View Full Version : What did ATC see???

13th Sep 2001, 02:28
As a controller, when an aircraft reverses course almost 180 degree and then starts descending, one starts to ask himself questions. Why has no information about ATC come out yet, I know some of the aircraft did not turn off their transponders. Did these aircraft just proceed to NYC without any communication? This infomation is out there, can anyone comment??

13th Sep 2001, 04:06
There are some reports that indicate ATC knew something was wrong and that they had a hijack case in at least one of the situations. What could they have done?? Scrambled fighter jets in what seemed like a routine hijack diverting some other airfield? Well just that the events following were unimaginable, even if you had slept over a Tom Clancy the previous night !!

13th Sep 2001, 04:14
Washington center tracked both 757's, alerting the White House that the plane that eventually struck the Pentagon was headed for the White House, and also the 757 that crashed in Pennsylvania (while it was still airborne and headed east) was the cause of the emergency evacuation of Federal government buildings in Washington.

13th Sep 2001, 04:32
Evaluation......time .....and reaction........what are you payinf those ATC guys. Check in-air time from Logan 2 Boston Dep to JFK. Is it James Bond Money ?

USA sorry for your troubles .....RIP all who have suffered and are suffering

Cyclic Hotline
13th Sep 2001, 04:41
I saw an animation of the ATC plot for the aircraft last night on TV. XPDRS were reportedly turned off.

This story has just been published;

Pilot sent secret messages - report

BOSTON (Reuters) - The pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, which crashed into New York's World Trade Centre on Tuesday, secretly sent messages to controllers on the ground during much of the flight, the Christian Science Monitor has reported.

The paper, citing interviews with two unnamed air traffic controllers, said the pilot was apparently triggering a "push to talk" switch in the cockpit, probably on the plane's steering wheel, known as a yoke.

"The button was being pushed intermittently most of the way to New York," one of the controllers told the newspaper's Thursday edition. "He wanted us to know something was wrong. When he pushed the button and the terrorist spoke, we knew. There was this voice that was threatening the pilot and it was clearly threatening."

During the transmissions, the pilot's voice and the heavily accented voice of a hijacker were clearly audible, the controllers told the paper.

The transmissions were all recorded and the paper said the tapes were turned over to federal law enforcement officials.

The paper said controllers were first tipped off that something was wrong on Flight 11 when the aircraft failed to follow an instruction to climb to its cruising altitude of 31,000 feet (9,449 metres).

"He was cleared to continue his climb and he did not," the paper quoted one of the controllers as saying. "He was given permission to turn to go around (other airplane) traffic at 29,000 (feet/8,839 metres). So he issued a further climb, and (the plane) does not respond. That was the first indication we had of a problem," the controller told the newspaper.

The controller handling the plane then tried repeatedly to raise the aircraft on the radio but got no response. He then switched to an emergency frequency but again failed to establish contact.

At about the same time, some 20 minutes into American Airlines Flight 11's trip, the aircraft's transponder stopped working, making its altitude a matter of guesswork. Without the transponder, the plane was still visible on radar.

"Then the plane turned (south toward New York), and then they heard the transmission with the terrorist in the background," the controller told the paper.

"The voice upset him because he knew right then that he was working a hijack. Several other people heard the voice, and they could tell by the sound of it, intuitively, that this was a bad situation," the controller said.

The controllers also said that they heard a hijacker say something like "We have more planes, we have other planes," although the statement's import was not understood.

Another controller in the Federal Aviation Administration Control Center in Nashua, New Hampshire, confirmed the events to the newspaper.

"The person in the cockpit was speaking in English. He was saying something like, 'Don't do anything foolish. You're not going to get hurt,'" the second controller told the paper.

13th Sep 2001, 04:59
The 757 that crashed in pensylvania had two phone calls made from an in-flight phone to a passenger's relative on the ground. In the conversation, some of the men toward the rear of the aircraft had voted to try and overpower the three terrorist's on board. This was relayed to the passenger's relative.

This info is from CNN correspondent
Miles O'Brien reported at about 1815 hrs EDT.

Over 9 Firefighters that were first on the scene at the WTC, and caught in the collapse, have been found alive in the rubble this afternoon as of 1805 hrs EDT. as per CNN.

757 that hit the Pentagon was originaly aimed at the white house or capitol building, but according to witnesses, vered toward the millitary establishment.

Cyclic Hotline
13th Sep 2001, 07:26
Here is a link to a graphic of the flightpath of the a/c.

It is being suggested now, that they overshot the White House and took the Pentagon as a secondary target. Anyone familiar with Washington will know that the White House is one of the harder landmarks to locate from the air, as it is relatively small compared to so many large structures surrounding it.

I think we may be very fortunate that two of these aircraft maybe did not hit their primary targets. If anything good might be salvaged from this horror, it is perhaps knowing that what has occurred might have been even worse. Unimaginable...

