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Is this all just a dream?
September 3, 2004 3:39 AM   Subscribe

Did a Boeing 747 really hit the Pentagon? Warning: [flash movie, sound]
posted by banished (126 comments total)

 
Yes.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:54 AM on September 3, 2004


Watch the video. Consider it a possibility. There is video of "it" hitting the pentagon.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:09 AM on September 3, 2004



Yes
but still though a great little flash presentation that had me going
right up until I did my own research. And just to put my two pence in before our
cousins make it to work - I though Hamburg Cell was really good.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 4:11 AM on September 3, 2004


It uses music from Starcraft, so it must be true!
posted by sciurus at 4:12 AM on September 3, 2004


Question No 5
The photographs in Question 5 show representations of a Boeing 757-200 superimposed on the section of the building that was hit. Can you explain what happened to the wings of the aircraft and why they caused no damage?

Patrick: I'm not certain the models are to scale, and they're certainly not in the correct orientation. Since the plane hit the ground and skidded into the building, enough energy was lost by the initial impact and friction with the ground that the engines probably did not penetrate the building.



yeah. All conspiracy theories aside, but that is the most asinine answer I have read to date.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:17 AM on September 3, 2004


Someone showed me a site one time, which claimed that in the pictures, videos, etc, you could tell the planes all exploded before impact. I asked how this was accomplished. One of this guy's theories was that missiles could have been attatched to the planes - in mid flight - and flown on, all without the passengers noticing.....

Theoreticly possible, and I'm a lover of all things conspiratorial, but sometimes a good theory can get stretched too far.

Going out on a limb, I personally believe the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down by US forces. And why not, the other 3 had been used to kill far more people an hour and a half earlier. The news of the downing of that one plane went from eyewitnesses and multiple crash sites (suggesting it broke up mid-air) to the "Let's Roll" theme extremely quickly. I think everyone would agree that it would have been prudent to take that plane down, but would you have the guts to tell the American people what happened, or, perchance tell an inspiration story of passengers fighting back?
posted by efalk at 4:24 AM on September 3, 2004


Sorry, I've changed my mind. The answer is no. It was a 757.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:29 AM on September 3, 2004


"Can you explain what happened to the wings of the aircraft and why they caused no damage?"

Wings: Thin, lightweight aluminum designed to resist vertical forces.

Building (circa 1940s): Big heavy structural steel and concrete thing.

Why didn't the wings "own" the building? Jesus fucking Christ, what a mystery.

This video makes much of there being a "small" hole, in part due to the upper floors collapsing on the site of the plane's entry. (Plane body: lightweight construction, mostly empty space and kinetic energy), although as I live in Arlington, I saw the hole and it wasn't that small, just small compared to the mass of one of the largest federal buildings in the world. Other than that this presentation is a compilation of cherry picked eye-witness accounts using the conspiracy epistemology that fragmented, often erroneous eyewitness recollections trump physical evidence.

If you want a "conspiracy" you don't need to propose that someone shot a missile into the Pentagon. All you have to do is imagine that the Bush administration, given fair warning, sat on their fat asses for a terrorist attack that would be a PNAC wet dream. Being delusional, they may not have imagined it would be as big as it was.

By the way, if that 757 didn't hit the Pentagon, where did it go? Does that mean Barbara Olsen is still on the loose?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:29 AM on September 3, 2004


Alternate conspiracy: Ted Olsen...happily married?

Anyone check his garage for missiles?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 4:32 AM on September 3, 2004


Just to be pedantic - a Boeing 747 definately didn't hit the Pentagon.
posted by metaxa at 4:32 AM on September 3, 2004


I didn't get what the alternative explanation being forwarded by the authors of the video is. Do they have one?
posted by shoos at 4:37 AM on September 3, 2004


so ... there's one obvious question this little presentation doesn't answer ... if flight 77 didn't hit the pentagon, what happened to it? ... it had to have gone somewhere, right?

perhaps they should answer that question first
posted by pyramid termite at 4:39 AM on September 3, 2004


Wings: Thin, lightweight aluminum designed to resist vertical forces.

Well, no -- they are thin, and they do have to resist vertical forces. They also have to resist horizontal forces, in the form of wind drag.

All planes have a rating called Vmax. This is "Velocity, Never Exceed." In short, you go faster than Vmax, your wings fall off.

Also note, in a large aircraft, like the 757-200, the wings are also full of fuel.

When airplanes hit the ground at high speed, they basically shatter. Aircraft have this problem -- any mass used on the structure is mass you can't carry in fuel, passengers or cargo. So, they're made as strong as they need to be -- and that's it. There's very little extra strength, since that makes it harder to fly.

So, where are the wings? In little pieces on the ground, along with the tail and parts of the fuselage.
posted by eriko at 4:53 AM on September 3, 2004


> if flight 77 didn't hit the pentagon, what happened to it?

The USAF stole it in midair with a net strung between two C5As. The NSA shrunk it to the size of a Phi Beta Kappa key with Jivaro juice. Cheney had it bronzed and is hiding it in plane (heh) view on his watchchain. All the people inside are going "Help me! Help me!" in tiny little voices like the fly at the end of the original The Fly. I know this is all true, I saw it in Farenheit 9/11: the Director's Cut.
posted by jfuller at 5:10 AM on September 3, 2004


There's nothing like old conspiracy theories being rehashed and given a new life.

http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pentagon.htm
posted by jazzkat11 at 5:16 AM on September 3, 2004


I love google. I wanted to check on some things not because I was swayed by the weight of the original post, but was intrigued by the discussion.

I found the following document (PDF) "Description of crash analysis criteria" on calculating injuries in car accidents. I wonder if the same thing exists for airplanes. This documents contains mathematical gems such as the formula "liklihood of head injuries is calculated according to:"
*insert geek level math here*

Crash Investigation for the FAA is done by the NTSB: but for 9-11, it points you to the FBI. Who apparently have no web skills whatsoever.
After some digging I did find a nifty "War on Terroism" FBI website with some a report on terrorism to the 9-11 commission. It's pretty with charts!
Also a webpage on the 9-11 hijackers.

But where is the FBI's report on the crashes/accidents/hijackings which the NTSB points to the FBI for.
Are they in the 9-11 report?
posted by fluffycreature at 5:22 AM on September 3, 2004


god bless snopes.
posted by glenwood at 5:27 AM on September 3, 2004


Going out on a limb, I personally believe the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania was shot down by US forces.

If that had happened, word would have leaked out by now. Impossible to conceal this long, especially during the 9/11 investigation. As noted by others, planes are actually pretty fragile things. They will break up during unusual flight patterns, which is what happened to that plane. The 9/11 report documents that the terrorist pilot put the plane into violent swings to try to knock passenger attackers off their feet. This can easily start to break up the plane, accounting for debris falling at multiple sites. Remember the plane crash in Queens a month or so after 9/11, which crashed because the tail fell off due to erratic steering movements.
posted by beagle at 5:33 AM on September 3, 2004


Bridges on sale today:
Brooklyn Bridge - $1,000
Verazano Narrows Bridge - $500
George Washington Bridge - $600
London Bridge - Sold

Send cash, no checks or money orders, to:
American Bridge Co.
PO Box 666
NY, NY 10200
posted by caddis at 5:35 AM on September 3, 2004


jfuller ... oh ... ok ... now i can believe this then ... thanks for clearing that up for me
posted by pyramid termite at 5:35 AM on September 3, 2004


Why not ask the families of people who were on the Boeing 757.
posted by plexi at 5:37 AM on September 3, 2004


I will give the video a "cool" rating for editing and use of music.
posted by a3matrix at 5:42 AM on September 3, 2004


I can't believe this crud has made it onto Mefi, unless banished meant we view it for a laugh? The theory got bagged completely on the SurferMag msgboard fer chrissakes!
posted by Onanist at 6:03 AM on September 3, 2004


http://www.snopes.com/rumors/pentagon.htm

Oh, please. Snopes is great for chihuahuas that turn out to be rats, but they can hardly be considered a definitive source on something of this scale. Not to mention they've tipped their hand in recent years with regards to their politics. I think it was a plane that hit the pentagon, but trotting out snopes as End of Story is silly.
posted by jpoulos at 6:16 AM on September 3, 2004


BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH
posted by angry modem at 6:17 AM on September 3, 2004


If that had happened, word would have leaked out by now. Impossible to conceal this long, especially during the 9/11 investigation.

