9-11: United 93; The Fog of War, Precision, Clarity, Confusion

On September 11, 2001, the fog of war concerning United Airlines flight 93 settled on the President’s Emergency Operations Center, Vice President Cheney, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Jane Garvey and her Acting Deputy, Monte Belger, and the Secret Service.

Simply put, that fog increased significantly the higher up the chain of command and the closer United 93 apparently got to the nation’s capital. Ultimately, the National Command Authority was flying blind with no coherent picture of events as they were occurring.

Information, however, was precise on board United 93 as captured by the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder, both recovered and readable.

UA93 Cockpit Voice Recorder
Government Exhibit at Moussauoi Trial
UA93 Flight Data Recorder
Government Exhibit at Moussauoi Trial

United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar also provided precise data concerning United 93. That precise information was clear to air traffic controllers and was passed up the chain of command with clarity via two open telephone lines.

Cleveland Center established an open line to the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center, hereafter Command Center. Command Center maintained an open line to the FAA’s Washington Operations Center (WOC).

None of that precision and clarity survived the next step, informing the National Command Authority. This article documents the precision and clarity and explains the confusion of the fog of war.

The Precision

No one had more precise information than the passengers and remaining crew aboard United 93. They had complete situational awareness, knew their fate, and knew what they had to do. And they did it; individual and collective bravery forced United 93 to the ground well short of its intended target, the capital building.

Here is the United 93 seating chart as depicted on the United 93 memorial website.

UA93 Seating Chart
Government Exhibit, Moussaoui Trial

The flight data recorder preserved precise documentation. Recorder parameters started oscillating at 9:58 when the aileron and rudder sensors began fluctuating. Two minutes later the autopilot turned off and the pressure altitude fluctuated upward. By 10:00 United 93 was unstable in the air.

Extracts from United 93 Flight Data Recorder

The cockpit voice recorder also provided precise documentation. Seconds after United 93 became unstable someone in the cockpit said, “Is that it? Shall we finish it off?” “No, not yet” was the answer. That changed in the next half-minute. Beginning at 10:00:29, someone, presumably Ziad Jarrah, said, “Up, down. Up down. Up, down. Saeed, up, down.” Saeed al Ghamdi was one of the hijackers that had commandeered United 93 a half-hour earlier.

In that same time frame an, observer, a visual flight rules plane, sighted United 93 and first reported, “Northwest bound, waving wings,” and then, “back towards the East, 80 heading, erratic.”

At 10:01:09, someone in the cockpit said, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.” A forensic analysis of Air Force radar depicted that United 93 ceased to fly and began a plummet to earth at about that time.

USAF 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron Forensic Analysis
Commission File RDoD04021435

By 10:02, the flight data recorder readout showed that pressure altitude was decreasing and air speed was fluctuating. Shortly thereafter, Air Force radar regained radar contact which had been lost about 13 minutes earlier. Concurrently the observer aircraft reported, “back toward the Southeast, not progressing.”

At 10:02:45, Air Force radar detected the transponder (green dot in above image). A second return, 12 seconds later at 10:02:57, detected the transponder but no radar contact (red dot in above image). By 10:03, air traffic control reported that the transponder was back on.

Thereafter, voices from the cockpit continuously shouted “Allah is the Greatest”, ceasing at 10:03:09. By 10:03:11 the flight data recorder ceased recording parameters. Department of Defense space sensors detected an infra-red event between 10:03:10-11, with peak intensity at 10:03:16.  

Released Sep 23, 2014
Mandatory Declassification Review Case 70401

Both the National Traffic Safety Board and the 9/11 Commission Report established the time of impact as 10:03:11.

The Clarity

At 10:03:10, Cleveland Center, Imperial Radar Position, reported radar lost. By 10:06, Cleveland reported to Command Center that they had lost United 93. Last known position was 16 nautical miles south of the Johnstown VOR (Very high frequency omni-directional range).  At 10:07:27, Cleveland reported black smoke from that area, and at 10:09:12 reported coordinates, 39 51N 07 8 46W. At 10:12:37 Cleveland confirmed a downed aircraft.

For its part, Command Center passed that same information to the WOC at FAA headquarters. At 10:06:18 the Center reported that radar contact was lost followed quickly by the location, 16 nautical miles south of Johnstown. The black smoke report was forwarded by 10:08, followed two minutes later by the coordinates. At 10:13:20, Command Center confirmed a downed aircraft to the WOC. At 10:18 a voice is heard in background at the Operations Center confirming the United 93 coordinates to someone.

Air Traffic Control Phone Tapes
Cleveland Traffic Management Unit
Command Center, East TMO Position

Clear, relevant information was passed to FAA Headquarters within 10 minutes after United 93 impacted. All the precision of the event and reporting clarity became confusion at the highest levels. 

The Confusion

We begin with the National Command Authority.

The President. “Dick called back a few minutes later. Condi, Josh Bolten, and senior members of the national security team had joined him in the PEOC. They had been informed that an unresponsive plane was headed toward Washington.” (Bush, Decision Points, 2010, p 129-30)

The Vice President. “At around 10:03 a.m., barely five minutes after Cheney walked into the conference room, United 93 took on a third identity…This time it was an unknown jetliner racing toward Washington at five hundred miles an hour. By then the plane had already crashed… But the Federal Aviation Administration, apparently relying on a projection after losing live radar data, issued rapid updates on the phantom bogey. The plane was eighty miles out, then sixty, then ten.” (Gellman, Angler, The Cheney Vice Presidency, 2008,  p. 119)

The Secretary of Defense. The Secret Service, with the support of Vice President Cheney, advised Bush not to return to Washington until the situation was clarified. We were receiving unverified reports of hijacked airliners heading toward U.S. cities. Targeting the White House remained a possibility.” (Rumsfeld Known and Unknown, A Memoir, 2011, p. 338.)

