"Take the claim that a plane did not hit the Pentagon, which has been doing the rounds since the French journalist Thierry Meyssan published 9/11: The Big Lie in 2002. "Just look at the news footage," says Shayler. "You won't see any plane debris on the Pentagon lawn." ... "The only explanation is that they were missiles surrounded by holograms made to look like planes," he says. "Watch the footage frame by frame and you will see a cigar-shaped missile hitting the World Trade Center." He must notice that my jaw has dropped. "I know it sounds weird, but this is what I believe." ... This cluttered house [is] the hub of the British and Irish 9/11 Truth Campaign."
September 11, 2006, The New Statesman, 'Meet the No Planers'. Prominent 9/11 truther David Shayler, sitting next to his wife, fellow MI5 "whistleblower" Annie Machon. Soon after, Shayler became a transvestite named "Delores", claimed the world was going to end in 2012, and came to believe he was the new messiah. Crazy people or... something more deliberate going on here? See all no-planer biographies.
"Even though Hanjour showed a federal pilot's license and a log book cataloging 600 hours of flying experience, chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard declined to rent him a plane without more lessons. ... Despite Hanjour's poor reviews, he did have some ability as a pilot, said Bernard of Freeway Airport. "There's no doubt in my mind that once that [hijacked jet] got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it," he said."
September 23, 2001, Newsday, 'Tracing Trail Of Hijackers'. Hani Hanjour was the pilot of Flight 77, which flew into the Pentagon.
"Hanjour was able to obtain his private pilot’s license. Several more months of training yielded him a commercial pilot certificate, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April 1999. ... In early 2001, he started training on a Boeing 737 simulator at Pan Am International Flight Academy in Mesa. An instructor there found his work well below standard and discouraged him from continuing. Again, Hanjour persevered; he completed the initial training by the end of March 2001."
2004, 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 226-227.
"Oeh! Oh! Collapse right now. As you can see. I assume you're are taking our picture. I don't have a monitor. But right now we have the E-ring of the Pentagon collapse from the amount of fire and destruction."
David Statter for CBS news, 10:14 a.m., 37 minutes after impact. Quite a different collapse than the WTC, apart from a dust cloud forming. Nobody is talking about bombs or explosions and people standing close by hardly even look up. On footage one can actually see the collapsed area leaning against a wall until the roof snaps and rapidly slides down.
This article has been written in response to the many claims that Flight 77, a Boeing 757-223, could not have hit the Pentagon. These days, anyone who has heard of skepticism surrounding the 9/11 events, has come across the no-757 theory. As bizarre as this may sound, at first glance it does indeed look as if the hole created by the airplane is a bit on the small side. In fact, to give a first hint, even some witnesses who described seeing a large airliner crash into the Pentagon mentioned this to the press. We'll get to explaining this aspect, but trust for now that there is no discrepancy here.
Now, combine the assumption that the hole is too small with the fact with literally countless genuinely unexplained aspects of 9/11 haven't been investigated, and it's only a matter of time before conspiracy theories on this aspect begin to arise.
Keep in mind that, like quantum theory, I have nothing against the term conspiracy theory. The problem is that conspiracy theorists usually do not have the power to subpoena their suspects, and therefore it's often a bit hard to get past the theory phase. Despite that, the CIA's past involvement in the world cocaine and heroin trade to fund black operations is pretty much proven fact, just as its involvement in Gladio-organized "communosocialist" terrorism in Europe. Instead of the newest conspiracy theory, the hijackers' ties to apparent cocaine importer Wally Hilliard and leading Saudis as Bandar Bush and Prince Turki al Faisal, long-time favorites of the Bush family and the CIA's Safari Club network, sound more like "deja vu" than anything else.
The one thing that is crucial with conspiracy theories, is that they are not based on false assumptions, or on the selective gathering of evidence. The problem is that this is exactly what has been done with the Pentagon crash. And not just a little. It has been taken to the extreme. This is a problem, because now that more and more people have been getting involved with the alternative 9/11 movement it's getting harder for them by the month to escape the pointless "yes 757" vs "no 757" debate. The situation is getting worse all the time in this regard. The important Pentagon-related questions, mainly about the failure to intercept Flight 77, potentially on purpose, were already raised right after 9/11. The thing left to do here is to conduct interviews with the proper experts and to make sure that the 9/11 Truth movement A) gains momentum; and B) doesn't derail itself into bogus issues.
I do have to admit, even after many hours of research over more than a year, the only conclusion I'm willing to make these days about 9/11 is that nobody really seems to know what exactly happened, but also that the persons who should be able to find this out, have done everything in their power to limit the research as much as possible.
Flight 77 - Boeing 757-223 - dimensions:
* It's possible to measure the pixels and calculate these distances for yourself in a program like Photoshop. The above scale-drawing of the Boeing 757-200 is very accurate. The calculation could be a bit off though, but no more than 3-5%. Links you might need are airliners.net and a conversion-tool website.
* In an article of Structure Magazine titled Retrofitting The Pentagon For Blast Resistance the wrong window width has been given. The dimensions in feet are correct, but someone recalculated 5 feet as 1.8 meters, which is wrong. It will be shown below that the width of the Pentagon windows is indeed 5 feet / 1.5 meters and not 6 feet / 1.8 meters. A link for information on the outer dimensions of the Pentagon can be found at the renovation.pentagon.mil website.
