Skip to comments.United 93: "It was Clear That We Would... Take the Aircraft Down"
Posted on 09/07/2011 11:04:05 PM PDT by Shalmaneser
Major Heather Penney recounts the drama in the skies after District of Columbia Air National Guard pilots scrambled to intercept incoming hostile planes. She describes why F-16s initially took off from Andrews Air Force Base unarmed and what she was prepared to do to bring down a plane piloted by terrorists.
"We wouldn't be shooting it down. We would be ramming the aircraft.... because we didn't have weapons on board to be able to shoot the airplane down."
"Sass looked at me and said 'I'll ram the cockpit.'"
"I had made the decision that I would take the tail off the aircraft."
Harrowing minute-by-minute first-person recount of the planned intercept of UAL 93 on 11 September 2001.
“The people on Flight 93 were heroes... but they were going to die no matter what.”
I remember finding it hard to believe what was happening on that day. To be in an aircraft that had been hijacked would be even more surreal. But the passengers on flight 93 came to the realization that there was something that needed to be done and they did it. God Bless every one of them.
Never again? I think most of the US has woken up concerning foreign threats. If a takeover of a plane is attempted again, I’m sure there will be a fight. I also believe the radical inspections by TSA is unnecessary.
I just wish our people would understand the enemies we have in our own nation....especially those who keep putting us in further debt.
This is beyond debt.
No matter the PC blather that our supposed leaders and media try to lay on us.
I. WILL. NEVR FORGET
“I think most of the US has woken up concerning foreign threats. “
Yes, it’s just a pity that our government refuses to do it’s job and deal with it in an actually effective manner.r
I wish I could remember who made this point:
Before 9/11 hijacked planes almost always had a chance of a hopeful end. They weren’t intended as weapons.
Osama relied on this. It worked until the passengers on United 93 learned what was up and took their courage action.
That ended Osama’s power with this tactic. The age of bin Laden ended with the words: “Let’s roll!”
On Sept. 11, 2001, it was repeatedly said at KFI 640 Khz AM news talk radio in Los Angeles that USAF F-16 shot down flight 93.
First of all I and many others recall seeing the video before. If it wasn't the video it was a still from it.
Secondly something seems wrong with the smoke trail. I can't put my finger on it but it seems quite a bit different from another crash I had seen live - flight 427 in Hopewell Township, near Pittsburgh.
Flight 427 crashed literally in the backyard of a very good friend. While I lived a good distance away I was able to see the smoke after climbing on my roof.
It didn't look anything like the flight 93 smoke. It was thinner and no "mushroom" from the impact.
Maybe it's the distances involved that create the discrepancy or maybe the weather conditions, I don't know.
I'm NOT claiming 93 was forced down. Instead I'm wondering if the air frame was stressed and the plane started breaking apart. Or maybe there was a bomb of some sort.
And one other thing that REALLY has me wondering about the entire incident. I work in news at a radio station and had just returned home from the overnight shift. The phone rang and because I live very close to the station - 3 actually - I was put on standby.
The next phone call came from a retired WWII air force Col friend who told me to turn on the TV, the US was under attack - from muslims. At that time I don't believe the media had said it was muslims. He never told me how he knew. He also warned me - and I later heard in the initial, ongoing coverage that a plane was spotted circling Pittsburgh and there were concerns it might be targeting the USX tower.
Hearing a plane I ran out onto my deck and saw a plane flying erratically, wings dipping and in a slip situation. PIA was not very far from our house and I used to sit on the deck and watch planes in the pattern. This plane was going in the exact OPPOSITE direction of the pattern at about 2 thousand feet and heading toward Pittsburgh, about 5 miles away.
After it passed it made a very sudden, "jerky" turn away from downtown and toward the southeast. Again not something I had EVER seen a plane in the pattern do. That direction is toward Somerset and the 93 crash site as well as DC.
Other people have mentioned seeing something similar in the same place and hearing the reports of a plane circling Pittsburgh BUT in the official flight recording at the time Flight 93 was over Pittsburgh it was supposed to have been at 35 thousand feet.
The only thing I can think of is that because all planes were under orders to immediately land, and because PIA was most likely very busy, a passenger jet was making for Allegheny County airport which is also in the same SE direction. I think it would be a stretch to land a plane that size at the county but not impossible.
In any case the reports of a plane circling Pittsburgh disappeared and except for this post I have pretty much dismissed it.
Poor description. I should have added that the flight 427 smoke was rising at only a slight angle from my perspective.
It would be helpful to know what direction the camera is pointing in the Flight 93 video and what direction the plane was flying.
It seems to me the smoke is being moved by the winds at a fairly rapid rate but as I recall there was very little if any wind that day.
Worth every minute.
Wonderful lady. Great patriot. May God richly bless her and her family.
