1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaOLpeTC7hY

    Suspicious minds sometimes point to the flight path of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11. The plane is heading straight for the building when it makes a descending turn described as things like a "corkscrew" or a "an incredibly precise diving turn " or " incredible, sweeping 270-degree descending turn"

    Google Earth Pro 2018-01-16 13-15-00.

    In fact the turn is perfectly normal, and very easy to execute. The reason for the turn is to lose altitude. The turn rate was more or less a standard 2 minute 360° turn, and all he had to do was reduce throttle and turn right.

    Google Earth Pro 2018-01-16 13-15-29.

    Could a pilot with limited large plane experience pull this off? I've just got some private pilot training (less than the actual hijacker had), so I though I'd have a go. See video above for the full flight.

    Flying into the pentagon with a descending turn 2018-01-16 13-22-36.

    Flying into the pentagon with a descending turn 2018-01-16 13-21-29.

    Not only did I do the turn more or less the same, but I also ended up hitting the Pentagon is approximately the same position and angle.

    I'm using X-Plane 11, with the damage setting turn on, meaning any excessive maneuvers would result in loss of control of the plane. X-Plane is a very aerodynamically accurate simulator used for actual flight training for large jets. I still managed to fly straight in at 475mph.

    Another suggestion is that the turn altered where the plane hit (generally as part of a supposed plan to destroy some evidence, like the missing $2.3 Trillion). It actually made almost no difference, just a slightly different angle.

    8) * 2018-01-16 16-39-24.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  2. Jeffrey Orling

    Jeffrey Orling Active Member

    Well done!
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  3. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Have a go at hitting the Twin Towers next. :)
  4. Jeffrey Orling

    Jeffrey Orling Active Member

    You can see the towers from more than 50 miles away... and easier at high altitudes.
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That's very easy.

    Metabunk 2018-01-16 17-05-51.

    There was something @Tony Szamboti mentioned about a turn he though was done with robots. I could try that when I have more time. But really it's not hard to hit them, even after a fairly sharp turn.

    The speed thing is interesting, I can hit the tower at 477 knots (548 mph), and at that speed the plane has failed and can't be controlled. However it still keeps going in a straight line for the couple of seconds required.

    I am using a 737, as it cost money to buy the 767 and 757 models, and the model of New York (it's just using generic skyscrapers, above). I just sprung for the simulator and the Pentagon.
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  6. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I might split off the tower stuff later, but briefly Tony said:

    Source: https://youtu.be/u1CZmtR8gno?t=1h31m30s

    This appears to be entirely false though. The plane flew more of less straight in from 45 miles away. And new York City Hall is only 1/4 of a mile away from the South Tower. Nothing at all unexpected is going on there.

    Perhaps @Tony Szamboti was remembering this tiny curve in the final approach?
    Metabunk 2018-01-16 17-49-58.

    Such curve arise naturally from minor course corrections. No homing beacon is needed.
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
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  7. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    An interesting investigation here might be how well X-Plane models the effects of speed at altitude. Something else Tony brought up was the difficult of controlling the plane at high speeds and low altitudes. I found that at high speeds (>400 knots), I had to be very careful, basically hold the yoke very centered and make only tiny movements. But really the majority of the final adjustments were pitch, which would only need elevator adjustments.

    At Ground level the (737)plane becomes prone to failure at 350 knots, very touchy above 400, and fails around 477
  8. Inti

    Inti Active Member

    I had a strange and creepy feeling after 9/11, because I had done exactly that several times using an old version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, well before the events of 2001.

    While messing about with the New York scenery, I first tried flying between the Twin Towers, then, idly, crashing into them. As I recall that was in a simulation of a 747. I had no difficulty navigating into them from several angles. My only experience is with various PC flight dims, of which the Microsoft one is rated as the most realistic. I think the supposed difficulty is greatly hyped.
  9. Hevach

    Hevach Senior Member

    I did the same thing in a few cities with MSFS in the 90s, trying to thread the needle between close buildings in large airplanes.

    Flying "correctly" was not especially fun on a PC screen, there wasn't much sense of anything actually happening at high altitude. The ground was a flat slightly pixelated expanse very slowly scrolling by at an angle you couldn't really see it from anyway, your plane just hung visually motionless in space, other planes triggered warnings long before they were close enough to even render, and even if you actively tried it was hard to get close enough to look at them.

