6.1 FAA Awareness
American Airlines Flight 77 began its takeoff roll from Dulles International Airport at 8:20.[i] The flight proceeded normally through air space controlled by the Washington Air Traffic Control Center, and was handed off to Indianapolis Center at approximately 8:40, with which it made routine radio contact.[ii]
American 77 was acknowledged by the controller, who had fourteen other planes in his sector at the time, and later instructed American 77 to climb to thirty-five thousand feet and to turn right ten degrees.[iii] At 8:51, American 77 acknowledged the clearance it was given to navigate direct to the Falmouth navigational aid.[iv] This was the last transmission from American 77.
At 8:54, the flight began a left turn towards the south without authorization. Shortly after it began the turn, the aircraft was observed descending.[v] At 8:56, as the plane continued to deviate slightly to the south from its flight plan, it was lost from radar completely; the transponder signal was gone, and the plane also disappeared as a primary radar target.[vi]
The controller tracking American 77 told the Commission he first noticed the aircraft turning to the southwest, and then saw the data disappear. The controller looked for primary radar returns. He searched along its projected flight path and the airspace to the southwest where it had started to turn. No primary targets appeared. He tried the radios, first calling the aircraft directly, then the airline. Again there was nothing. At this point, the Indianapolis controller had no knowledge of the situation in New York. He did not know that other aircraft had been hijacked. He believed American 77 had experienced serious electrical and/or mechanical failure, and was gone.
085634 AA77 ZID attempts to contact.mp3
085850 AA77 1st contact AA dispatch.mp3
In addition, the controller reached out to controllers in other sectors at Indianapolis Center to advise them of the situation.[vii] The controllers agreed to “sterilize the air space” along the flight’s projected westerly route so that other planes would not be affected by American 77.[viii] At 8:59, Indianapolis Center began to work with controllers in other centers to protect the airspace of American 77’s projected flight path to the west.[ix]
After several minutes of searching, Indianapolis controllers once again contacted the airline:
090248 AA77 ZID 2d contact AA dispatch.mp3
091154 AA77 ZID 3d contact AA dispatch 2d WTC impact.mp3
At 9:08, the Indianapolis Center’s Operations Manager requested the Traffic Management Unit to notify Air Force Search and Rescue in Langley, Virginia, of a possible crash of American 77.[x] The Operations Manager also contacted the West Virginia State Police to advise them of the missing aircraft and ask whether they had any reports of a downed aircraft.[xi] At 9:09, Indianapolis Center reported to the Great Lakes Regional Operations Center a possible aircraft accident involving American 77 because of the simultaneous loss of radio communications and all radar contact.[xii] The Great Lakes Regional Operations Center passed this information along to FAA Headquarters at 9:24.[xiii]
By 9:20, Indianapolis Center learned that there were other hijacked aircraft in the system, and began to doubt their initial assumption that American 77 had crashed. A discussion of this concern between the manager at Indianapolis and the Command Center in Herndon prompted the [delete: notified] Command Center to notify some FAA field facilities that American 77 was lost. By 9:21, the Command Center, some FAA field facilities, and American Airlines had started to search for American 77. They feared it had been hijacked. At 9:25, the Command Center advised FAA headquarters that American 77 was lost in Indianapolis Center’s airspace, [and] that Indianapolis Center had no primary radar track and was looking for the aircraft.
The failure to find a primary radar return for American 77 led us to investigate this issue further. Radar reconstructions performed after 9/11 reveal that FAA radar equipment tracked the flight from the moment its transponder was turned off at 8:56. But for 8 minutes and 13 seconds, between 8:56 and 9:05, this primary radar information on American 77 was not displayed to controllers at Indianapolis Center. The reasons are technical, arising from the way the software processed radar information, as well as from poor primary radar coverage where American 77 was flying.
