9/11: How hard is it to hit a building at 500mph?

Mumbles

Active Member
It doesn't require a good pilot to steer a plane in a particular direction and punch the throttle. I used to be a flight instructor, and I would take people with zero experience for demo flights. Within 30 minutes, they would know how to bring the aircraft in the direction I point out. They may not be able to maintain altitude or heading without more coaching, but the fact of the matter is, it really isn't difficult.

Similarly, there are simulator experience companies out there that allow zero time enthusiasts to jump into a simulator of a large jet and to see what it is like to fly one. Usually by the end of the experience, the customer would know how to place the jet within the span of a runway for landing... Even if the landing is not particularly good.
While acknowledging that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", I can attest to the above from the other side of the cockpit as a near zero-time non-pilot enthusiast. I've got about two hours of actual loggable flight time on various light aircraft, which includes landing at an international airport. Admittedly that was in a Beechcraft Skipper with an instructor about an inch away from taking control, but I'll take it :)

I also have a few hundred hours on various PC flight simulators and games accrued during my youth, which I didn't think counted for much until a Tiger Moth pilot congratulated me on my technique after a "hands on" flight and asked how much flying I'd done, and that was the only thing I could reasonably ascribe it to. I've also done a session in exactly the large commercial jet simulator setup described.

The point is that Rico is absolutely right. I've done what can safely be described as minimal flight training, make no claim whatsoever to being a competent pilot, but if you give me a trimmed up aircraft in VFR flight and something to fly towards I can do it. I have done it in fact.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
The point is that Rico is absolutely right. I've done what can safely be described as minimal flight training, make no claim whatsoever to being a competent pilot, but if you give me a trimmed up aircraft in VFR flight and something to fly towards I can do it. I have done it in fact.
Yup, a good few years ago I was addicted to Red Baron, the WW1 flight simulator, was in an online squadron the lot. Now I know it was just a game, but apparently the flight sim side of RB 3D was fairly realistic and the planes behaved, or so I was told, pretty much the real thing. And even a Spad XIII (my fave plane in the game), with no pilot aids at all and a need for landmark navigation, was pretty easy to fly with some precision after a little practice. And my only real flying experience was a five minute 'want to take the controls' bit in a Piper that me a couple of mates had hired for a 40 minute joy ride over Lincolnshire.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member
Glide path????

What's with the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacies?

No one had to stay on a glide path. The towers stood over 1000 feet high and 200 feet wide. Being below the top of them and above other structures was all that was required.
As for the Pentagon, it was 70 feet tall so missing the "glide path" to it, low by 70 feet still impacts the building.
Hanjour also messed up his nav at first and had to circle, erratically, to hit the Pentagon. In fact of the three planes only the first managed a straight in approach. That would be consistent with someone just trying to keep the target in center of the window.
In a sim you would NOT need to hit these buildings exactly where the hijackers did, just hit it,,,, anywhere.

In fact had flt11 or flt175 missed completely and crashed into the streets the "mission" would still be successful..
 

csdstudio

New Member
So, after a few days of reading this old thread, I'm perplexed. I'm not sure why I was intrigued with this particular bunk yet somehow continued on.. and on... and on... I was curious how one person could be so dead set on believing what is 'unbelievable', disregarding facts and professionals with experience, all the while evading perceptions of being a troll. I now have my own CT on the matter: George was deceptively fishing for data from the best possible source of producing such data. He was in search of instructions and feasibility of rigging an airliner's autopilot system, to replicate the events of the day in question. Hopefully he sees that it's not possible.

:eek:

Seriously though...

It's frustrating when the world we live in today is assumed wrong until proven right. I don't see this challenge as "how did they unbelievably get 3 for 3 that day?" What other events in our history do we have to base this claim of doubt? None that are even close. If anything, we now know that such a task is quite easy to do. In fact, 3/3 is not statistically improbable or highly unlikely, rather it is now considered very successful and a highly effective means of carrying out such a devastating terrorist attack.

Could anyone do it? Probably not. However, we know the perps had x in training and y in experience. With that information we can formulate a baseline "qualification" necessary to complete such a task.

Because the CT's have no conclusive evidence to prove otherwise, the results of that day define new statistical data we can utilize to determine future outcomes of similar attempts.