The National Security Advisor. “Sometime after the order was given [shootdown] Norm [Mineta] was told that a plane had disappeared from the air traffic control radar. It was United Airlines Flight 93.” (Rice, No Higher Honor, 2011, p. 74)

Immediately below the leadership in the chain of command was Richard Clarke, National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counterterrorism. Clarke convened the Secure Video Teleconference System (SVTS) that morning.

Clarke recalled that the SVTS started as early as 9:28. However, logs show that Administrator Jane Garvey and Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet did not join until 9:40. Nevertheless, Clarke wrote, “Okay,” I began. “Let’s start with the facts. FAA, FAA, go.” “Jane Garvey, the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, was in the chair.”

This was before the Pentagon was hit, according to Clarke.

Then, Clarke resumed, “FAA, FAA, go. Status report. How many aircraft do you still carry as hijacked?” Garvey read from a list… “Here’s what we have as potential hijacks: Delta 1989 over West Virginia, United 93 over Pennsylvania.”

Later—Ralph Seigler stuck his head around the door: “Secret Service reports a hostile aircraft ten minutes out.”. Then, “hostile aircraft eight minutes out.” (Clarke, Against All Enemies, Inside America’s War on Terror, 2004, pp 3-10)

I operated an SVTS link after the system was built in the 1986-1987 time-frame. Activation and operational are two separate steps. Once activated it takes time to turn on the lights, fire up the computers, and convene a conference. The Commission Staff accepted 9:40 as the conference start time, based on logs of the day.

Confusion began with the convention of that conference and it continued into the aftermath as individuals recalled events of the day. It was left to the 9/11 Commission to sort things out.

The Commission

“At 10:02, the communicators in the shelter began receiving reports from the Secret Service of an inbound aircraft—presumably hijacked—heading toward Washington. That aircraft was United 93. The Secret Service was getting this information directly from the FAA. The FAA may have been tracking the progress of United 93 on a display that showed its projected path to Washington, not its actual radar return. Thus, the Secret Service was relying on projections and was not aware the plane was already down in Pennsylvania.” (The Commission Report, p. 41)

Monte Belger, the Acting Deputy Administrator, was the most likely source of the FAA reporting. Belger did not have access to a radar display, only a TSD (Traffic Situation Display), a projection. Despite his reliance on TSD information, near real-time accurate information was provided to the FAA WOC, as discussed earlier. Accurate information was passed verbally to and within the WOC. There is no evidence that it was passed to Belger.

The Commission Reported the following conversation at 9:49 EDT. (p 29)

Headquarters to Command Center: “They’re pulling Jeff away to go talk about United 93.” (Jeff Griffith, Deputy Director of Air Traffic), the senior air traffic control official at FAA Headquarters.

Griffith was called away just before accurate information about United 93 began flowing to FAA Headquarters.

Belger said this when interviewed by Commission Staff, Team 8:

“Belger commented that he believes the only Traffic Situational Display (TSD) at FAA Headquarters was in the WOC. He does not know of any other TSD locations. [Note: Commission staff has learned that there are numerous TSD displays at FAA Headquarters, including the one referred to by Belger.] According to Belger, someone with air traffic experience would never use a TSD for precise data. (emphasis added) When the airspace was cleared, the WOC used the TSD to monitor the number of aircraft still airborne”. (Interview, April 20, 2004)

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta confirmed Belger, in part, in a September 11, 2016 interview on MSNBC. (https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc-news/watch/fmr-transportation-secy-recalls-9-11-from-wh-762662467869)  Mineta stated that when he first learned of events he was having breakfast in his office with a foreign dignitary and Administrator Jane Garvey.

Thereafter, he was called to the White House, conferred briefly with Clarke in the White House Situation Room, and then was escorted to the PEOC. There he sat opposite the Vice President and was in communication with Belger. Mineta’s account conflates information concerning United 93 to pertain to American 77. He did confirm that Belger said FAA lost radar contact with United 93. Thereafter, however, Mineta’s recall is that Belger was relaying information that could have only come from a TSD.

So, what happened?

We may never know. Mineta’s own testimony to the Commission and his recall has been consistently inconsistent. Information concerning American 77 and United 93 became conflated, inextricably.

The significant intervening variable was Clarke’s convention of an SVTS conference. That isolated Garvey from her staff and, as the Commission reported, they had to be called away from the FAA Operations Center to confer with her. Concurrently, Mineta was talking to Belger, not Garvey.

Belger knew from air traffic control that United 93 was lost but somehow decided to pass along TSD information to Mineta. None of the relevant information—transponder lost, black smoke reported, site coordinates, aircraft confirmed down—made it to Mineta and the National Command Authority.

The Commission reported that the PEOC was getting its information from the Secret Service.

Dense fog, impenetrable, enveloped the National Command Authority. It has yet to clear.

9-11: UA93; Commandeered, and Final Moments


United Airlines flight 93 (UA93) was commandeered at 9:28 EDT on September 11, 2001, 46 minutes after it took off from Newark International Airport at 8:42 EDT, 42 minutes late. This article is a spatial analysis of the takeover and final moments using United States Air Force (USAF) radar files and Google Earth.

Here is snapshot of key events from the time UA93 entered Cleveland En Route Traffic Control Center (Cleveland Center) airspace until the UA93 transponder was turned off at 9:40:28 EDT.

UA93 Commandeered
Turned Back to Target

UA93 Commandeered

UA93 was commandeered in the skies over Warren, OH in just 90 seconds. The attackers waited until the assigned crew checked in with Cleveland Center at 9:25 EDT, and just one minute after the last crew broadcast to the Center.

