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1 Flights of Fancy Who knew what when between 8:14 and 10:03 AM on September 11?

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Presentation on theme: "1 Flights of Fancy Who knew what when between 8:14 and 10:03 AM on September 11?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Flights of Fancy Who knew what when between 8:14 and 10:03 AM on September 11?

2 2 Understanding what should have happened The flights -- destinations and times The players -- civilian and military The protocols -- emergency vs. hijack

3 3 Flight Crashes American Airlines 11 North Tower 1 United Airlines 175 South Tower 2 American Airlines 77 Pentagon United Airlines 93 ? (Pennsylvania)

4 4 Flight Paths per 9/11 Commission 11: Boston -> LA 175: Boston -> LA 77: DC -> LA 93: Newark -> SF

5 5 Flight Times per 9/11 Commission AA 11 7:59 8:14 8:46:40 UA 175 8:14 8:42+ 9:03:11 AA 77 8:20 8:51 9:37:46 UA 93 8:42 9:28 10:03:11 Flight Takeoff Takeover Crash

6 6 The Civilian Side: Federal Aviation Administration Boston Air Traffic Control Center....Boston Herndon Command Center Herndon VA (DC area) FAA Headquarters DC

7 7 The Civilian Side: FAA Regions

8 8 The Military Side NORAD North Amer. Aerospace Defense Cmd (Colorado Springs, CO) – NEADS Northeast Air Defense Sector (Rome, NY) NMCC National Military Command Center (Pentagon)

9 9 The Military Side: NEADS

10 10 Standard Operating Procedure “in-Flight Emergency” Criteria Failure to respond to radio trans- mission or obey a repeated ATC order Loss of radio contact Loss of transponder transmission Course deviation (15deg or 2mi)

11 11 Standard Operating Procedure Emergency Protocol: fast 1.ATC controller notifies superior 2.Superior notifies NORAD (NEADS) 3.NEADS launches fighters

12 12 Emergency Interception Launch within minutes In open hangar at end of runway Flight crews within a few minutes (“jump out of shower unrinsed”) Planes kept mechanically fit and warmed up to start Fly to target at top speed Pull alongside, assess, communicate -- Robin Hordon, former ATC, p.39

13 13 Emergency Interception Speed to airborne NORAD -- command/control break-down caused 5 min instead of 2-3 mins (2000 press release) Otis AFB -- 24hr/day, airborne in 5 mins (Cape Cod Times, 9/15) USAF -- F15’s scramble to 29K in 2.5 mins (website prior to 9/11) Florida ANG --“If needed, we could be killing things in five minutes or less” (AF web: Capt. Tom Herring, full-time alert pilot)AF web

14 14 Emergency Interception Speed to airborne: 9/11 Scoggins: asked Otis and NEADS several times why no launch yet (seemed an eternity) Otis pilots sitting in jets “straining at the reins” for 6 mins

15 15 Emergency Interception Quality Most important elements: speed, efficiency, timeliness of launch and interception Years of practice, experience Pilots, mechanics, aircraft, airport configurations and NORAD/FAA radar procedures honed to save time in seconds -- Robin Hordon, former ATC, p.19

16 16 Emergency Interception Permission Requests for military assistance should be made and approved in the following ways: Immediate Response. Requests for an immediate response (i.e., any form of immediate action taken by a DoD Component or military commander to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate great property damage under imminently serious conditions) may be made to any Component or Command. The DoD Components that receive verbal requests from civil authorities for support in an exigent emergency may initiate informal planning and, if required, immediately respond as authorized in DoD Directive [see next slide] -- DOD Directive /18/97, p.4

17 17 Emergency Interception Permission Imminently serious conditions resulting from any civil emergency or attack may require immediate action by military commanders, or by responsible officials of other DoD Agencies, to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate great property damage. When such conditions exist and time does not permit prior approval from higher headquarters, local military commanders and responsible officials of other DoD Components are authorized by this Directive, subject to any supplemental direction that may be provided by their DoD Component, to take necessary action to respond to requests of civil authorities. All such necessary action is referred to in this Directive as "Immediate Response.” -- DOD Directive /15/93, p.7

18 18 Emergency Interception Permission 3 (See “Hijacking -> Secy of Defense”)