According to the radar reconstruction, American 77 re-emerged as a primary target on Indianapolis Center radar scopes at 9:05, east of its last known position. The target remained in Indianapolis Center’s airspace for another six minutes, then crossed into the western portion of Washington Center’s airspace at 9:10. As Indianapolis Center continued searching for the aircraft, two managers and the controller responsible for American 77 looked to the west and southwest along the flight’s projected path, not east—where the aircraft was now heading. The managers did not instruct other controllers at Indianapolis Center to turn on their primary radar coverage to join in the search for American 77.[xiv]
In sum, Indianapolis Center never saw American 77 turn around. By the time it reappeared in primary radar coverage, controllers had either stopped looking for the aircraft because they thought it had crashed or were looking toward the west. In addition, while the Command Center learned American 77 was missing, neither it nor FAA headquarters issued an “all points bulletin” to surrounding centers to search for primary radar targets. American 77 traveled undetected for 36 minutes on a course heading due east for Washington, DC.[xv]
6.2 Confusion Concerning the Fate of American 77
While Indianapolis Center was busy looking for American 77 to the west, some American Airlines’ representatives believed that American 77 might have hit the World Trade Center. In an ensuing conversation with the FAA Command Center about the status of American 11, an American Airlines representative mentioned that American 77 was lost.[xvi]
091626 AA11 AA77 ATCSCC King with Halleck AAL pos 34B line 5149.mp3
Even later, after 9:30, confusion surrounding American 77 still existed within at least some levels of the FAA:
093151 FAA TACNET wrong recap line 5114.mp3
American Airlines’ notification to the FAA Command Center that American 77 was lost prompted Command Center representatives to call Indianapolis Center and seek further information on the aircraft:
091836 AA77 Summersall to ZID from ATCSCC ZID TMU.mp3
That conversation led Command Center to notify some FAA field facilities that American 77 was lost and could not be located on radar. By no later than 9:21, FAA’s Command Center in Herndon, some FAA field facilities and American Airlines had started to search for American 77 and feared it had been hijacked. Four minutes later, at 9:25, Command Center reported to FAA Headquarters all the information Command Center had learned regarding American 77.[xvii]
As previously stated, American 77 disappeared from radar at 8:56. By no later than 9:18, FAA centers in Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Washington were aware that American 77 was missing and two aircraft had struck the World Trade Center.[xviii] By 9:15, Air Force Search and Rescue was notified of the missing plane. At 9:24, Great Lakes Regional Operations Center notified the Washington Operations Center of the simultaneous loss of radio and radar contact with American 77.[xix] FAA Headquarters was aware American 77 was lost somewhere in the NAS.
By no later than 9:25, FAA’s Herndon Command Center and FAA headquarters knew that two aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center. They knew American 77 was lost. At least some FAA officials in Boston Center and the New England Region knew that a hijacker on board American 11 said “we have some planes.” Concerns over the safety of other aircraft began to mount. A manager from Command Center specifically asked FAA Headquarters if they wanted to order a “nationwide ground stop.”[xx] While executives at FAA headquarters discussed the issuance of a national ground stop, at 9:25, Command Center exercised initiative and ordered all aircraft in the United States not to depart from any airports until further notice.[xxi] Command Center’s National Operations Manager, Ben Sliney, told the Commission that he gave this order based on his belief the attacks would continue, concern that the FAA could not locate American 77 and reports that other commercial aircraft may have been hijacked. Sliney said he believed he possessed the authority to issue this order and ordered the ground stop in an attempt to mitigate any potential further damage.[xxii]
While Command Center prevented any aircraft from entering the NAS, they also continued their efforts to locate American 77. At 9:21, FAA Command Center advised a supervisor at Dulles Tracon that the FAA had lost contact with American 77 and was trying to find the aircraft. At 9:21, controllers at Dulles Tracon were advised by the FAA Command Center that a commercial aircraft was missing and instructed to look for primary targets.[xxiii] At 9:32 they found one. Several of the Dulles controllers “observed a primary target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed” and notified Reagan National Airport. FAA personnel at both Reagan National and Dulles Airports notified the Secret Service. The identity or aircraft type was unknown at the time. This track was later confirmed to be American 77.[xxiv]
Just minutes before impact of American 77, Reagan Airport controllers vectored an unarmed National Guard C-130H cargo aircraft, which had just taken off en route to Minnesota, to identify and follow the suspicious aircraft that Dulles Tracon had pointed out to them. The cargo aircraft attempted to follow the path of the unidentified aircraft, and at 9:38, seconds after impact, reported to the control tower that the aircraft crashed into the Pentagon.