The commandeer time frame is depicted as the solid yellow line that begins 5 Nautical Miles (NM) east of Warren and ends 6 NM to the west of the city. Air traffic controllers had noticed an unexplained altitude drop. The parameters of that drop are established in USAF radar files from the 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron (84th RADES) as provided to both the National Traffic Safety Board and the 9/11 Commission. Those files were provided to me by the National Archives and Record Administration.

UA93 was flying at 35K altitude. At 9:28:08 EDT it began to drop a total of over 600 feet. It returned to 35K altitude at 9:29:39 EDT. The radar data establishes a takeover that lasted just 91 seconds. It is reasonable to assume that the takeover of the other three aircraft commandeered that day was just as efficient.

The assigned crew was able to make two brief transmissions over the air during the takeover. Immediately, the crew broadcast “MayDay.” That was followed 35 seconds later by “Hey get out of here…” Given that, it then took the attackers less than one minute to gain positive control of the cockpit.

UA93 May Day!
Cleveland Center, Lorrain Radar Position
Commission File 148-911-03007907R-S1
UA93 Get out of here!
Cleveland Center, Lorrain Radar Position
Commission File 148-911-03007907R-s1

Turn Back to Target

Ziad Jarrah then turned the plane around, unable to maintain constant altitude. UA93 reached nearly 41K altitude during the maneuver. Once flying straight again Jarrah turned off the UA93 transponder, 30 NM west of Akron, OH.

This presented a different case to air defense and air traffic than the earlier situation with American Airlines (AA11). In that case the USAF radars supporting Boston Center were able to determine altitude for a non-transponding aircraft, had they been able to locate the flight. That was not the case with UA93. Older generation USAF radars did not have a height finding capability for a radar only target. It didn’t matter, the air defense controllers at the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) were unaware of the developing UA93 situation.

USAF radars did track UA93 for a while and then lost it South of Youngstown, OH, and 34 NM WNW of Pittsburgh, PA. One radar, The Plains, did regain coverage briefly just before impact when the transponder briefly came back on.

Here is the 84th RADES forensic analysis of the radar data concerning UA93.

UA93 Transponder off
Commission File RDoD04021435

The track is a fine red line running through key data points. Green squares are reinforced returns, that is a return based on both radar and transponder. Red circles are returns based on the transponder only. Purple triangles are either radar only returns or simply atmospheric clutter. Forensically, 84th RADES technicians were able to match up those radar returns that correlated to UA93. The straight red line lower right is the correlation to the final moments of flight UA93.

UA93 Final Moments

Here is the continued 84th RADES forensic analysis of the final path of UA93 to impact.

84th RADES Forensic Track UA93
Commission File RD0D04021435

This analysis is a unique, never published, visual picture of the moments after UA93 quit flying and plummeted to earth. The long, straight red line is a typical 84th RADES correlation of data. It is the result of a fore and aft search to establish a track on an unknown target. The 84th RADES technicians were able to correlate four radar only returns to UA93. Those returns were less than a minute before the transponder came back on. Hence, the moment UA93 quite flying is the red line right angle turn south. That moment was 10:01:57 EDT, just over a minute before impact shortly after 10:03 EDT.

After 10:01:57 EDT, the plane was in free fall, not flying, and falling a bit like a leaf to earth. There is more insight, another primary source of information, the cockpit voice recorder.

Cockpit Voice Recorder, Correlated

Just three of eight black boxes survived the attack of 9/11, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from UA93 and the Flight Data Recorders from American Airlines flight 77 (AA77) and UA 93.

Here are selected transcriptions from the UA93 CVR:

10:01:09 Yes put it in and pull it down

10:02:19 Down down

10:02:23 Pull it down

10:03:09 God is the greatest

The “put it in” decision was made about 45 seconds before radar forensic analysis shows UA93 went into free fall. At the time, UA93 was approximately over Latrobe, PA, 26 miles NE of the crash site. The next two cited statements occurred during free fall. In other words, continue the “put it in” decision.

The last CVR statement, “God is the Greatest”, occurred just before the end of the recording at 10:03:11 EDT, an estimate of the impact time. An extrapolation of the radar files suggests an impact time of approximately 10:03:06, close agreement.

Flight Data Recorder, Correlated

The UA93 Flight Data Recorder (FDR) readout is consistent with both the radar forensic analysis and the cockpit voice recorder. UA93 impacted shortly after 10:03 EDT, according to all metrics captured by the FDR.

The linked document is from the Commission Staff Files, Team 7 Box 3. The annotation pinpointing the “hijack” at 9:29 EDT is my hand writing. Metrics displayed show consistent problems after 10:00 EDT. Also noteworthy, Jarrah was not able to maintain straight and level flight after the turn and was in a continuous descent.

Other Confirmations

Gofer 06. Gofer 06 was the unarmed C130, H model, that earlier reported the impact of AA77 into the Pentagon. Thereafter, Gofer 06 continued North, en route home. The flight path was approaching the last known flight path of UA93. As a result, this exchange with Cleveland Center occurred at 10:06 EDT:

Cleveland: Gofer 06, we’ve lost the target on him [UA93], to be safe I’m gonna run you North about 25 miles and then put you back on course…

Gofer 06: OK, Gofer 06, copy, and sir if you’d like we’ve got black smoke at our nine o’clock, looks like about 30 miles.

Gofer 06 informs Cleveland Center, Imperial Position of black smoke
Commission file 148-911-03007907AA-s1

Gofer 06, had been turned North at 10:04 EDT to avoid the projected path of UA93. He soon sighted the black smoke after turn. He was 34 NM SE of the crash site, just south of I70, NW of Hagerstown, MD. At 10:12 EDT, after a turn back West on course, Gofer 06 was due East of the crash site as a private jet was reporting the coordinates to Cleveland Center.