Not true. The list of people who would have known would be extremely small--perhaps just four or five people. It wouldn't be hard to keep people quiet on that.
posted by jpoulos at 6:19 AM on September 3, 2004


From the 9/11 report:

At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: "Everyone's running up to first class. I've got to go. Bye."85

The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained.86

In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.87

Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, "Is that it? Shall we finish it off?" A hijacker responded, "No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off." The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, "In the cockpit. If we don't we'll die!" Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, "Roll it!" Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, "Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!" He then asked another hijacker in the cock-pit, "Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?" to which the other replied, "Yes, put it in it, and pull it down."88

The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, "Pull it down! Pull it down!" The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest." With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes' flying time from Washington, D.C.89

(Numbers refer to footnotes which can be found here.
posted by beagle at 6:33 AM on September 3, 2004


eriko wrote:

"Also note, in a large aircraft, like the 757-200, the wings are also full of fuel."

Sort of like a big damn flammable fuel bomb...That's a good point, that the wings are not solid structures because they are dual purposed with being vessels for liquid.

Now, another question for the conspiricist would be whether a missile would create the extensive, hot-burning fire which was created. Some people in the Pentagon were obliterated by being doused with burning jet fuel. If that widespread fire was not created by the disintegration of the plane, and especially the wings, then what was it?
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 6:40 AM on September 3, 2004


Further from 9/11 report, regarding the possibility of a shoot-down of 93:
At 9:46 the Command Center updated FAA headquarters that United 93 was now "twenty-nine minutes out of Washington, D.C."

At 9:49, 13 minutes after Cleveland Center had asked about getting military help, the Command Center suggested that someone at headquarters should decide whether to request military assistance:

FAA Headquarters: They're pulling Jeff away to go talk about United 93.
Command Center: Uh, do we want to think, uh, about scrambling aircraft?

FAA Headquarters: Oh, God, I don't know.

Command Center: Uh, that's a decision somebody's gonna have to make probably in the next ten minutes.

FAA Headquarters: Uh, ya know everybody just left the room.166

At 9:53, FAA headquarters informed the Command Center that the deputy director for air traffic services was talking to Monte Belger about scrambling aircraft. Then the Command Center informed headquarters that controllers had lost track of United 93 over the Pittsburgh area. Within seconds, the Command Center received a visual report from another aircraft, and informed headquarters that the aircraft was 20 miles northwest of Johnstown. United 93 was spotted by another aircraft, and, at 10:01, the Command Center advised FAA headquarters that one of the aircraft had seen United 93 "waving his wings." The aircraft had witnessed the hijackers' efforts to defeat the passengers' counterattack.167

United 93 crashed in Pennsylvania at 10:03:11, 125 miles from Washington, D.C. The precise crash time has been the subject of some dispute. The 10:03:11 impact time is supported by previous National Transportation Safety Board analysis and by evidence from the Commission staff's analysis of radar, the flight data recorder, the cockpit voice recorder, infrared satellite data, and air traffic control transmissions.168

Five minutes later, the Command Center forwarded this update to headquarters:

Command Center: O.K. Uh, there is now on that United 93.
FAA Headquarters: Yes.

Command Center: There is a report of black smoke in the last position I gave you, fifteen miles south of Johnstown.

FAA Headquarters: From the airplane or from the ground?

Command Center: Uh, they're speculating it's from the aircraft.

FAA Headquarters: Okay.

Command Center: Uh, who, it hit the ground. That's what they're speculating, that's speculation only.169

The aircraft that spotted the "black smoke" was the same unarmed Air National Guard cargo plane that had seen American 77 crash into the Pentagon 27 minutes earlier. It had resumed its flight to Minnesota and saw the smoke from the crash of United 93, less than two minutes after the plane went down. At 10:17, the Command Center advised headquarters of its conclusion that United 93 had indeed crashed.170

Despite the discussions about military assistance, no one from FAA headquarters requested military assistance regarding United 93. Nor did any manager at FAA headquarters pass any of the information it had about United 93 to the military.

Military Notification and Response. NEADS first received a call about United 93 from the military liaison at Cleveland Center at 10:07. Unaware that the aircraft had already crashed, Cleveland passed to NEADS the aircraft's last known latitude and longitude. NEADS was never able to locate United 93 on radar because it was already in the ground.171

At the same time, the NEADS mission crew commander was dealing with the arrival of the Langley fighters over Washington, D.C., sorting out what their orders were with respect to potential targets. Shortly after 10:10, and having no knowledge either that United 93 had been heading toward Washington or that it had crashed, he explicitly instructed the Langley fighters: "negative- negative clearance to shoot" aircraft over the nation's capital.172

The news of a reported bomb on board United 93 spread quickly at NEADS. The air defenders searched for United 93's primary radar return and tried to locate other fighters to scramble. NEADS called Washington Center to report:

NEADS: I also want to give you a heads-up, Washington.
FAA (DC): Go ahead.

NEADS: United nine three, have you got information on that yet?

FAA:Yeah, he's down.

NEADS: He's down?

FAA:Yes.

NEADS: When did he land? 'Cause we have got confirmation-

FAA: He did not land.

NEADS: Oh, he's down? Down?

FAA: Yes. Somewhere up northeast of Camp David.

NEADS: Northeast of Camp David.

FAA: That's the last report. They don't know exactly where.173

The time of notification of the crash of United 93 was 10:15.174 The NEADS air defenders never located the flight or followed it on their radar scopes. The flight had already crashed by the time they learned it was hijacked.

Clarifying the Record
The defense of U.S. airspace on 9/11 was not conducted in accord with preexisting training and protocols. It was improvised by civilians who had never handled a hijacked aircraft that attempted to disappear, and by a military unprepared for the transformation of commercial aircraft into weapons of mass destruction. As it turned out, the NEADS air defenders had nine minutes' notice on the first hijacked plane, no advance notice on the second, no advance notice on the third, and no advance notice on the fourth.


The 4- or 5 people concealing a shoot-down would also have to have entirely altered the chronological record without leaving a trace.
posted by beagle at 6:43 AM on September 3, 2004


And more on an airborne eye-witness to a 757 flying into the Pentagon:
The Command Center kept looking for American 77. At 9:21, it advised the Dulles terminal control facility, and Dulles urged its controllers to look for primary targets. At 9:32, they found one. Several of the Dulles controllers "observed a primary radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed" and notified Reagan National Airport. FAA personnel at both Reagan National and Dulles airports notified the Secret Service. The aircraft's identity or type was unknown.146

Reagan National controllers then vectored an unarmed National Guard C130H cargo aircraft, which had just taken off en route to Minnesota, to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft. The C-130H pilot spotted it, identified it as a Boeing 757, attempted to follow its path, and at 9:38, seconds after impact, reported to the control tower: "looks like that aircraft crashed into the Pentagon sir."147


Footnotes to the above:
146. John Hendershot interview (Dec. 22, 2003).

147. FAA memo, "Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001," Sept. 20, 2001, p. 7.

posted by beagle at 6:51 AM on September 3, 2004


I don't take ANY film about a national tragedy seriously unless it's to the tune of Marilyn Manson or the Dust Brothers.
posted by dhoyt at 7:10 AM on September 3, 2004


...perhaps just four or five people

Uh, no. If it was indeed shot down by the US Air Force, there would have been many more than "four or five" people who would have known about it, or that would have been tipped off: the pilots, obviously, but also their entire ground crew, the folks who load the weapons on the plane, etc. And there is no way that so many people could keep quiet about such an event.
posted by davidmsc at 7:11 AM on September 3, 2004


Just like the idiots who believe the Moon landings were faked, no amount of proof or quotes from offical reports will make these conspiricy theorists see anything other than what they want to see.