093607 Gofer 06 traffic in site 757 low altitude Tyson tape.mp3
093641 Gofer 06 vectored for traffic Tyson tape.mp3
093800 Gofer 06 aircraft is down tower Tyson tape.mp3
093826 Gofer 06 ac crashed into west side Pentagon Tyson tape.mp3
6.3 Military Notification and Response
By no later than 9:21, FAA’s Command Center in Herndon, some FAA field facilities and American Airlines had started to search for American 77 and feared it had been hijacked. Four minutes later, at 9:25, Command Center reported to FAA Headquarters all the information Command Center had learned regarding American 77.[xxv] The military was completely unaware the search for American 77 had begun. In fact, the military would hear once again about American 11, a plane that had already crashed, before they received any notification that American 77 was lost.
At 9:21, the military officer at Boston Center, who had been listening in on a FAA teleconference run by FAA HQ in Washington, called the NEADS ID Technician Unit:
092100 AA11 Scoggins still airborne.mp3
The mention of a “third aircraft” was not a reference to American 77. The report that American 11 was still airborne and heading toward Washington DC was relayed immediately from the Mission Crew Commander to the Battle Cab. After consulting with the Battle Commander, the MCC issued the order, at 9:23, to scramble the Langley fighters in response to American 11.
092140 AA11 Still Airborne Scramble Langley Tail Chase DRM1 CH2.mp3
The scramble order was processed and transmitted to Langley Air Force Base at 9:24. Shortly thereafter, NEADS commanders cancelled the “tail chase” using the Otis fighters since pursuing the plane from behind would leave New York airspace unprotected. Instead, the heading of the Langley fighters would be adjusted to send them to the Baltimore area. When interviewed by Commission staff, the Mission Crew Commander explained that the purpose of this change in strategy was to continue to protect New York air space, and to vector the fighters from Langley to come between the southbound aircraft and the nation’s capital.[xxvi] Radar data show the Langley fighters airborne at 9:30.
092427 NEADS BC update forget tail chase DRM CH2.mp3
Based on the mistaken report that American 11 was heading towards Washington DC, NEADS personnel were actively seeking more information to assist in their search for the aircraft:
092847 AA11 ID summary call to unknown.mp3
The military’s situational awareness was summarized on the NEADS floor at 9:27, immediately after the Langley scramble, as follows: “Three planes unaccounted for. American Airlines 11 may still be airborne but the flight that – United 175 to the World Trade Center. We’re not sure who the other one is.”[xxvii]
On the floor at NEADS, the ID Technicians continued to attempt to locate American 11 after the Langley fighters were airborne. At the suggestion of the Boston Center Military Officer, the ID Technicians contacted Washington Center to ask whether they had located American 11. In that conversation, NEADS was told that Washington Center knew nothing about American 11 heading south. The NEADS ID Technicians then spoke with the Operations Manager at Washington Center:
093212 AA11 AA77 ID summary ZDC loss of AA77.mp3
This discussion was the first notice to the military that American 77 was missing, and it had come by chance.[xxviii] The time was 9:34. If NEADS had not placed that call to Washington Center, the NEADS air defenders would have received no information whatsoever that American 77 was even missing, although the FAA had been searching for it. No one at FAA headquarters ever asked for military assistance with American 77.
At 9:36, the FAA’s Boston Center called NEADS and relayed the discovery about an aircraft closing in on Washington, an aircraft that still had not been linked with the missing American 77.
093536 AA77 Scoggins VFR 6 miles.mp3
When pressed on whether the flight was in fact a deviating aircraft, Boston Center insisted that NEADS call Washington Center, which is where the aircraft was located and could actually be seen on radar. At 9:39, just moments after the impact at the Pentagon, Washington Center disclaimed any knowledge of the plane near the White House.