According to the news media, the hole in the Pentagon was about 15 meters (50 feet) wide. Some later articles talk about 19.5 meters (64 feet). I haven't really found out which part of the impact hole they were talking about... Did they mean the upper or lower part of the collapsed area? Or maybe the pre-collapse impact hole? And did they, or anyone else, incorporate all of the damaged areas at ground level? Simply looking at the picture at the top of this article, it seems no attention was paid to the full extent of the damage. And it's clear that all this additional damage was also not taken into account by alternative 9/11 researchers, especially not by those advocating the theory that Flight 77 couldn't have hit the Pentagon. 9/11 Truth researchers really need to become a lot more specific on this issue.
Initially, while gathering and analyzing all the data for a website, I just assumed that the hole was indeed too small for a 757 to have passed through. However, that changed the moment I read all the eyewitness accounts of the people who had been present that day at the Pentagon. Almost every single person described seeing a large American Airlines jetliner crash into the building. It was also interesting to see how some of them just couldn't believe how such a large airplane had disappeared into such a small hole. I have gathered and organized all of these eyewitness accounts on a separate page that can be found here.
To accurately estimate the size of the hole, the same method is used as in Part 1 with the dimensions of the airplane. A picture is imported in Photoshop and the amount of pixels between two areas is counted. Of course, it is important to know the real-life size of one of these areas for this method to work. For obvious reasons, the picture will need to have been taken relatively square to the facade of the building. It is equally important to not calculate horizontal distances with vertical ones, and vice-versa. A last thing to keep in mind is to measure/estimate a distance as close to a distance one has clear data on, which again has to do with perspective. The greater the angle deviates from the horizontal or vertical axis the more important this will be.
Picture 1 - According to some witnesses, the plane's nose touched the ground a couple of feet before the facade.
The first measurement will be a test to see how accurate this method is. We know that the height of the building is 23.56 meters or 77 feet and 3.5 inches. So, first, the sagging of the roof above the main-impact area is corrected. Then the amount of pixels from the red line to the bottom of the building is measured....which turns out to be 298 pixels. We also know that the height of each individual window is 2.1 meters (7 feet). When measuring this height in pixels (notice the window closest to the reference-line is selected) it turns out to be 27 pixels. Now, let's pretend we don't know the size of the window; we only know the height of the roof...let's calculate:
- Windows height in meters:
23.56 : 298 = 0.0791 meters per pixel x 27 = 2.13 meters (Official number around 2.1 meters)
- Windows height in feet:
77.3 : 298 = 0.2594 feet per pixel x 27 = 7.00 feet (Official number around 7)
Could we have hoped for any better result? Hardly. Keep in mind that the next time we do this, we might measure 28 pixels or 26 pixels. There will always be some slight deviations from the real size or length.
Now that we know that this method is very accurate, let's measure and calculate the height of the main hole, which should have been made by the fuselage of the airliner:
- Main hole height in meters:
23.56 : 298 = 0.0791 meters per pixel x 118 = 9.33 meters.
- Main hole height in feet:
77.3 : 298 = 0.2594 feet per pixel x 118 = 30.61 feet.
- 757-223 from the top of the fuselage to bottom engines, since the landing gear was up, according to all witnesses:
5.4 meters (17.7 feet).
This time we will not be able to check how accurate our answer is. However, personally I'm confident it is within 5% of the real height of the hole. In Picture 3 below, the reader can see that the hole starts around ground level. This calculation means that if we are talking about the height, a 757-223 would have easily passed through this hole. Notice the steel beam that is still hanging on the ceiling in Picture 2, in the upper left image. This might be an indication that the airplane moved into the building about 1.5 meters (4.5 feet) below the top of the hole, with the outer limestone slabs falling down after impact. It doesn't really matter, because, looking at the above calculation, there would have been plenty of space for this.
Picture 2 - simple math
This time we will do the calculations in a different way. Since we know the width of the Pentagon windows is 1.5 meters (5 feet) and the walls in between these windows are also 1.5 meters (5 feet) (see above in Picture 2), we can easily add up these spaces. In the above picture, in the upper-left, the reader can see the width of the hole. The limestone and bricks have fallen off, exposing the steel frame (luckely, this was the first section of the Pentagon to be upgraded with steel instead of simply concrete). The calculation should be self evident: add up all windows and the in between spaces between the two yellow lines:
2 windows (3m/10ft) + 1 wall in between (1.5m/5ft) + 2 half walls on the outside (1.5m/5ft) = 6m/20ft.
Considering the fuselage of a Boeing 757-223 is only 3.8m/12.5ft, it's obvious that such a fuselage could have easily passed through the main impact hole. Some may think that the fuselage of a 757 must be much wider, but that's most definately not the case. You're talking six seats of 0.5m/1.5ft each (3m/9ft total) and a corrider in the middle of about 0.7m/2.1ft, leaving 5 centimeters/2 inches of space for the hull on both sides. There's a reason why a 757 is considered to have a "narrow-body" hull.
Picture 3 - The beams have not been blown outwards. They have been torn from the ground.
Above the reader can see the right side area of the impact hole. Notice how the primary damage has been done at ground level. Only on the far side of the damaged area can we (once again) see heavy damage on the first floor. The cause for this damage might be that the wings of a 757-223 are angled upward, and also, as witnesses have stated, that the airplane was leaning towards the left when it hit the Pentagon. As can be seen in several other pictures here, there's no severe damage on the first floor to the left of the main impact hole.
Since we know the windows are 1.5 meters (5 feet) wide and the same goes for the spaces in between, we just add them up again. The picture has been taken almost square on the facade, meaning we can simply keep counting pixels without worrying too much about the perspective. Every 39 pixels is about 1.5 meters or 5 feet. The end results? 15.5 meters (51.6 feet).