Why people give them the attention they crave is beyond me.

A plane hit the Pentagon, flight 93 was not shot down, and Satan's face was not visible when the WTC was hit.

I know, I know, I'm just an ignorant sheep who believes whatever The Man tells me.
posted by bondcliff at 7:14 AM on September 3, 2004


The video was cute, and made the conspiracy theory more palatable (if a little less tasteful at times) and accessible. But dude, you kind of lose your detail-oriented cred if you can't spell "nonexistent."
posted by soyjoy at 7:20 AM on September 3, 2004


Why not ask the families of people who were on the Boeing 757.

Why? What would they know?
posted by rushmc at 7:30 AM on September 3, 2004


I was standing across the street from the WTC when the second plane hit. It sounded like a missile. Does that mean it wasn't a plane? I don't know what to believe!
posted by papercake at 7:31 AM on September 3, 2004


I have no doubt whatsoever that the American public is not being told the whole truth about what happened on 9/11.

Two words: Warren Commission.

So what makes you think the government is going to be more forthcoming now?

It does keep coming back to one question raised within the video, however. How is it possible that hijackers who couldn't even figure out how to pilot puddle-jumpers were able to fly with this degree of precision? What are the chances that such an unskilled pilot at the helm of a jet traveling hundreds of miles an hour would be able to avoid hitting I-395 - or anything else - and smack directly into the target?

Not to get out the tinfoil hat or anything - but are you guys telling me you find this plausible?
posted by kgasmart at 7:37 AM on September 3, 2004


Actually it was just the jet's engine, the rest of the plane is going to show up after some kid meets a girl, gets her killed and then sacrifices himself to fix the time line after talking to some old women about her book.
posted by milovoo at 7:46 AM on September 3, 2004


Why not ask the families of people who were on the Boeing 757.

Why? What would they know?


Uh, they'd know that their relative was dead?

The film suggested it was more likely a small passenger plane which hit the Pentagon, a craft that holds less than ten people. Yet hundreds of people were mourning for their relatives who died on the large 757.
posted by dhoyt at 7:51 AM on September 3, 2004


How is it possible that hijackers who couldn't even figure out how to pilot puddle-jumpers were able to fly with this degree of precision?

Who says they "couldn't even figure out how to pilot puddle jumpers?" Didn't several of them go through flight schools to learn how to do just that? It was my understanding that one hijacker on each plane had at least a multi-engine rating as well as training on a 757 simulator.

Big Jets are pretty complicated machines, but they have all sorts of doo-dads that all but do thy flying for you. It doesn't take a whole lot of precision to hit a target as big as the pentagon. If you check out the path they flew, they took a nice wide turn and had plenty of room to line themselves up to the target.

Most of the jet training pilots go through has to do with dealing with systems, emergencies, and instrument proceedures. Pointing an allready-flying plane towards a huge building is something any one of us could do, especially if we had no intentions of living through it.
posted by bondcliff at 8:02 AM on September 3, 2004


How is it possible that hijackers who couldn't even figure out how to pilot puddle-jumpers were able to fly with this degree of precision?

Considering the hijackers didn't have to do take off, I'd say it was pretty simple. Once you're in the air you just point the nose in the direction you want to go in. Sure the handling might be more sluggish than small private planes but the basic fundamentals are exactly the same.

and smack directly into the target?
That's the thing... they didn't. The flight that hit the pentagon hit the ground before the pentagon and skidded for quite a bit before actually hitting it.
posted by PenDevil at 8:03 AM on September 3, 2004


Snopes is great for chihuahuas that turn out to be rats, but they can hardly be considered a definitive source on something of this scale.

Of course, employing wholesale condemnation while ignoring the essential facts of the case could hardly be considered a definitive stance, IMHO.
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:06 AM on September 3, 2004


The news of the downing of that one plane went from eyewitnesses and multiple crash sites (suggesting it broke up mid-air) to the "Let's Roll" theme extremely quickly. I think everyone would agree that it would have been prudent to take that plane down, but would you have the guts to tell the American people what happened, or, perchance tell an inspiration story of passengers fighting back?

The no-plane-hit-the-Pentagon thing is very tinfoil-hatty, but I have to say, the flight-93-shot-down theory is one conspiracy theory that I actually think is credible. How would the American people have reacted to "we had to kill a plane full of Americans so it didn't get flown into the White House"? Not especially well, I'd wager... so it got turned into a tale of heroism. Pretty sickening, but not exactly unlikely. The whole thing has progressed so far at this point that, even with evidence, I doubt most Americans would believe any other version of events -- and who would want to tell them?

Also, regarding The Hamburg Cell [on UK Channel 4 last night], I think the ultimate irony in that was that Jarrah was headed for Flight 93, the failed mission -- way to throw it all away for nothing. It was a good drama, I think. I wonder what reaction it'd get if it was shown in the US, though.
posted by reklaw at 8:08 AM on September 3, 2004


Why? What would they know?

They'd know that they haven't seen their family members since September 11, 2001, and that their flight didn't land in L.A. as scheduled. Logical people would therefore have to conclude that the airplane on which those family members were flying crashed on September 11, 2001. There were three other crashes that day, all of known aircraft (including videotapes of two of the impacts). That leaves one plane that must have crashed, and one (and only one) other major impact point on that day. Logic, therefore, tells us* that that plane caused that impact.

Of course, on the other hand, you have such "evidence" as "it sounded like a missle" and "where are the wings?" So who really knows what to believe.

*by "us," I mean people who still rely on facts and logic to reach conclusions.

(on long preview: or, what dhoyt said, only longer and more snarky)
posted by pardonyou? at 8:10 AM on September 3, 2004


In 1945, the Empire State Building was allegedly hit by a low flying B-25 Mitchell Bomber with a wingspan of 67.6 feet.

Here is the hole it allegedly made.


Clearly this is another government conspiracy that needs to be set to music.
posted by mosch at 8:18 AM on September 3, 2004


Yeah, I'd like to know what they think could possibly happen to the missing plane.

Didn't the Pentagon plane hit only after the incompetent pilot missed the White House and looked for a better target at the last minute? Or am I wrong
posted by inksyndicate at 8:21 AM on September 3, 2004


What exactly does a missile sound like? I've seen plenty of missile test footage, and I think you'd be hard pressed to make the scientific judgement "that's a missile" as compared to "that's a jet engine" just using your ears.

Besides, if a missile was fired, it would show up as a really fast moving track on every US radar installation within 500 miles, not to mention FFA and air traffic control radar. So the idea that only four or five people could fire a missile at a plane, successfully shoot it down, and have no one see the missile track on radar (not to mention the difference in damage between a missile hitting a jet engine, and a jet crashing into the ground), is just not true.
posted by SweetJesus at 8:27 AM on September 3, 2004


You know, I think they'd really play up the impact of a missle to boost their faith in their cockamamie missle defense program. They've been pushing the program and ignoring North Korea (the most advanced (and vocal) hostile nation we have with missle capability)

It's very interesting to see how the plane damaged the building, but I'm still thinking it's a plane, not a missle. They found intact windows from the planes which hit the WTC, are they really having that hard a time finding similar artifacts from the pentagon?

>on preview, mosch, I believe there is a photo of the plane sticking out the side of the builing, actually. can't find it, though.
posted by Busithoth at 8:28 AM on September 3, 2004


Considering the hijackers didn't have to do take off, I'd say it was pretty simple. Once you're in the air you just point the nose in the direction you want to go in. Sure the handling might be more sluggish than small private planes but the basic fundamentals are exactly the same.

