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Sherman H. Skolnick
Email: skolnick@ameritech.net

by Sherman H. Skolnick 08/17/01

Several situations motivated the National Transportation Safety Board, N.T.S.B., to re-open their hearings into the crash of United Air Lines Flight 553. And to set two full days, June 13 and 14, 1973, for what we publicly called the crash of the Watergate Plane. My pending lawsuit in the local state court against the N.T.S.B., claiming air sabotage cover up, was arbitrarily removed to the federal court in Chicago.

The Rockefeller-owned United Air Lines knew that the Banker-Judges in Chicago U.S. District Court would not allow my lawsuit to be heard on the facts. A judicial cover-up. It was a reality understood by the Safety Board panel, made up primarily of those directly or through their immediate families, major owners of airline shares. And the unwritten policy of the airlines, and their substantial owners, is to block all public discussion of airplane sabotage, a secret and forbidden subject.

Another factor was the way I was informing the public, as best I could, through late-night radio talk shows and college and university speeches on the Watergate plane crash. And further, United Air Lines and the Safety Board had no prior knowledge that we had "liberated" the entire Safety Board original file of Flight 553.

I proceeded with my own testimony as to our investigation, with the Safety Board documents and pictures, together with our interviews including the presence at the re-opened hearings of eight eyewitnesses.

As stated earlier, #1 was THE PEOPLE. #2, THE AIRPLANE. To do a proper job in sabotaging a plane, an art and science in itself, is to know its weaknesses. This particular Boeing 737, N9031U, had chronic trouble in the month preceding the crash, with its Captain's altimeter and its air data computer---two of the most important instruments on the plane. [N.T.S.B. Docket SA-435, Exhibits 11A, 11B, 11C, maintenance data.] The Captain's altimeter {how far he is above ground level] MUST operate at 28 volts D.C. [Exhibit 9C, page 7.] An increase in amperage or voltage in the electrical system would cause the instruments to malfunction.

The plane was delayed in departure by about 10 to 15 minutes. [Later investigations and sources convinced us the tubes in the front of the plane, leading to the air speed indicator, were drilled out, to give false readings.] This was enough time for a skilled person to strip down the bus bar at a certain point and install a device [as was done] that shorts out UPON DESCENT of the plane [a sort of barometric controlled sabotage device]. In the last 15 minutes of Flight 553, circuit breakers began popping in the cockpit, causing the Flight Recorder, in the tail, the air data computer, and other instruments to short out and malfunction. The N.T.S.B. Transcripts of the sole surviving record, the tape of the Cockpit Voice Recorder, shows this from the Intra-Cockpit, inside the cockpit, discussion. [Exhibit 12A.]

The pilot had a prophetic name, Captain Whitehouse. By the way, he was one of the most skilled pilots at United, with a prior background in aviation air shows and precision flying.

Captain- "Sounds to me a circuit breaker, perhaps." 2nd Officer- "Huh?" [Unidentified voice, apparently unlawfully deleted by the FBI/DIA.] Capt.-"Yeah, I just meant, I thought you'd better check EVERYTHING, ah." (Emphasis added.) [N.T.S.B., Exhibit 12A, page 7 of Transcript.] The Cockpit Voice Recorder was found and removed by the FBI, first on the scene in the crash zone. Remember what the Chairman of the Safety Board told a Congressional Committee in Washington on the same day as the re-opening of the Safety Board hearings in Chicago---about the strange doings of the FBI in the crash zone. [See Part Two of this series.]

Flight 553 needed its instruments. Visibility was 1 to 2 miles. Ceiling varied from 400 to 600 feet. [Exhibit 5-K.] With some low clouds as low as 100 feet. As for the National Weather Service, their RUNWAY VISUAL RANGE RECORDER WAS TURNED OFF AND NOT WORKING. [Exhibit 5-K.]