With all of that information we can also accurately predict that had the "qualified" 4th assailant not been intervened by passengers, statistically speaking (which history clearly demonstrates), he would have made his target with ease.
 

Blinkenlights

New Member
Having read all the way through this thread it's quite amazing that you guys have the patience to answer the exact same questions over and over and over again.

With regards to how easy it was to aim and hit a target - they succesfully trained pigeons to fly glide bombs into targets in WW2... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Pigeon. Of course this was only ever tested in simulators... http://www.historynet.com/top-secret-wwii-bat-and-bird-bomber-program.htm

Of course pigeons are natural aviators so maybe their flying skills are better than the average CPL holder!
 

Truthful

Banned
Banned
I see a lot non pertinent debating. Of course an amateur pilot could possibly hit The tiniest of targets but it's extremely unlikely.

Has anyone brought up that the speeds shown on tv are out of the planes speed envelopes?

Even if one could nosedive to achieve this rate then the craft would be moving so far outside its speed envelope that it would not be as stable
 

Keith Beachy

Senior Member
I see a lot non pertinent debating. Of course an amateur pilot could possibly hit The tiniest of targets but it's extremely unlikely.

Has anyone brought up that the speeds shown on tv are out of the planes speed envelopes?

Even if one could nosedive to achieve this rate then the craft would be moving so far outside its speed envelope that it would not be as stable
Having flown a Boeing jet over Vmo, I know it was more stable at Vmo, than landing speed, easier to control. The targets on 9/11 were 1300 feet tall and as wide as a runway, and at 500 mph, the drift is almost nil with the winds on 9/11 - and the Pentagon, unless you go to Edwards AFB runway on the desert, it is hard to beat the 900 foot wide Pentagon for a target to hit, it is not a tiny target, and the WTC towers are not tiny. As wide as runways, and I have yet to meet a pilot who brags about missing a 200 foot wide runway on his first flight in a heavy jet.

See https://www.metabunk.org/debunked-pilots-for-9-11-truth-wtc-speeds.t2942/
Plus learn how the planes were designed to survive at speed beyond Vmo, Vd, etc. The plane does not stop working, it does not fall apart, there were be many more deaths due to flight if the planes could not exceed Vd.

I found flying past Vmo was as stable as slower speed, and I had no problems. The only damage I have seen for pilots who exceeded Vmo by a lot, was skin ripped off honeycomb Al structure under the leading edge. The planes on 9/11 were low and fast, not close to MACH 1.

The pilots on 9/11 had more time learning to fly than I had my first flight in a Boeing Jet... My first time in a Boeing jet I landed perfectly, which is an order of magnitude harder than crashing into the WTC or Pentagon. My first time and I had less than 250 hours flight time in small planes, and less than 2 years flight experience. I have flown kids in large jet simulators, their first time flying, no problem flying the jet... It is very likely the trained terrorists pilots could hit 75 percent of their targets... it is 100 percent likely; it really happened.

You don't have to nosedive to get high speed, the engines can drive the plane as sea level to the speeds seen on 9/11, it is a fact. Jet engines have the most thrust at sea level. A 6 degree down pitch will have the plane accelerate due to gravity past the limits; as seen on 9/11 the pilot on 175 had a hard time getting down because he was too high when he started his decent to hit the WTC. When you pitch over and gain speed, the plane "wants" to climb if you don't trim to the higher speed. The 767/757 are designed to be stable even past the limits placed on the pilot, so the pilot has a margin of safety to save the plane if it is upset and in a nose dive approaching MACH 1, the pilot can save the plane without total destruction.
 

Nada Truther

Active Member
Of course an amateur pilot could possibly hit The tiniest of targets but it's extremely unlikely.
Unlikely doesn't mean impossible.

