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September 11 - 20 years on.

Old 11th Sep 2021, 23:56
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September 11 - 20 years on.

Today, in the US, marks the twentieth anniversary of a horrifying event that changed the world of aviation forever. I am opening this thread to encourage people in this industry to share their memories and impressions of that day, and also to honour the men and women on the hijacked aircraft who lost their lives. Out of respect for those who died, politics, religious/racial stereotyping and, especially, conspiracy theories, are not welcome. Instead, I hope that this thread will be a collection of memories, thoughts and reflections on what, for the aviation industry, was a defining moment. Here’s my memories and thoughts:

I actually went to bed earlier than usual on September 10th (US time) and so I wasn’t aware of the catastrophe unfolding in New York until I woke up the next morning. As was customary then, I turned on the TV morning news show while my wife showered and was stunned beyond belief by what I was witnessing. As the summary continued of what had happened, I relayed the information to my wife - four airliners were hijacked, two were flown into the World Trade Centre, one was flown into the Pentagon, one crashed in a field, people are jumping out of the burning towers, the towers have collapsed. It was almost too much to comprehend, and as I discussed it with my wife, I said, “They must have killed the pilots … there is no way I could fly an aeroplane into a building … even with a gun to my head.”

I knew that my life as a 747 pilot would never be the same again. All those happy conversations with passengers in the flight deck - one of the most enjoyable parts of my professional life - would never happen again. The next time I flew, the bullet-proof, locked doors had already been installed, but they just served to remind me of the awful last moments of those poor pilots who were killed on that terrible day. Vale to the pilots and cabin crew of the hijacked aircraft, and RIP to the souls of all of the innocent victims who died.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 01:17
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Was in a outback regional gig at the time. Was about 40 degrees. I’ll never forget the eerie silence of passengers and crew. Was complete silence. Everyone was just so shocked. Nobody could speak. I actually had a few passengers that pulled out, they just couldn’t get inside an aircraft, hesitation took a little while for some to adjust to.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 01:55
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Recovering from Canberra to Townsville via Amberley, and overnighted in NSW after an aft transmission chip.

Very quiet radios the next day on the way up to Townsville on the 12th.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 02:06
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Just got back to my hotel room in Europe with takeaway lunch, planning to sleep for the night's flight. Turned on the TV, which by default was CNN.

​​​​​​The breaking news was an accident that an aircraft had collided into the WTC. As the reporter covered the story live with the towers in the background, I watched another plane fly from the right of the TV screen, then a ball of fire coming out to left side of one of the buildings. The reporter kept talking about the first incident as she was unaware of what had just happened behind her.

Didn't get the rest I had intended that afternoon.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 02:47
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I was asleep 22:43 when it happened. defiantly was not 40 degrees!
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 06:41
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I was sitting up smoking weed with a mate, we couldn’t quite believe what we were seeing on the tv.

It changed a lot, overnight.
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Old 12th Sep 2021, 07:48
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Walked on to the floor of the ACI World exhibits hall in Montreal in time to see the second aircraft hit the tower live on the screens overhead which were screening TV coverage. Rooms were set aside for counselling of those airline and airport execs who needed it. Imagine the panic of the large number of US based folk stranded north of a closed border.

With one exception members of the Victorian Trade Mission of which I was part stayed put in Montreal for a week or so and then returned to Australia via LA on the original LAX/SYD booking. Over beers each afternoon of our enforced stay in Montreal we discussed the potential for this to impact on a struggling Ansett in Australia.

My daughter was on an aircraft in Calgary having visited her host family and about to travel to DC to meet up with me. Luckily the aircraft had pushed back but was denied take off and returned to the terminal. She made it back to Australia on the same aircraft out of LA as I.

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Old 12th Sep 2021, 16:01
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I was here, flying that morning. When I landed, I asked the ground controller what was going on, her reply “When you get inside, turn on the TV” Walked in my front door to see the second 76 crashing into the WTC. What a sad and truly horrible day.
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Old 13th Sep 2021, 08:01
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Was working in Line Maintenance for a carrier at LHR and had dispatched x2 B747 to EWR and JFK that morning. Had to meet at least one of the aircraft back in as they were turned around mid-Atlantic, the other probably diverted to Gander (long time ago to remember the day's work events exactly). Remember having to go onboard as the pax were held there for a while as we may have been on a remote bay and it was pretty chaotic at LHR. Pax kept asking me what happened, particularly the Americans who were NY residents I guess. It was in the days before smart phones so had to describe the event. No one I spoke to had a direct connection with anyone in the Towers, but obviously very distressing for them.

