NTSB On UFO Midair, Or Wake Turbulence, Or...?

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The NTSB on Tuesday updated its report on a Cessna Cargomaster that crashed in an Alabama swamp on an October night in 2002, killing the sole occupant, an ATP-rated pilot with more than 4,500 hours total time and 838 time-in-type. Shortly before the accident, the pilot was advised of traffic -- a DC-10 at one o'clock and two miles. The pilot responded he was still in IMC. Soon after, the pilot added, "Roger I got him above me right now." Sixteen seconds later came the pilot's final recorded words, "I needed to deviate, I needed to deviate, I needed to deviate, I needed," and the transmission ended, according to the NTSB's report. Thirty-four mysterious red marks were found on different parts of the aircraft's wreckage, which was strewn over a 600-foot area. Those marks and wreckage area inspired speculation that the crash was the result of an in-flight collision with an unidentified object. So far, the NTSB disagrees. [more]

The NTSB says its further investigations have "revealed no evidence of an in-flight collision or breakup, or of external contact by a foreign object." The FBI and an independent lab matched 21 of the 34 marks with known materials, some of which had been carried in the aircraft. The report states, "Radar data indicated that the DC-10 was in front of the accident airplane at the time of the pilot's last transmission and that the airplanes' flight paths did not intersect." Further, "the horizontal distance between the two airplanes was about 1.1 nautical miles, and the vertical distance between the two airplanes was about 1,600 feet." There is no mention in the report of wake turbulence. A lawyer representing the pilot's two sons told The Washington Post he is not satisfied with the NTSB's conclusions. "I don't think the board's got it straight," Tony B. Jobe said. "The plot is thickening." The NTSB report says that an analysis of ATC tapes of the pilot's final transmissions revealed no loud impact sounds. Analysis of the red marks showed they were not consistent with material used in military drones. We have a feeling the results won't convince the conspiracy theorists out there.