Judging by the way that flight 11 hit WTC 1 pretty much dead center and 175 hit WTC 2 off center to the right; It seems like one of the two pilots was a little off target. If they were trying to hit dead center, flight 175 missed the mark. He, unfortunately still got the job done, but it was off target. If the pilot of flight 175 had been a few degrees off to the right, he might have just clipped it. So I wouldn't say that he hit the "tiny" target. If he was aiming at the middle of the "tiny" target, he missed.
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
I see a lot non pertinent debating. Of course an amateur pilot could possibly hit The tiniest of targets but it's extremely unlikely.
but if you sit back, with a cool uncluttered mind - the above makes little sense, the pilot hit where he hit (and the targets where quite big)

maybe in 100 subsequent tries he could not hit the same spot, on the same building but that is kind of irrelevant - because it is like saying that if you threw a ball, then marked where it landed, you can with subsequent throws, place the ball in the exact same spot

you wouldn't be able to - the first ball landed where it landed, "unlikely" is irrelevant you can't rewrite history and say that was planned, in reality "likely" and "unlikely" are useless concepts in determining whether the pilot could hit the building
 

Hevach

Senior Member
As mentioned, the buildings are wider than a runway.

With just on-the-spot coaching and not the actual professional training the hijackers had, first time flyers have been able to hit a runway, quite commonly in simulators and in a handful of emergencies as well. The main issue is they usually hit it too hard, not that they miss it entirely. And the hijackers were not especially concerned with a soft landing.
 

Truthful

Banned
Banned
I still question not only how they hit both wtc's with such precision that each entire wingspan was contained to each building face

[off topic question about penetration removed]
 
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cloudspotter

Senior Member
I still question not only how they hit both wtc's with such precision that each entire wingspan was contained to each building face

[off topic question about penetration removed]
How much of the wings would have to miss in order for you to be satisfied? 2%? 10%?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I still question not only how they hit both wtc's with such precision that each entire wingspan was contained to each building face
They were aiming for the middle of the building. The 767 has a wingspan of 156 feet. The towers were 207 feet wide, so you could hit anywhere in the 51 foot wide center (i.e the middle 25% of the building). Hardly precise.

And it's not as if they both did exactly the same thing, the impact locations varied in several ways.

WTC1ImpactZone.png


WTC2hole+plane.jpg


The actual difficulty of doing this has been discussed at length in this thread. It's not THAT hard. A 767 can land on a 100 foot wide runway, and generally does so very close to the center line.
 

Truthful

Banned
Banned
It's just another amazing feat supposedly accomplished by people not comfortable flying small aircraft which are much easier to control.

[off topic material removed]
 
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Truthful

Banned
Banned
Again mick of course a 767 can land on a 100 ft runway but do you have any instance of verified amateur pilots doing so?


They were aiming for the middle of the building. The 767 has a wingspan of 156 feet. The towers were 207 feet wide, so you could hit anywhere in the 51 foot wide center (i.e the middle 25% of the building). Hardly precise.

And it's not as if they both did exactly the same thing, the impact locations varied in several ways.

View attachment 23345


View attachment 23344


The actual difficulty of doing this has been discussed at length in this thread. It's not THAT hard. A 767 can land on a 100 foot wide runway, and generally does so very close to the center line.
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member
I still question not only how they hit both wtc's with such precision that each entire wingspan was contained to each building face but they fully penetrated and all
Again mick of course a 767 can land on a 100 ft runway but do you have any instance of verified amateur pilots doing so?
Every pilot has a first solo. I think you're significantly overestimating the difficulty of handling a heavy jet. The process is no different than a Cessna, and the extra mass makes perturbation by wind etc less.
 

Truthful

Banned
Banned
I know you're significantly underestimating the amount of training and hours that every pilot has accrued by the time they hemselvea are fully landing a craft like a 767.

Are you suggesting the supposed 9/11 hijackers had this amount on training and or expertise when they couldn't even handle a small craft
 

Spectrar Ghost

Senior Member
I know you're significantly underestimating the amount of training and hours that every pilot has accrued by the time they hemselvea are fully landing a craft like a 767.

Are you suggesting the supposed 9/11 hijackers had this amount on training and or expertise when they couldn't even handle a small craft
Not at all. But you're just arguing from incredulity, while the actual pilots in the forum have clearly disputed your position.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I know you're significantly underestimating the amount of training and hours that every pilot has accrued by the time they hemselvea are fully landing a craft like a 767.
They were not landing it. They were just steering it into a building.

Landing is one of the hardest parts of flying, steering into something is so easy a child can do it.
 