Right wing heavy-damage area (missing walls): 15.5 meters (51.6 feet)
We could include the next window also, which is smashed and has some damage to the surrounding walls. After that, there's really no significant damage to be seen, indicating this is where the tip of the wing ended. So the total damage area on the right side would be 17 meters (56.5 feet).
Picture 4 - Might be a bit confusing at a first glimpse. Keep looking. Upper-left and upper-right: the Pentagon before it collapsed. Lower-right: the Pentagon after it has collapsed, with windows at 2 and 4 gone.
On we go to left side of the main hole, which has also sustained heavy damage. In the picture above, in the upper-left, one can see that the ground floor on the left side of the main impact has been transformed into a big gaping hole. As already stated, heavy damage on this side is limited to the ground floor; the upper levels still have their walls intact. A few arrows and explanatory remarks have been added to Picture 4 in order to make it easier to recognize the main hole, the point at which the floors start to sag, and also the area with the "missing" window. These clues are necessary if one wants to recognize these areas in other pictures, ideally pictures that can be used to measure pixels or add up all the windows. We already included those pictures, of course. They can be seen in the upper-right and lower-right corner of Picture 4. Look at them for a few minutes and they should begin to explain themselves.
Left wing heavy-damage area (missing walls): 15.5 meters / 51.5 feet
Picture 5 - Possibly the best photograph for observing the damage the left wing of Flight 77 has done. Luckily we have a few pre-collapse videos to clearly calculate how far the primary damage extents from the impact.
Picture 6 - The limestone and part of the brick wall is shattered. The white debris might be from the airplane, with the part closest to the photographer possible being the edge of one of Flight 77's windows.
Can there be any doubt about the damage caused by the left wing? We see that the horizontal steel beam between the ground floor and first floor is exposed for a length of 6 additional windows beyond the hole. As usual, the windows are 1.5m/5ft wide and the 5 spaces in between are also 1.5m/5ft wide. Thus the total damage field caused by the left wing would be:
|6 windows||6 x 1.5m / 5ft = 9m / 30ft|
|5 spaces in between||5 x 1.5m / 5ft = 7.5m / 25ft|
|Hole itself||15.5m / 51.5ft|
|Total damage caused by the left wing||32 meters / 106.5 feet|
|Part 3 - width of the central hole||6.00 meters||20.00 feet|
|Part 4 - hole created by the right wing||9.00 meters||30.00 feet|
|Part 4 - right wing additional damage||6.50 meters||21.60 feet|
|Part 4 - hole created by the left wing||15.5 meters||51.50 feet|
|Part 4 - left wing additional damage||16.5 meters||55.50 feet|
|Total span of the hole. (At least the first column taken out)||30.5 meters||102 feet|
|Total span of the heavy damage on the Pentagon||48.5 meters||160 feet|
|Wingspan of a 757-223 coming in at about an angle of 48 to 50º||50 meters||165 feet|
Clearly the extent of the damage fits extremele well with the impact of a Boeing 757. There's only a 3 percent discrepancy, which is next to nothing looking at the limited reseources available to do the estimating and calculations. Also, it's very much the question if the last few feet of the plane's wings would have been able to any considerable damage to the building.
Picture 7 - Previous damage drawn on the reconstructed Pentagon.
|Airplanes that have been associated with the Pentagon crash||Wingspan in meters||Wingspan in feet|
|737-100 & 200||28.4 meters||93.00 feet|
|757-223||38.00 meters||125.0 feet|
|767-200||47.6 meters||156.0 feet|
|747-400||64.4 meters||211.5 feet|
|Global Hawk||35.4 meters||116.0 feet|
|F-16 Falcon||10.0 meters||34.00 feet|
|C-130H||40.4 meters||133.0 feet|
Picture 8 - Mike J. Wilson's excellent reconstruction. For some reason, a lot of people use this reconstruction to debunk the official story. I really don't know why. It's obvious that most of the carbon fiber/aluminum wings will be smashed to pieces while only the central cilinder, with all the mass behind it, is going to penetrate the reinforced steel/limestone building to any extent.
The controversial Hercules C-130H was spotted by at least 11 witnesses and later confirmed as having been present by the Pentagon and the 9/11 commission, thus it was most definately present. It flew over the Pentagon and to the north-west about 30 seconds after the crash. It came from Andrews AFB and was on it's way to Minnesota, to the north-west. A C-130 is much slower than an airliner, but because it was the only plane in the neighborhood, it was sent to check on the inbound Flight 77. Why Quick Reaction Alert planes at Andrews Air Force Base weren't circling Flight 77 at this point is unknown.
When bringing together all the witness statements about the Pentagon crash, the following sequence comes out: after having circled the Pentagon, a large American Airlines jet, seemingly a 757-223 known as Flight 77, descends over the nearby highway network, its gear up. The plane balances a little to the left and right, clips a few light poles and other material, barely pulls itself straight again and fires up its engines full throttle the last few seconds. According to some witnesses, the airliner strikes the helipad with its left wing immediately before hitting the Pentagon, clearly indicating the left wing was much closer to the ground than the right, which corresponds with the observed damage. A few other witnesses claim that the nose of the plane hit the ground several feet before the wall. In any case, a fraction of a second later, the plane strikes the wall of the Pentagon.
