posted on Apr, 7 2009 @ 12:12 AM
The protocol for this event is just as it is for all others when there is a hijacking. Ultimately, it is the FAA's responsibilty to keep our skies
safe. When there is a hijacking, the regional FAA office where the incident took place notifies FAA in Washington. The FAA in Washington has a
hijack coordinator who must first confirm the hijacking. Once he has done so, then he contacts the National Military Command Center (NMCC) located in
the Pentagon to ask for military escort the aircraft. At this point, the NMCC contacts the Secretary of Defense for the approval to provide military
assistance. Once the approval is given, then the approval would be sent to NORAD and the fighters would then be scrambled. Before an intercept
command can be given; both the President and the Office of the Secretary of Defense must be contacted for the approval. It is a process that can
sometimes take a while as evidenced on 911. It's my opinion that this process was intentionally sabotaged in order for this killing to take place
and that's all I care to say about it. I still get angry over it.
As for stall speeds on an F-16 fighter jet, this is a discussion that gets repeated time and time again in aviation circles, related to just about
every aircraft design out there. The problem is that the term "Stall Speed" is often quoted but is somewhat meaningless...
Any airfoil will generate lift in proportional to its airspeed and angle of attack. Increase either one and the amount of lift generated goes up.
There is, however, a limit to the angle of attack, "the critical angle of attack", beyond which the airflow over the surface becomes turbulent, lift
decreases dramatically and drag increases... the airfoil has been "stalled".
The important thing to note is that the critical angle of attack can be reached at any airspeed provided the aircraft has the control authority (and
the flight control system allows it) to increase the angle of attack to this level.
In normal flight, we can increase lift by increasing airspeed, angle of attack or both. It follows, therefore, that if we want to fly slower and
slower without descending we must increase the angle of attack. But, as mentioned above, the angle of attack can only be increased so much before the
wing will stall.
So, when someone asks about "Stall speed", what they are really asking is "How slow can an airplane or jet fly before it must be flown at the
critical angle of attack in order to generate enough lift to maintain altitude". Fly it any slower and we must either accept a controlled descent or
else pull the nose up higher, begin to stall the wing and enter a somewhat less controlled descent!!
As was previously pointed out, air density plays an important role in the performance of a wing, so the higher we fly, the faster we must fly (for a
given angle of attack) to generate the same lift.
Finally, don't forget that intelligent flight control systems built in fighter jets measure parameters like airspeed, angle of attack, air density
etc and can restrict the control inputs given by the pilot in such a way that the airplane remains in its normal flight envelope. In the above
example, this means that the onboard computers can force the pilot to accept a gradual descent at lower airspeeds rather than giving them the
opportunity of putting the plane beyound the critical angle of attack. So what I'm trying to say here is there is no set "stall speed" for an
Finally, as to motives of why this guy did what he did, it's anybody's guess. My first thought is that it was a suicide mission - and it very well
may have been. He "may" have had a pre-determined target in mind somewhere in the US to crash the plane but we will probably never know. But then
again, he did land the plane so as for it being a suicide mission, that's a big question. The F-16's may have just put the fear of God in him and
he decided he didn't want to die afterall.