19 19 Emergency Interception Nearby Air Force Bases Andrews AFB 11 mi SE of DC Bolling AFB 3 mi S of US CAPITOL Dover AFB 3 mi SE of Dover, DE Hanscom AFB 17 mi NW of Boston Langley AFB 3 mi N of Hampton, VA McGuire AFB 18 mi SE of Trenton,NJ

20 20 Standard Operating Procedure Hijacking Protocol: slow 1.Harder to establish “hijacking” 2.ATC notifies hijack coordinator at FAA HQ -- directly or thru Herndon 3.FAA HQ notifies NMCC (military) 4.NMCC forwards to Secy of Defense for approval (see next slide) 5.If approved, NMCC notifies NEADS 6.NEADS scrambles fighters 7.Fighters stay behind target, “escort”

21 21 Standard Operating Procedure Hijacking -> Secy of Defense? Did Rumsfeld pull a fast one on 6/1/01 by changing hijacking procedure to require that approval of FAA requests for military assistance go through the Secretary of Defense -- i.e. did NEADS need to get SoD permission (or even NMCC permission)? “The sector commander would have authority to scramble the airplanes.” -- Air War Over America (intro for which was written by NMCC’s Genl. Arnold, yet Arnold implied (testimony) NEADS needed permit)

22 22 Standard Operating Procedure Hijacking -> Secy of Defense? In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will monitor the situation and forward all requests or proposals for DOD military assistance for aircraft piracy (hijacking) to the Secretary of Defense for approval. -- DOD hijacking Directive , 7/31/97, par 4a In the event of a hijacking, the NMCC will be notified by the most expeditious means by the FAA. The NMCC will, with the exception of immediate responses as authorized by reference d [ ], forward requests for DOD assistance to the Secretary of Defense for approval. -- DOD hijacking Directive A, 6/1/01, par 4a

23 23 So... Was it an emergency, or a hijacking?

24 24 What should have happened with Flight 11 8:14 -- order to climb ignored, radio contact apparently lost 8:18-8:20 -- emergency protocol: supervisor contacts NEADS, scramble order given 8:21 -- loss of transponder signal (not vital) 8:25 -- sounds like hijacking (4-11 min after emergency protocol should have started) 8:26 -- interceptors airborne (assume 6 min) 8:39 -- over NYC = 13 mins) 8:46 -- crash (7 min 500mph = 60 miles)

25 25 The three stories and their problems

26 26 Review: Evidence/testimony credibility Story changes Where were you the night of the crime? –I was at the theater. The theater was closed. –Oh, that’s right, I was with my girlfriend. She says she was with her husband. –Oh, yeah, I was home reading the Bible. -- from David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Myth and Reality

27 27 Story # 1 -- September 11 No planes were launched before the Pentagon was hit (9:38) -- JCS Chief Gen. Richard Myers -- NORAD Spokesperson Mike Snyder

28 28 Story # 1 Problem 1: 9/12 Washington Post -- (citing witnesses, authorities & media reports) 8:38 -- FAA notifies NEADS of hijacking #1 8:43 -- FAA notifies NEADS of hijacking #2 8:53 -- Otis jets airborne for NYC (15 mins?) 9: heading E over WVa on radar 9:25 -- FAA notifies NEADS 77 is heading to DC 9:35 -- Langley jets airborne for DC

29 29 Story # 1 Problem 2: 9/14 ”Pentagon sources told CBS’s Bob Orr that contrary to early reports, US Air Force jets did get into the air on Tuesday while the attacks were underway.” -- Dan Rather 8:38 -- FAA notifies military 8:44 -- Otis AFB F-15s scrambled 8:52 -- airborne (still 70 mi 175 crash) 9:30 -- Langley AFB F-16s launched (150 mi) 10:00 -- arrive over DC (5 mi/min?) -- Bob Orr

30 30 Story # 2 -- September 18 NORAD issues timeline which implies FAA notifications were too late.

