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Boston Center Notices Flight 11 Disappear from Its Radar Screens, Does Not Realize It Has Crashed Edit

Flight 11 disappears from primary radar four seconds before it hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center [see 1], according to an FAA timeline. . [1]

At Boston Center, Colin Scoggins, the center’s military liaison, notices the loss of the plane’s primary radar track. As the center only monitors high-level air traffic, its radar information does not pick up aircraft below 1,500 feet. But Scoggins does not realize Flight 11 has crashed. The Boston Center’s last known position for the plane before it disappears is nine miles northeast of New York’s JFK International Airport Wikipedia.[2]

8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: Flight 11 Hits the North Tower of the World Trade CenterEdit

Flight 11 slams into the WTC North Tower (Building 1). Seismic records pinpoint the crash at 26 seconds after 8:46 a.m. [3][4]

The NIST report states the crash time to be 8:46:30. [5] The 9/11 Commission Report states the crash time to be 8:46:40. [6]

Investigators believe the plane still has about 10,000 gallons of fuel (see 8:57 a.m. September 11, 2001). [NEW YORK TIMES, 9/11/2002]

The plane strikes the 93rd floor through 99th floors in the 110-story building. No one above the crash line survives; approximately 1,360 people die. Below the crash line, approximately 72 die and more than 4,000 survive. Both towers are slightly less than half full at the time of the attack, with between 5,000 to 7,000 people in each tower. This number is lower than expected. Many office workers have not yet shown up to work, and tourists to the observation deck opening at 9:30 A.M. have yet to arrive. [7][8]

The impact severs some columns on the north side of the North Tower. Each tower is designed as a “tube-in-tube” structure and the steel columns which support its weight are arranged around the perimeter and in the core. The plane, which weighs 283,600 lb and is traveling at an estimated speed of around 430 mph[see 2], severs 35 of the building’s 236 perimeter columns and damages another two. The damage to the South Tower’s perimeter will be similar [see 3].[9]

The perimeter columns bear about half of the tower’s weight, so this damage reduces its ability to bear gravity loads by about 7.5 percent.[10]

The actual damage to the 47 core columns is not known, as there are no photographs or videos of it, but there will be much speculation about this after 9/11. It will be suggested that some parts of the aircraft may have damaged the core even after crashing through the exterior wall. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): “Moving at 500 mph, an engine broke any exterior column it hit. If the engine missed the floor slab, the majority of the engine core remained intact and had enough residual momentum to sever a core column upon direct impact.” [11] According to NIST’s base case computer model, three of the core columns are severed and another ten suffer some damage.[12]

If this is accurate, it means that the impact damage to the core reduces the Tower’s strength by another approximately 7.5 percent, meaning that the building loses about 15 percent of its strength in total. This damage will be cited after 9/11 by NIST and others researchers as an event contributing to the building’s collapse [see 4]. In addition, some of the fireproofing on the steel columns and trusses may be dislodged. The original fireproofing on the fire floors was mostly Blazeshield DC/F Wikipedia, but some of the fireproofing on the flooring has recently been upgraded to Blazeshield II Wikipedia, which is about 20 percent denser and 20 percent more adhesive.[13]

Photographs and videos of the towers will not show the state of fireproofing inside the buildings, but NIST will estimate the damage to it using a computer model. Its severe case model [see 5] will predict that 43 of the 47 core columns are stripped of their fireproofing on one or more floors and that fireproofing is stripped from trusses covering 60,000 ft2 of floor area, the equivalent of about one and a half floors. NIST will say that the loss of fireproofing is a major cause of the collapse [see 6], and performs 15 tests on fireproofing samples [see 7]. [14] According to NIST, more fireproofing is stripped from the South Tower [see 3].