OK, let's try this. Let's say you have a driver's license; maybe used to driving on I-95 or some such. You're pretty good.

Climb behind the wheel of Jeff Gordon's Dupont special. At Watkins Glen - that's a pretty curvy track. Hit the pedal to 150 mph.

Gonna make it around those turns?

Listen: I'm not saying there was no plane, I'm not saying it's impossible that all of this happened exactly as the popular narrative has it. I'm saying we don't know, and will never know, the full story of what happened that day.
posted by kgasmart at 8:35 AM on September 3, 2004


I have no doubt whatsoever that the American public is not being told the whole truth about what happened on 9/11.

Two words: Warren Commission.


How about the results of the 1934 Senate Munitions Investigating Committee?

Or my new favorite. The McCormack-Dickstein Committee's public report was utterly contradicted by its internal summation to the House. That document might have been lost to history had Spivak not somehow managed to liberate a copy. Contrary to the public whitewash, privately the committee acknowledged Butler's accuracy and MacGuire's lying. The report concluded:
In the last few weeks of the committee's life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country….


The Plot to Seize the White House - http://www.carpenoctem.tv/cons/whitehouse.htmlposted by rough ashlar at 8:36 AM on September 3, 2004


I'm gonna out-tinfoil all y'alls and say that I think this one, plus all the equally preposterous "WTC controlled demolition" theories have been propagated by disinfo specialists in order to distract attention from the more glaringly obvious deficiencies in the official explanation - the lack of reaction from the Air Force, the massive spike in short selling and put options, the many ignored warnings from domestic and foreign intelligence services, "My Pet Goat", etc.
posted by dinsdale at 8:38 AM on September 3, 2004


Rough,

Smedley "The Fighting Quaker" Butler was already a hero of mine -- but that's an amazing tale, though. Is it actually documented anywhere else?
posted by inksyndicate at 8:40 AM on September 3, 2004


and Satan's face was not visible when the WTC was hit.

DAMN Skippy it wasn't Satan!! It was Mephistopheles, who, as it tuns out, is my father!! I called him to make sure I had seen him in and he said, yuppers my boy. Satan had me fill in for him that afternoon. To which I replied, jolly good show pop!

We then did the family small talk thing for a few before he had to go to a big dept meeting with some minor devils and such.
posted by a3matrix at 8:41 AM on September 3, 2004


Ha, I posted this last night in the Bush speech thread!

I think the valuable questions are:

1) No wings in impact hole. They would have snapped off and crumbled, not compress in like the plane was a swiss army knife

2) No debris on the grass

3) Four known recordings of the impact from public sources, confiscated and never revealed to the public

and

4) That a hijacker could possibly fly the jet at that precision; the pull of the ground would be impossible to keep steady.
posted by Peter H at 8:42 AM on September 3, 2004


Donald Rumsfeld, on 12 Oct 2004:
"It is a truth that a terrorist can attack any time, any place, using any technique and it's physically impossible to defend at every time and every place against every conceivable technique. Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filed with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center."
Yah, that's right, he just used the word missile. It's obviously a conspiracy, designed to enrage Americans at Osama Bin Laden, so America will have an excuse to invade Iraq, and trade blood for oil.
posted by mosch at 8:42 AM on September 3, 2004


What exactly does a missile sound like?

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.
posted by the fire you left me at 8:43 AM on September 3, 2004


I love the little "war bonds" sign painted on the roof a building in the lower left of that picture.
posted by etoile at 8:43 AM on September 3, 2004


Climb behind the wheel of Jeff Gordon's Dupont special. At Watkins Glen - that's a pretty curvy track. Hit the pedal to 150 mph.

Thats such a false analogy. First off, you have 6 degrees of movement in a plane, and unless you're about to fly into a mountain, there's no need for sharp turns. Second off, you don't drive a plane like you drive a car. And thirdly, I'd like to see a NASCAR with auto-pilot and redundant, computerized navigation systems.

The hard parts flying a plane are take-off and landing. Once you're in the air, you just point the nose where you want it to go (well its not as simple as that, but anyone who spent time going through TRAINING courses for a 757 could do it pretty easily, I imagine).

posted by SweetJesus at 8:45 AM on September 3, 2004


Damn Italics...
posted by SweetJesus at 8:46 AM on September 3, 2004


2) No debris on the grass


posted by jazzkat11 at 8:47 AM on September 3, 2004


oops! that actually was an image of debris on the ground from the snopes article. A deep link caught red-handed!
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:51 AM on September 3, 2004


C'mon, folks, don't be so naive. We now have the evidence that This Is The New Sh*t.

I just don't know what to believe. I like conspiracies that ally themselves with my political viewpoint...
posted by hoborg at 8:56 AM on September 3, 2004


Is it actually documented anywhere else?

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&q=McCormack-Dickstein+Committee&btnG=Search

gets 91 hits. Some of the 'work' they did was WRT the Butler incident.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:56 AM on September 3, 2004


3) Four known recordings of the impact from public sources, confiscated and never revealed to the public

The sad thing about the current administration is that no amount of public outcry is likely to get them to release this "secret" info. They just don't think that it's necessary and therefore might as well keep it covered up, even if there is nothing to see. I would be less likely to think that they are hiding something if they were willing to be a little more open about this, or any of the other useless crap they feel that we shouldn't see for one reason or another.
posted by milovoo at 8:59 AM on September 3, 2004


jazzkat11 - note there's no burn mark or any damage to the ground around that planted photo-op, not is that piece of metal bent in a way that suggests it fell there. Just sayin...

Nice composition, though.

(on preview -here's the link to the image from jazzkat, which seems to have a no link thing on it http://www.ulrp2.com/rumors/images/debris.jpg)
posted by Peter H at 8:59 AM on September 3, 2004


4) That a hijacker could possibly fly the jet at that precision; the pull of the ground would be impossible to keep steady.

I love how you just toss that out there as if it's a confirmed fact.

First of all, the ground doesn't "pull" you. The vortices rolling off the wings slam into the ground causing "ground effect" that give the plane more lift. So, if anything it pushes you up. Second of all, it would not be impossible to keep steady. It would be tough. lot of the things the hijackers did up to and on Sept. 11th were tough. These were dedicated individuals. They weren't aiming for a specific office, as far as I know. They were aiming for one of the largest office buildings in the world.

757s are not designed to fly that fast that low, but planes are also designed to do things they were never intended to do. And sometimes they do do the impossible.
posted by bondcliff at 9:02 AM on September 3, 2004


not is that piece = nor is that piece
posted by Peter H at 9:02 AM on September 3, 2004


True bondcliff, i made that assertion clumsily. How about a simple "no fucking way a novice with zero jet training could fly that well"

Shit, I couldn't drive Sega Rally without any performance for months and I practiced hard every day! ;)
posted by Peter H at 9:05 AM on September 3, 2004


that planted photo-op

Sure, sure. They had time after the missle impact to go in and position those large fragments around the lawn as a "planted photo op." Nobody would ever see them doing that -- certainly not the few hundred who were injured inside, or the other thousands who work at the Pentagon. Of course, maybe everyone at the Pentagon was in on it -- including those who were killed (perhaps they thought it a worthy cause).

Give me a fucking break. This kind of shit does far greater damage to MetaFilter than every NewsFilter, troll, and double post put together.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:09 AM on September 3, 2004


SweetJesus - the average radar system doesn't work like in the movies. My understanding is that in most instances it does not "paint" the target and get a return - the return is generated from the transponder on board. They wouldn't spot a missile on radar (unless it was an ICBM sized missile in which case skin-paint radar might pick it up).
Also there seems to be some misunderstanding as to exactly how much damage would be done by a 757 crashing into a building with even a small fuel load. This would function much like an F/AE in some respects or like a dust explosion.
And are there really still people who believe Oswald didn't shoot Kennedy? FFS people - do some research...
posted by longbaugh at 9:09 AM on September 3, 2004


How about a simple "no fucking way a novice with zero jet training could fly that well"

First, they had simulated jet training (at least in terms of flying, if not taking off or landing). Second, I would submit that hitting the narrow WTC towers is far more difficult than pointing a plane at a ground target as wide and deep as the Pentagon.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:13 AM on September 3, 2004


Is there any other instance of a plane hitting a building or crashing in an even remotely similar fashion? Acting like you know how this should look when it's pretty much the first time anything like this ever happened seems like a bit of a stretch.