Truthful

Banned
Banned
But you continually use the argument that because a 100 foot runway is routinely hit by trained professionals that it somehow equates to untrained novices controlling an extremely difficult aircraft to incredible precision multiple times that day.

I just wanted to point out that the argument you are using is irrelevant and doesn't apply to the supposed hijackers as they never had training to control such large craft and so precisely.

The controls from small aircraft to a 767 are night in day in appearance.


[off topic material removed]

They were not landing it. They were just steering it into a building.

Landing is one of the hardest parts of flying, steering into something is so easy a child can do it.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
@Truthful has been banned for one week for repeatedly posting off-topic material.

This thread is about how hard it is to hit a building with a plane at high speed. It is not about the apparent lack of deceleration when the planes flew into the buildings.

One topic per thread please.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
But you continually use the argument that because a 100 foot runway is routinely hit by trained professionals that it somehow equates to untrained novices controlling an extremely difficult aircraft to incredible precision multiple times that day.
Pilots are not trained to "hit" a runway. They are trained to land on it. Very different things. Kamikaze pilots are trained to hit things.

I just wanted to point out that the argument you are using is irrelevant and doesn't apply to the supposed hijackers as they never had training to control such large craft and so precisely.

The controls from small aircraft to a 767 are night in day in appearance.
Not really. All you'd use are the throttle and the yoke (and maybe the rudder and trim controls). These are all basic controls that are essentially the same in big or small planes.

Cessna 172 yoke and throttle

20161212-105519-5tw51.jpg

Boeing 767 Yoke and throttle20161212-105644-3sk0i.jpg

You'd just steer.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I just wanted to point out that the argument you are using is irrelevant and doesn't apply to the supposed hijackers as they never had training to control such large craft and so precisely.
Yes they did - they had done simulator training, and had commercial pilot licences... 2 of them are said to have had "hundreds" of hours in a 727 simulator, another to have done "advanced simulator training", another to have "started training for large jets" - all from their wiki pages, linked from the wiki page summary of the hijackers.
 

jaydeehess

Senior Member
It's just another amazing feat supposedly accomplished by people not comfortable flying small aircraft which are much easier to control.

[off topic material removed]
AFAIK, no, this is incorrect. Once in flight a larger, heavier aircraft is going to be shoved around by winds much less than a small aircraft. Having had to charter float equipped aircraft to service small transmitters in the north west of Ontario I can attest to the buffeting that small aircraft experience compared to larger aircraft. A Cessna 172 on floats bounces around a lot more than a DHC-3, and a DHC-3 does so more than a DC3(on wheels obviously).
9/11 was a day of very light wind in the first place. Certainly the aircraft into WTC1 had little to contend with. The tower would have been visible on the horizon from 50 miles out. Just keep it in the windscreen and you WILL hit it.

No flaps to adjust, no trim to adjust, no wheels to deploy, no navigation computers to deal with, no care whatsoever to engine parameters, no care about ATC or staying within assigned corridors. Like Mick pointed out above, Yoke, pedals, throttle, ignore the rest.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
AFAIK, no, this is incorrect. Once in flight a larger, heavier aircraft is going to be shoved around by winds much less than a small aircraft. Having had to charter float equipped aircraft to service small transmitters in the north west of Ontario I can attest to the buffeting that small aircraft experience compared to larger aircraft. A Cessna 172 on floats bounces around a lot more than a DHC-3, and a DHC-3 does so more than a DC3(on wheels obviously).
no - not obviously :D

 

Whitebeard

Senior Member
Pilots are not trained to "hit" a runway. They are trained to land on it. Very different things. Kamikaze pilots are trained to hit things.
And by early1945 kamikaze pilots were often given a few hours basic training on basic trainers, then strapped into war planes and sent out to crash into allied shipping . The experienced pilots were too valuable to waste on suicide missions, and were retained to act as trainers and mission escorts.
 

