It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) claims that it received FAA notification by 8:40 am, a dismaying 27 minutes after air traffic controllers determined that hijackings were in progress. According to the New York Times, only a dozen planes, all belonging to the weekend warriors of the Air National Guard, were assigned to protect the continental United States on the morning of 9/11. And not a single one was in the air.
The Air Force waited six minutes before responding to NORAD with a "scramble order,
However unexpected the hijackings of Sept. 11 were, two F-15s from Otis Air National Guard Base near Cape Cod, Mass., were airborne within six minutes of getting the scramble order from NORAD. Time and distance worked against the fighter jets, which were about eight minutes away when the second plane flew into the World Trade Center buildings.
Air Defense Control Facilities (ADCF) shall immediately notify the appropriate terminal air traffic control facilities as specified in a letter of agreement when a scramble is ordered and accomplish the following actions:
a. Active air defense missions shall be so identified.
b. A flight plan containing the following information shall be filed:
1. Flight call sign.
2. Number and type of aircraft/equipment suffix.
3. Departure point.
4. Proposed departure time or the word "immediate."
7. Duration of flight.
8. Remarks-Frequency, type of climb, ADCF, desired transfer point.
9. Any other information required by ATC facilities.
When word came on Sept. 11 that airliners had been hijacked, air defense fighters scrambled at Otis ANGB, Mass., and Langley AFB, Va., and went off to intercept the airliners. However, according to a NORAD fact sheet released shortly after the attacks, the fighters simply had no chance to intercept the four hijacked airliners.
The first notification that something was wrong came in at 8:40 a.m., and at 8:46 a.m. a fighter scramble order was sent to Otis. Only seconds after the scramble order, American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston slammed into the World Trade Center's north tower. The two Otis F-15s did not take to the air until six minutes later.
Next, at 9:02 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston crashed into the WTC south tower. At the time of this impact the Otis-based F-15s were still 71 miles outside of New York City, meaning they were about eight minutes away.
Shortly thereafter, at 9:24 a.m., NORAD got reports of additional hijackings and immediately scrambled two F-16s of the 119th Fighter Wing, a North Dakota ANG unit that keeps a permanent detachment at Langley. The Langley fighters took off at 9:30 a.m., but once again the Air Force lacked enough time to avert catastrophe. American Flight 77 out of Dulles Airport hit the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. The Langley fighters were still 12 minutes and 105 miles away from Washington, D.C.