  1. [FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 9/17/2001 ]
  2. Lynn Spencer (2008). Touching History:The Untold Story..... 49
  3. CNN. 9/12/2001. 
  4. . NEW YORK TIMES, 9/12/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; USA TODAY, 12/20/2001; FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, 5/1/2002, PP. 1-10; USA TODAY, 8/13/2002; ASSOCIATED PRESS, 8/21/2002; NEWSDAY, 9/10/2002; NEW YORK TIMES, 9/11/2002]
  5. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (9/2005). p. 19. 
  6. 9/11 Commission Report,26 July 2004,Page 7
  7. . 
  8. [USA TODAY, 12/20/2001; NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 20-22 ]
  9. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 5-9, 20, 22 ]
  10. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 6 ]
  11. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 107 ]
  12. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS & TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 189 ]
  13. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS & TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. XXXVI, 83 ]
  14. [NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY, 9/2005, PP. 23 ]

NORAD Operations Center Receives First Notification of Hijacking; Approves Launching of Fighters Edit

Immediately after ordering the scrambling of fighters after Flight 11, NEADS calls Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. It informs him that the FAA is reporting a hijacking and requesting NORAD support, and asks for NORAD commander-in-chief approval for the scramble. [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002] The Cheyenne Mountain operations center “provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.” [NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 11/27/1999] Its role is to “fuse every critical piece of information NORAD has into a concise and crystalline snapshot,” and the mandate of its staff is “to respond to any threat in the skies over Canada and the United States.” [TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002] This is apparently the first time it becomes aware of the morning’s emergency. Mike Jellinek is sitting near Canadian Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of combat operations, who has just completed the night shift. Findley’s staff is “already on high alert” because of Vigilant Guardian and Operation Northern Vigilance, a training exercise and a NORAD operation that are currently in progress. According to some accounts, Findley quickly gives Jellinek “thumbs up” approval for the sending of the fighters after Flight 11. However, Findley tells CNN that after learning of the hijacking, “I just kind of asked the question, OK, folks, open up our checklist, follow our NORAD instruction, which included, at that time, to ask in either Ottawa or Washington is it OK if we use NORAD fighters to escort a potential hijacked aircraft?” Findley also later states, “At that point all we thought was we’ve got an airplane hijacked and we were going to provide an escort as requested. We certainly didn’t know it was going to play out as it did.” [CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, 11/27/2001; TORONTO STAR, 12/9/2001; AVIATION WEEK AND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, 6/3/2002; OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/11/2002; CANADIAN PRESS, 9/10/2006; CNN, 9/11/2006] Findley remains in charge of the NORAD operations center. His staff feeds information to NORAD Commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart, and Findley himself is in phone contact with Eberhart several times during the crisis. Eberhart is in his office at NORAD headquarters, at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, but will relocate to Cheyenne Mountain later in the morning (see (Between 9:35 a.m. and 10:35 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [CALGARY HERALD, 10/1/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 7/24/2004, PP. 465; LEGION MAGAZINE, 11/2004] Entity Tags: Operation Northern Vigilance, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northeast Air Defense Sector, Ralph Eberhart, Vigilant Guardian, Mike Jellinek, Rick Findley Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

First WTC Attack Recorded on Video, but Not Broadcast Until EveningEdit

Flight 11 hits the WTC North Tower at 8:46. This video still is the only well-known image of this crash (from the French documentary). [Source: Gamma Press] Two French documentary filmmakers are filming a documentary on New York City firefighters about ten blocks from the WTC. One of them hears a roar, looks up, and captures a distant image of the first WTC crash. They continue shooting footage nonstop for many hours, and their footage is first shown that evening on CNN. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2002] President Bush later claims that he sees the first attack live on television, but this is technically impossible, as there was no live news footage of the attack. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/22/2004 ] Entity Tags: George W. Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11, George Bush, World Trade Center