A few witnesses claim they could see the tail sticking out of the building for about one or two seconds before a heavy explosion engulfed everything in flames (like the WTC). People standing close by are blown off their feet. Small pieces of airplane debris, concrete, limestone, and other rubble are blown out of the building and land up to hundreds of meters/yards away. The impact and subsequent blast is powerful enough to blow chunks of the engines hundreds of meters/yards away (remember, the Pentagon is made of concentric rings. In between, there are open spaces). Several pieces land on the Pentagon's northern parking lot, which is consistent with the plane's angle of attack (Charles H. Krohn; Ret. Lt. Col. Tom McClain). Another big piece apparently lands on a nearby road (Tony Terronez).
Basically everyone agrees on the angle of attack of 'the object', whether you are talking to people who believe a missile hit or whether you are looking at some official schematics that have been drawn. These schematics have been assembled by looking at the physical evidence and by listening to the witnesses.
Update: This was written before the widely-distributed "The Pentacon" and its successor, "National Security Alert", came along, which were exclusively focused on spreading doubt about the angle of attack. I only discuss the films in an appendix to this article. They ignore 90 percent of the witnesses and have been manipulating at least a few of the the ones they interview.
Picture 9 - Reconstructing the angle of attack.
Often the question is brought up why the plane flew a full circle around the Pentagon, only to fly into the same wing as it had approached in the first place? The answer appears to be that the pilot came in at too high an altitude and needed more time to descent. It's also important to note that the plane's circle around the Pentagon was much wider than the no-757 crowd likes to promote. Judging from various witness testimonies and related newspaper statements, the plane flew over central Washington, D.C. and then towards Andrews Air Force Base, before coming back up to the Pentagon area. The circle seems to have been more than a few miles wide, not half a mile as some no-757 promotors seem to imply.
Picture 10 - The theoretical hole the 757-223 should have created. A
calculation with sin would show a theoretical hole of 49.6 meters, so
both methods are accurate.
Picture 11 - This shows that the theoretical impact is quite consistent with the observed damage.
Picture 12 - Added again for comparison.
Picture 13 - One of the best pictures to see the extent of the impacted area. It was made by Steve Riskus.
Numerous witnesses described tiny bits and pieces of aluminum and fireglass raining down on them and their cars, some clearly identifiable as having belonged to an American Airlines jet due to the silvery color and a letter of the logo being spotted. Various larger pieces were photgraphed near the building and on the lawn. Chunks of the engine and wheels were found and both match those of a 757.
Picture 14 - Another perfect match with the 757-theory.
Picture 15 - Engine part can easily be traced to a 757. Can we do the same with a Global Hawk?
Picture 16 - There's no reason to assume nr 1 shows part of a small jet engine.
Picture 17 - The visible debris before it was gathered and moved away.
Picture 18 - WTC comparison - Thick steel beams are the only significant debris falling down.
Picture 19 - The exit hole. Some informed persons actually thought this was the entry-hole.
Is it reasonable to assume that the hole above has been created by a missile or small plane? A missile usually explodes before it goes through 6 or 7 walls. And if it explodes after such a long time, you wouldn’t get a nice round hole you can see above. Instead, this whole part of the building would have been leveled.
A small jet would never have been able to penetrate this far. If it carried explosives, it would not have left such a nice round hole so far back. Unless you like to assume it was a giant shaped charge.... mmmmmmmmm!
Wouldn’t the best explanation be that it was the fuselage of a 757, which pushed forward tons of debris, breached the wall and poured all this waste out? The heavily disfigured fuselage itself is still 10 or 20 feet back and melts/burns up. The plane consists mostly of aluminum and fiberglass, which basically sits inside an oven. I mean, it's not that I can prove this has happened, it's just that it fits perfectly with the rest of the story.
Keep in mind that the Pentagon has 25,000 people working there. A lot of these witnesses have high ranks in the army, navy or air force. Some of the witnesses are commercial airline pilots and many persons in the neighborhood are familiar with military and commercial airplanes, since there are multiple military and commercial airfields close by. So, if all those witness testimonies form a coherent story, why then do so many 9/11 researchers and "truthers" continue to support the "theory" that an F-16, missile or global hawk hit the Pentagon? The funniest thing is that not one witness reported seeing any of those planes (or a missile). All of these quotes have been taken out of context. Don't believe me? Then read this table and follow the link at the bottom.
|The amount of eyewitnesses gathered who stated they saw an object crash into the Pentagon, meaning the vast majority of the still available ones.||about 89|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who reported seeing a plane and described it in terms as: "airliner," "big," "silver," "roaring," etc.***||at least 45|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who specifically stated they saw an American Airlines jet. In all cases there's no indication the witnesses were talking about a small jet.||at least 25|
|The amount of witnesses who reported the noise of the plane was very loud to deafening.||at least 22|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw a plane running down light poles when crossing the the highways.||at least 19|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw and heard the plane went full throttle only at the last seconds.||at least 12|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw a C-130H flying 30 seconds behind a jetliner.||at least 11|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw the plane had its gear up.||at least 6|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated the plane had it's flaps up (not deployed). Witness 1 saw a 757, witness 2 and 4 both saw an American Airlines, witness 3 saw an American Airlines 757. No known witnesses stated the opposite.||at least 4|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated that they saw a small corporate jet, without doing any creative interpretating of the witness accounts.||at least 2|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw a missile. What the person thought he heard isn't relevant!||at least 0|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw a military jet fighter at the time of the crash.||at least 0|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw a Global Hawk at the time of the crash.||at least 0|
|The amount of witnesses who reported the plane was relatively quiet. (One of the witnesses acknowledged it was the shock. Another one noticed it was an American Airlines jet, that it had its gears up, and that light poles were being knocked down. Others were in their cars, all windows up and radio on.)||at least 4|
|The amount of eyewitnesses who stated they saw the plane had its gear down. (Indirect, said a wheel hit a pole.)||at least 1|
|The amount of witnesses who have said something that might point to the use of explosives or incendiaries. Update: This has all been explained to my satisfaction by General Benton K. Partin. One can read what he had to say about this in Part 11 of this article. I only wonder a little about the two witnesses who said they smelled cordite, but that's about it. It's the Pentagon, after all. Who knows what the plane hit.||at least 25|
*** This way the reader can get a good indication if the witnesses saw a large or a small airplane. If a witness simply stated: "I saw the plane crash," it has not been counted, even though chances are 99,99% they were talking about a 757-223, also known as Flight 77.
