What Missiles?

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Three commercial pilots who reported seeing at least one missile in the air while flying over the same New York airspace where TWA Flight 800 exploded have the FAA on rumor control all over again. Pilots of Northwest, Delta, and USAirways flights heading westward over New York City toward Philadelphia on March 21 all reported what they though were possible missile sightings. What the pilots may have seen were two D-5 Trident missiles fired at that time by the submarine USS West Virginia off the coast of Florida, says the FAA. Because the night was very clear, the missiles, fired eastward over the Atlantic toward the Azores, could have been visible from afar, says the Navy. But Navy Captain Michael Doubleday doubted that the test could explain the pilots' sightings. "It stretches the imagination that anybody could see 1,900 to 2,000 miles, no matter what altitude they are flying at," he said. The fact that the planes and the missiles were headed in different directions would make it even more improbable, he added. Missile theorists, collect your notes: a public hearing will be held on the Flight 800 disaster in late summer.