Otis Fighters Launched toward Flight 11 Edit

Two F-15 fighter jets are scrambled from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is 153 miles from New York City. The fighters are launched in response to the hijacked Flight 11, but this plane is already crashing into the World Trade Center at this time (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 9/15/2001; CNN, 9/17/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Delay - The FAA’s Boston Center alerted NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to the hijacking of Flight 11 and requested that fighter jets be scrambled at just before 8:38 a.m. (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but the mission crew commander at NEADS only instructed the leader of his weapons team to launch the Otis fighters at 8:45 a.m. (see 8:45 a.m. September 11, 2001). [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Otis Aircraft Head to Runway - As soon as the pilots at Otis Air Base are strapped into their aircraft, the green light directing them to launch goes on. They start their engines and taxi out of the hangar to the nearest runway. One of the pilots, Lt. Col. Timothy Duffy, radios his command post for guidance, asking, “Do you have words?” The response he gets is, “Possible hijack, American Flight 11, 737, flight level 290 [29,000 feet], over JFK [International Airport in New York City].” (This flight information is partly incorrect, since American 11 is a 767, not a 737.) According to the Cape Cod Times, the jets will be up in the air before their radar kicks in. [CAPE COD TIMES, 8/21/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 42] The Otis pilots have already been preparing for the scramble order to come since learning of the hijacking from the FAA’s Cape Cod facility, some time shortly after 8:34 a.m. (see (8:36 a.m.-8:41) September 11, 2001). [BBC, 9/1/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 27-30] Their jets are reportedly not airborne until seven minutes after being scrambled, at 8:53 a.m. (see 8:53 a.m. September 11, 2001) and there will be conflicting accounts of what their original destination is (see (8:53 a.m.-9:05 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Timothy Duffy, Otis Air National Guard Base, Daniel Nash Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11, Flight UA 175

(8:46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Janitor Hears Explosion from WTC Basement Edit

According to a WTC janitor, there is an explosion in the basement of the North Tower just before the plane hits up above. William Rodriguez has worked at the World Trade Center for 20 years, including the time of the 1993 bombing Wikipedia, and is responsible for cleaning three stairwells in the North Tower. He is talking to his supervisor in an office in the B-1 level in the basement when, he says, “I heard this massive explosion below, on level B-2 or 3.” He says, “The floor vibrated. We were all thrown upwards, then everyone in the office started screaming.” Then, “seconds later, there was another explosion way above, which made the building sway from side to side. And this, we later discovered, was the first plane hitting the North Tower on the 90th floor.”

A man then runs into the office, shouting, “Explosion! Explosion!” The man, Felipe David, had been standing in front of a nearby lift when a fireball had burst from the lift shaft, severely burning him. Rodriguez will later question, “Now you tell me how an explosion from a jet liner could have burnt a man 90 floors down within seconds of impact?”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology will suggest that the basement explosion Rodriguez heard might have been caused by a fireball traveling from the aircraft down the central lift shaft. However, some time after hearing it, Rodriguez rescues two people trapped in a lift. He will therefore doubt NIST’s claim, saying that if it were true, “Why were the two people [I] rescued from the lift not burnt to death?” [1][2]

Rodriguez also claims to have witnessed Mohand Alshehri in the World Trade Center in June 2001 [see 8]

Bush, Some Aides Reportedly Still Unaware of Flight 11 Hijack Edit

President Bush is traveling through Sarasota, Florida, in a motorcade when the first WTC attack occurs. According to the 9/11 Commission, “no one in the White House or traveling with the president knew that [Flight 11] had been hijacked [at this time]. Immediately afterward, duty officers at the White House and Pentagon began notifying senior officials what had happened.” However, according to reports, Bush is not notified about the crash until his motorcade reaches its destination, even though there is a secure phone in his vehicle for just this type of emergency, and even though others in the motorcade are notified. Reportedly, not even Jane Garvey, head of the FAA, nor her deputy have been told of a confirmed hijacking before they learn about the crash from the television. [BAMFORD, 2004, PP. 17; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: George W. Bush, Jane Garvey Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, George Bush


8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: Boston Center Notices Flight 11 Disappear from Its Radar Screens, Does Not Realize It Has Crashed Edit