If the reader prefers to read all the individual quotes, it's possible to find them here.
November 1-2, 2007, Arlington National Cemetery - Pentagon with an airplane over it and a picture of an airliner over Arlington Memorial Bridge (no zoom). Planes come by every few minutes so people in the neighborhood couldn't be more familiar with them. Flight 77 crashed in the wing seen on the right here, halfway behind the (superimposed) plane's semi-transparant wing. Pictures taken by author.
The following quotes (usually only the portion that has been underlined) have been used at some point or another to provide evidence that a missile instead of an airplane hit the Pentagon. Since this article was first published in January 2005, there has been a significant change in how the Pentagon crash is perceived by the 9/11 Truth community. Whereas back in 2004 and early 2005, no serious opposition existed to the no-757 arguments of Eric Hufschmid and others, quite a few readers and researchers have realized that these arguments are bogus. I suggest you never forget who repeated (or still promotes) the quotes below to promote the theory that no-757 could have hit the Pentagon. In many cases they are spreading other disinformation as well, which has now become more easy to recognize.
- Tom Seibert, a network engineer at the Pentagon [September 11, 2001, Washington Post, ''Extensive Casualties' in Wake of Pentagon Attack']:
"We heard what sounded like a missile, then we heard a loud boom...We just hit the dirt. We dived instinctively. We were sitting there and watching this thing in New York, and I said, 'you know, the next best target would be us. And five minutes later, boom."
Explanation: This "witness" was watching TV inside the Pentagon.
- Kirk Milburn, a construction supervisor for Atlantis Co., who was on the Arlington National Cemetery exit of Interstate 395 [September 11, 2001, Washington Post, ''Extensive Casualties' in Wake of Pentagon Attack']:
"I was right underneath the plane," said Kirk Milburn, a construction supervisor for Atlantis Co., who was on the Arlington National Cemetery exit of Interstate 395 when he said he saw the plane heading for the Pentagon. "I heard a plane. I saw it. I saw debris flying. I guess it was hitting light poles," said Milburn. "It was like a WHOOOSH whoosh, then there was fire and smoke, then I heard a second explosion."
Explanation: The witness clearly stated that he saw a plane.
- Michael DiPaula, project coordinator Pentagon Renovation Team, in construction trailer 75 feet from the crash [September 8, 2002, Baltimore Sun, 'A Rolling Memorial']:
"Suddenly, an airplane roared into view, nearly shearing the roof off the trailer before slamming into the E ring. It sounded like a missile… Buried in debris and covered with airplane fuel, he was briefly listed by authorities as missing...There were three loud thump, thump, thumps. You could hear the metal cracking and crinkling, and the explosion."
Explanation: The article clearly states an airplane roared into DiPaula's view. And he only says it sounded like a missile, not that it actually was a missile.
- Mike Walter of USA Today [September 11, 2001, CNN, 'Witnesses to the moment: Workers' voices']:
I was sitting in the northbound on 27 and the traffic was, you know, typical rush-hour -- it had ground to a standstill. I looked out my window and I saw this plane, this jet, an American Airlines jet, coming. And I thought, 'This doesn't add up, it's really low...And I saw it. I mean it was like a cruise missile with wings. It went right there and slammed right into the Pentagon...Huge explosion, great ball of fire, smoke started billowing out."
Explanation: Nice quote but he clearly stated that he saw a big loud American Airlines jet as everyone else.
- Tony Terronez, from a nearby highway [2001, Counseling Today, 'Amazing stories: The air, the island and the fortress']:
"So I got about 100 yards or so past the heliport and then all of the sudden I heard this loud screeching sound that just came out of nowhere and it intensified. This huge WHOOSH! And something made me look in my rearview mirror and by the time I looked up I saw the side of the Pentagon explode....At that point I realized -- you see at that point I didn't know it was a plane, I thought it was a missile strike..."
Explanation: He didn't see anything impact, he only heard a loud ‘whoosh’ and saw an explosion.
- Lon Rains, Editor Space News, from Springfield somewhere on Interstate 395 [June 30, 2005, Space News, 'Eyewitness: The Pentagon']:
"With the Pentagon to the left of my van at about 10 o’clock on the dial of a clock, I glanced at my watch to see if I was going to be late for my appointment. At that moment I heard a very loud, quick whooshing sound that began behind me and stopped suddenly in front of me and to my left. In fractions of a second I heard the impact and an explosion. The next thing I saw was the fireball. I was convinced it was a missile. It came in so fast it sounded nothing like an airplane...I remember vividly that as I turned off my cell phone I was watching the almost serene image of thick pieces of flaming fiberglass insulation floating down onto the highway."
Explanation: From reading the text it is clear that he did not see any object, only a large fireball a few seconds after impact. This person did not question the fact that an airliner hit the building.