093836 AA77 ID call to ZDC Boston space dont know anything.mp3
It is fair to infer, from Washington Center’s complete lack of knowledge concerning the aircraft approaching the White House, that Boston Center received the information about the aircraft from FAA headquarters. The startling information that a deviating aircraft was in close proximity to the White House prompted the Mission Crew Commander to order “AFIO” (Authorization for Interceptor Operations), which entailed taking immediate control of the Langley fighters from the FAA and responsibility for the safe flight path of the Langley fighters.
093621 Langley Direct DC AFIO monster mash DRM1 CH2.mp3
The Langley fighters were ordered to proceed directly to Washington, DC. The MCC then discovered, to his surprise, that the Langley fighters were not headed north toward the Baltimore area as previously instructed, but east over the ocean.
0939 MCC windows break push back.mp3
A combination of three factors explains why the Langley fighters initially traveled so far to the east, when their initial scramble order directed them on a heading to the north.
First, the Langley scramble order did not convey complete instructions. It instructed the fighters to “Scramble immediately time 1324… Scramble on a heading of 010 flight level 290.”
132230 Langley scramble Norfolk tower.mp3
Though the order did include a direction to fly – “010” and a flight altitude – 29,000 feet – it did not include a distance to the target, nor the target’s location, two key components that are normally included in a scramble order. Indeed, NEADS did not know the location of the mistakenly reported southbound American 11 – at the time, there was no discernable target.
Second, a “generic” flight plan assigned to the Langley fighters incorrectly led them to believe that they were being ordered to fly due east (090) for 60 miles. In order to launch aircraft, the Langley AFB Tower was required to file an automated flight plan specifically designating the direction and distance of intended flight. Prior to 9/11, the standard – or generic – flight plan for aircraft departing Langley AFB to the east was “090 for 60” – meaning head 90 degrees (due east) for 60 miles. The generic “090 for 60” flight plan was utilized to expeditiously get aircraft airborne and out of the base’s airspace. Langley Tower personnel assumed that once fighters got airborne they would be vectored to the target of interest by either NEADS or the FAA.
Third, both the lead Langley pilot and the FAA’s Norfolk TRACON facility – which was briefly controlling the aircraft once it departed the Langley AFB airspace – assumed the flight plan instruction to go “090 for 60” was newer guidance that superceded the original scramble order instructions. In fact, shortly after the fighters got airborne, the lead Langley pilot was asked by Norfolk TRACON in what direction he wanted to head After brief discussion between the lead pilot (identified as “Quit 25”) and Norfolk TRACON, it was mutually decided that the fighters would follow the flight plan guidance.
093100 Langley what heading would like hand off Giant Killer.mp3
Put simply, the Langley pilots received flight direction guidance from both the scramble order and the Langley AFB departure flight plan, and continued on the latter heading for several minutes until a direction and geographic destination was provided.
