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Skid Kid

Joined:
15 Aug 2006
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1947
  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 24 Dec 3:24

I would like to hear your thoughts on PAA 103, being the anniversary a couple days back. For anyone who doesn't know (sorta unlikely), PAA 103 was LHR-JFK 21DEC88 on a B741 N739PA Clipper Maid of the Seas. It was destroyed by a bomb killing all 259 aboard, 11 on the ground in Lockerbie, bringing the total to 270.

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captain bill

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 24 Dec 10:55

It was the Wednesday before Christmas and after work I was out until about 21.00. When I came in my wife told me that an airliner had crashed on the town of Lockerbie about 40 miles from where we lived. The first pictures were coming through on the TV and it was confirmed as being the PA103.

I worked at this time for Emery Worldwide and being office based at this time I knew well the Clipper 103. It was a flight we at Emery used almost exclusivley for freight from the UK into JFK and on that particular day about 90% of the cargo came from Scotland. I did not sleep that night as I was thinking that we might have alowed a piece of cargo to go through that was restricted and this had caused a fire or an explosion.

Early next morning I was in the office when two gentelmen called on us, one from UK Special Branch and the othe was CIA. We had to go through the cargo manifests and check every piece of freight, parcel and paperwork we had submitted for carriage by Pan-Am. It was at this time a third man entered the offic and he was a small untidy person but was one of the most turned on person I have ever known. He was from MOSSAD and was able to tell us things that would come out later in the investigation.

The following day I was in Lockerbie trying to identify pieces of cargo from the manifests from pieces of twisted aeroplane. the scene was - well like something you would see in a film and the atmosphere was somber. This was Christmas Eve.

I was involved for days on this and that is when I went on to train and serve on The International Aviation and Maratime Security Counsil.

Many Countries were mentioned as potential bombers of the PA103 but never Libya and it came as a real surprise to me and others who were involved to hear that it was Libya who had done this cowardly act. I had to sign the Official Secrets Act so much of what I would like to say has to be kept until I am about 95 years of age.

Civil Aviation has never been the same since then and it led to the demise of Pan-Am. Security is much tighter today but I still think it is too tight on unimportant issues and slack on things that need to be tightened up but what do I know.

I go often to Lockerbie to the Memorial at the little country cemetery and look at the names and the ages of so many young people who were murdered by whoever the murdering nation or group was who perpetrated this cowardly act.


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Mabel

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 24 Dec 17:24

I was 14 years old at the time and living just outside Liverpool, and up until that day I had always wanted to be an airline pilot when I grew up. I was on holiday break from school and was spending the night at a mate's house. We were watching telly when the programme cut out and the news feed came in to announce that a jet had crashed into a small town in southern Scotland, only a few hours drive from where I lived. The next morning I read the newspaper, and when I began to gather the details and read about how many innocent people were killed it turned my stomach and began to give me serious doubts about wanting to fly jets for a living when I grew up. My mother was no help...she took the line ''No son of mine will be flying those death traps for a living!'' Lockerbie put an end to my aspirations to be an airline pilot and instead I went on to university and became the corporate hack I am today.

It was Lockerbie and the year I spent on a foreign exchange study in Israel that gave me the distaste for Islam that I still have today. Islam is a religion that is built on cowardice, violence and killing, and promotes murder in the name of Allah and extreme intolerance for anyone who doesn't follow it to the last letter. It goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims do not follow the Koran to the letter and would never, ever kill anyone in the name of jihad, but the minority of Muslims who do believe in jihad are enough to pose a serious, serious threat to the human race, with the animals who blew up PA103 being a perfect example.

As Captain Bill points out, PA103 was one of the first steps that led to an increase in aviation security to the levels that we see today. Unfortunately it took a series of tragic incidents for the rest of the world to realise what Israel had right all along, and we still have a way to go to get the whole concept of aviation security right to protect the good guys and keep out the bad guys.


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PHXflier

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 25 Dec 0:48

I was on PA 103 10 days before... in the eighties there were occasional hijacks, but one was not expecting a plane to be bombed out of the sky. Quite unnerving at the time. The next escalation was Sept 11, 2001. Hope there will not be yet a higher level of all-out terrorism. I am not sure that the current level of freight inspection is quite up to par, though.


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Skid Kid

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 25 Dec 6:19

Thank you all for your comments. This is just what I was lookiing for.


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captain bill

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 25 Dec 14:29

PHXflier you are right about security freight inspection. There was a system where every dock area had to be checked in every factory and if it did not comply with the system a surcharge was put on that piece of cargo and that money went to the Freight Forwarder to check it out before it was delivered to the airline for shipping. The large corporations could not nor would not spend the money to put proper in house security in place and they expected due to the amout of cargo given to the Forwarder or airline for them to do it for nothing. The Forwarders reduced their charges to please the shippers but due to the low amount of revenue received could not scan or even inspect every piece of cargo so the system failed. All cargo should be scanned but well that is another story for another day.


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FLX

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 26 Dec 10:36

captain bill:
So wonderful to hear your 1st-hand insight+experience in such great details re the early investigation of the PA103 incident. It's a rare opportunity on a non-professional aviation forum to hear fm someone explaining this type of event in a 1st person point-of-view and whom has been directly involved. U simply can't get similar sensations/impacts re the PA103 story fm watching programs on NatGeo or Discovery channel.

Thx sharing such a wonderful story...no doubt a great Christmas gift for me.


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captain bill

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 26 Dec 12:56

One or two things that come to mind since my first post are ;

A Table Top Metal Grinder from Giddings and Lewis Fraser Tool Company weighing 7000 kgs that was in a large crate was never found but a small 5 kg package from NCR was found intact. The Grinder could be anywhere in the hills and Lochs / Lakes of the Border area between Scotland and England.

There were rows of seats sitting on the ground and from a distance it looked like three or sometimes four people were just sitting there waiting for someone to come and get them out of their seats and take them to Hospital but when you got up to them the sight was horrific. Limbs missing, no face, the back of heads missing, internal organs on display and so on. This brings home to you the horror of what a little bomb planted by evil people can do to fellow humans in the cause of what the terrorist calls JUSTICE.

I think this is why I wanted to go into the security side of the business, to try and prevent another Lockerbie. I felt it was better to prevent than to retalliate but at the same time make sure Terrorists were brought to justice.

I know Mabel and I go on a bit about MOSSAD but if you ever saw them at work and the systems they have in place to protect EL-AL and all who fly with them, their own people and all people, no matter who or what that person is who visits Israel, you would be amaized. They like all agencies of >LAW< that I have known do some underhand dealings at times but it is all for the good of those who are in danger especially like those killed at Lockerbie,
THE INNOCENT.


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Skid Kid

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  Topic: PAA 103 - Sent 28 Dec 1:56

Captain bill: I wish I could be as forgiving as you. But, to be quite honest, I joined the Army looking for retribution and still find it very hard to forgive those who continually pepetrate such devastating and cowardly acts against innocent people, their own included.


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