I hope when the aliens do finally come to visit they're short, pale and have huge heads with big black eyes, otherwise we'll never hear the end of people yelping, "It's a hoax! That's not what aliens look like!"
posted by Cyrano at 9:21 AM on September 3, 2004


Wow pardonyou, ha. I'm just speculating but you're trying for personal insults. tsk.

Photos have always been altered for persuasion; a picture with a superimposed Oswald face holding a rifle on LIFE magazine, etc.

But thanks for playing the patriot game.

Sure, sure. They had time after the missle impact to go in and position those large fragments around the lawn as a "planted photo op." Nobody would ever see them doing that -- certainly not the few hundred who were injured inside, or the other thousands who work at the Pentagon.

Yup, doesn't sound like there was a distraction or anything. Nope.

And truthfully, with Photoshop, you don't even need a physical bit of evidence dropped on the unharmed green grass anyway.
posted by Peter H at 9:23 AM on September 3, 2004


Is there any other instance of a plane hitting a building or crashing in an even remotely similar fashion?

Well, The Man would have us believe that on that very same day two much narrower targets were also hit by 757s flying low and fast, but anyone with half a brain knows that would be impossible for a novice whose only flight training was on MS Flight Sim 2.0.
posted by bondcliff at 9:25 AM on September 3, 2004


[Dialogue extracted from the utterly secret portion of a very secret report issued by a secret investigating commission]
--transcript begins--
Advisor: Sir, another plane just hit the Pentagon.
Pres.: Another 747 full of people?
Advisor: No, sir, a small military jet.
Pres: Oh, crap - the guys from Dick's marketing team just told us that for some sound PR reason all planes must be large passenger planes. Something to do with maximum patriotic effect or something.
Advisor: Well, sir, we still have flight 77 in the air, we can redirect it somewhere and tell the people 77 hit the Pentagon.
Pres: What about the people in 77, won't they talk?
Advisor: Well, some collateral damage is always expected in situations like that.
Pres: Well, I guess we must do we we need to enhance American patriotism in this dangerous times..."
--transcript ends--

In less words, even conspiracies must have a reason to exist.
posted by nkyad at 9:26 AM on September 3, 2004


Peter H, don't dip into Faze's stash without asking.
posted by dhoyt at 9:26 AM on September 3, 2004


just cut and paste http://www.ulrp2.com/rumors/images/debris.jpg
posted by Peter H at 9:26 AM on September 3, 2004


Ha - dhoyt, ya got me! (wishes could be high at job, however fears the mental effect of Faze's dope)

Anyway, dhoyt does make a good point. I'm sounding very tinfoil here. (sorry) So, for a disclaimer - I don't actually believe either side, am merely offering ideas for sake of debate.

Interesting arguments, though.
posted by Peter H at 9:30 AM on September 3, 2004


I reiterate - you guys actually think we're getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this?
posted by kgasmart at 9:44 AM on September 3, 2004


the average radar system doesn't work like in the movies. My understanding is that in most instances it does not "paint" the target and get a return - the return is generated from the transponder on board. They wouldn't spot a missile on radar (unless it was an ICBM sized missile in which case skin-paint radar might pick it up).

That's an IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) signal, not a radar signal. You can't really hide from radar, its microwave pulses. Anything in the sky bigger than a bicycle, and man made, will generate a radar-cross section. The idea that you can flip a switch and disappear from radar is not true. Modern Phased-array radars could easily track an incoming missile from miles away. It doesn't have to be the size of an ICBM, it could be much smaller.

I'd really like to talk about this more, and give you actual numbers to back up my assertions, but I'm nervous dealing with specifics because a lot of the information I have is classified.
posted by SweetJesus at 10:26 AM on September 3, 2004


I reiterate - you guys actually think we're getting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth on this?

If by "on this" you mean whether American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, then yes. Absolutely.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:41 AM on September 3, 2004


Were the two towers "pulled"?
It seems that at least WTC7 was.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:41 AM on September 3, 2004


I just find it a little strange they never released the video of it.

but sadly even terrorists can get lucky... like flying a plane at 500 miles an hour 3 feet above the ground.

I've seen other pictures and you can see where the wings entered the building, they are very close to the ground and hard to see, but they are there.

All of the plane debris would be hidden within the building itself.

Also the color of the explosion is pretty much the same as the towers explosions. A missle would almost certainly be different as an explosive warhead would probably be different then jet fuel.

But this could easily be put to rest by the yet unreleased video footage.
posted by andryeevna at 10:46 AM on September 3, 2004


The Pentagon Building Performance Report

I think I probably have posted this before in yet another conspiracy thread, but here it is again anyway. It's somewhat technical, but if you want to fire away with any questions about it, I'll try to answer them.

One important point to note from the executive summary; this was a damn tough building. In fact, they make the point of recommending that certain features of the Pentagon's design be incorporated into other structures that require resistance to progressive collapse.
posted by pitchblende at 10:47 AM on September 3, 2004


sonofsamiam - this link is truly excellent. thank you.

I'm nervous dealing with specifics because a lot of the information I have is classified.

Ha, same goes for me!
posted by Peter H at 10:55 AM on September 3, 2004


SweetJesus, Howstuffworks indicates that the GCI radars work by painting the aircraft and then receiving the transponder signal (which is how I have always understood it). To my knowledge, military radars (including phased array) are an entirely different matter and do use skin-painting. If you can provide links or evidence to the contrary without breaking the law I'd appreciate it.
posted by longbaugh at 11:03 AM on September 3, 2004


sonofsamian's link should be a FPP
posted by Peter H at 11:08 AM on September 3, 2004


I dunno, that lawn looks pretty pristine for one that had a 757 land on it, slide for quite a while and then hit the building. There should at least be long digs from the engine pods, which project some dozen feet or so below the bottom of the main hull. There is nothing there.

Photoshopped out, maybe? I went and found stills of those images in other places. I'm a Photoshop retouching expert of more than 10 years experience. I see no evidence of Photoshopping. (Doesn't mean it's not there, of course - Photoshop can be used with skill that will fool even experts.)

Also, those cable reels are clearly visible close to the hole in the building in the "right after the crash" photo; why did the "sliding" airplane not sweep them along with it?

Also, while the wings are indeed relatively fragile, the engines are not - they weigh several tons each and are made largely of titanium. Where are the holes they punched through the walls, as they certainly would?

Also, in response to an above poster's thought that the fuel-laden wings would act similar to a Fuel-Air Explosive munition, that is simply untrue. FAE's operate on a principle of first vaporizing a fuel into a large-volume cloud of minute vapor particles, then igniting it to cause a tremendously powerful explosion - similar to what happens sometimes in an empty grail silo or elevator, where fine flour or dust ignites with immense rapidity and explodes its container. Jet fuel does not vaporize under the conditions of a plane crash any more than gasoline vaporizes under conditions of a car crash. kerosene, like gasoline, is not particularly volatile until it's vaporized - the story about how you can put a match out in a cup of gas is true (although kero will usually light).

What would happen is that the fuel tanks would rupture and splatter fuel all over the front of the building like a Molotov Cocktail, splashing burning kerosene all over the place. That process would happen pretty much as soon as the engines hit the ground and sheared off - which means a sliding airplane will trail burning fuel behind it. Remember the planes were supposed to have had their max fuel load on takeoff, and the FAA number would make the plane a 5,300 gallon Molotov Cocktail - about as much as you'd see in one of those standard 20' 5,000 gallon fuel trucks that deliver your home heating oil. That's a big firebomb, which the photos don't seem to reflect.