Falcon Jet

Cleveland Center vectored a private jet, a Dassault Falcon 20 owned by VF Corporation, to circle the crash site and provide coordinates.

USAF Radar files show that the Falcon was in a descent from 23K altitude at 10:02 EDT and circled the cite between 10:11-10:15 EDT at 6000-6500 feet elevation. The maneuver was counter-clockwise. Approach was on the south side with a circle around the north side and recovery again on the south side. The coordinates were obtained on the first pass.

Of note, The Plains radar had just intermittent coverage, 6 transponder only returns during the circling of the site. That is typical coverage when an aircraft is in a turn. Here is a close-in snap shot of the event.

Radar Returns and GPS Report
Dassault Falcon 20

The UA93 Monument is clearly visible, upper middle. In military terms, data points Falcon 1, 2, and 3 represent the approach pass. Data points Falcon 3 and 4 are the circling pass. Data points Falcon 4, 5 and 6 are the exit pass. Falcon 20 passed the coordinates to Cleveland Center while immediately south of the crash site; 4002.2N 7854.7W. The reporting time was 10:10:14 EDT, just after the radar return designated “Falcon 2.” The Falcon actually reported its own position as is clear from the graphic.

Cleveland Center Indianhead Radar Position
Commission file 148-911-03007907CC-s1

A Combined Picture

Here is a Google Earth screen print showing the spatial relationship of UA93, the Falcon 20 jet, and Gofer 06. Included for reference is a geographic overlay.

UA93, Falcon 20, Gofer 06 Relationship
Commission files 148-911-03007907Z-s1 and RD0D04021435


Evidence presented here is comprehensive and conclusive that UA93 crashed shortly after 10:03 EDT. Nothing ever aligned for the crew that commandeered the flight. The flight was way late in taking off, the crew was short a person, and air defense was in position by 10:00 EDT, over the National Capital Region. None of that mattered. The remaining crew and passengers had gained situational awareness and too matters into their own hands.

There is one final primary data source to consider. Infrared sensors in space recorded the impacts of all four commandeered aircraft on the morning of 9/11.

Here is the data for UA93: Impact time was 10:03:10+/- EDT. Peak intensity was 10:03:16 EDT. Fireball dissipation was 10:03:25 EDT.

For all impacts, therefore, the fireball was visible for about 25 seconds. Thereafter, black smoke was visible. I can confirm that. I was eyewitness to the immediate aftermath of AA77 slicing into the Pentagon. My office window overlooked the south side of the Pentagon. I went to the widow quickly after hearing the impact and feeling its vibration. All I saw was black smoke.

Interactive Google Earth

Here is a link to Google Earth, a plot that includes both the takeover and the final moments. Click on the projects icon in left vertical menu bar and then click on any data point for detailed information.


9-11: Impact Times; Infra-red Data Released by NSA

Addendum October 9, 2014

This addendum makes one correction and adds a PDF of my May 15, 2014 appeal letter. Based on the date of that letter it took NSA not quite five months to reconsider. Here is a link to my appeal.

IR Appeal Letter May 2014

Data Release

On October 4, 2014, I received a letter from the National Security Agency, Central Security Service, dated September 23, 2014.  The letter responded to Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) case 70401 (NARA case number NW 168), my appeal to an earlier complete denial of all infra-red related information.

The release authority has now provided graphic analysis of the data for all four impacts, as originally provided to the Commission. The times, in all cases, are consistent with the times established from radar files and air traffic control tapes.

Here is the transmittal letter for the information release.

NSA MDR Letter Sep 23 2014

I addressed the total denial of all infra-red related information in a short post on March 25, 2014 under “Current News.” It took just over six not quite five months for the National Security Agency to reconsider. I based my appeal narrowly, asking only for the infra-red impact times, and nothing else. That is perhaps a lesson learned  for researchers and historians, present and future.


The 9/11 Commission Staff requested infra-red data concerning the impacts of the four hijacked airplanes on September 11, 2001.  The staff took that extra step because an analysis of seismic data by a separate individual reported a impact time for United Airlines Flight 93 three minutes after the 10:03 EDT impact time as determined from radar files and air traffic control tapes.

It is important to know that the later time, 10:06 EDT, was not a seismic data time. It was the extrapolation and interpretation of seismic data by a single individual. His coauthor and the sponsor of his article, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, chose not to validate and verify his work when asked to do so by the Commission Staff. Instead, they simply referred the Staff back to the person who had made the extrapolation. I addressed the seismic issue in detail in an article published in 2010.

In 2011 during a visit to the National Earthquake Center, Golden, Colorado, I informally asked the staff there to take a look at the interpretation that led to a time of 10:06 EDT. They, too, declined, and simply referred me back to the original author.

The Staff Request

The original request is “Document Request No. 4-34: Final data from the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center (DEFSMAC) that established the time of impact for each of the hijacked aircraft.” The response to the Commission was classified “SECRET//X1” and was titled (U//FOUO) NSA’S ANSWERS TO DoD DOCUMENT REQUEST No. 4-34.” The response is annotated NW#: 168 DocId: 8977.

The Response

There are two graphs that are accurate to the minute and the approximate seconds for each impact, if extrapolated. The following chart depicts my current extrapolations. The intensity measurement is in Kilowatts per microsteradian (KW/sr-μ).