    Screaming over the streets below rooftop level with all the sliders at maximum managed to keep my 9th grade interest for a few days.
  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  11. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    Mick, are you aware of Warren Stutt's work analysing the FDR data, and CJ Newson's recreation of the flight? Of all four flights even, I think.
    CJ, I think, is a member here.
  12. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Only vaguely. My goal here was just to see how easy the turn was for a novice pilot (me) the day after I bought X-Plane. I did it twice, and both times hit the Pentagon in the about right spot. The other time I also clipped the light poles, but forgot to save a video.

    @cjnewson88 is a member here, and I see he'd posted a link to his blog that covers this type of thing. Looks like a good collection

    (although it does need some organization)
  13. PeteIH

    PeteIH New Member

    My sons favorite experience of the New England Air Museum (9 years ago),
    was using their simulator, taking off from Logan (a few loops) then VISUALLY hitting the diamond at Fenway park in a 737. (he knows I am a Yankees Fan btw).

    It is actually hard to miss a target that big if you use small inputs and know what you are looking for.

    I live less than 200 miles from Manhattan,
    and the weather on that horrible Tuesday morning was crystal clear sky's.
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  14. Crackton

    Crackton New Member

    Never thought about it, but I've done similar things in various games a million times.

    If your angle / speed / altitude is wrong, just circle around and come back in at a better angle / speed / altitude..
  15. I think youre correct. Up-Down-Right-Left-fast-slow is the same in any airplane. The idea of putting the nose on a relatively large target like that is not that hard.

    If a pilot needs to fly a specific heading, at a specific speed, on a specific altitude and hold all those values constant, THAT would be something much more difficult.

    2 things about the 911 flights refute the CT claims for me.

    1) If you look at the FDR simulation from flight 77, several things are noticeable. a) rarely was the plane in excess of 300 kts. When it was, it was only 2-3 times for a few seconds b) Watch the altitude. Its erratic. Sometimes descending. Sometimes level. Sometimes climbing. c) The bank angle is never constant. It rarely exceeds 30 degs of bank. It exceeds 30 degrees maybe twice, and only for a few degrees, for a few seconds. d) the FDR recreation by the FAA also showed any rudder pedal inputs. There weren't any. Far to the opposite of what the CTs claim, the FDR shows a very sloppy manuver

    Clearly an inexperienced pilot. Not an expert one.
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  16. In addition to the clear skies, Manhattan is easily recognizable from the air. And the WTC complex location on Manhattan is also very easy from the air.

    Any normally intelligent person would have no prob visually navigating to the WTC, once the coastline was in sight.
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  17. econ41

    econ41 Active Member

    Just "wiggle the stick thingie" so that the Tower is straight ahead thru the windscreen.
  18. Zett eL

    Zett eL Member

    Do I get that correctly? You didnt fly the official speed because the simulator would crash the plane then? So based on your simulator telling you that the official speed is impossible you conclude that the official maneuver including the official speed is "quite doable"?
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    It didn't tell me it was impossible. It just would not let me fly the plane beyond that limit. It's not an actual simulation of the failure mechanics of the plane, they just used a hard limit beyond which they would stop the plane from flying.

    And what I was demonstrating here was the descending turn, which was done at a slower speed. He only sped up when flying in a straight line, and only exceeded the recommended limits for a few seconds. Unlike my simulator, the plane does not simply stop when limits are exceeded, it would keep going - even if the controls no longer worked.
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  20. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    No, no and no.
  21. Zett eL

    Zett eL Member

    Ok Mick, so you agree that you didnt prove that the official maneuver - including the impact with official speed - is doable?
  22. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

  23. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I demonstrated the maneuver in question, the descending turn. That's one things people were claiming was impossible, and is the topic of this thread. High speeds just before impact are a trivial addition, but that's off topic here.

    If you'd like to talk about the turn, then go ahead. Do YOU think it was impossible?
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  24. Zett eL

    Zett eL Member

    I OFTEN noticed people stating that the turn was illogical, a waste of time that resulted in a more difficult approach. I OFTEN noticed people claiming that the impact maneuver was impossible for an inexperienced pilot first time in the cockpit.
    I NEVER heard of anyone claiming that the turn was impossible.

    So I wonder why you even go for that or... I wonder if that is what you actually go for. So thats why I want you to make clear that you dont think you proved the official impact maneuver doable.
  25. Landru

    Landru Moderator Staff Member

    Number one on the Google search.

  26. Oystein

    Oystein Active Member

    Once Hanjour came in as high and close as he did, the alternative to a loop would have been to dive much more steeply straight into the Pentagon. This would have risked far higher velocities far sooner, might have necessitated the use of flaps, or setting throttle to zero, and perhaps more importantly would have given him no second chance to pull up if he noticed at the last second he'd miss, and go for a second attempt or a secondary target.

