reminder of the high price we were having to pay for the continuing strife in the Middle East”.
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
UPDATE (December 12 2019) — Robert O’Dowd and Tim King are former US Marines who investigate military history.
Robert O’Dowd has authored: “Treachery: Murder, Cocaine, and the Lucifer Directive” about the flight of Arrow Air 1285.
Earlier this year he penned a story titled: Arrow Air 1285, Murder and the Lucifer Directive — Army Airborne and LAPD Bomb Squad officers murdered to keep the lid shut on the Gander Air Crash.
The article is certainly worth reading in full but a few sentences caught my attention:
In a video report, Juval Aviv, Israeli-American counter-terrorism expert, told Terri Taylor, KDKA-TV, investigative journalist, that U.S. intelligence operatives landed at Gander while the Arrow Air 1285 was refueling.
Four men from the chopper loaded a crate on the plane. Aviv told Taylor that he had witnesses but refused to divulge their names unless compelled to do so.
Don Devereux, retired investigative reporter who followed the Gander crash for over 30 years, speculated that the interior of the plane was engulfed in flames almost immediately on take-off at Gander, the apparent consequences of two bomb components: one containing an explosive incendiary trigger adjacent to a second holding a napalm-like substance.
The remote detonation instantly ignited and spread a deadly conflagration throughout the body of the aircraft. Devereux’s sources suggested that soda cans “placed next to each other among cases of soft drinks” contained the incendiary trigger and napalm.
Small word! Juval Aviv and Don Devereux have played a significant role in the Lockerbie saga.
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Here is what I wrote about Devereux and the infamous MST-13 timer that allegedly triggered the bomb on Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.
“Devereux says that Sherrow told him that while working for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) when asked to identify the timer in the photograph he was certain that he knew the origin.
Rather than implicating the MST-13’s original manufacturer MEBO, Sherrow said a company in Florida made the timer, and made it exclusively for the CIA.
Sherrow allegedly told Devereux, that he brought this information to the attention of senior personnel at the ATF he was reprimanded and immediately removed from active duty and taken off the Lockerbie investigation.” (Cover-up of Convenience. John Ashton, p 269.)
A few years ago, there was some rumors that Steven Spielberg was planning a movie based on Juval Aviv’s Pan Am 103 report.
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Spielberg’s MUNICH is based on the book Vengeance (1984), an account of Operation Wrath of God. The main source of the book is Juval Aviv.
Back to Arrow Air Flight 1285, Tim King has launched a petition to Unseal the Records in America’s Worst Military Aircraft Disaster.
“70% of the soldiers killed in the crash had aspirated smoke, yet no one survived the crash impact, so that means they breathed smoke before dying. Experts scientifically dismiss the US government’s suggestion that soldiers aboard an Arrow Air DC-8 aspirated smoke from the violent crash.
They believe a bomb on the plane was remotely triggered to prevent soldiers on the aircraft from blowing-the-whistle on an illegal covert mission to use a nuclear backpack (nuclear bomb) to destroy an Iraqi Nuclear Weapons Research Facility.
Our elected leaders must insist that we are told the truth, the records must be unsealed. The type of secrecy, when employed by the US government, only breeds more suspicion. More than 250 American families as well as the American public, need to know what happened.to the soldiers aboard the chartered military aircraft, a DC-8 (N950JW).“
About 700 people have already signed up. I encourage you to read the petition.
END of UPDATE
30 years later: Skeptics still question cause of Arrow Air crash — CBC News
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 refuelling 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)
On This Day — Remembering Arrow Air Flight 1285 (December 12 1985) 
35 Years Ago — Remembering Arrow Air Flight 1285 (December 12 1985)
On This Day — Remembering Arrow Air Flight 1285 (December 12 1985) [UPDATE : What does the CVR say?]