- October 12, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld in Parade Magazine [link at DoD website]:
"Here we're talking about plastic knives and using an American Airlines flight filled with our citizens, and the missile to damage this building and similar (inaudible) that damaged the World Trade Center."
Explanation: You can refer to the plane as a missile because it was used as one. It's not a bad description at all. For example, take the Babylon dictionary: "object that can be thrown or hurled (stone, arrow, bullet, etc.)" You can add to that list a suicide airliner which uses its fuel supply as warhead.
Picture taken by author: another example of a plane over Washington, D.C. They fly over all day. Would one mistake the above airliner for a Global Hawk or missile? Doesn't look like a 747, but might be a 737, 757 or 767.
This is largely the same story as with the missile "witnesses", but in this case quotes have been selectively highlighted to convince 9/11 "truthers" that a small plane instead of an airliner or a missile hit the Pentagon. Although in a few cases more convincing than the missile testimonies, confusion and doubt is the only purpose of the game.
- Steve Patterson, 43, a graphics artist, who was watching TV in his 14th-floor apartment in Pentagon City, when he saw a silver commuter jet fly past the window [September 11, 2001, Washington Post, ''Extensive Casualties' in Wake of Pentagon Attack']:
"The plane was about 150 yards away, approaching from the west about 20 feet off the ground, Patterson said. He said the plane, which sounded like the high-pitched squeal of a fighter jet, flew over Arlington cemetery so low that he thought it was going to land on I-395. He said it was flying so fast that he couldn't read any writing on the side. The plane, which appeared to hold about eight to 12 people, headed straight for the Pentagon but was flying as if coming in for a landing on a nonexistent runway..."
Explanation: Various witnesses, who, like Patterson, were located close by, reported seeing a number of passengers behind the windows. It appears Patterson did too. Another interview would need to be conducted to draw any final conclusions.
- Anonymous, his location is also unknown, supposedly from NBC on 9/11:
"I saw what looked to be maybe a 20-passenger corporate jet, no markings on the side, coming in at a shallow angle like it was landing right into the side of the Pentagon."
Explanation: We know absolutely nothing about this witness, including his location at the time of the Pentagon crash, or, in fact, if NBC even interviewed this witness. At the time it was included in this article, this quote could only be found on one small Geocities site, which tried to prove a 757 did indeed hit the building. The quote was later used in a popular flash movie that tried to convince people no-757 could have hit the Pentagon, giving you an indication of how desperate the no-757 crowd is for evidence to support their theory. Interestingly, this witness also didn't see any markings on the side of the plane, in contrast to dozens of other witnesses who identified the American Airlines logo. Therefore it seems an obvious conclusion that this person was looking from too far away, from a less than ideal angle (into the sun maybe), or did not have his glasses on.
- John O’Keefe, who was listening to the radio in his car at Interstate 395 [Also saw the C-130 cargo plane turning away after the crash] [September 11, 2001, American Lawyer Media, 'Terrorist 'Situation'']:
"I don’t know whether I saw or heard it first -- this silver plane; I immediately recognized it as an American Airlines jet...It came swooping in over the highway, over my left shoulder, straight across where my car was heading. There was a burst of orange flame that shot out that I could see through the highway overpass. Then it was just black. Just black thick smoke.
...The eeriest thing about it, was that it was like you were watching a movie. There was no huge explosion, no huge rumbling on ground, it just went ‘pfff.’ It wasn’t what I would have expected for a plane that was not much more than a football field away from me."
Explanation: These statements about the sound and the explosion are so contradictory when comparing it to all the other claims that they seem to be the result of a shock. A few witnesses described seeing everything in slow-motion or losing track of sound as soon as they understood the situation. At least one example is included somewhere above. O'Keefe does, however, state to have seen an American Airlines jet. Of course, if one likes pointless discussions, it's possible to argue how large the jet was.
- Ervin Brown, who works at the Pentagon [original source lost]:
"I saw pieces of what appeared to be small aircraft on the ground, and the part of the building by the heliport had collapsed."
Explanation: Quite a normal statement considering that many people saw small pieces of fiberglass everywhere. Brown hadn't seen the impact of the plane [a conclusion based after seeing the original article back in late 2004/early 2005].
- Steve DeChiaro, engineer [original source lost]:
"I reached the west side of the building I saw a light post bent in half. But when I looked at the site, my brain could not resolve the fact that it was a plane because it only seemed like a small hole in the building,… No tail. No wings. No nothing…shortly after 10 a.m. police yelled at people to get back. Just as we're about to open the door[to get into the building], they start screaming, 'There's another inbound plane'…For nearly 15 minutes, they stood watching the Pentagon burn and periodically checked the sky for another plane."
Explanation: There were witnesses to the crash who had seen the incoming airliner and also expected to see a much larger hole. It is not clear to me if DeChiaro had seen the plane. He was roughly a mile away when the impact occurred, a conclusion I made after seeing the original article back in late 2004/early 2005..
- State Department employee Ken Ford looking from the 15th floor [September 11, 2001, Newsday (Long Island), 'Striking At Heart Of the U.S.']:
"We were watching Reagan National Airport through binoculars a short distance away. The plane was a two-engine turbo prop that flew up the river from National. Then it turned back toward the Pentagon. We thought it had been waved off and then it hit the building."
Explanation: The witnesses were 1,5 miles away at the State Department. No one else described seeing a turboprop. It's not clear if they watched the plane the whole time.