The next few weeks we were effectively grounded and there was a chance the company wouldn't survive and you just knew aviation had changed forever. I've been watching a couple of programs on ABC (Beyond the Towers?) and SBS, and even now watching the impacts and the horror of people jumping is shocking. I've still got a couple of newspapers from 12th Sept as it was such a massive moment in history.
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Old 13th Sep 2021, 08:24
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There is a story about A Rich Fella who was in Vegas at the time, doing a little gambling.

When he heard the news, he jumped into his jet to fly out of the country, but all aircraft were grounded. He had to return to Vegas, and ..well..he had to keep gambling.

In that following week, he lost $24million. A drop in the bucket for him, wish my bucket was that big, or anywhere near the drops.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 06:12
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Got up to see if I still had a job, as we were waiting for the axe to fall at Ansett- and saw something far worse.

Can't help but feel we just piled loss on loss after that- the terrorists started the rot but our reaction has just made the world a steadily worse place.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 06:34
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I got up, switched the TV on and saw smoke billowing from the twin towers. The headline was "Hijacked Airliners are Crashing in America." I couldn't believe what I was seeing, almost as if aliens had landed.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 11:35
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I was in class in Coventry studying for the then JAA exams. One of the students wife messaged him to tell him what was happening. The BBC site had crashed. I jumped onto the Aus ABC site to confirm the horrible news.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 16:47
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Was sitting up late watching CNN as there was nothing on TV and I wasn't tired so thought I'd just read while the TV was on - heard the report about what they at first thought was a small aeroplane having accidentally crashed into the tower, then while I was watching, another one hit the other tower. It was surreal, woke the (then) wife up (we were both airline people) and she kept asking why she had to get up and I couldn't explain it, said "You just have to come and look, the world has just changed......." We had been in New York just months prior....

Before then, my first urge was to pick up the 'phone to my Dad who usually stayed up a bit late some nights, there was no hello or greeting, the phone rang, he answered the phone instantly and just said "J E S U S".

I remember thinking that the newly elected President was so dim that he'd probably go and nuke someone.

Anyway, within two days I was out of a job, then back in a job, then out of a job.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 21:10
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I was in Luanda, Angola and had just got back from work. I initially thought it was a movie but the others assured me it wasn’t.
I still had a job but when I travelled back home on rotation leave things had sure changed.
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Old 14th Sep 2021, 23:00
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I was on a night shift and saw the news on tv. I got home about 6.30am , woke up my wife in tears, told her of the horror of the images. I said I'm about to lose my job. Within days Ansett had gone under. The final straw.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 00:07
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The terrorists did their job well, that's their mantra to instill terror/fear into people, 20 years on the fear continues, their work ever lasting!:-(
RIP to those that where taken by an ideology that even today is hard to fathom:-(
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 01:15
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That's the thing, innit, machtuk? Sure the human toll of 9/11 was tragic, and as a tactic it worked fairly well. It could have been better, of course, if they'd waited a few hours until the buildings were fuller. But the US loses 10x the 9/11 deaths on the road every year, and no one bats an eye, it's just 'accepted', for the convenience of having the automobile, the same as tobacco and a host of other causes of death.

The ongoing effects of 9/11 is the heartbreaking thing. Removing your shoes, tie, belt, jeans just to get to the airplane. ETD tests. Kids no longer going to the flightdeck. ASIC cards & throttle locks on a clapped out '152 at Narrabri just because it get's a Dash from Sydney every few days, HOT or NOT security awareness training, TSA groping 3 year old's because they won't stand still in the scanner, photographers being questioned or arrested because "they pose a security threat" and the multitude of other restrictions we have today all in the name of 'security'.

I would say that is a bigger win for the attackers than simply killing 3,000 people and bringing down a few buildings.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 02:41
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Working in London. It was just around lunchtime. One of the people in my team said a plane had hit the world trade centre. I thought he was joking until he showed me the single line on one of the news websites. All it said was a plane had hit one of the towers. We just thought it must have been a light plane, probably the pilot had a heart attack or something. Then all hell broke loose. I was working for an American company and we had a few Americans from New York working in senior management roles. We all went up to the large meeting room where we all watched things in real time on the tv. Our company was a subsidiary of another larger company that lost over 300 people.

They also evacuated the tower at canary wharf as it was thought that might be a target. It was a very surreal day.
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Old 15th Sep 2021, 14:31
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I would say that is a bigger win for the attackers than simply killing 3,000 people and bringing down a few buildings.
If people continue to think like this, they surely will "win"
But what will they "win" ?
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