Impact Time


AA11 8:46:30+/- 250 KW/sr-μ
UA 175 9:03:10+/- 3500 KW/sr-μ
AA 77 9:37:30+/- 900 KW/sr-μ
UA 93 10:03:10+ 2000 KW/sr-μ

One graph depicts the times for all planes except UA 93. A second graph pertains to UA 93 and incudes a peak intensity time centered on 10:03:16-17+, and a dissipation time of 10:03:25+  Peak intensity was recorded as 5000 KW/sr-μ.  That graph provides an approximate measure of the time the fireball was observable, a period of about 15 seconds.

There is no data to indicate that DEFSMAC considered peak intensity for the other three impacts.

I do not recall making an extrapolation while on the Commission Staff. It was clear from the graphs provided that the infra-red times were consistent with other primary source data.  In particular, the infra-red data was conclusive for a 10:03 EDT impact time for UA 93, not 10:06 EDT, as had been speculated.

Here is the graph titled: “Aircraft Impacts – NY & DC, 11 September 2001 – IR Intensity vs Time (Zulu)

IR impact times AA11 UA175 AA77

Here is the graph titled: “Impact of United Flight 93 – Pennsylvania, 11 September 2001 IR Intensity vs Time (Zulu)”

IR Data UA93


This completes my work on all speculation that the seismic extrapolated time is relevant to the impact on UA 93. It is not, now, and never was. All such speculation is based on the work of a single individual who informed the Commission Staff that the seismic data, itself, was not conclusive.

At some future time a scientist or engineer will examine the original raw data—seismic, radar, and infra-red—and will find that the three data sets are consistent.

9-11: UA93; The Gofer 06 story, explained

Addendum added Feb 27, 2014

Here are links that provide additional insight into my work on the UA 93 story.

Seismic data considered

A 2009 article with a graphic showing tracks


A correspondent recently contacted me to discuss the relationship of United Airlines flight 93 (UA 93) and Gofer 06, the Minnesota Air National Guard C130H.  The correspondent speculated that there was an important relationship which was crucial to an incident time of 10:06 for UA 93.  The 10:06 time was an extrapolation from seismic data by a single individual who, when queried by the 9-11 Commission Staff, agreed that the seismic data was not conclusive concerning UA 93.

Nevertheless, the correspondent concocted this explanation:

I need to review the testimony of C-130 pilot Captain Steve O’Brien before the 9/11 Commission. What he had to say is highly relevant. Why? Simple. That morning, O’Brien had a bird’s eye view of the Shanksville crash site – and was in position at the right moment to be a witness to whatever happened at 10:06 AM, which is the crash time indicated by the seismic signal.

At that very moment, he was in the cockpit of his C-130 looking straight at the crash site from 24,000 feet, after being prompted by the Cleveland ATCs.

Are you aware of what O’Brien told the commission? Do you know if his testimony has been released? I have searched for it without success. Did the commission ask him what he saw at Shanksville?

The issue looks to be of primary interest, because it does appear that someone tampered with the 20-page transcript of the real time conversation that O’Brien had with ZOB Cleveland ATCs, on the morning of 9/11.

I believe that transcript offers some powerful clues about what transpired. I am attaching the file below. It’s pretty big — apologies for the size. Or you can download it at [http://www.911datasets.org/]

The file includes a number of transcripts. The relevant ATC transcript has 20 pages. The key page is 18 of 20. You will notice that at 1405:45 O’Brien mentions that he sees smoke at the site. But, notice, he says the smoke is at 3,000-5,000 feet. There is no indication it rose from the ground, i.e., from a crash. This is an extremely important detail, as we shall see.

Then, after 1406:27, something strange happens. Four minutes of the transcript, from 1407-1411, appears to have been deleted. It’s gone!

Why do you think?

Could it be because O’Brien saw the unspeakable, i.e., saw a cruise missile crash at 10:06 AM — and reported this to the ATCs? This observation, had it been reported to the commission and/or made public, would have exposed the entire official 9/11 story as a HUGE lie, and at the same time would have revealed a criminal conspiracy in the act of “cleaning up” flight UAL 93, which had turned into a fiasco.

I now suspect that the Shanksville witness [redacted] saw a cruise missile just before it crashed — not a UAV. She told me it was “tubular” and “cylindrical” and had fins — but no wings. This sounds like a missile.

But why a cruise missile? Well, if the perpetrators decided to terminate UAL 93 by detonating explosives which had been pre-planted on the aircraft — they still needed a crater in the ground to serve as the basis for a cover story that UAL 93 had crashed, when in fact it was exploded at 3-5,00 feet.

Any help you can provide in locating O’Brien’s testimony before the commission would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely for 9/11 truth,


I interviewed Lt Col O’Brien by telephone. The interview has not been released, according to the National Archives. My contact there reports that they have found a pointer to the interview and they will have it reviewed for release. I do not recall if the report of interview was an MFR or a recording.

O’Brien was asked the key questions.  Did he at any time at all see a military aircraft and/or any evidence of a missile?  Was he armed, had his C130H ever been armed, had any C130H model ever been armed? O’Brien responded in the negative to that round of questions.

I have again reviewed the transcript, the radar, and the audio files.  The correspondent distorted the story.  O’Brien never had a birds eye view. He was never prompted by air traffic control.  He initiated the report of smoke.  He was briefly considered as a candidate aircraft to circle the crash site but was not so tasked. A civilian aircraft was vectored to circle the crash site and provide GPS coordinates.

This is an old story, recycled.  Now is a good time to set the record straight.

Air Traffic Control Communications

The tape of interest is file 148-911-03003840k.s1, the Cleveland Air Traffic Control Center tape of Imperial Sector for the period 1340-1418 UCT (0940-1018 EDT).

Gofer 06 checked in, routinely, shortly before 10:03 EDT reporting an altitude of “two four zero” (24,000 feet.) Here is that exchange.