This does raise questions in my mind as to exactly what happened, because the accounts of a plane hitting the ground and sliding along before hitting the building are clearly inaccurate. I'd like to see those confiscated videotapes, too, but that wont' happen.

I'm going to talk to some engineer and architect friends of mine, and see if we can figure out to within a reasonable margin what the real kinetic energy of the aircraft vs. the construction wall, given the official estimates, should have been, and whether the plane should have totally demolished that side of the building or not. I'm also going to attempt a bit of photoanalysis of the 5-frame film which shows the plane in frame 1, to see how big the object shown actually is by using the Pentagon's architectural specs to triangulate the size of each pixel.

Will be a fun exercise for me if nothing else. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 11:14 AM on September 3, 2004


Were the two towers "pulled"?
For fuck's sake, that's even stupider.

You've never worked an explosive demolition, have you?

Step 1: Remove *all* the material around the first couple of floors, so you can get to the support columns, and nothing is left to accidently support the building when it falls.

Step 2: Sever all but the absolute minimum of columns need to hold the structure up.

Step 3: Very carefully determine the order the remaining columns need to fall, and how much explosive you need to sever them without throwing them around (which might cause the building to cant while it falls.) You have to do this after you expose the columns, because you can't trust the plans. Plans lie. You need to see steel.

Step 4: Very carefully rig the remaining columns with explosives.

Step 5: Very carefully tie those explosives together to enable them to fire at just right time to enable the progressive collapse.

Step 6: Fire them.

Chances of doing this in one week? Almost none. In one to two hours, Nil.

Furthermore. Watch the collapse. The bottom of the building doesn't fall -- the top falls into it. It's very clear that the building is collapsing from the top down.

So, do all of the above steps -- right underneath a raging fire.

This means that FDNY manager to acquire enough people, knowledge, and explosives to drop three buildings -- two of them amongst the tallest in the world -- straight down. They managed to set those explosives in record time, in conditions that were truly hellish.

And, of course, they forgot to tell everyone fighting the fire about this, so hundreds of cops and firefighters and ambulance personell and such were intentionally left to die when the fired the explosives.

And, of course, all those people about, and all those cameras about, didn't notice that they were laying dozens of charges about the building to achieve three perfect collapses.

Bullshit. Rank and utter.
posted by eriko at 11:16 AM on September 3, 2004


eriko, did you read sonofsamiam's link? All your arguments are addressed, particularly planning, PHYSICS, and motive. For argument's sake, that is.
posted by Peter H at 11:22 AM on September 3, 2004


Hey pitchblende, thanks for that link. Lots of great info there.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:24 AM on September 3, 2004


"proof" that commercial radar can see a missle?

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/CRASH/TWA/MISSILE_TRACK/missile.html
posted by nomisxid at 11:27 AM on September 3, 2004


That would be me zoogle - I stated the effect would be "much like the effect of an F/AE or dust explosion" (i.e. massive overpressure etc.) which may have hastened the demise of the towers (I apologise for my inaccuracy as it's been a long time since I have watched the events on film so I couldn't testify to secondaries or anything of that nature).
I do actually have some working out at home for the approximate equivalent tonnage of TNT of the 757 impact + fuel load - if I can find it when I get home I will put it up.
posted by longbaugh at 11:29 AM on September 3, 2004


Well, The Man would have us believe that on that very same day two much narrower targets were also hit by 757s flying low and fast...

Honestly, I think it was probably easier to hit the towers since they didn't have to account for coming in too low and hitting the ground (and didn't the second plane have to come in at a hard turn and it still managed to catch a good chuck of the corner of the second tower? Not really something totally unskilled pilot could do.) Just keep the towers in the middle of your window and you've got a good chance of hitting what you want to hit. It's not like 20 floors up or down is going to make a difference.

Anyone with half a brain knows that would be impossible for a novice whose only flight training was on MS Flight Sim 2.0.

Impossible? So I didn't see the video over and over and over of the two planes hitting the towers? Seems like they managed to make it possible somehow.

Did you read sonofsamiam's link? All your arguments are addressed, particularly planning, PHYSICS, and motive.

Counterpoint. (And who is Geronimo Jones? Because everything on that link, including the images, was pulled from another conspiracy site that popped up right after 9/11. I think it might even have been linked here.)
posted by Cyrano at 11:37 AM on September 3, 2004


sonofsamian's link should be a FPP

Yes, we don't have nearly enough nutjob conspiracy posts.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:43 AM on September 3, 2004


So what happened to the 757, then?

If it crashed "somewhere else", where is that "somewhere else"?
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:46 AM on September 3, 2004


eriko, did you read sonofsamiam's link? All your arguments are addressed, particularly planning, PHYSICS, and motive. For argument's sake, that is.

One thing I noticed about the post in sonofsamiam's link: At first glance, Silverstein's talk of making the decision to "pull it" seems pretty convincing, but I'm not sure that's what he's was really talking about. They're not discussing "pulling" the building. They're talking about "pulling" the fire department. "We've had such terrible loss of life" in the fire department, and they're not going to contain the fire, "maybe the smart thing to do is pull it. They made that decision to pull [out] and then we watched the building collapse." (annotation mine)

Why would the "terrible loss of life" necessitate destroying the building?
posted by jpoulos at 12:02 PM on September 3, 2004


It's time for the air traffic controllers to write a book. It must have been a confusing, panicking, terrifying few hours. The extended quote above is quite chilling.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:12 PM on September 3, 2004


some more videos and stuff...
Please note, I have no opinion, since I'm not knowledgeable at all in any related field. If only the terrorists had used the lambda calculus in some capacity...
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:31 PM on September 3, 2004


Uh, they'd know that their relative was dead?

No, they certainly wouldn't "know" that.

They'd know that they haven't seen their family members since September 11, 2001, and that their flight didn't land in L.A. as scheduled.

This, on the other hand, they would know, but neither point really addresses the conspiracy theory presented in the video (since it refrains from even trying to explain the "missing plane.")
posted by rushmc at 12:32 PM on September 3, 2004


eriko, did you read sonofsamiam's link?

I did. It fails to explain the collapse.

Go watch the film. In explosive demos, the entire structure lifts, then falls. The key here -- the entire building is in motion.

This is not what happens to 1 & 2 WTC. The section above the impact level goes into motion, and falls into the lower section. The floor it hits can't support it, it fails, and the whole mass falls into the floor below, and so forth.

The site claims that a ground level explosion drops the towers. Then why didn't they lift?

Right there is enough disproof of the theory. The only way the observed fall could have been caused would be by placing the explosives at or just below the fire level.

Who hauled those up the stairs? Who set them them. Where did they get the explosives required? How did they gain access to the columns on an undamaged floor.

Finally, how did they accomplish all that of that between the time of impact and time of collapse?

Other facts. His temp calculations are bogus. The fire was burning near 1300F, not 650F. The entire floor was on fire. They found melted aluminum -- meaning the fire was hot enough to melt it.

Secondly -- the tower columns were not insulated with asbestos. There was quite a flap about that, with an insulation contractor claiming that if they had been, rather than a less effective replacement, the towers would have survived.

Thirdly -- the amount of kinetic energy of 30 floors of the WTC falling is more than enough to kick out that material to that extent. Indeed, it's hard to imagine an explosive that would knock out large chunks and push them that far out to the side -- those chunks would have shattered under a detonation.

Fourthly -- that plume of dust is simple. You're squeezing a tremendous amount of air as the building collapses. Buildings are, after all, mostly air. That air gets pushed out the intake vents and basement access passages at ground level (or under, see all the sidewalk grates near large buildings.)

