Hunt the Boeing!
March 4, 2002 10:08 PM   Subscribe

Hunt the Boeing! Yes, it's a conspiracy theory site, but I sure don't see any evidence of a plane in these photographs.
posted by sixdifferentways (25 comments total)
Yeah, I've been wondering about that too. I always thought it was interesting that one such plane could bring down a single WTC tower, yet the fire at the Pentagon didn't seem half as bad. Obviously the Pentagon walls must be super reinforced, and must've absorbed most of the impact, yet the damage wasn't that much.
posted by riffola at 10:20 PM on March 4, 2002

IIRC reports told that the plane HAD indeed hit a recently reinforced area of the Pentagon. Further, that the plane did not hit the building directly, but skidded into the building. But that was reports (again IIRC) from September 11, and they may very well have been revised as the level of information rose.
posted by cx at 10:29 PM on March 4, 2002

The WTC tower is also, well, a tower. If you explode the middle, the top falls down on the bottom. The Pentagon doesn't have near as many floors. Building something close to the ground is much more structurally firm than a tower built into the air.
posted by banished at 10:34 PM on March 4, 2002

Plus, the airplane could have also hit at a vertical angle.
posted by Mach3avelli at 10:58 PM on March 4, 2002

Not to mention, what of the eyewitness accounts of hundreds of people on the freeways and streets near the Penatgon who reported seeing the plane screaming toward the building? Or the phone calls from the people aboard the plane? If there was never really a plane hitting the building, what happened to the unnacounted-for plane flight and the very real people on board? Conspiracy theories tend to leave out important little details like that...
posted by shecky57 at 11:01 PM on March 4, 2002

Much the same collapse scenario occurred at the Pentagon: a superhot jet fuel fire over the course of an hour or so melted the steel causing a physical collapse of the structure. Of course the collapse of the tower was much more dramatic than the collapse of the Pentagon's "D" ring, and most of the surrounding structure remained standing because it was not naked steel, but steel-reinforced concrete.

And the plane hit Wedge One, which by an amazing coincidence was the first of the five 'wedges' to complete a reconstruction program intended to bomb-proof the building in the wake of Oklahoma City and the 1998 embassy bombings. It is believed this bomb-proofing saved countless lives that day. (Interestingly, the "Phoenix Project", the Pentagon renovation, has its own website.)

A somewhat related damage to the Pentagon page, mostly in French, asking some of the same questions but also answering them with eyewitness accounts from e.g. an AP reporter.

Anyway, all you need to know is that these guys are trying to sell a book.
posted by dhartung at 11:21 PM on March 4, 2002

French amateur detectives - who can stand them? Not me.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:52 AM on March 5, 2002

Belgian! ...Belgian!
posted by cx at 2:30 AM on March 5, 2002

The only problem with this conspiracy theory is that, like most of them, it's hearing hoofbeats and looking for zebras. If the third plane didn't crash into the Pentagon, then where did it go? It clearly didn't crash into any other buildings, there are no reports of a Boeing jumbo jet landing at any airport unaccounted for. With the fuel load, the only place that the plane could've gone where it may have been "hidden" is Cuba, and I don't think that's very plausible...
posted by Dreama at 4:10 AM on March 5, 2002

Forget the conspiracy theory... Dig the cool “next” arrows!
posted by jpburns at 5:11 AM on March 5, 2002

Next thing you know, they'll be telling us that Satan was in the smoke billowing from the WTC... what? Oh. Never mind.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 5:45 AM on March 5, 2002

Those are mighty fine arrows, mighty fine arrows indeed.
posted by ph00dz at 5:45 AM on March 5, 2002

Dreama, I have to agree with you. I like my conspiracy theories to suggest a really sinister motive at the end, not go the amateur route of only suggesting "the big lie." Now, if they had concluded that the 'missing' plane is now ferrying prison labor to build that pipeline across the caspian sea'... maybe they would have made it to the pro circuit.
posted by limitedpie at 6:18 AM on March 5, 2002

i don't think the theory holds water either. i'd still like to know where the plane is in those photos...
posted by o2b at 6:31 AM on March 5, 2002

Ahhh, the classic "I'm not an expert at this, but those pictures don't look like what I would expect them to look like!" conspiracy theory.
posted by smackfu at 6:43 AM on March 5, 2002

Aircraft aluminum is pretty soft. Aluminum's melting point is 1220.666 °F, "flame burning jet fuel and air generates an approximate temperature of 3,500 °F". Eye witnesses did say that the plane went into the building at a very steep dive.

nice arrows.
posted by tomplus2 at 7:12 AM on March 5, 2002

That is undoubtedly the most slickly-presented conspiracy theory I have ever seen on the web. Very cool.
posted by Ptrin at 7:23 AM on March 5, 2002

I suppose it's possible the military just shot down the plane over the ocean before it ever got to Virginia. Then again . . . the whole eyewitness accounts thing would kind of blow the theory away.
posted by sixdifferentways at 8:37 AM on March 5, 2002

Can you explain how a Boeing 757-200, weighing nearly 100 tons and travelling at a minimum speed of 250 miles an hour* only damaged the outside of the Pentagon?