1002 Gofer 06 Checks in

A minute later, air traffic control turned Gofer 06 to a heading of 030 (North North East) away from the projected path of UA 93. Concurrently, Cleveland Center was losing UA 93 on radar, telling Gofer 06 that he was heading east, but now turned to the south.

The radar clearly shows the turn to the south to be the plunge to earth. UA 93 impacted during this conversation with Gofer 06.

1003 Gofer 06 Turned to 030

Over a minute later, Gofer 06 was told he would be run north about 26 miles before a return to original heading.  Gofer 06 then volunteered a report of black smoke at his “9 o’clock” (easterly).  The pilot could not tell if the smoke originated from the ground or from the air. Air traffic control was satisfied with the report and cleared him “direct Dryer,” about 10:06. The radar shows that Gofer 06 did return to original heading at that time.

1005 Gofer 06 reports black smoke

None of O’Brien’s report or subsequent conversation with air traffic control correlates to a speculated crash time of 10:06.  It is clear from this primary source information that UA 93 was down well before that time.  O’Brien was not queried further by air traffic control about anything that might have happened in the 10:06 time frame.

The Next Five Minutes

The Correspondent claimed, “Four minutes of the transcript, from 1407-1411, appears to have been deleted. It’s gone!”  That is a misinterpretation of the transcript. Here is what the certified transcript (ZOB-ARTCC-287 N591UA(UAL 93) for Imperial Sector actually contains:

1406:27 GOF06 ok direct dryer gopher zero six
1411.11 UNKN (unintelligible)

Here is the actual audio for that nearly five-minute period during which there were no transmissions. All the transcriber was doing was noting, for the transcipt record, the minutes that were passing with nothing to transcribe.

1007 Five Minutes no transmission

Crash Site Confirmation, Gofer 06 Considered, Not Tasked

Once Gofer 06 returned to original heading its path took it a few miles north of the crash site. The controller advised another controller that he could vector Gofer 06 to verify the crash site. This next conversation, an internal one at Cleveland Center, confirms that Cleveland had used a different plane and that the “lat long” of the crash site had been verified.

1011 Positive ID Gofer 06 not tasked

Grounding all flights

The order by the FAA’s Air Traffic Control System Command Center to ground all airplanes played out differently at different locations.  The emphasis was on grounding commercial traffic.  There was initial confusion as to whether or not the order pertained to military and emergency response aircraft. Here is how that order played out in the airspace controlled by Cleveland Center that included Gofer 06.

 1015 Only One in Air is a Military Plane

After that internal Cleveland Center conversation, the controller thought that he should ask Gofer 06 why he was still in the air.  Gofer 06 responded, no one told me to land. Gofer 06 then asked if anyone else was in the air. The last thing heard on the tape is the Cleveland controller telling Gofer 06 that “he would expand,” meaning he would zoom out so his scope would display a larger area.

 1017 No One Told Me to Land

Grounding of All Traffic, A Comment

One air traffic control facility posed a direct question about the status of military and emergency response flights.  I believe the question came from National TRACON and that the answer was that such flights would be allowed. I will update with that audio clip when I find it.

At no time was Gofer 06 told to land, nor were other military aircraft in the air. The only specific restriction to all flights, regardless of status, was a warning not to enter Class B airspace in the DC area. Those warnings started after 10:05 EDT.

Chaos Theory: UA 93; disruptive feedback, an interesting analysis


The purpose of this short article is to document for the record an analysis of the final chapter in the UA 93 story.  In the language of chaos theory, UA 93 became disruptive feedback once Cleveland Center entered a new flight plan for the hijacked plane in the air traffic control system, with destination Reagan National Airport.  The disruptive feedback that United 93 was still in the air confounded the national level at the time and in the accounting in the aftermath.

UA 93 lost on TSD at 1028 EDT

Here is a clip from the F2 Position, National TRACON (1 DCA 101-102 Tape 1-2 F2 1327-1450 UTC, as archived by NARA as part of the Commission files)  The F2 Position controlled the Andrews fighters once airborne.  As of 1028 the F2 Position knew that there was no target associated with UA 93. 1028 UA 93 not in system

In previous articles I have dealt with disruptive feedback, primarily in terms of the false report of AA 11 still airborne and the erroneous report that Delta 1989 had been hijacked.  In the language of chaos theory feedback is disruptive if it results in “a gain” to a system.  Concerning events of 9-11 that “gain” was the addition of planes the either had ceased to exist or were not in distress.  By that measure, the introduction of a new flight plan for UA 93 by Cleveland Center became disruptive.  That action by Cleveland Center was beneficial to air traffic control, specifically Cleveland and Washington Centers.  It was not beneficial to the system at large as we shall see.

Here is a link to analysis done by Brian Stark (Boone870 on the web) some months ago.  That analysis included the audio clip from National TRACON.  Stark’s analysis remains the definitive work on the UA 93 Traffic Situation Display (TSD) story, as told in the primary source and secondary information material of the day, supplemented by later recall by Transportation Secretary, Norman Mineta. 

(Note: the link in the last slide is no longer active)

Even though UA 93 was reported down with an impact time of 1003 EDT the flight plan was displayed and updated in the Traffic Situation Display (TSD) system until the flight “landed” at 1028 EDT at Reagan National.  It was that “landing” that was concurrently reported to National TRACON by an FAA caller who was watching a TSD display. (In context, the FAA caller was likely either Baltimore or Dulles TRACON)

It was the “approach” to that landing that became the threat to the National Capital Region, as updated to Secretary Mineta by Monte Belger, according to Mineta’s interview the next year with MSNBC.

It would be nearly ten more minutes before the first Andrews fighter took off in pursuit of an airplane that no longer existed, in fact or in projected flight plan.

9-11: UA93; FDR and CVR links

The purpose of this short article is to provide links to the CVR and FDR files for flight UA 93.