A major radio navigational instrument is the airport outer marker, also called by the street name its on. The outer marker at Midway Airport is in the vicinity of 87th & Kedzie, and is called by some, the Kedzie localizer. THE MIDWAY AIRPORT OUTER MARKER STOPPED WORKING JUST AS FLIGHT 553 APPROACHED IT AND WENT BACK ON JUST AFTER FLIGHT 553 CRASHED.

Captain-"Is Kedzie localizer off, off the air, is that it?" 2nd Officer-"I beg your pardon." Captain-"Is Kedzie localizer off the air, there's an inbound on---ah---there's an inbound on 31---what's that? (referring to JET RUNWAY 31 LEFT, and a small propeller plane reportedly falsely steered right in front of 553 as it was preparing to land. The small plane was coming in right ahead of them on the same runway. Propeller planes are supposed to land on RUNWAY 31 RIGHT.) [N.T.S.B. Exhibit 12A, page 3.]

Captain's altimeter would NOT work below 3400 feet. [Exhibit 9C, page 8.] A retired aviation expert, with experience as a 4-motor bomber pilot and loads of control tower experience, as earlier stated, mysteriously was directed by his firm to be outside measuring a parking lot just at the same time Flight 553 was in-coming. That was William J. Simonini. At the re-opened hearings, he testified that he saw Flight 553 at about 450 feet near 73rd and Kedzie, TO THE FAR RIGHT OF THE OUTER MARKER. At the original Safety Board hearings in February, 1973, the Safety Board tried to conceal this data by improper questions of THEIR witness, Simonini. He later became OUR witness. [N.T.S.B. re-opened hearings, Simonini testimony, 6/13/73.] At the outer marker, Flight 553 was supposed to be at about 889 feet above the ground. [Exhibit 2J, Chart 11-2.]

SOME OF THE INTENTIONAL BLUNDERS ON THE GROUND. (a) In the last 15 minutes of Flight 553, its speed was erratic. [Exhibit 3-F.][Remember, we later found out about the sabotage of the tubes to the air speed indicator on Flight 553.] It was being watched by some of the most highly sophisticated radar equipment and computer in the world, at that time, ARTS III. Yet, although they claim they told him to slow down, after 21 sweeps of the radar he was still going 210 knots per hour. It was being watched by Chicago Approach Control, O'Hare Airport. (15 radar sweeps per minute.) (b) The approach controller later admitted he had forgotten to give 553 approach clearance. [Exhibit 3A, page 9.] The Flight 553 crew were led to believe they were in a holding pattern. [Exhibit 12A, page 9.]

(c) The Midway Tower steered a small propeller plane, Aero Commander N309VS, right in front of 553 as 553 was coming in for a landing. [Through later investigations, we uncovered a mystery. The pilot of that small propeller plane was a skilled pilot of a 4-motor plane. It was the same as finding out the Captain of the huge ship the "Queen Mary" was somehow now in charge of a two-man rowboat.] This doing by the Tower caused 553 to drastically close the gap between them and the small plane. That small plane, to screw up 553, dropped a blizzard of thin metal chaff right in front of 553.]

(d) They stopped watching 553 from O'Hare TOO SOON (called a premature hand-off). At the time, Midway did not have precision radar. [Exhibit 3C, page 13.] This violated O'Hare-Midway Letter of Agreement. [Exhibit 3G, page 3, paragraph 4.]

(e) They did not tell 553 that their plane was too far right of the Midway outer marker, a dangerous situation.

(f) In violation of regulations, they were working two planes for the SAME runway at the same time, Flight 553 and the Aero Commander.

(g) Although there was only about a 6 mile an hour wind, they told 553 to go to JET RUNWAY 31 LEFT, HAVING NO GLIDESLOPE, an important navigational aid giving altitude and azimuth. [Intra-Cockpit Voice discussion, Exhibit 12A, page 13.] Runway 13R, the other end, has glideslope.