14th Sep 2001, 02:30
We will see over the next few days/weeks but hijack procedures need to be change/established. After the 1st aircraft impacted the WTC.. they had 18 minutes before the second did, the controller aparently heard "we have more planes?" At the time I am sure it meant nothing, maybe the military need to have fighters on standby at major airports ready for immediate deployment. Maybe it's time that all airspace around busy airports be completely restricted to any traffic other that commercial, this way it might be easier to control. The radar controller sees an unidentified prime target on the radar..up go the fighters to find out what's going on. Sounds excessive, could have saved the day

14th Sep 2001, 06:23
More detail on ATC actions. One of the controllers also handled Egyptair 990.

FAA employee: hijacked jets almost collided en route

By Associated Press, 09/13/01

NASHUA, N.H. -- The two hijacked jets that demolished the World Trade Center nearly
crashed into each other while heading to their target, according to a Federal Aviation
Administration employee at a regional control center.

"The two aircraft got too close to each other down by Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, N.Y., about 55 miles north of New York City, the employee told The Telegraph of Nashua. It wasn't clear how
close they got after they left Boston 15 minutes apart Tuesday morning, both headed
for Los Angeles.

Hijackers gained control of American Airlines Flight 11 around Gardner, Mass., said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Gardner is about 45 miles
northwest of Boston.

"American was just flying around, doing what it wanted," the employee said of the jet's
approach to New York.

United Airlines Flight 175 remained in the hands of its pilots until it reached Albany,
N.Y., the employee said. Albany is about 140 miles north of New York.

The controller noticed American Flight 11 was having difficulties when its transponder, the device that sends an electrical radar pulse to air traffic control centers, shut off, the employee said. At that point, the plane veered
from its course, the employee said.

Soon after, the controller realized a hijacker stood in the cockpit when the plane's captain, John Ogonowski of Dracut, Mass., turned on his microphone, the employee

The pilot was apparently triggering a "push-to-talk button" on the aircraft's steering wheel, a feature that enables pilots to have their hands on the controls while
communicating, another employee told The Christian Science Monitor. That let
controllers hear much of what was said and other cockpit noises.

"The button was being pushed intermittently most of the way to New York," the employee
said. "He wanted us to know something was wrong. When he pushed the button and the
terrorist spoke, we knew. There was this voice that was threatening the pilot, and it was clearly threatening."

Through the radio connection, the controller heard someone instruct, "`Nobody do anything
stupid"' and no one would get hurt, the employee said. The controller heard no more
conversations, The Telegraph reported.

FAA controllers notified concerned government
organizations, such as the military, the employee said. Controllers also shut down all
other air traffic quickly to get other planes away from the rogue aircraft, the employee said.

The Nashua controllers have learned through discussions with other controllers that an F-16 fighter stayed in hot pursuit of another hijacked commercial airliner until it crashed in Pennsylvania, the employee said.

Although controllers don't have complete details of the Air Force's chase of the Boeing 757, they have learned the F-16 made 360-degree turns to remain close to the commercial jet, the employee said.

"He must've seen the whole thing," the employee said of the F-16 pilot's view of United Flight 93's crash near Pittsburgh.
The flight took off from Newark Airport for San Francisco, and authorities say the hijackers were headed for another target in
Washington, D.C.

The employee said the controller spoke with United Airlines Flight 175 for quite some time after terrorists took command of
American Airlines Flight 11, the employee said.

Many controllers also watched events unfold on the Nashua control center's television, but never expected Flight 175 to hit the second World Trade Center tower because of that sustained contact with the crew, the employee said.

"After the first plane hit, nobody imagined it would happen again," the employee said. "We all thought that was it. It
totally caught everybody off guard.

"It's not in anyone's mind they're hitting a target," the employee said. "When somebody takes a plane over, they try to negotiate a release with money."

One air traffic controller with the help of an assistant monitored the two Boeing 767s that toppled the World Trade Center, the employee said.

The same controller handled Egypt Air Flight 990 when it crashed off the coast of Massachusetts in 1999, the employee said. The controller is "pretty disturbed" that he lost both planes, the employee said.

The morning's surreal moments included a controller who arrived for work and discovered his wife was on the American
Airlines flight, the employee said.

[ 14 September 2001: Message edited by: SaturnV ]

18th Sep 2001, 23:07
Don't know what to make of this

19th Sep 2001, 01:36
At least one news story I read (sorry, forgot the source -- I've read so much in the last week -- but it was a credible source, eg NYT or Wash Post) indicated that fighters were scrambled: F-15s from Hyannis, on Cape Cod, in reaction to the hijacks from Boston. They apparently didn't reach New York until a few minutes after the second crash. F-16s were also scrambled from Norfolk, Virginia, in response to the AA hijacking from Dulles. Apparently they went supersonic most of the way, but still got to DC after the Pentagon had been hit. But presumably they would have been in position to intercept the UA 757 had it in fact reached the city.