Flight Data Recorder (FDR)

Here is a link to the FDR readout as provided to the Commission, archived by NARA, and posted by History Commons on Scribd.  The readout shows that UA93 started erratic maneuvers shortly after 9:58 and started climbing at 9:59, ultimately to 10,000 feet altitude by 10:02.  The speed readout showed up and down variations beginning about 10:01.

At 10:02 the aircraft began its plunge to ground, accelerating from 300 knots to 500 knots at impact.  NTSB determined the impact time to be 10:03:11.  The Commission used NSTB-computed impact times for all four hijacked aircraft.

Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)

Here is a link to a time-stamped transcript in English and Arabic as provided to the Commission Staff by the FBI, archived by NARA, and posted by History Commons on Scribd.

The CVR correlates to the FDR in every respect.  The words “Yes, put it in and pull it down” were spoken shortly after 10:01, followed by the words “down, down” at 10:02:18, and “pull it down” at 10:02:23.  The recording ended at 10:03:10.9.

Transponder back on

During the plunge to ground the transponder became activated.  That fact was noticed by Cleveland ATC and reported in near real time to Herndon Center.  At 14:02:45 a reinforced (radar and beacon) return (84th RADES data point, corrected) showed the plane to be at 7800 feet.  At 14:02:57 a beacon (transponder) only return (84th RADES data point, corrected) showed the plane to be at 6100 feet, an instantaneous descent rate of 8500 feet per minute, a rate that was increasing as the plane accelerated.

Convergence of evidence

The primary source evidence is conclusive as to the fate of UA 93.  The hijackers flew it into the ground while under attack by the passengers and remaining crew.  It impacted at 10:03:11.

Any other explanation is speculative and without merit.

9-11: UA93; impact time, seismic data considered


I recently obtained some of the seismic data concerning UA 93 and that provides an opportunity to discuss an old issue about 9-11, the impact time..

Readers may recall that there was at one time some speculation that a study based on the seismic data suggested that UA 93 impacted at 10:06, three minutes later than all available primary source information indicated.  The Commission Staff treated that speculation seriously and ran the issue to ground. 

This article is the story of the data and of how the Staff dealt with one of the 9-11 family questions.

Data Source

The Incorporated Research Institution for Seismology (IRIS) has protocols for assisting educators, researchers, students, committees, and the public.  The link provided is to the protocol for researchers.  I found the IRIS staff helpful in obtaining the information available.

To run the data I used GEE, Global Earthquake Explorer, and an IRIS-provided link to AmaSeis. (Amateur Seismometer).  Readers with seismology experience will find additional programs available from IRIS at the same link.

My point of contact provided me the files I actually used.  He obtained them by submitting a Seismic Query to determine what data were available.  He then submitted a request via email using BREQ-FAST.  Finally, he converted the files to .SAC format via rdseed.

The Data

An undated report, “Seismic Observations during September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attack,” concluded: “we infer that the Flight 93 crashed around  14:06:05 +/- 5 (UTC).”  The primary author, Won-Young Kim considered data from four seismographic stations.  From closest to Shanksville to the furtherest, the sites were: Mont Chateau, (MCWV); Standing Stone, (SSPA); Soldier’s Delight, (SDMD); and Millersville, (MVL)PA.

In his vertical component assessment, Kim initially considered all four seismic stations.  He assessed that the signal to noise ratio was too small for both the closest site (MCWV) and SDMD, on the order of 1:1.  Therefore, he reduced his analysis to the Standing Stone station where the ratio was 2.5:1.  He also established that the ratio at the most distance site, Millersville, was about 2:1.

Kim based his analysis on the Standing Stone station only, ignoring the fact that the data from the closest station was inconclusive.  Further he extrapolated only two minutes of data beginning with an estimated origin time of “14:06:05 (10:06:05)”  We have no evidence that Kim examined earlier times, specifically 10:03.

IRIS has available only the data from Mont Chateau and Standing Stone, the two stations closest to Shanksville. My contact provided 10 minutes of data, from 10:00 to 10:10.

I examined the data as far as my expertise would take me (undergraduate geophysics classes) and found nothing anomalous to support a time of 10:06 rather than 10:03.  I leave it to practicing seismologists that might be interested to provide a more definitive assessment.

Let’s now return to the issue raised to the Commission.

The Question Posed

A 9-11 Family Member told  me via e-mail that seismologists agreed that UA 93 crashed at 10:06, not 10:03 as NORAD said.  I took that request for action and we obtained a copy of the report.  It was not a U.S. Army document; the Army referred us to the Maryland Geological Survey website for a copy.

We found that the time in the study, 10:06, was at odds with all other primary source information, the convergence of which supported a crash time of 10:03.  Despite that convergence we took the time to fully consider an alternative time of 10:06, as requested.

Primary source information

Data from the UA 93 Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), air traffic control communications, FAA radar, and Air Force radar established a crash time of 10:03.

The seismic data was also primary source information; the study that inferred at time of 10:06 was not.  Statements that the seismic data show that UA 93 crashed at 10:06 are inaccurate.  Further, statements that leading seismologists and scientists concluded that UA 93 impacted at 10:06 are disingenuous.  The work was that of a single person, as it turned out.  Here is how we proceeded.

Steps taken

The study was sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, State of Maryland under contract number SMGS/AG1-01-075.  The authors were Won-Young Kim, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, and Gerald R. Baum, Environmental Geology and Mineral Resources Program, Maryland Geological Survey.

Our first step was a request to the Maryland Geological Survey (MGS) asking them to validate and verify the study done by one of its employees. The MGS declined stating that the work was primarily that of Won-Young Kim and that we should address our request to him.  The MGS, literally, walked away from the issue.