31 31 Speeds Mach 1 = 761mph ~ 12.7 mi/min Mach.9 = 11.4 mi/min F-15 max –hi altitude = mach 2.5 = 32 mi/min –lo altitude = mach 1.2 = 15 mi/min F-16 max: mach 2 = 25 mi/min

32 32 Story # 2 Timeline Flight FAA->NEADS 8:40 8:43 9:24 n/a Scramble Order 8:46 9:24 Location Otis (MA) Langley (VA) Equip 2 F15s 2 F16s Airborne 8:52 9:30 Distance (mi) * ** Time (.9mach)*** (17) Poss. Arrival (9:09) 9:00 9:42 -- Crash 8:46 9:02 9:37 10:03 * 153 vs 71? ** from DC ***~12mpm

33 33 Story # 2 Problems Contradicts many testimonies by FAA and others Even if true, there still would have been time for interceptions

34 34 Story # 3 -- July 04 according to the 9/11 Commission, based on the finally-released NORAD/FAA tapes Focus on hijack (not emergency) protocol Boston ATC calls Herndon CC Herndon CC calls FAA HQ in DC FAA HQ does NOT call NEADS Boston ATC calls NEADS direct (8:38)

35 35 Story # 3 Problems The FAA Tapes Boston has positions with “hot button to NEADS, each w/dedicated tape channel -- where? Flight 11 tape starts in middle of furniture conversation at 8:26 –normally only record when mike keyed –if that not done, why do the tapes start mid- conversation instead of shift start? Few of these tapes have been made public

36 36 Story # 3 Problems The NORAD Tapes: “authentic history of 9/11” DON’T INCLUDE NMCC -- the military/FAA “focal point” –particularly Marr/Arnold NORAD between its facilities Communication with Secret Service Don’t include higher-ups (JCS Myers, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush)

37 37 Hijacking vs/& Emergency? Sliney: FAA Center reporting a hijacking always calls military, NORAD was called Both in parallel –Hijack: Biggio called FAA Reg.Op.Ctr –Emergency: Scoggins: not my job to call NMCC, I have agreement w/NEADS to call, and I did

38 38 Story #3 Timeline Boston 8:28: Boston calls Herndon 8:32: Herndon calls FAA HQ 8:34: Boston calls FAA Cape Cod 8:38: Boston calls NEADS (see next slide) –NEADS calls Marr, who orders battle stn –Marr calls Arnold (NORAD), Arnold tells Marr to scramble 8:46: Scramble 8:53: F15s in air, no idea of target

39 39 Story # 3 Problems When was NEADS notified? 8:38: Boston calls NEADS (9/11 Comm) 8:34 –Jane Garvey (FAA head) –Boston calls Otis at Cape Cod (911C says only called FAA Cape Cod facility, Scoggins says also Otis) –Otis pilot Tim Duffy: got call “about 8:30,8:35,” gave call to commander Treacy, called NEADS 8:28/29 –NORAD tapes: Scoggins tells NEADS 11 is 35mi N of JFK –Scoggins 1st call: mi north of that (11 500mph) 8:27/28 –Scoggins: Cooper called NEADS before Scoggins arrived

40 40 Story # 3 Problems Otis delay: NEADS can’t find 11 Military scopes older than FAA’s (but system was state of the art) Naspany: “Thousands of blips” (but breakdown into sectors means only a limited number) No transponder –How would military track enemy planes? –Boston provided numerous physical position points 8:43: Naspany orders launch anyway –better to have them in the air –but why not at 8:38?

41 41 Story # 3 Problems Time to target “I just wanted to get there. I was in full- blower all the way.” -- Lt.Col. Tim Duffy, Otis F15 pilot

42 42 Story #3 Timeline Washington 8:54: Indianapolis ATC loses 77, doesn’t know about WTC, thinks 77 crashed, later notifies Herndon 9:20: FAA teleconference set up 9:25: Herndon calls FAA HQ 9:28: Cleveland ATC hears screams on 93 9:32: “ when hears about bomb on 93, tells supervisor, who notifies FAA HQ 9:34: NEADS (on call to FAA HQ) hears that 77 was lost 9:36: Herndon tells Cleveland FAA superiors need to make decision on call to military about 93 9:49: Herndon/FAA HQ waffling about calling military on 93 10:07: NEADS notified of 93 hijack 10:25: Cheney gives Clarke shootdown authorization

43 43 Story # 3 Problems 77 notification 8:25-30: FAA notifies regional centers (incl Indianapolis) of 11’s hijacking 8:46: goes off course for 4 minutes, then transponder lost 8:50: approx time of FAA phone bridge (next slide) 9:20: FBI notified of 77 hijack (says FBI) 9:24: NORAD’s initial claim of notification