That's not an explosive plume. It's too slow, and it's the wrong shape, and if it is supposed to be knocking down 2WTC, they screwed up badly. The center of that explosion is a good 200 feet from the base of the tower. (The tower is 1400 feet high -- it makes a decent ruler.) 200 feet away, that dinky little plume knocked over the tower?

If it was strong enough to drop 2 WTC from that distance, why wasn't 1 WTC affected at all? Ditto the buildings that are even closer?

Remember. Somebody detonated a truck bomb, filled with high explosives, in the basement of the WTC, and the tower did not fall. Now, they're supposed to magically knock over the tower from two hundred feet away?

And then, of course, they'll fire two more shots -- to fall 1WTC and 7WTC. Nobody there notices this.

Bullshit. It's wrong. Several of his core "facts" are completely false. The temp calculations are lovely -- and don't explain the melted aluminum, or the heat distorted steel.

What killed 1 & 2 WTC. Progressive collapse, caused by impact damage to several columns, followed by fire related weakening of the remaining columns. Note that 2WTC, hit last, but lower, fell first -- there was more mass over the damage, thus, the weakening didn't have to progress nearly as far before the collapse began.
posted by eriko at 1:02 PM on September 3, 2004


Honestly, I think it was probably easier to hit the towers since they didn't have to account for coming in too low and hitting the ground
My brother took flight lessons. He was doing "touch and goes" the first day.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:23 PM on September 3, 2004


Add, he didn't have a car liscense yet.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:40 PM on September 3, 2004


He was doing "touch and goes" the first day.

Which requires at least the basic ability to fly straight and line up with a narrow stationary object, thus my assumption.
posted by Cyrano at 1:43 PM on September 3, 2004


SweetJesus, Howstuffworks indicates that the GCI radars work by painting the aircraft and then receiving the transponder signal (which is how I have always understood it). To my knowledge, military radars (including phased array) are an entirely different matter and do use skin-painting. If you can provide links or evidence to the contrary without breaking the law I'd appreciate it.

I'll try and do my best. The flight transponders transfer back information about the plane to ground-based FAA radar, but this nearly a convience for the radar operators, as the radar system will know what the object is, because the object specifically tells it what it is. If you were to turn off the transponder, you would not disappear from the radar screen, you'd just be an unidentified track.

Above I described this as IFF, and in a general sense it is (In a more specific sense, IFF is more complex, and more secure, and I can't really talk about it :-), just a commercial version instead of a military one.

I'll admit I don't know as much about civilian FAA radar as I do about their military counterparts, but from what I understand, radar is radar is radar (Again, not specifically. There are big differences between what modern radars can do, and what their older brothers can). I don't know the positions of US radar installations off the top of my head, but I'm going to bet there is at least one in Maryland that would have been modern enough to catch missile tracks in Pennsylvania.

And you're also right about Phased Array radars being a different animal than the FAA radars. I'm pretty sure that FFA radars are continuous wave radars, meaning they mechanically rotate around sending out a constant radio signal. The transmission is continuous, so, except in systems with very low power, the receiver cannot use the same antenna as the transmitter because the radar emissions would interfere with the echoes that the receiver detects. CW systems can distinguish between stationary clutter, things such a rain, snow or electronic interference, and moving targets by analyzing the Doppler shift of the signals. Phased array radars, on the other hand, are are like hundreds of tiny antennas, each going in a different direction. The system combines the signals gathered from all the small antennas. The receiver can change the way it combines the signals from the antennas to change the direction of the beam. A huge phased-array radar antenna can change its beam direction electronically many times faster than any mechanical radar system can.

So yes, its debatable wether or not a missile would show up on FAA radar. It would depend on the time of day, weather conditions, distance, clutter, which band the radar is using (Big difference between Ka band and S band, and all the bands in-between), how long it takes the CW radar to make a full rotation, the degree of experience of the radar operator to know that this particular blip is a missile, I could go on...

This post has gotten too long, but the main point I wanted to make was not that a missile WOULD be tracked automatically and WOULD show up on radar, but that radar and transponders really have nothing to do with each other. And just because a missile doesn't have a civilian transponder turned on doesn't mean it will disappear from the radar screen. There's no switch you can flp, and disappear of the radar screen.

But I'd like to think that with all the radar installations around the country, at least one is a modern phased array radar close enough to detect an incoming missile (Epically since Pennsylvania is on the east coast.) If not, what the fuck do we pay NORAD for, right?
posted by SweetJesus at 2:09 PM on September 3, 2004


You fools! Everybody knows Flight 77 was diverted to Area 51! The passengers are now being turned into hideous alien/human hybrids, as part of an alien conspiracy to colonize the Earth! The Pentagon attack was a clever distraction! WE"RE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS NOW PEOPLE! WHITE IS BLACK AND BLACK IS WHITE!
posted by keswick at 2:20 PM on September 3, 2004


This, on the other hand, they would know, but neither point really addresses the conspiracy theory presented in the video (since it refrains from even trying to explain the "missing plane.")

1) Families of the victims know their relatives bought tickets to AmAirlines Flight 77 which "disappeared" on the morning Sept 11th

2) Said plane turned around and headed toward Washington DC in mid-flight, according to control tower data

3) A crash occurred at the Pentagon in Washington DC, and Flight 77's black boxes were recovered, verifying the plane's identity


If family members still need help figuring out what happened to their relatives after three years, well--what else can you tell them?
posted by dhoyt at 2:21 PM on September 3, 2004


Ok. Commercial Aircraft Search Radar.

The basic is skin-paint -- the airport radar send out a beam, it hits the skin, and bounces back. In addition to that, you can have a transponder on board. There are two types, Mode A and Mode C. Mode A sends back a given code (four octal digits.) Mode C sends back that, plus altitude info. All commercial airlines carry Mode C transponders. (There's also an ident function, which sends a "I'm here" -- controllers use it when they aren't getting normal transponder info. They ask you to ident -- you hit a button on your transponder control, which sends a signal back to the airport, and the radar highlights your aircraft on the radar. Very handy when things are busy. I digress)

Note that airport radars are designed to pick up things that are very radar reflective and don't move faster than sound. They aren't build to pick up small, low flying supersonic objects without transponders.

Airport area-radars are usually some distance from the terminal. They're fairly obvious -- they'll have a rotating oblate dish with a rectangular plane antenna on top. The dish acts as the focuser for the transmit of the search beam and the reception of the skin return. The planar array picks up the transponder information.

This is completely different than NORAD air search radars -- but they're concentrated on the coasts, facing outwards, to spot incoming threats. The hijacked planes on 9-11 took off from the US. Most of the big antennas would have been pointed in the wrong direction.
posted by eriko at 2:25 PM on September 3, 2004


Hmm...touch and goes with a single engined light aircraft compared with a big jet engined airplane? No correlation. I've actually flown a full blown 747 simulator for a very short while and believe me these things are not easy to fly at all.

It's not just a matter of pointing the thing the right way, it's also a question of maintaining the right engine speed on multiple engines, whilst maintaining attitude, altitude, bearing, and lots of other bits and bobs. And all at 3 feet high? Riiiiight!!!!

And as for using auto pilot. Hah. That's somewhat fanciful....
posted by Duug at 2:46 PM on September 3, 2004


You know, perhaps it's just because I don't know what to look for, but all these "hey look, here is a picture that proves the WTC was demolished by explosives" photographs don't say that to me. Very tinfoil hatish. eriko echoes my objections and I have another one. Why go through the complexity of rigging charges (and most of the documentaries I've seen on demolitions seem to indicate that it is a process that can't be done in secret easily) on top of the airplane impacts? Why go overboard when the scale of the impacts were terrible enough on their own without the colapse?

The Pentagon conspiracy theories also don't take into account the fact that the Pentagon is a HUGE relic of a WWII military philosophy that came after the Battle of Britian and Pearl Harbor proved the viability of long-distance air raids. In contrast to the post-war commercial efficiency of the WTC led to it being built from minimal steel and glass. (A stingyness that probably contributed to the disaster, many lives could have been saved if the structural support core had been clad in something more durable than sheetrock.) The Pentagon was designed around the possibility that it might be bombed. The WTC was designed around the probability that if the soviets did bomb New York, no ammount of structural armor would make a difference.