Flight 11 disappears from primary radar four seconds before it hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001), according to an FAA timeline. [FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, 9/17/2001 ] At the FAA’s Boston Center, Colin Scoggins, the center’s military liaison, notices the loss of the plane’s primary radar track. As the center only monitors high-level air traffic, its radar information does not pick up aircraft below 1,500 feet. But Scoggins does not realize Flight 11 has crashed. The Boston Center’s last known position for the plane before it disappears is nine miles northeast of New York’s JFK International Airport. [SPENCER, 2008, PP. 49] Entity Tags: Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center, Colin Scoggins Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11

8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: First WTC Attack Recorded on Video, but Not Broadcast Until Evening Edit

Flight 11 hits the WTC North Tower at 8:46. This video still is the only well-known image of this crash (from the French documentary). [Source: Gamma Press] Two French documentary filmmakers are filming a documentary on New York City firefighters about ten blocks from the WTC. One of them hears a roar, looks up, and captures a distant image of the first WTC crash. They continue shooting footage nonstop for many hours, and their footage is first shown that evening on CNN. [NEW YORK TIMES, 1/12/2002] President Bush later claims that he sees the first attack live on television, but this is technically impossible, as there was no live news footage of the attack. [WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/22/2004 ] Entity Tags: George W. Bush Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11, George Bush, World Trade Center

(8.46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: NORAD Operations Center Receives First Notification of Hijacking; Approves Launching of FightersEdit

in a template Immediately after ordering the scrambling of fighters after Flight 11, NEADS calls Canadian Captain Mike Jellinek at NORAD’s operations center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Wikipedia. It informs him that the FAA is reporting a hijacking and requesting NORAD support, and asks for NORAD commander-in-chief approval for the scramble..  [3]

The Cheyenne Mountain operations center “provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.” [4] Its role is to “fuse every critical piece of information NORAD has into a concise and crystalline snapshot,” and the mandate of its staff is “to respond to any threat in the skies over Canada and the United States.”. [5]

This is apparently the first time it becomes aware of the morning’s emergency. Mike Jellinek is sitting near Canadian Major General Rick Findley, NORAD’s director of combat operations, who has just completed the night shift. Findley’s staff is “already on high alert” because of Vigilant Guardian and Operation Northern Vigilance, a training exercise and a NORAD operation that are currently in progress. According to some accounts, Findley quickly gives Jellinek “thumbs up” approval for the sending of the fighters after Flight 11. However, Findley tells CNN Wikipedia that after learning of the hijacking, “I just kind of asked the question, OK, folks, open up our checklist, follow our NORAD instruction, which included, at that time, to ask in either Ottawa or Washington is it OK if we use NORAD fighters to escort a potential hijacked aircraft?” Findley also later states, “At that point all we thought was we’ve got an airplane hijacked and we were going to provide an escort as requested. We certainly didn’t know it was going to play out as it did.” . [6]

Findley remains in charge of the NORAD operations center. His staff feeds information to NORAD Commander-in-Chief Ralph Eberhart, and Findley himself is in phone contact with Eberhart several times during the crisis. Eberhart is in his office at NORAD headquarters Wikipedia, at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, but will relocate to Cheyenne Mountain later in the morning [see 9].. [7]

8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001: Otis Fighters Launched toward Flight 11 Edit

