Very dishonest and misleading. Below is my entire post:
I sent Cliff Ammerman a copy of the yellow FBI Flight Path map and asked him to review it and let me know if it looked right to him. He called me this morning about the map and said he “would not argue with this track.” In other words, that it may well be correct.
Naturally, I asked him how this all adds up given the comments about turning south east of Kelso and the T-33 not changing headings as it trailed at least five miles behind 305.
Cliff explained to me in great detail how this all works.
First off, he did say that he thought 305 turned south (or SW according to the FBI map) before Battle Ground. But he explained to me that on his radar screen back in 1971, targets resembled an equal (=) sign. And, that the location of the target would actually be located somewhere on that equal sign line which was not very precise.
Cliff stated that this equal sign would align itself perpendicular to the radar station that the data was coming from. Therefore, as the target is moving, the equal sign is ever so slowly realigning itself relative to the radar station that the radar data is coming from.
In addition, he stated that the further away the target is from the radar station the bigger the equal sign gets. In other words, the precise location of the jet is more uncertain.
Cliff told me that his display utilized radar data from a station near Salem, OR. Moreover, that the scale of his screen was probably 150 miles because he was covering two sectors. What this meant was that at the point where 305 was handed off to him, north of Teledo, the equal sign represented a line about 15 miles long. In other words, he would know that the jet was somewhere along that 15-mile-long line.
He stated that as the jet continued south and got closer to the Salem radar site the equal sign would get smaller—in other words, more precise. He estimates that the equal sign measured between 5 to 8 miles wide around the PDX area. What this means is that 305 could have been anywhere along this 5 to 8 mile long equal sign line at that point. Consider, that the orientation of the equal sign display near PDX would be essentially northwest to southeast.
Therefore, looking at his radar display, he could not target precisely where the jet was located. Rather, he had a general idea. Also, he stated that given the 150-mile scale that he was on, he would not notice a change in 305’s direction unless it was something that was held for a little while.
All of this means that the T-33 could have stayed on a consistent heading of 160 even though 305 itself was making turns here and there as depicted on the yellow map. Moreover, that he would not notice these turns on his radar screen. Again, the equal sign target display on his screen would simply show 305 heading south with the T-33 trailing behind.
I asked him about the problems of knowing whether 305 stayed within V23 proper given that the equal sign target display is actually longer than the entire V23 corridor is wide at certain points. He said that what they would normally do is notify the pilots if the center of the equal sign display got to the outer edge of the Victor airway. But, in fact, that the jet may actually already be a few miles out of the airway or a few miles within the airway. In other words, the system was not very precise.
Cliff and I discussed the map and he stated that regardless of who put it together that he would think that they would have to use an array of radar data from different sites to be as accurate as possible. In particular, he stated that Portland Tower radar should be pretty precise because the scale they were working with was probably 40 miles as opposed to the 150-mile scale he was working with.
All of this said, I have a hard time believing the Air Force contacted Portland Tower, or any other non-military radar facility, to get their radar data to craft the flight path. That said, perhaps they did.
Nonetheless, we are faced once again with the $64,000 question: How exactly did the Air Force plot this flight path and with what data? After all, the path they plotted is very precise.