Much of the Pentagon conspiracy theory is based on the assumption that the Pentagon as a lower, larger and perhaps most importantly armored building would demonstrate the same patterns of damage as a taller and smaller building desinged around efficient use of construction resources.

Duug: However, the attacks don't seem to be very precise. From what we know, they managed one good hit out of four attempts. One direct hit, one off-center hit, and one miss that bounced into, (and something that people don't take into account in this discussion) one of the largest single office buildings on the planet.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:07 PM on September 3, 2004


The secrecy surrounding video about the Pentagon is entirely understandable given that quite a bit of military intelligence is still living in the cold war. Is it evidence of a coverup? Certainly, but probably not a coverup that a missile rather than a 757 caused the damage. Instead, the likely fear was that the crash might reveal key details of a key military installation.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:15 PM on September 3, 2004


I just want to say I'm going to remember what I saw in this thread the next time I'm reading a mefi thread full of people who are passionately convinced they know what's what about domestic politics, international relations, or body fat.
posted by jfuller at 4:00 PM on September 3, 2004


Note that airport radars are designed to pick up things that are very radar reflective and don't move faster than sound. They aren't build to pick up small, low flying supersonic objects without transponders.

Yes, they're not designed to pick-up missile tracks, but that doesn't mean they can't. Depending on what type of missile we're talking about, and the firing distance, civilian radar could pick it up. Now, if they had a guy with a sholder-mounted Stinger missile waiting in the middle of the Pennsylvania woods, than yeah, you're probably not going to pick it up on radar before it hits the plane. But to say FAA radar will never pick up on a missile track is incorrect.

There are about 9 FFA radars within range - Islip, JFK, Newark NJ, White Plains NY, Stewart's Field NY, Riverhead NY, Trevose PA, North Truro MA and Cummington MA. There are also three non-FAA, non-military radars within range - Sikorsky Aircraft, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, both in Boston and New York. And I'd also imagine Canada has a few military radar stations that would be able to pick up incoming missile tracks.

I'm not saying that a missile hit any of the planes, or other tin-foil hat theories (There are farrrrrrrrrr too many people who deal with this shit for there to be THAT effective of a cover-up), but it is absolutely conceivable that a missile could be detected by FAA CW radar.

This is completely different than NORAD air search radars -- but they're concentrated on the coasts, facing outwards, to spot incoming threats. The hijacked planes on 9-11 took off from the US. Most of the big antennas would have been pointed in the wrong direction.

Well, that NORAD quip was supposed to be a joke... NORAD searches for incoming high-speed, high-altitide aircraft, and ICBMs.
posted by SweetJesus at 4:34 PM on September 3, 2004


Perhaps I'm thinking about it too much, but what kind of horizontally-launched ordinance goes through at least 6 layers of reinforced concrete, is invisible to observers in an urban area, and has a blast pattern that starts big and tapers off with depth?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:47 PM on September 3, 2004


Rushmc, it's a piss-poor conspiracy theory if it doesn't explain the disappearance of a 757 and a whole bunch of people, including the spouse of a high-ranking government official.

Given that Barbara Olsen's phone call from the plane which said things like "We're over Washington now" was broadcast on the TV, radio, etc., it does seem like that would take some explaining. Where was Olsen, if not over Washington? What happened to her after the phone call? How did they get the phone call to coincide with the missile?
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:14 PM on September 3, 2004


i've got the answer ... it was all done in a southern california tv studio ... just like the so-called moon landings ... if you go to new york, you'll see that the wtc is STILL THERE ... oh, yeah, you'll hear people from nyc claim it's not ... but they're being paid to say that ... all 8 million of them

didn't anyone see the strings on those aircraft? ... keep looking ... you can't miss them ... ed wood is smiling somewhere in heaven ...

anyone who attempts to prove me wrong is obviously part of the conspiracy
posted by pyramid termite at 5:54 PM on September 3, 2004


Rushmc, it's a piss-poor conspiracy theory if it doesn't explain the disappearance of a 757 and a whole bunch of people

An unpersuasive one, certainly, but it is certainly possible to imagine that they are asking questions to which they, themselves, do not know the answers.
posted by rushmc at 7:21 PM on September 3, 2004


Occam's Razor, however, suggests that the most parsimonious explanation for a) eyewitnesses seeing a plane crashing into the Pentagon; b) passengers on a specific plane saying that they were coming in too low over Washington; c) those passengers, and that plane, disappearing forever; d) big fiery crash of something into the Pentagon is, you know, that the plane crashed into the Pentagon.

And I thought that everyone was pretty clear that they weren't aiming for the Pentagon--they were aiming for the White House or the Capitol. It would be pretty hard to bring a 757 into the airspace over Washington and not hit some government building.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:34 PM on September 3, 2004


Perhaps I'm thinking about it too much, but what kind of horizontally-launched ordinance goes through at least 6 layers of reinforced concrete, is invisible to observers in an urban area, and has a blast pattern that starts big and tapers off with depth?

A cruise missile is about the only thing I can thing of. Which can really only be launched by a ship, airplane or submarine. Which would mean...

What happened to her after the phone call? How did they get the phone call to coincide with the missile?

Also...

Who has the capability to "disappear" a 757 full of passengers an crew? What then was being tracked by air traffic control on the same flight path as the flight in question? The one that veered off its original flight path? The one that was tracked all the way to DC?

No matter how much some folks might try to disparage the flying skills of the 9/11 hijackers, it is undeniable that at least two pilots managed to get their planes all the way to where they wanted to go and hit what they planned to hit. So why is it so hard to believe that a third pilot might have been able to do the same?
posted by Cyrano at 7:39 PM on September 3, 2004


the massive spike in short selling and put options

Eggs freakin zackly!

Why hasn't this been discussed in depth? From what I've heard and read, it is virtually a mathematical impossibility for it to be a result of anything other than inside knowledge.

Who profited from this? Name names. Can't be that hard, can it?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:52 PM on September 3, 2004


Of course, Sidhedevil, and this "theory" falls far, far short of countering all those arguments. But neither does it seem to try to, addressing itself to other issues instead (the state of the lawn, the supposed lack of wreckage, etc.)

And I thought that everyone was pretty clear that they weren't aiming for the Pentagon--they were aiming for the White House or the Capitol.

More speculation. Surely it's impossible to know what the intended targets were without some sort of documentary evidence, which as far as I know hasn't been discovered.
posted by rushmc at 10:41 PM on September 3, 2004


I've got to thank SweetJesus, eriko and my other fellow MeFites (they know who they are) for actually backing up what they've said. It's nice when someone actually presents evidence for an argument and it's always good to learn something new.
One thing that has recently occured to me : Is Conspiracy Throry the new religion that secularists are allowed to believe in? I'm seeing a whole heck of a lot of respectable intellects giving these ideas far too much of their time.
posted by longbaugh at 10:58 AM on September 4, 2004


Donald Rumsfeld, on 12 Oct 2004:

mosch, do you know something the rest of us don't?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 1:36 PM on September 5, 2004


What, you don't have access to the TimeCube, Ishmael?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:48 PM on September 5, 2004


This post sucks ass, banished.

And the asshats who made that Flash should be shish kabobbed for the disrespect they are showing, not only to the people who died that day, but to those who lost their loved ones (including a coworker of mine who lost his wife).
posted by terrapin at 4:23 PM on September 5, 2004


great movie.

Just like the idiots who believe the Moon landings were faked, no amount of proof or quotes from offical reports will make these conspiricy theorists see anything other than what they want to see.

i would believe the video from the hotel or the pictures from the gas station, if they were good enough.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:17 PM on September 7, 2004


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