44 44 Story # 3 Problems Laura Brown memo, After WTC1, FAA establishes phone bridges: –FAA field facilities DOD –FAA Command Ctr Secret Service –FAA headquarters other government agencies –USAF liaison joins -> NORAD FAA shares real-time info on flights of interest –loss of communication unauth’d course changes –loss of transponder other info Other agencies share their info FAA -> NORAD about 77 –formal = 9:24, but much earlier informally

45 45 Story # 3 Problems 93 notification ??: Gen. Winfield: NMCC heard about 93 transponder loss and heading to DC 9:03+: Arnold: military notified of possible hijack shortly after WTC2 hit 9:16: Military learns of 93 hijack (according to NORAD) 9:20: FAA phone bridge started (911 Commission version, not FAA’s 8:50) 9:34: FAA knew of 77 (911 Commission) 9:34: 93 passenger’s wife tells FBI about hijack 9:35: in Clarke’s White House videoconference (which includes Rumsfeld & Myers) -- Jane Garvey notes 93 potential hijack Above all, military liaisons present at Herndon -- Belger and Sliney (omitted from 9/11 Commission Report)

46 46 Story # 3 Problems Secret Service Arrangement w/FAA to monitor FAA radar (acknowledged by Barbara Riggs, deputy director of SS) Also Cheney: “The Secret service has an arrangement with the FAA. They had open lines after the WTC was...”[stop] 9:30: SS notifies Clarke about errant plane heading towards DC

47 47 Shootdown Story 3 version Cheney issued authorization, but didn’t get the situation room until 10:00 NEADS didn’t learn about 93 until 10:07, so couldn’t have been tracking 93 Cheney notified of 93 at 10:02 Cheney gave authorization 10:10-15

48 48 Shootdown Story 3 problems Cheney was in the situation room before 9:20 (Mineta) Arnold (Air War Over America): tracking 93 even before off course (at 9:36) Myers (9/13): had a fighter close to 93 when it crashed Pilot of an E-3 with 2 F-16s near Pittsburgh ordered to shoot down an airliner North Dakota National Guard General: Secret Service told his F-16s to “protect White House at all costs,” only the crash made this unnecessary

49 49 Shootdown Story 3 problems In situation room, staffer kept providing updates on 93, shootdown decision made and passed to military (Cheney, Rice, Card) Bolton: the military asst kept asking (and getting) shoot-down authority Clarke: received authorization 9:45-55 Marr & Arnold: we had authorization and ND F-16’s would have shot 93 down if continued to DC Winfield (NMCC) had permission to shoot down civilian planes threatening DC, FAA informed of fighters getting “closer and closer...”

50 50 Story # 3 Problems Phantom Flight 11 per 9/11 Commission (via NORAD/FAA tapes) Reasons given for Langley scramble: –NORAD (2001): Flight 77 –General Arnold, (to 911 Comm, 2003): Flight 93 But tapes say “no scramble until after Pentagon” All flights used up, need something else

51 51 Flight 93

52 52 Phone calls mechanism in 2001 Phone contacts tower 1 Electronic handshake (~8sec) If phone moves, when it gets out of range of tower 1, call is handed off to tower 2

53 53 Phone calls Flight 93 parameters Altitude: 34,300 -> 40,700 Speed: ~500 mph

54 54 Phone calls A.K Dewdney experiments Canadian mathematician & computer scientist, Scientific American column Single engine –< 2000’: likely (75%) –2-8000’: unlikely (13%) –> 8000’: very unlikely –20,000’: < 1% getting to ground & tower Double engine –2000’: 95% success 5000’: 44% –6000’: 10% 7000’: 0%

55 55 Phone calls Speed issue Marco Thompson, president of San Diego Telecom Council –Cell phones not designed for planes –Maximum speed of mph

56 56 Phone calls When was tech possible? 7/15/ Demonstration of third generation “pico-cell network” –Plane has base station –Communicates via satellite Commercial availability: 24 months Why a big deal if already possible?

57 57 Phone calls Story changes 2001: 9 cell phone calls from : 5 cell calls (United 93 film) 2006: 2 cell calls (Moussaoui trial) –made at 9:58 after down to 5000’ –earlier ones, essential to details of story, included those with cell-phone caller-ID –35 others made from air phones


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