That was the story on plenty of radio and TV stations.
I have no doubt that plane was shot down.
I sat in rapt attention to every, perfect, intelligent, and courageous word she spoke.
Unbelievable. I'm not sure I can get my kids to sit through this - but Maj. Heather “Lucky” Penney is one fine American.
Seriously - it is almost unbelievable how she comes across. She has it all.
The people on Flight 93 were heroes... but they were going to die no matter what.
Yeah, there weren’t any scenarios where people walked away from that one.
I don't have a TV. Am I just S.O.L.?
How did you view the video? Is there a link/URL you can share? (I don’t have a TV.) Thanks in advance...
It sure did. Me and mine will uphod that - to the end.
Click complete file on the right .. ;)
Worth watching, for sure. God bless you and all our incredibly professional and brave military.
Thank you for posting.
I have always believed that plane was shot down as well. It seems there was time to respond to that one and it kind of makes sense that that is what would have been done with the luxury of time to decide. There were eyewitness account(s) of a fighter type jet swooping in out of nowhere and then leaving just as quickly. What was strange to me is that the liberal media never really questioned what happened to this flight; they just “accepted” the prevailing story of the heroic passengers bringing the flight down themselves. Maybe they thought that sounded good and better to perpetuate that version of things, even if it was a myth. I fully expected Congressional hearings and for the liberal media to say Bush shot the plane down and murdered all those innocent Americans (even though, if Bush did order the plane shot down most of America would understand but that shouldn’t have stopped certain leftist fringe elements of the media trying to paint Bush a murderer). It seems the media, as leftist as they are, got together and agreed that they weren’t going to touch this story, just leave it alone and let the passengers be American heroes. Another interesting element to the story was that back then the passengers could call and text from their cell phones on the plane, whereas now anyone doing that would technically be breaking the law. I think for a time you couldn’t even bring your cell phone on the plane, on your person or in carry on, does anyone remember if that was the case? Bush could have literally done anything he wanted after 9-11 and he should have bombed mecca; took over Saudi Arabia and their oil fields and pumped oil only for USA consumption, dropping the price of gasoline back down to 20 cents a gallon again; and, sent every muslim in the USA back to their country of origin, which would probably have bankrupted all of those countries. As far as public opinion, I think Americans would have been all in favor, especially when the economy would have gotten a huge boost from cheap oil and gasoline. As far as world opinion, eveny country hates the USA anyway, so the hell with what they think.
Well, there was no texting back then but yes, those calls revealed the story of the Flight 93 heroes. We know from those calls that some of the passengers took matters into their own hands. "Let's roll."
Interestingly, at least one of those cell phone calls also recorded a significant explosion. One caller who was on the phone at the time mentioned the blast. Speculation is that the explosion was a missle fired by a fighter jet, and that is probably what brought the plane down.
I fully expected Congressional hearings and for the liberal media to say Bush shot the plane down and murdered all those innocent Americans
Nope. Bush would have exposed the truth about the downing of Flight 800 off of Long Island during the Clinton regime. Sometimes, the scumbag liberals know when to keep their stinking mouths shut.
Fascinating woman, Major Penney.
I’ve heard on pretty good authority that the debris field was eight miles long.
In the summer of 2010, my grandson ran heavy equipment with the construction company that did the preliminary work for the memorial park and they stayed near Shanksville. He told me that most of the people they (construction workers) talked to in restaurants and around where they stayed told them the plane was shot down.
Again, just locals opinion and nothing to confirm it but their eyesight.
Oh yea, another thing they mentioned was that the debris was scattered for miles.
And in Tehran, they said it was the Jews, and they even said so--wait for it--repeatedly.
It doesn't bother me that someone who cannot discern signal from noise posts on the Internet.
It does, however, bother me that you vote in our elections.
That was an incredible interview. Candid and honest. Worth the time for sure. Very proud to have this person in the skies prtecting me. Quality all the way.
But at least they're inconveniencing and humiliating us every time we fly. There are some steps they're willing to take.
Wind, pressure, and temperature determine smoke dispersal. It is rarely the same.
I cleaned up an accident where a small plane went down at a steep angle at high speed. The plane hit the ground in one piece and the debris field was 2 miles long.
Years ago there was an established tactic for this. It was called a “Slide By” and the way it was done was the fighter after expending all ordanance on Soviet bombers was instructed to pull up next to the fuselage just forward of a wing and then pull backwards along the fuselage until the wing was pulled off the target.
I'm a CFI-IA and have landed many "big rigs" in simulators. I have no doubt I could have safely landed the plane with or without anyone talking me down. The chance of people with a similar background to be able to land the plane being on the plane is perhaps another 1 in 4.