(h) Within a few seconds, Midway told a different thing to O'Hare than it did to Flight 553. [Exhibit 12A, page 13,compared to Transcriptions of Chicago Approach Control, Exhibit 3C, page 14.]

OTHER INTENTIONAL BLUNDERS AND SABOTAGE. The Air Traffic Controllers paid no attention to the fact that 553 had too much velocity and was on too fast of a descent, and was far off-course. With circuit breakers clicking [from the barometrically-triggered sabotage devices], and instruments malfunctioning, the cockpit crew of 553 tried to switch to standby power. [As shown by comparing Intra-Cockpit discussion, Exhibit 12A, pages 10-11, with B-737 Flight Manual language, Exhibit 2F, page 4E.] ELEVEN WITNESSES ON THE GROUND SAID FLIGHT 553 HAD NO LIGHTS. [Exhibit 4B, statements of witnesses.] Also, eyewitness testimony of Simonini.

In the first five minutes and last five minutes of flight, the pilot is supposed to be flying the plane. BUT, in the last few minutes before the crash, the co-pilot (1st Officer) and the 2nd Officer were flying. This supports our contention that the pilot was dead or disabled, such as from cyanide poisoning. [See later discussion as to high-level of CYANIDE, such as in bodies of some of the Watergate 12. We also interviewed the former head of a laboratory that made devices for the CIA, to go off in the cockpit of planes, and causing cyanide to disable those in the cockpit. He said that although he thought he was supplying these devices to be used against Eastern Bloc "Enemy" civilian airplanes, he heard that some of his devices were used domestically, in the U.S.] Also, to be compared as to pilot at beginning and end of flight, there is a comparison between the Intra-Cockpit Discussion [Exhibit 12A, pages 13-15] with the Flight Manual challenge-respond language [Exhibit 2F, page 41.]

Eyewitness William J. Simonini, a retired aviation expert, said how the FBI was tormenting him ever since they found out he saw the Watergate plane shortly before it crashed. He said the FBI was tormenting him in various ways, day and night. AND, that they arranged to frame-up and jail two of his sons to cause him further anguish.

As a result of the Watergate Affair, Nixon White House aide Chuck Colson was sent to prison. After getting out, he said he is a new person and devoted to promoting good deeds. He spoke at a meeting in Chicago. Afterwards, I interviewed him.

Skolnick-"What happened to Mrs. E. Howard Hunt, wife of the Watergate burglar?"

Colson-"She was murdered by the FBI and the CIA."

Skolnick-"Can you tell us more? Having been in the Nixon White House you seem to know a lot."

Colson "I have already said too much."

Did some of the Watergate 12 actually survive the pancaked plane but were murdered on the ground? And what happened to Mrs. Hunt's luggage for which she bought another first class seat ticket? The crash of Flight 553 and what happened on the ground were clearly overkill directed against the Watergate figures among the onboard passengers.

Correction Earlier in this series,on some websites, through a typo, Channel 2 TV was incorrectly identified. It is WBBM-TV, Chicago.

More coming. Stay tuned.

Since 1958, Mr.Skolnick has been a court reformer. Since 1963, founder/chairman, Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, disclosing certain instances of judicial and other bribery and political murders. Since 1991 a regular panelist, and since 1995, moderator/producer, of one-hour,weekly public access Cable TV Show, "Broadsides", Cablecast on Channel 21, 9 p.m. each Monday in Chicago. For a heavy packet of printed stories, send $5.00 [U.S. funds] and a stamped, self-addressed business sized envelope [4-1/4 x 9-1/2 #10 size] WITH THREE STAMPS ON IT, to Citizen's Committee to Clean Up the Courts, Sherman H. Skolnick, Chairman, 9800 South Oglesby Ave., Chicago IL 60617-4870. Office, 7 days, 8 a.m. to midnight, (773) 375-5741 [PLEASE, no "just routine calls]. Before sending FAX, call.

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