    The loop is thus perfectly logical - and it did work as intended.

    it would have been better of course for Hanjour to come in at a lower altitude, but this error perhaps shows (as does the sloppy execution of the loop) that he was indeed an inexperienced, bad pilot!

    Mick never addresses, mentions or otherwise hints at the latter claim. The thread is about whether or not it is easy, difficult or impossible for an inexperienced pilot to fly that turn - check out the thread title for the bolded words!
    The opening post asks: "Could a pilot with limited large plane experience pull this off?"
    So it's crystal clear which claim of impossibility this thread is about, and which it is not.

    You cannot "prove" with a simulator of a 737 what is or isn't doable with a 757.
    What Mick provides here is not "proof" but a "demonstration" - you might say "evidence". In German, both "proof" and "evidence" are translated as "Beweis", but there is an important difference between the two English words. If you don't know it, yoou can pm me for some explanation in German.
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  27. darrenr

    darrenr Member

    Doesn't the recent incident of the Seattle airport worker who stole and flew a 'plane for an hour demonstrate that this kind of thing is more than possible? The guy had little to no flying experience yet somehow managed to loop the loop and pull the aircraft out of a steep dive while very close to the ground. Ironically, about the only thing he didn't know how to do was land the 'plane, something the 9/11 hijack pilots apparently didn't bother training to do.
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  28. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Hadn't heard about that. Story here:


    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
  29. tadaaa

    tadaaa Active Member

    i think i read reports that he gained what knowledge he had from playing flight simulators
  30. Keith Beachy

    Keith Beachy Active Member

    I agree.

    The people who said he showed great skill only experienced pilots can don't make sense to me. First off usually planes like that don't do aerobatics. In pilot training we had to enter maneuvers at the proper speed, and had to perform the maneuver by the book. The guy did barrel rolls, but we don't know how good the roll was because we are not in the plane. Bad landings look bad from the cockpit, but might look okay from an observer on the ground. Until landing become gross, they don't appear 'bad' from an outside observer.

    How can he do the maneuvers for the first time in the plane? First, he does not care how it turns out. When I had to do aerobatic in the T-37/T-38 they had to be by the book, and I was being graded, and I wanted to do it again. He had no pressure, and did not care if he stalled out or failed. He had no inhibition to try, or pressure to be perfect, or make a passing grade.

    Plus, saying the plane is complex is not the big picture. Saying it is more complex than a C-150 (single engine prop) is true for the systems, but not for the basic flying, save the fact you have two engine which is more complex for flying if things go wrong, albeit when your single engine goes, you are landing, now. You don't need the complex systems, ADI, etc for VFR flying, you need to see. I don't see it easier to fly a small single engine vs jet.

    Some simulators I have flown crash if you exceed the limits - it just stops. This is a training thing, and not what the real aircraft do. I have flown a KC-135 past the speed limit, and it did not crash. The only anomaly when I was flying at the Vmo limit or slight above, was some flutter on the aileron, which was annoying. When a fellow pilot exceeded the speed limit by a "bunch", part of wing skin under the leading edge was delaminated - the crew chief for that plane was past upset.

    In the jets I have flown, when the pilots exceeded limits the worse was parts ripped off, like a gear door. On 9/11 we may have seen part falling off if any of the planes had exceeded the limits for long, but they did not exceed limits past seconds, and which limits were they? Do you know Zett eL, which limit and by how much it was exceeded, or are rumors on the Internet good enough.

    Flight 11 was flying at a flight manual speed, at or near Vd - but a speed which above what normal operatoins woujld be, but at a speed flight tested.
    Flight 175 exceeded Vd, but the plane was designed in the days where it was to be flutter free past Vd, to 1.2Vd, which is not relaxed to 1.15Vd. Search this forum for more info
    Flight 77 hit the Pentagon at 483.5 knots, it is seen flying at the this speed on the FDR, thus it really happend, the engines were at 100 percent at impact. There is no reason the 757 can't reach this speed, it has not been flight tested to that speed by a murderer at 70 feet MSL.
    Flight 93 crashed into the ground at high speed, forgot the speed, I can look it up. This terrorist pilot was pulling high g to keep the passengers from taking the cockpit, and he flew 93 into the ground on purpose, like the guy in Seatle did..
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  31. cjnewson88

    cjnewson88 Member

    Yeah, it really does but frankly I can't be arsed :cool: good recreation Mick. Mind if I add it to the blog?
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