Nada Truther

Active Member
And by early1945 kamikaze pilots were often given a few hours basic training on basic trainers, then strapped into war planes and sent out to crash into allied shipping .
So, a few questions:
1. How often did they miss? (That is compared to how many shots they took) So, in other words; what was their hit ratio?
2. How wide was a WW2 aircraft carrier/ cargo ship/ battleship compared to the width of the Towers?
3. Would it be more difficult to dive accurately over the ocean, with at least occasional rough weather, in a 1945 Japanese bomber than it would to fly a 767 straight, on a clear, nearly windless day into the towers?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So, a few questions:
1. How often did they miss? (That is compared to how many shots they took) So, in other words; what was their hit ratio?
2. How wide was a WW2 aircraft carrier/ cargo ship/ battleship compared to the width of the Towers?
3. Would it be more difficult to dive accurately over the ocean, with at least occasional rough weather, in a 1945 Japanese bomber than it would to fly a 767 straight, on a clear, nearly windless day into the towers?
Varies.
http://thefairjilt.com/2014/11/05/k...tistical-analysis-of-japans-wartime-strategy/
Of course they are not directly comparable, as the ships are not very tall. Left right aiming is easy. Up-down not so much. I'd imagine the ones that missed by pilot error would generally overshoot or undershoot. Plus they were being shot at.

The most successful, and maybe the most comparable was HMS Hermes, at 89% and early in the war (for the Japanese)

[Edit] had the wrong ship
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Hermes_(95)


600 foot long, 70 feet wide (and looks about 70 feet to the deck)

[Edit again] Actually that was the success rate for dive bombers. Which you would think would be less effective than Kamikazes, but no.
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
Kamikaze's got whatever plane was available, and whatever pilot had "volunteered".

some of the planes were not combat types - they used trainers too. and they loaded them with bombs or other explosive/incendiary materials.

and then the allies shot at them - and invented the proximity fuse which helped slaughter them.

Japanese dive bomber pilots in 1941-42 weer very good - experienced and with good aircraft and equipment, and faced little effective opposition.

Comparing either of them to 9/11 is an act of desperation right up here along with the kamikazes themselves.
 

tadaaa

Senior Member
just to add weight to the body of evidence that suggests the act of flying an aircraft is far from some alien "ninja" skill

during WW2 Russian pilots were sent into (aerial) battle with as little as 3 hours flying experience

I believe some even shot down the odd German
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Comparing either of them to 9/11 is an act of desperation right up here along with the kamikazes themselves.
I brought it up unfortunately. The point I was making was that it's vastly easier to crash into something than to land on it. A huge chunk of time for pilots is spend on landing. Steering you can do badly and you are still steering (turn the yoke left, it goes left) . But you don't get to land badly very often.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member
I brought it up unfortunately. The point I was making was that it's vastly easier to crash into something than to land on it. A huge chunk of time for pilots is spend on landing. Steering you can do badly and you are still steering (turn the yoke left, it goes left) . But you don't get to land badly very often.
I wouldnt say its a bad comparison though Mick... If I recall, "Landings are just controlled crashes." If you can aim your aircraft at something and keep it lined up, youll hit it one way or another. I think the issue is that people confuse flying an aircraft with taking the controls and making it go boom... any idiot can crash a plane, but it takes skill to "fly" one.. IE straight and level, follow all the rules, do things so that they're comfortable for your passengers etc. If you're not concerned with any of that, then its a matter of controlling physics.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
It may be interesting to note that we do have copies of kamikaze training manuals. An English translation of excerpts of one can be found here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/aug/22/japan.historybooks

The whole point of the training was to guide the kamikaze pilot to go as fast as possible just before impact so that he would inflict as much damage as possible on his target. This seems pretty consistent with how the 911 terrorists approached their attacks, and the desire to inflict maximum damage (whether based on an understanding of kamikazes or reasoned to separately) explains why the 911 terrorists would push their planes outside of their typical safety envelopes just before impact.
 

cloudspotter

Senior Member
I wouldnt say its a bad comparison though Mick... If I recall, "Landings are just controlled crashes." If you can aim your aircraft at something and keep it lined up, youll hit it one way or another. I think the issue is that people confuse flying an aircraft with taking the controls and making it go boom... any idiot can crash a plane, but it takes skill to "fly" one.. IE straight and level, follow all the rules, do things so that they're comfortable for your passengers etc. If you're not concerned with any of that, then its a matter of controlling physics.
It's like any idiot can drive down a motorway at 100mph
 
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