Two F-15 fighter jets are scrambled from Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is 153 miles from New York City. The fighters are launched in response to the hijacked Flight 11, but this plane is already crashing into the World Trade Center at this time (see 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). [WASHINGTON POST, 9/15/2001; CNN, 9/17/2001; NORTH AMERICAN AEROSPACE DEFENSE COMMAND, 9/18/2001; 9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Delay - The FAA’s Boston Center alerted NORAD’s Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to the hijacking of Flight 11 and requested that fighter jets be scrambled at just before 8:38 a.m. (see (8:37 a.m.) September 11, 2001), but the mission crew commander at NEADS only instructed the leader of his weapons team to launch the Otis fighters at 8:45 a.m. (see 8:45 a.m. September 11, 2001). [VANITY FAIR, 8/1/2006] Otis Aircraft Head to Runway - As soon as the pilots at Otis Air Base are strapped into their aircraft, the green light directing them to launch goes on. They start their engines and taxi out of the hangar to the nearest runway. One of the pilots, Lt. Col. Timothy Duffy, radios his command post for guidance, asking, “Do you have words?” The response he gets is, “Possible hijack, American Flight 11, 737, flight level 290 [29,000 feet], over JFK [International Airport in New York City].” (This flight information is partly incorrect, since American 11 is a 767, not a 737.) According to the Cape Cod Times, the jets will be up in the air before their radar kicks in. [CAPE COD TIMES, 8/21/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 42] The Otis pilots have already been preparing for the scramble order to come since learning of the hijacking from the FAA’s Cape Cod facility, some time shortly after 8:34 a.m. (see (8:36 a.m.-8:41) September 11, 2001). [BBC, 9/1/2002; SPENCER, 2008, PP. 27-30] Their jets are reportedly not airborne until seven minutes after being scrambled, at 8:53 a.m. (see 8:53 a.m. September 11, 2001) and there will be conflicting accounts of what their original destination is (see (8:53 a.m.-9:05 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 COMMISSION, 6/17/2004] Entity Tags: Timothy Duffy, Otis Air National Guard Base, Daniel Nash Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: Key Day of 9/11 Events, All Day of 9/11 Events, Flight AA 11, Flight UA 175

(8:46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Janitor Hears Explosion from WTC Basement

William Rodriguez [Source: Publicity photo] According to a WTC janitor, there is an explosion in the basement of the North Tower just before the plane hits up above. William Rodriguez has worked at the World Trade Center for 20 years, including the time of the 1993 bombing, and is responsible for cleaning three stairwells in the North Tower. He is talking to his supervisor in an office in the B-1 level in the basement when, he says, “I heard this massive explosion below, on level B-2 or 3.” He says, “The floor vibrated. We were all thrown upwards, then everyone in the office started screaming.” Then, “seconds later, there was another explosion way above, which made the building sway from side to side. And this, we later discovered, was the first plane hitting the North Tower on the 90th floor.” A man then runs into the office, shouting, “Explosion! Explosion!” The man, Felipe David, had been standing in front of a nearby lift when a fireball had burst from the lift shaft, severely burning him. Rodriguez will later question, “Now you tell me how an explosion from a jet liner could have burnt a man 90 floors down within seconds of impact?” The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will suggest that the basement explosion Rodriguez heard might have been caused by a fireball traveling from the aircraft down the central lift shaft. However, some time after hearing it, Rodriguez rescues two people trapped in a lift. He will therefore doubt NIST’s claim, saying that if it were true, “Why were the two people [I] rescued from the lift not burnt to death?” [NEW YORK MAGAZINE, 3/20/2006; WESTERN MORNING NEWS, 12/2/2006; HERALD (GLASGOW), 2/16/2007; ARGUS (BRIGHTON), 2/26/2007] Rodriguez also claims to have witnessed alleged hijacker Mohand Alshehri in the World Trade Center in June 2001 (see June 2001). Entity Tags: William Rodriguez, World Trade Center Timeline Tags: 9/11 Timeline Category Tags: All Day of 9/11 Events, World Trade Center

(8:46 a.m.) September 11, 2001: Bush, Some Aides Reportedly Still Unaware of Flight 11 Hijack Edit

President Bush is traveling through Sarasota, Florida, in a motorcade when the first WTC attack occurs. According to the 9/11 Commission, “no one in the White House or travelling with the president knew that [Flight 11] had been hijacked [at this time]. Immediately afterward, duty officers at the White House and Pentagon began notifying senior officials what had happened.” However, according to reports, Bush is not notified about the crash until his motorcade reaches its destination, even though there is a secure phone in his vehicle for just this type of emergency, and even though others in the motorcade are notified. Reportedly, not even Jane Garvey, head of the FAA, nor her deputy have been told of a confirmed hijacking before they learn about the crash from the television.. [8]


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