Hollywood oversimplifies things, of course, but it doesn't mean there aren't capable pilots other than the two up front seated aft of the locked doors.
The important point remains: if the passengers had successfully retaken the airplane and gotten on the radio, I believe they would have been sufficiently convincing to buy time. At minimum, controllers would've considered letting them make a water landing just off the coast after amassing an incredible number of emergency rescue vehicles nearby.
For what it’s worth, on Mythbusters, both Adam and Jamie were successfully talked through an acceptable flight and landing of an airliner in a simulator. Each was able to make an acceptable landing with instructions relayed over the radio.
1) It would take at least two hours, maybe more, from a standing start to assemble 4 “warshots” for one sortie (two planes, two live missiles on each plane, a minimal loadout), including time to transport them to the planes and to strap them on.
2) In the 10 years before 9/11 we never needed live missiles anywhere in the Continental United States on less than 2 hours notice.
3) In the 10 years after 9/11 we never needed live missiles anywhere in the Continental United States on less than 2 hours notice.
4) Therefore they would have had to bring Flight 93 down by ramming. After 10 years we would know the name of that pilot if (s)/he existed.
Flight 93 was populated by heroes. They took the weapon out of the hands of Bin Laden's minions. If no one else, they saved the life or lives of (then) Lieutenant Penney and/or the other pilot that sortied with her. They also made possible the lives of her children, born since 9/11.
427 would have had a lot less fuel on board, whereas 93 was full for a long flight. Even if both had been full, the 757 can carry more than twice as much fuel as the 737. That could make a difference in the plume. 427 was near the end of it’s leg, so it probably had far less fuel on board than 93.
1) The passenger list of Flight 93 is well known. Can you point out the name of any deadheading pilot? One would certainly have made survival more possible, if not likely.
2) Any controlled crash attempt would more likely have been at an airport with a heavily foamed up runway, and with as many medical personnel available as could be scrounged up, and the plane on its last ten minutes of fuel.
IIRC, it was reported that at least one of the terrorists on board did have a bomb. The movie, United 93 made about that flight, and the passengers who fought back, also showed that one of the terrorists strapped on a bomb to gain compliance of the crew and passengers. It's likely that in the struggle, the bomb was detonated.
Even if they had shot United 93 from the sky, it would have been preferable to what may have lay ahead with an even greater loss of life in a highly populated area.
I was at the scene. I have seen aerial photos taken above the site.
The crater was narrowly diamond-shaped. You could clearly see the outline of the wings and the fuselage. The aircraft went in almost vertical. This was confirmed for me when climbed to the top of a giant abandoned drag line crane and could look down at the crater and see the general outline of it, even though the FBI had been digging in it with heavy equipment.
I have also seen a still photo taken seconds after the impact. Big, black mushroom cloud. My boss was the second guy at the site and kept it framed in his office.
The plane may have been coming apart from aerodynamic stresses. The speed and angle of impact, it would seem to me, would be like popping a paper bag, enhanced by the instant atomization and detonation of the fuel onboard.
We found the cockpit down about 60 feet. (This was a reclaimed strip mine with the loose overburden pushed back into the cut and graded over.) Debris was found miles away - east, not along the flight path.
I think that the UASF was attempting to intercept the plane. I believe they were prepared to bring it down if it continued toward Washington. The plane at the point of impact was maybe 20 minutes from DC. However, I don’t believe they did quite catch up with it before the efforts of the passengers to retake the cockpit forced the hijackers to crash the plane. The ‘black box’ recordings of the noises in the cockpit support this.
Guys I worked with saw at least one F-16 pursuing at at full afterburner about 60 miles back, right about the time the plane went in.
I think the first plane over the scene though was a corporate jet that was in the area and circled over to confirm the crash site for the ATC.
Is it true that there was a passenger on board who may have been able to land the airplane?
Yes. Donald F. Greene, 52, of Greenwich Connecticut was the Executive Vice President of The Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, and he was also a licensed pilot of small aircraft. There is no conclusive evidence that the plan to take over the plane involved Donald Greene piloting the Boeing 757.
It is suspected that Greene was the passenger who attempted to call an emergency operator after locking himself in one of the plane’s bathrooms. Based on his personality, it is very probable that Greene may have subsequently played a key role in the planned takeover of the aircraft, quite possibly as its new pilot. -(nytimes.com)
I’m not convinced they were, especially after listening to Maj. Penney’s full interview.
Absolutely. What a humble, steadfast professional.
Makes me proud and inspired. And she’s willing to die for her precious country, as they all are. God bless and protect her and all those unseen heroes, fighting and guarding our safety every day. Imagine the weight and
consequences on her shoulders, along with the rest of her small crew, on 9/11. Shudder .. no higher courage.
I doubt it was forced down by outsiders. Too many passengers had cell phones and said what they were going to do....