Back at NEADS, controllers on the floor located an unknown primary radar track, but “it kind of faded” over Washington.[xxix] The time was 9:38. The Pentagon had been struck by American 77 at 9:37:46. The Langley fighters were approximately 150 miles away. [xxx]
6.4 Commission Findings and Assessment
The sequence outlined above is again noteworthy for its omission of notification times that have been widely circulated. In the official NORAD version of the events of 9/11, as presented to the Commission in May 2003, at 9:16, NORAD was notified that United 93 was a possible hijack and that notification was followed, at 9:24, by the notification that American 77 was a hijacked aircraft. According to retired Col. William Scott at the Commission’s May 23, 2003 hearing, the FAA notified NORAD of the hijacking of United 93 at 9:16 (forty-five minutes prior to crash), and of the hijacking of American 77 at 9:24 (14 minutes prior to crash). Retired Col. Scott also indicated that the fighters at Langley Air Force Base were scrambled at 9:25 to meet the threat to Washington posed by American 77.[xxxi]
Retired General Larry Arnold amplified this information in testimony before the Commission, stating: “9:24 was the first time that we had been advised of American 77 as a possible hijacked airplane. Our focus – you have got to remember that there’s a lot of other things going on simultaneously here – was on United 93, which was being pointed out to us very aggressively I might say by the FAA. ¼ We were advised [American 77] was possibly hijacked. And we had launched almost simultaneously with that, we launched the aircraft out of Langley to put them over top of Washington, DC, not in response to American Airlines 77, but really to put them in position in case United 93 were to head that way.”[xxxii]
Based on its review of the tapes, transcripts and other records obtained under subpoena, as corroborated by witness interviews at NEADS, Commission staff can state unequivocally that the timeline and testimony presented at the Commission’s May 23, 2003 hearing were not true. The 9:24 notification time for American 77 (as well as the claimed 9:16 notification for United 93) was inaccurately derived from a handwritten log maintained by the staff working for the Mission Crew Commander (the operational commander on watch). Called the “MCC/T Log,” it was the principal log of events kept at NEADS on 9/11. At 9:24, the log records: “American Airlines #N334AA hijacked.”[xxxiii] This tail number refers not to American 77 but to American 11, the first hijacked aircraft. The subpoenaed tapes confirm that this time corresponds to the receipt of the tail number information on American 11 and to reports that American 11 was still airborne and headed towards Washington DC.[xxxiv]
Nor were the Langley fighters scrambled to meet the threat posed by American 77. The first notification to the military (NEADS) that American 77 is missing (there is no mention of it being hijacked at this point) comes at 9:34, ten minutes after the scramble has already been ordered at Langley Air Force Base.
The Langley fighters were initially scrambled not because of United 93, which had not been hijacked, nor because of American 77, which had not been reported to NEADS, but because of the mistaken report that American 11 had in fact not hit the World Trade Center, but was heading south towards Washington, DC. The fighters were ordered scrambled initially toward New York, and then vectored toward Baltimore, in an effort to intercept that mistakenly reported aircraft. The best evidence for both this false report and the resulting scramble is the subpoenaed NEADS tape, quoted above, which records the Mission Crew Commander’s immediate reaction to the report: “Okay. American Airlines is still airborne, 11, the first guy. He’s headed towards Washington, okay? I think we need to scramble Langley right now, and I’m going to – I’m going to take the fighters from Otis and try to chase this guy down if I can find him.”[xxxv] Seconds after that reaction, the Mission Crew Commander ordered the scramble of the Langley fighters.
This report of American 11 heading south – the cause of the Langley scramble – is reflected not just in taped conversations at NEADS, but in taped conversations at FAA centers, on chat logs compiled at NEADS, CONR, and NORAD, and in records extending to the highest levels of the federal government. [xxxvi] The false report was also readily acknowledged in interviews of operational personnel. Nonetheless, it is not recounted in a single public timeline issued by FAA or DOD, nor in a single public statement by government officials. Instead, the scramble at Langley is attributed to the reported hijacking of American 77, United 93, or some combination of the two.
When interviewed, Col. Marr stated that he had discounted the report that American 11 was still airborne, and insisted that the Langley scramble was in response to “everything else that was going on” that morning, and referred specifically to United 93. When informed that United 93 had not been hijacked by the time of the Langley scramble, and that American 77 was not reported missing to the NEADS air defenders until after the Langley scramble had occurred, Col. Marr was unable to point to any other complicating factors that might have led to the Langley scramble.[xxxvii]
Col. Marr’s recollection is belied by the tapes and transcripts from the morning of 9/11, the testimony of his subordinates, and the contemporaneous records from the day. The Mission Crew Commander and the ID Technicians who were on duty that morning had no doubt that the sequence revealed on the tapes, in which the Mission Crew Commander orders Langley scrambled in immediate response to the news that American 11 is still airborne, was in fact what occurred.[xxxviii]
The Commission has been unable to identify the source of the mistaken information regarding American 11. The Boston Center Military Desk person who provided the information to NEADS had been listening in on an FAA teleconference out of Washington, DC. A Senior FAA official who was working at Headquarters that morning recalls having passed the information to others, but does not know its source.[xxxix]
What is clear is that the introduction of a third hijacking into the FAA system proved to be extremely confusing, raising doubts as to the identities of the two planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center and leading, ultimately, to the false report that one of the original hijacked aircraft was still airborne, heading for Washington.