- D.S. Khavkin., from an 8 story building nearby [September 13, 2001, BBC, 'More eyewitness accounts of the attack on the US']:
"At first, we thought it was the jets that sometimes fly overhead. However, it appeared to be a small commercial aircraft...The engine was at full throttle. First, the plane knocked down a number of street lamp poles, then headed directly for the Pentagon and crashed on the lawn near the west side the Pentagon."
Explanation: It depends on what one calls "small". Compared to a 747 the 757 is quite small indeed. Without an additional interview nothing can be said about his statement. The plane didn't crash on the lawn, by the way. It only touched the ground with its left wing near or on the helipad.
- Don Wright in an interview with the Sun Sentinel (audio) [link]:
"It was about 9:35 and I was looking out our 12th floor windows at 1600 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn, Virginia, and I watched this...it looked like a commuter plane, two engined ... come down from the south, real low, perceived right on and crashed right on into the Pentagon…I watched it come down real low over the trees and it just dipped down…came down right over 395 right into the Pentagon."
Explanation: A commuter plane usually means a small plane. However, not everyone is an expert in airplane terminology and on the internet one can find press reports that call a Fokker-100 with 122 passengers a commuter airplane. We would need an additional interview to clarify exactly what Wright saw.
- Jim Sutherland, a mortgage broker:
"Jim Sutherland, a mortgage broker, was driving near the Pentagon at 9:40 a.m. when he saw a 737 airplane 50 feet over Interstate 395 heading in a straight line into the side of the Pentagon. The fireball explosion that followed rocked his car. Drivers began pulling over to the side - some taking pictures - not quite believing what they were seeing."
- Terry Morin, form. United States Marine Corps Aviator, from Federal Office Building [Navy Annex]:
"I believed at the time that it belonged to American Airlines, but I couldn't be sure. It looked like a 737 and I so reported to authorities."
- Mike Dobbs, Marine Corps officer from one of the upper levels in the Pentagon:
"… I saw an American Airlines 737 twin-engine airliner strike the building."
Three known witnesses claimed to have observed a 737. Two really remain, because Morin later acknowledged that he didn't have a perfect look and was mistaken. Assuming the Pentagon hole was too small for a 757-223, I found these statements quite interesting for some time. But at this point, knowing this is not the case, it's hard to come up with a reason why anyone would substitute a 757 with a 737 or why anyone would claim that a 757 has been hijacked while the plane in question involves a 737. Then again, a Boeing 737 and 757 can easily be confused with one other. Me, personally, before writing this article, wouldn't have recognized a 757 from a 767, or a 737 for that matter. These three witnesses form an overwhelming minority, leading me to safely conclude that indeed Flight 77, a Boeing 757-223, slammed into the Pentagon around 9:40 AM. And except for the exact type of plane they witnessed, their statements fit right in with the majority.
Any questions surrounding the response time to the hijackings should be addressed separately, but it would be interesting to know the exact capabilities of nearby Andrews Air Force Base. For reasons that can only be ascribed to incompetence, Andrews Air Force Base had no fighters on Quick Reaction Alert, but most certainly the 9/11 Commission was not penetrating and critical enough with its questions about the exact capabilities of the base.
Why doesn't the FBI release any clear videos of the impact? The five released gifs only fueled speculation. And even the five gifs were all that was captured, reportedly there were more than enough other cameras in the area. It seems as is the government, through the FBI, is actually benefiting from having this giant, divisive red herring out there.
Is it a coincidence that the terrorists decided to hit the only wing of the Pentagon that had recently undergone restoration and was much stronger than the other wings of the building? Didn't the terrorists carefully observe their target first? Well, they are suicidal Muslims after all. On top of that, walking around the Pentagon, staring at it, would probably not have been a good idea. It's still a legitimate question to ask though.
Is it normal that a crashing 757 creates a powerful blast wave, generates a tremendous amount of heat that melts glass and the back of a firetruck, sends people 10-20 meters / 30-70 feet flying through the hallway, and smells like cordite? (two known witnesses for that last point)
Update: Explained to my satisfaction for the time being. An intense fire, fueled by jetfuel, can account for all these observations. The back of the firetruck was probably aluminum and also glass melts at a considerably lower temperature than steel. As for the cordite smell, there were only two witnesses, and who knows what is located inside various offices of the Pentagon.
Also interesting: General Benton K. Partin in the The New American: "When you slam an aluminum aircraft at high velocity into a concrete structure, it's going to do exactly what we saw happen at the Pentagon on 9/11," Partin said. "If you look at a frontal mass cross-section of the plane, you see a cylinder of aluminum skin with stringers. When it impacts with the exterior [Pentagon] wall at 700-800 feet per second, much of the kinetic energy of the plane converts to thermal energy, and much of the aluminum converts to vapor, burning to aluminum oxide. That's why on the still photos from Pentagon surveillance camera, you first see the frame with that brilliant white luminescent flash just before the frame of the orange fireball, the jet fuel burning. The aluminum cylinder — the plane fuselage — is acting like a shaped charge penetrating a steel plate. It keeps penetrating until it is consumed. The Boeing 757 is over 150 feet long, so it's going to penetrate quite a ways before it's spent. The wings have a much lower mass cross-section and are loaded with fuel besides, so there is little left of them except small bits and pieces."
The following things have most definitely been proved in this article, and they seems to make more than a couple of dents in the work of most of the well-known 9/11 gurus:
- Claims that the Pentagon hole is (much) too small for a 757-223 are false.
- Claims that witnesses have stated they saw a missile are false.
- Claims that witnesses have stated they saw a small plane and implying a significant amount did the same are misleading.