Steel rebar reinforced concrete vs. an Aluminum Aircraft. I imagine most of the pentagon's construction is well beyond anything sane. Of course that jet fuel did make a bit of a mess. Lotsa smoke damage. To me it looks about right.

Can you explain how a Boeing 14.9 yards high, 51.7 yards long, with a wingspan of 41.6 yards and a cockpit 3.8 yards high, could crash into just the ground floor of this building?

Just my uneducated opinion here, but the jet hit the ground and slid into the building. When they say it hit the ground floor they did not mean it ONLY hit the ground floor. As for the wing... I've seen test crash footage. When the plane hits the ground, the hollow wings are the 1st thing to disintigrate.

You'll remember that the aircraft only hit the ground floor of the Pentagon's first ring. Can you find debris of a Boeing 757-200 in this photograph?

How long after the crash is this? Wouldn't the melted remains of the plane be carted off shortly after the fires?

Can you explain why the Defence Secretary deemed it necessary to sand over the lawn, which was otherwise undamaged after the attack?

Because all of that water poured on the fires made the ground soggy and vehicle tires would sink into it.

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

back to the hollow wing disintigrating on impact. They're hollow because that's where all the jet fuel is stored.

Can you explain why the County Fire Chief could not tell reporters where the aircraft was?

Because the FBI was still investigating and told them to not comment on it. I'm sure he's not gonna have all the answers mere hours after a national disaster. It's a whole lotta bad stuff to take in.

Can you find the aircraft's point of impact?

What? Through all the smoke and flames and water? No, actually I can't.

just my uneducated guesses in response to their uneducated accusations.
posted by Nauip at 11:12 AM on March 5, 2002

I know people who were THERE when it happened -- people who work at the Pentagon, and at the USAF headquarters nearby. These people are not liars, quite simply. If I didn't have my own senses, and plenty of news coverage to verify my senses, I would believe it on based on my friends' accounts.

Having said that, some conspiracy theorists are just so completely off-base & wacky that it's humorous. These puds are of the humorous variety. And I did enjoy the horizontal scrolling; something different, eh?

dhartung: thanks for the Phoenix link - very cool.
posted by davidmsc at 4:03 AM on March 6, 2002

I always thought it was interesting that one such plane could bring down a single WTC tower, yet the fire at the Pentagon didn't seem half as bad.

I remember reading something about the WTC's unique architecture - where the buildings were essentially held up by their "skins". Maybe it's akin to the serious damage of its exoskeleton that the WTC catastrophe was more dramatic.
posted by SilentSalamander at 6:52 AM on March 6, 2002

1220.666 °F, eh?

posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:40 PM on March 7, 2002


The Devil got you up early today, Stav...

posted by MiguelCardoso at 6:45 PM on March 7, 2002

I remember reading something about the WTC's unique architecture - where the buildings were essentially held up by their "skins". Maybe it's akin to the serious damage of its exoskeleton that the WTC catastrophe was more dramatic.

Yes, you are right. The towers collapsed from a deviation in typical high rise design. Instead of using a "core" rigid element like concrete elevator shafts. The building relied on a series of tightly spaced vertical steel columns that formed the exoskeleton. Instead of the load being transfered to the core of the building, which is typical, it was moved to the skin which provided a lightweight solution to the overall height.

Since reinforced concrete is unbearably heavy, even its great compaction ratio would not have withstood the compression generated by 110 stories. In order to make concrete work, the walls of the core would have been too thick at the base to provide useable space. So, the architect and structural engineer took cues from nature (ants...etc) that allow a massive weight to pass over the skin instead of the core. It was ingenius.

As for the pentagon, everything looks to be right. Concrete does not structurally disentegrate at temperatures generated by the jet fuel. It would be like throwing a soda can motave cocktail at 250 mph into a street curb. Which do you think would sustain damage?
posted by Benway at 9:46 PM on March 7, 2002

I am frankly floored that there is any doubt in anybody's mind about this one. The secretary who sits outside my door as I write was on her way into work (heading toward D.C. on 395, for those of you who know the area) when the plane passed over her head so closely, and with such a deafening roar, that she looked up and saw it hit the Pentagon. She was a wreck for weeks. In fact, my whole firm was a wreck for weeks -- one of our partners was on that plane, and at least two others would have been if they had not switched to a different flight at the last minute. I don't think people could be so flip if they had looked at her husband's anguished face throughout the entire memorial service, as I did.
posted by IPLawyer at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2002

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