Flight 93 Timeline
The following timeline is for United Airlines flight 93, scheduled to fly from Newark International Airport to San Francisco. The flight crashed in Pennsylvania.
This Pittsburgh Post Gazette has added a great timeline on 10/29/01 here. Read it.
--8:42 a.m.: United Airlines flight 93 takes off from Newark International Airport. (40 minute delay from schedule 8:02)
--9:16 a.m.: FAA informs NORAD that United Airlines flight 93 may have been hijacked. (reported as 9:20 am in Pittsburgh Post Gazette. 2 Airliners have crashed - Fighters have been scrambled already... the Air Force has 55 minutes to get there before Flight 93 goes down)
-- 9:30 a.m., six minutes after receiving their orders from the
Then the pilots received the most surreal order of the awful
--9:35 a.m.: Flight 93 files a new flight plan, reverses course and heads towards Washington D.C. - presumably the White House.
Comment: This is widely reported - "ABCNEWS has learned that shortly before the plane changed directions, someone in the cockpit radioed in and asked the FAA for a new flight plan, with a final destination of Washington." This would have been a HUGE red flag - a problem aircraft diverts to the nearest field. I think the Pilot did this to signal Air Traffic Control.
--9:40 a.m.: Transponder signal from United flight 93 ceases and radar contact is lost. (still got 1/2 hour to get there)
--9:58 a.m. Todd Beamer's last call ends and fight begins. All cell calls end near this time.
--10:02 a.m.: After a review of radar tapes, a radar signal is detected near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
-- 10:04 a.m. Johnstown-Cambria County Airport reports the plane is 15 miles south ad coming fast.
--10:06 a.m. Flight 93 Crashes near Shanksville, 124 miles from Washington D.C. 15 to 20 minutes away at 500mph. 7 to 10 minutes from D.C. at 1000mph. Remember, F-16 top speed is 1800mph and we had 3 F-16's aloft at 9:30am.
Comment: Do you still think there wasn't time to get a Fighter there? Hello?? Listen to what a former Pentagon Air Traffic Controller says...
All those years ago when I was in the Pentagon, this wouldn't have happened. ATC Radar images were (and are) available in the understructures of the Pentagon, and any commercial flight within 300 miles of DC that made an abrupt course change toward Washington, turned off their transponder, and refused to communicate with ATC, would have been intercepted at supersonic speeds within a max of 9 minutes by a Fighter out of Andrews. Period. Why these planes weren't, baffles me. If we could get fighters off the ground in 2 minutes then, we could now.
Full Official Timeline
--7:59 a.m.: American Airlines flight 11 takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport.
--8:14 a.m.: United Airlines flight 175 takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport.
--8:20 a.m.: American Airlines flight 11 stops transmitting IFF beacon signal while over the Hudson River.
--8:20 a.m.: American Airlines flight 77 departs Dulles International Airport near Washington.
--8:38 a.m.: Boston air traffic center notifies NORAD that American Airlines flight 11 has been hijacked.
--8:43 a.m.: FAA notifies NORAD that United Airlines flight 175 has been hijacked.
--8:44 a.m.: Otis Air National Guard Base in Mass. orders to fighters scrambled.
--8:46 a.m.: American Airlines flight 11 strikes the World Trade Center's north tower.
--8:47 a.m.: NORAD informed of the plane striking the World Trade Center.
--8:50 a.m.: United Airlines flight 175 deviates from its assigned flight path.
--8:52 a.m.: Two F-15 Eagles take off from Otis ANG Base in effort to intercept hijacked plane(s) after first plane has struck the World Trade Center.
--9:02 a.m.: United Airlines flight 175 strikes the World Trade Center's south tower (F-15 fighter jets from Otis ANG Base are still 70 miles away.)
--9:25 a.m.: FAA notifies NORAD that United flight 77 may have been hijacked.
--9:27 a.m.: (approximate time) NORAD orders jets scrambled from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to head to intercept United Airlines flight 77.
--9:35 a.m.: Three F-16 Fighting Falcons take off from Langley AFB headed toward Washington area.
--9:37 a.m.: American Airlines flight 77 is lost from radar screens.
--9:38 a.m.: American Airlines flight 77 strikes the Pentagon.
--9:49 a.m.: F-16 fighter jets arrive over Washington, D.C. to perform Combat Air Patrol (CAP) over city. (The fighters broke the sound barrier and traveled supersonic at 720 knots to Washington, making the approximately 130 miles in 14 minutes.)
Comment: Would we really fly circles over D.C.? What is the AWACS for? I thought it tracked the skies and directed fighters. This was an easy mission for them. And would we really only have 3 (count 'em three) F-16's in the air. And what the hell happened to the F-15's? Could there have been 2 fighters over D.C. and the 3rd sent to intercept Flight 93?
An eyewitness of a friend of mine said he saw F-16's fly over the Pentagon 10 seconds after the crash. This jives with the NY Times article that has 3 F-16's launched at 9:30, 6 minutes after given the orders to scramble. That still seems way too late for me. You'd think they would have scrambled all available fighters much sooner.
In fact, Cheney says they knew of the 3rd Airliner threat not long after Airliner 2 crashed (9:02am). They had given the OK to fire around 9:15 according to Cheney in the Meet the Press interview, but the fighters weren't launched at that time? WTF?
Something to think about - after the incredible intelligence and military failure of Pearl Harbor heads rolled... but in these honorable times what happens? Bush says "Good Job"!