- Claims that witnesses have said the plane was quiet were an extreme minority and are presented to the public in a misleading manner. The context is never addressed: in the car, windows shut, radio on. Another person said it was the shock.
- Claims that a Global Hawk or a F-16 hit the Pentagon aren't backed up by any witnesses. So why have these theories been put forward in the first place?
- Quotes from the aftermath of the crash site offer no proof that something else than a 757 hit the building. As one can read in the quotes gathered here, even a few persons who witnessed a large airliner dive into the building wondered about the relatively small amount of visible damage it did. It wasn't small, however, but from a distance may look that way, especially compared to the size of the fireball.
So, before any 9/11 Truthers begin complaining that one of their pet theories hasn't been explained to their satisfaction, maybe they should first disprove the list provided above. I personally don't care if you see a 737 engine or an alien spacecraft in a pile of rubble on a blurry photograph. I don't care if you assume there has to be an indentation of the plane's tail on the building, even though it's complete speculation whether or not it should have left that. I don't care if you believe the color blue from a piece of wreckage on the Pentagon lawn isn't the exact same color blue from another American Airlines jet, which has been photographed under different light conditions and may have consisted of a much older or younger layer of paint. I don't care about those "Pentalawn 2000" theories if 97% of the witnesses state that the plane didn't touch it. The 3% which did, explained the nose touched the ground only a couple of feet before the wall, again making the lawn discussion irrelevant. (By the way, a lot of small debris has been photographed towards the left of the impact hole, maybe because the plane came in at a 50 degree angle...) I don't care about things that can easily be explained away by conventional theories, like why so little of the plane has been recovered, why a hole has been punched out in one of the interior walls, or basically anything else brought forward on the Pentagon by the conspiracy community. That is, until someone can disprove the above 6 claims of mine. And if you cannot do that and you are not willing to acknowledge the facts presented, don't even bother sending me an email asking me to explain this week's hip theory.
People are send to the gas chamber based on witnes testimony. It's very obvious that eye witness accounts, when taken as a whole, are considered extremely reliable. Even the 9/11 research community acknowledges this, judging by their generous quotations from witnesses who claimed to have seen explosives at the WTC; or a missile at the Pentagon; or a missile hitting TWA800; or an explosion before Flight 587 started to come down; etc. On the other hand, the moment the 9/11 Truth community is confronted with a majority of the statements made about the Pentagon, they suddenly claim that witness testimony means very little and that people are always imagining things. On top of that, most of the 9/11 Truth "researchers" ignore the fact that the physical damage at the Pentagon does indeed correspond with a 757. And these are the people that call the rest of the world a bunch of sheep. Go figure that one out.
January 2015 update: Of course, after ten years of additional research on covert politics, it is very clear that the 9/11 Truth community is ran by the security services, almost from A to Z, and that Flight 77 is a contrived controversy to divide, ridicule and push newcomers out of 9/11 research as quickly as possible. Already in the period that the original version of this article was written, billion dollar shows as Coast to Coast AM began promoting new 9/11 "researchers" who brought down the movement to a new all time depth: missile-carrying pods underneath the airliners, holographic airplanes and "scalar" weaponry destroying the WTC towers. It's pretty obvious that all these theories are promoted by trolls working for the national security state. Can it proved? Not really, but any sane person looking at the facts will come to similar conclusions. In any case, "debate" on the Pentagon impact will probably continue for the foreseeable future.
I've never studied the Flight 93 crash in-depth, but after watching Loose Change and hearing suggestions that the hole was only "20-15 feet long and probably about 10 feet wide," I decided to do a quick check. The result can be seen above: if I include the plane's wings, which are clearly visible on the ground, I end with an estimated diameter of 38.5 meters / 125 feet, which is just 0.5 meters above the wingspan of a Boeing 757-200, the type of plane that crashed both at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Personally I suspect the diamater is slightly larger than estimated here due to the plane's diagonal impact, as was the case with Flight 77 when it impacted the Pentagon.
The estimate is based on the assumption that the dirt road is about 7 meters / 23 feet wide, which in turn is based on the assumption that two large cars have to be able cross one another with some margin left and that the telephone pole next to the road is about 7 meters / 23 feet high. As the reader can see, if that pole were to fall over, it appears it wouldn't block the entire road. Anything between 5.5 and 8 meters for the road seems to be fairly reasonable and in all cases we're dealing with a hole in the ground that approximately matches a 757-200.
Yes, I do think it's incredible that no large pieces of debris were visible. As far as I can tell, the ground was very soft and sandy, resulting in the plane not just disintegrating but also in individual pieces deeply burying itself. The blackbox, for example, was found buried 8 meters below the central crater. It even seems one can actually see a ring in the sand where the fuselage of Flight 93 impacted.
The key thing to remember is that Flight 93 did impact in Shanksville, just as Flight 77 impacted the Pentagon that same day. If we have these facts solidly established, we can focus much more effectively on the areas of 9/11 that most certainly are highly anomalous, such the World Trade Center collapses or the response times on 9/11.
|Initial reaction to the article after it appeared on Rense|
|Conversation with Eric Hufschmid|
|New video release?*|
|Read the article?: Investigators that support the no-757 theory.|
|Michael B. Green, Ph.D, 'Loose Change - An Analysis'|
|Dump of quotes about the impact of flight 77 in the Pentagon|
* Took 30 minutes. Taking something out is a 1,000 times easier, of course, than putting something in, especially when talking about something as complex as a 757. The five released gifs that show no plane really are beyond silly. Possibly on purpose though, to provide fuel for bogus theories.