Overall, this sequence of events regarding American 77 again belies NORAD’s official timeline and the testimony given at the Commission’s May 23, 2003 hearing. Notification of American 77 as a missing aircraft came at 9:34, after the Langley fighters had already taken off. Remarkably, the notification, when it occurred, came completely fortuitously, not as the result of existing notification protocols between FAA and NORAD. The ID Technician at NEADS called Washington Center at the prompting of the Boston FAA Military desk, in order to find further information about American 11. If NEADS had not placed that call themselves, the NEADS air defenders would have received no notification whatsoever that American 77 was missing prior to its crash. Given the facts that there had already been two suicide hijackings and that the FAA – both at the Command Center and at several regional centers – had been searching for American 77 for over thirty minutes, the failure of FAA proactively to notify NORAD of the missing aircraft seems egregious, even in hindsight.
Even when FAA controllers at Dulles Tower did pick up the primary radar track of an unknown aircraft southwest of Washington, no one at FAA thought ask for military assistance. Once again, the NEADS air defenders received word of the unknown target from Boston Center’s Military position, which happened to overhear the discussion of the sighting on a teleconference originating from Washington.
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[i] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001, Timeline for AAL 77; “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Dulles Air Traffic Control Tower, LCW, at 8:19:20: “American 77 your departure frequency will be one two five point zero five runway three zero. Cleared for takeoff.”
[ii] “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Henderson radar position, Dec. 3, 2001, at 8:40:13.
[iii] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001; “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Dec. 3, 2001, Henderson radar position, at 8:43:51 and 8:47:16.
[iv] “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Henderson radar position, Dec. 3, 2001, at 8:50:51.
[v] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001 indicates time at 8:54:43; Richard Byard interview (Sept. 24, 2003).
[vi] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001 indicates time at 8:56:19; Richard Byard interview (Sept. 24, 2003); Linda Povinelli interview (Sept. 24, 2003).
[vii] “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Henderson radar position, at 8:57:39 (transcript dated December 3, 2001) (“This is Henderson [sector]. American 77, I don’t know what happened to him. I’m trying to reach somebody look[s] like he took a turn to the south and now I’m uh I don’t know what altitude he’s at or what he’s doing last [unintelligible] ah, heading towards Falmouth at 35[,000 feet].”
[viii] “Partial Transcript; Aircraft Accident; AAL77; Washington, DC; September 11, 2001,” Henderson radar position, Oct. 4, 2001, at 9:06:39: “We’re just gonna treat him like nonradar and we’ve already told the next sector they’re gonna have to sterilize for him until we find out.”
[ix] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001: “[8:59:00] ZID [Indianapolis Center] controllers began coordinating with other controllers to protect the airspace and altitude of AAL 77’s filed route of flight.”
[x] John Thomas interview (Sept. 24, 2003).
[xi] John Thomas interview (Sept. 24, 2003).
[xii] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001: “[9:09:00] ZID notified Great Lakes Regional Operations Center a possible aircraft accident of AAL 77 due to the simultaneous loss of radio communications and radar identification.”
[xiii] FAA report, “FAA Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001.
[xiv] David Boon interview (May 4, 2004); Charles Thomas interview (May 4, 2004); John Thomas interview (May 4, 2004); Commission analysis of FAA radar data and air traffic control software logic.
[xv] John Thomas interview (May 4, 2004); Charles Thomas interview (May 4, 2004). We have reviewed all FAA documents, transcripts, and tape recordings related to American 77 and have found no evidence that FAA headquarters issued a directive to surrounding centers to search for primary radar targets. Review of the same materials also indicates that no one within FAA located American 77 until the aircraft was identified by Dulles controllers at 9:32. For much of that time, American 77 was traveling through Washington Center’s airspace. Washington Center’s controllers were looking for the flight, but they were not told to look for primary radar returns.
