How hard is it to hit the the 9/11 targets?


New Member
Some people mention how hard it must have been for these inexperienced pilots to hop into big airliners and fly them so precisely into these targets and do some of the maneuvers observed. The hijackers only had experience in small one engine propeller planes, therefore it would be nearly impossible for them to fly these big 767-200ERs and 757-200s so well. As for myself, I only fly single engine planes (Beechcraft Bonanza to be specific) and I thought I would have a go flying big planes into these targets.

-World Trade Center South Tower (South Tower because people fuss about Marwan Al-Shehhi's ability to pull out of a steep dive and then being able to turn sharply into the tower)


-US Capitol (Some people have made the argument that replicating flight paths is unfair, and that you couldn't pick a really low to the ground target and coordinate a original flight path/attack from the air.)

-The White House (As people have said Flight 93s target wouldn't have been the white house as that's a very hard building to hit, so I thought I'd give it a go to see how hard it really was to hit.)

This is my Flight 175 into the south tower recreation. The real aircraft hit between floors 77-85, my aircraft hit 77-84, the real aircraft was doing 513 knots, I was doing 512 knots.175 south tower.png175 again.pngPretty good, and so was my approach over the Hudson
.Capture.PNGIt was not hard to get out of the dive, and it was very easy to bank into the tower.

Pentagon time.

Two things are important here,the first is the turn, and the second is being so low to clip light poles.77 pentagon.PNG
Light pole clipping achieved.

77 again.PNG
77 be like.PNGOk now the the flight 93 potential scenarios. First up is the Capitol. Very easy to do. Just dove to a position where I had a straight flight path.

93 flight path.PNG
Easy to do flight. Nothing special.
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White House. This one is still not hard, but also not easy. It's a hard target to locate and then to start your attack run. It can be difficult. But once you've gotten it, it's pretty easy to just fly into.
flight path white house 93.PNGThose looping turns really do work.93 white house.PNG

So that's that. 4 completely different flight paths, all very easy to execute, especially with flight controls. (Accurate controls as Boeing aircraft use yokes and not sidesticks, so my yoke for flight simulators is accurate to what was on the aircraft that crashed that day.)

This Simulator is X-Plane 11, I use a Logitech G Saitek Yoke and Throttle Quadrant if you want to try and replicate these yourselves.


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Nor is the OP.

Nor am I, yet I've found it remarkably easy to pilot a 757 into the Pentagon, or a 767 into the World Trade Center. Here's my Pentagon attempt.


I did that with mouse controls, which is harder than using a joystick or yoke.

Being a pilot is difficult, but steering a plane in the air is not difficult. All you'd do is steer with the yoke, and adjust altitude and speed with the throttle, and (maybe) trim.
A couple of things to note here:

First, at least one of the pilots (Hanjour, Pentagon) had significant training and a commercial jet pilot's license. It was memorable to me as he got at least some of his training here in the Phoenix area. See this article. I do not have information on the others.

Second, the targets were all quite wide, and wider than the runway at least here at PHX. KPHX's three runways are all 150' wide, and the towers were over 200' wide each, the Pentagon larger still.

Third, the targets were obviously stationary. This is kind of important - read up on the various naval ship/air battles in WWII, and a moving target (even at 30 kt) is quite hard to hit, even when it's a carrier.

Fourth, they had no airborne or ground flak defense to avoid. This cuts even a poor pilot a lot of slack in acquiring and hitting a target, especially when it's with the plane you're flying.

The biggest challenge likely would have been any crosswinds to compensate for.

Pretty much, like Mick says, once the plane is in the air, and in stable flight, and you're not trying any radical maneuver, not worried about air traffic control, and your target is as big as each was, it's not so difficult. I certainly cannot speak from experience with a heavy commercial jet, but in my exceedingly limited time behind the yoke on a couple of occasions, it's pretty straightforward to drive. %^)

Cheers - Jon N7UV
I've long wondered, given that the data recorders were unrecoverable and the record is gone, if they relied on the FMS at all. There's not really any reason you can't make the plane do the hard work.
I've long wondered, given that the data recorders were unrecoverable and the record is gone, if they relied on the FMS at all. There's not really any reason you can't make the plane do the hard work.
Absolutely. Planes can do amazing things when you let them do their thing. Nowadays, there might be more terrain info, obstacles, etc., in their on-board computer, they might balk at flying into structures, but at the end of the day the pilot is supposed to be responsible.

Cheers - Jon N7UV
I think the downward turn of the plane and the ridiculous turn just shows the hijacker’s incompetence, so that actually makes adds more credibility to the official narrative.