posted on Jun, 28 2005 @ 07:55 PM
I might be opening a can of worms with this, but someone said this might need a new thread, and I agree, so here goes....
Oh, and a point that I wanted to bring up that a lot of people seem to miss is how the planes weren't tracked on radar. There are two types of
tracking going on with radar. There is the IFF (Identify Friend or Foe) which sends a code providing the planes altitude, airspeed, and location by
putting a signal on the radar screen, and there is the skin paint. When you are talking skin paint, you are talking a MUCH more difficult target to
track. You have about a two foot radar screen to look at, and most skin paint targets are tiny little dots on the screen. When you see a tv show or
movie showing a radar screen, and you see the "tags" on the screen, that is actually the IFF, not the skin paint. You would have to have a
magnifying glass and a good idea of where to look for the target on a skin paint, until the plane was very close to the radar transmitter. That's
why the last couple of minutes of the flights were seen on radar. They had flown close to an area where there were several radar antennas so they
were able to see them.
As far as the interceptors go, in a normal situation, which 9/11 started out being, there were very few interceptors sitting active alert, waiting to
launch and intercept an airplane, and most of them were in the wrong spot. Not all airforce bases have fighters sitting alert armed, waiting to
launch. Once they GOT a fighter launched it generally only has about an hour to an hour and a half of internal fuel, for subsonic flight. If
they're carrying external tanks, they can only get to high subsonic speeds unless they drop the tanks off, at which point they're right back to
where they started. Afterburners are great for getting speed built up fast, but you're dumping raw fuel into the exhaust, and that eats up a LOT of
fuel really fast.
"But at the National Military Command Center (NMCC) in the basement of the Pentagon, Air Force staff officers monitoring every inch of airspace over
the northeastern seaboard would have caught that first hijacking when Flight 11's identification transponder stopped transmitting at 8:20 -
automatically triggering a radar alarm.
With their capability to monitor developing "situations" by tapping into military and civilian radars, U.S. military commanders would have also seen
Flight 175 turn abruptly south 25 minutes later - just as they had watched on radar in October 1999 when pro golfer Payne Stewart's Learjet abruptly
departed its flight path while en route to Dallas. [CNN, Oct 26, 1999]
In that legendary intercept, a fighter jet out of Tyndall, Florida was diverted from a training flight to escort the Lear, whose pilot had become
incapacitated, trapping Stewart in the stratosphere. An F-16 was reportedly sitting off the left wingtip of Payne's pilotless business jet within 19
minutes of the FAA alert. [ABC News, Oct 25, 1999]
If NORAD had been as quick to scramble or divert airborne fighters on Sept. 11, two "anti-terrorist" F-15's on armed alert could have been sent
south from Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. Flying at full afterburners without edging over the Atlantic to disperse their sonic footprint, two of the
fastest fighters on the planet would have broken a few windows. But all the glass in the Twin Towers might have stayed intact had the "fast-movers"
intercepted Flight 11 over the Hudson River at least six minutes from Manhattan."
I have several things that are wrong with some of these statements. First is that comparing trying to track an airliner that is moving at 500+mph
with no transponder to Payne Stewarts Lear jet travelling at 3-400mph WITH a transponder is misleading. It goes back to the Lear broadcasting exactly
where it is, and flying a reasonably straight line, as opposed to a plane that is NOT broadcasting any information about its location and is
manuvering. The fighters could have launched and gotten to the AREA they lost the transponder in, but it would have been luck for them to find it
An F-15 going supersonic would burn through the onboard fuel in a matter of maybe 30 minutes, and I'm not even sure it CAN go supersonic with more
than the fuselage missiles onboard. Otherwise you get too much weight and drag pulling against the forward thrust. The four forces of flight are
thrust/drag and lift/weight. The more drag you have the lower your top speed is. You would be talking two to three 600 gallon external fuel tanks,
plus up to 8 missiles weighing up to 100 pounds apiece, all causing drag on the aircraft, which would slow it down.
Fuel and load: internal fuel 13,123 lb (5952 kg);
external fuel: 21,645 lb (9818 kg) in two CFTs and up to three 610-US gal (2309-liter~ drop tanks;
Range: ferry range 3,100 nm (3,570 miles; 5745 km) with CFTs and drop tanks, or 2,400 nm (2,765 miles; 4445 km) with drop tanks;
combat radius 685 nrn (790 miles; 1270 km)
All of those ranges are low-medium subsonic speeds. From what I've heard aferburner is 125% of normal fuel consumption or somewhere around there.
The interception of the Lear was again completed with a working transponder on both aircraft.
Another statement that I have trouble with is this.
"Also, there is an Air Defense Intercept Zone just off shore for the entire Atlantic Coast. This zone is constantly being patrolled. In general fast
movers would not need to be scrambled. They can be diverted from routine patrol and training flights for the intercept. The odds are that on a
beautiful blue morning in September many flights would be on patrol just off shore. It would be most improbable that even one commercial flight could
go more than fifteen minutes without being intercepted."
This is simply not true. There are no active patrols of the ADIZ zone. Aircraft entering the zone without proper id are intercepted by land based
fighters that sit 5, 10, or 15 minute alert, meaning that they have 5, 10, or 15 minutes to be airborne after the alert is sounded. We have alert
fighters here that sit on the end of the runway in a shed waiting in case the alert is sounded. Those are the only fighters that are armed here, and
there are either three or four waiting to launch at any time. Sometimes it's three, other times it's four. It takes up to two hours to scramble an
unarmed fighter. You have to load weapons, get the crew in the plane, run engines for 45 minutes to an hour to align the navigation system, and THEN
launch. It takes time to get the weapons out of storage, out to the plane, uploaded, etc.
I'm not saying that the military did everything they could, or that there weren't things that could have been done. I am just trying to clear up
what seems to me to be some ignorance on the part of writers trying to sound knowledgeable about something they might not be.
Oh, and going back to some of the hijackers not being able to solo a Cessna, so how would they be able to fly a 767? You could put just about ANYONE
that knows how to turn on an autopilot, and punch coordinates into a nav system into a cockpit of a plane in the air and they would be able to fly it.
I'm sorry to all those that don't believe you could use Microsoft Flight Simulator to learn to fly, but I have seen the game, and compared it to
real cockpits, and it's VERY accurate. I used to fly some when I was younger, and all the lessons in Flight Sim are the same ones I learned when I
was younger, just with more detail to them than I had. You wouldn't have to be able to solo a Cessna, which would require taking off, landing, and
normal flight to be able to fly a plane that is already in midair and you have no intention of landing.
And another thing to remember about the military reaction, is that until 9/11 ALL hijacked airliners were flown somewhere, landed and demands were
made, so the military could have figured that was going to happen again, so they could wait a little and see if they landed somewhere, before trying
to intercept the flights.