[xvi] Ellen King interview (Apr. 5, 2004); Bill Halleck interview (Jan. 8, 2004); Shortly after the second hijacked plane hit the South Tower, the Air Traffic Control Coordinator for AAL Corp called Washington ARTCC to inquire about Flight 77. Washington ATCC told the AAL Corp ATC Coordinator that there was no transponder signal for Flight 77, and that it was lost heading westbound approaching Ohio. The AAL Corp ATC Coordinator spoke with Dulles TRACON, and was told 1) they were tracking a fast-moving target primary target; and 2) a United Airlines flight was missing. The AAL Corp ATC Coordinator immediately called his counterpart at the United Airlines Systems Operations Center (SOC) to inquire further; but United would not confirm the loss. With this information the AAL Corp ATC Coordinator called Herndon ATCSCC and told the ATCSCC personnel sitting at the National Operations Manager’s position that AAL thought Flight 77 may have hit the South Tower at the World Trade Center; but AAL did not know how it was over New York City.
[xvii] FAA memo, “Full transcription; Air Traffic Control System Command Center, National Traffic Management Officer, East position; September 11, 2001,” Line 4530, p. 15.
[xviii] John Thomas interview (Sept. 14, 2003).
[xix] FAA report, “Summary of Air Traffic Hijack Events September 11, 2001,” Sept. 17, 2001.
[xx] FAA memo, “Full transcription; Air Traffic Control System Command Center, National Traffic Management Officer, East position; September 11, 2001,” Line 4530, p. 14.
[xxi] FAA memo, “Full transcription; Air Traffic Control System Command Center, National Traffic Management Officer, East position; September 11, 2001,” Line 4530, p. 14 and 27.
[xxii] Benedict Sliney interview (May 21, 2004).
[xxiii] Danielle O’Brien interview (Jan. 23, 2003).
[xxiv] FAA letterhead memorandum, “Herndon Command Center, National Traffic Management Officer position 26, Line 4530,” p. 15.
[xxv] FAA letterhead memorandum, “Herndon Command Center, National Traffic Management Officer position 26, Line 4530,” p. 15.
[xxvi] Kevin J. Nasypany interview (Jan. 22, 23, 2004): “Nasypany thought to put the Langley scramble over Baltimore, and place a ‘barrier cap’ between the hijack and Washington, D.C.”
[xxvii] NEADS audio file, Mission Crew Commander position, Channel 2, at 9:28:16.
[xxviii] NEADS audio file, Identification Technician position , Channel 5, between 9:32:10 and 9:33:58.
[xxix] NEADS audio file, Mission Crew Commander position, Channel 2, at 9:38:02; Dawne Deskins interview (Oct. 30, 2003).
[xxx] NEADS audio file, Mission Crew Commander, channel 2, 9:38:02; Dawne Deskins interview (Oct. 30, 2003). The estimated time of impact of Flight 77 into the Pentagon is based on Commission analysis of FDR, air traffic control, radar, and Pentagon elevation and impact site data.
[xxxi] William A. Scott testimony (May 23, 2003).
[xxxii] Larry Arnold testimony (May 23, 2003).
[xxxiii] NEADS Mission Crew Commander Technician Log, Sept. 11, 2001.
[xxxiv] NEADS audio file, Identification Technician position , Channel 4, at 9:23:01.
[xxxv] NEADS audio file, Mission Crew Commander position, Channel 2, Ch. 2, at 9:21:50; Kevin J. Nasypany interview (Jan. 22, 23, 2004): The memorandum for this interview states “Nasypany thought to put the Langley scramble over Baltimore, and place a ‘barrier cap’ between the hijack and Washington, D.C.”
[xxxvi] NORAD HQ Intel Chat Log, dated September 11, 2001; NORAD Air Warning Center log, dated September 11, 2001; NORAD HQ Chat log, dated September 11, 2001.
[xxxvii] Robert Marr interview (Oct. 27, 2003).
[xxxviii] Kevin Nasypany interview (Jan. 22, 23, 2004).
[xxxix] Doug Davis interview (Mar. 30, 2004).