The second step, then, was to contact Mr. Kim, which I personally did.  Over time, I exchanged a series of emails and phone calls with Mr. Kim.  I informed him that multiple other primary sources of information did not support his work.  His position was that, if so, he still had confidence in his work.  Ultimately Mr. Kim agreed to a statement that the seismic data was not conclusive concerning the crash of UA 93.

Given that statement, we reconfirmed that the preponderance of evidence supported a time of 10:03 and that became our position.  There was, however, another avenue we could explore.

Going the extra step

Even though we had a high degree of confidence in the 10:03 time, we decided to treat the two times as equal and sought and obtained additional primary source information, infra-red satellite data.  We asked the Defense Special Missile and Astronautics Center (DEFSMAC) for the times it had established for the impacts of all four hijacked planes.

We had noticed in the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (CMOC) logs that some “IR [infrared] event” times had been entered that morning and assumed that DEFSMAC had recorded all four “IR events.”  They had, and the data provided was consistent not only with the 10:03 time for UA 93 but for the other three impact times, as well.  The DEFSMAC response is in the classified Commission files held by NARA.

To put it another way, we gave the two disparate times–10:03 and 10:06– equal weight and went to a tie breaker, even though there was no compelling analytical reason to do so.

A comment on DEFSMAC

Accurately reporting “IR events” is vital to the defense of the nation.  Missile launches are serious business and DEFSMAC provides the earliest possible indications and warning of  such a potential threat.  The DEFSMAC times, alone, are sufficient to establish the impact times of the four hijacked aircraft.

In the end

We spent considerable time running the seismic issue to ground.  Yet the answer did not matter, it wasn’t the “right” answer.  During the reading of Staff Statement 17 at the final air defense hearing we presented the list of sources for 10:03 time of impact for UA 93.  Behind us, someone in the audience commented, what about the seismic data?

Questions answered that don’t provide the expected or wanted answer become…more questions.

9-11: UA 93; headed for Washington National

The purpose of this brief article, published under the UA 93 category, is to document primary source information concerning the new flight plan for UA 93 with destination Washington National.

The audio file was recorded at Position 14C, Herndon Center, on a tape with the title: 5 DCC 1933 Ops Phone 5140, Position 14C 1315-1415 UTC.  That position received a call at 10:04:25 after UA 93 was down asking if the Command Center had the “strip” on UA 93.  The unidentified caller reported a call from New York Center that the plane departed Newark and was “inbound to Washington National.”

That call confirms that the new flight plan and destination for UA 93, as entered in the system by Cleveland Center, was available in the Traffic Display System.

The conversation can be heard on this clip. 100425 UA 93 Headed to Washington National

9-11: UA 93; airphone call, not a cellphone call

This short article provides an example of how the terms “airphone” and “cellphone” became conflated and confused right from the first reports of use.  The pertinent conversation was recorded at Operations Position 28, Herndon Center, a few minutes after 10:00.

Great Lakes Region security notified the FAA Tactical Net of a report from the Oak Brook, Illinois, police that they had received a 911 airphone call from a passenger aboard UA 93 reporting three hijackers with knives and making bomb threats.

Concurrently, in the background another individual passed the information to someone else and substituted the word “cellphone” for “airphone.”  That conflation occurred as the report was received by the Tactical Net.

The audio of those conversations can be heard here.  100310 Airphone Call UA 93

A report that the White House, Treasury and State are being evacuated can be heard in the background at the beginning of the audio clip.  The time was 10:03, so that was a delayed report.  BBC video footage from “Clear The Skies” established that the White House evacuation began sometime after the Pentagon was struck, but  before 10:00.

9-11: UA 93; an air traffic control trilogy, part 2

Addendum, December 1, 2009.

Here is a Google Earth plot of the final radar returns from UA 93 as received at The Plains radar site and provided by 84th RADES.

UA93 Final Radar Returns
UA93 Final Radar Returns

The blue pins depict primary returns.  The green pin depicts the first recording of the transponder back on.  Green represents a reinforced return, radar and beacon (transponder).  The red pin depicts the second and final transponder return, beacon only.

This is the air traffic control story of UA 93, told in the primary source voices of the day, and we begin with part 2, the Herndon Command Center story.  The next two articles will tell the same story from the Cleveland Center (ZOB) perspective,  Part 1,   Then, in Part 3, we will the FAA’s Washington Operations Center story, as told to them by air traffic control.  There will be at least one additional article to tell the story after it leaves the domain of air traffic control.

First notice to Herndon

The story begins at 09:49 when Margaret at the Herndon Severe Weather position convenes a conference with Washington Center, ZDC, at the request of Cleveland and Chicago.  The purpose is to address the issue of the Attorney General’s return to Washington.  Cleveland breaks in to tell Chicago about Delta 1989.  That conversation is at this link. ZDC ZOB Herndon Chicago Teleconference

The conversation immediately continues and by 9:50 Cleveland Center has also put Washington Center on alert but about a different airplance, UA 93.  That continued conversation is at this link.  ZOB alerts ZDC about UA 93

After a short pause ZOB estimates a UA 93 arrival in 25 minutes to Dulles (approximately 9:16).  Concurrently, ZOB updates both Chicago and ZDC as to the status of both D 1989 and UA 93.  That continuation is at this link.  ZOB updates D 1989 and UA 93

Some researchers have speculated that FAA was treating one of the two aircraft but not the other as a hijack; that the two were somehow confused by air traffic control.  It is clear from the primary source information that the two situations were distinct and clearly separated by Cleveland Center in its reporting to adjacent centers and to Herndon.  There was no confusion within the system as to which was which.   The status of D 1989 was never conflated with UA 93 by FAA.

Conversation continues at 09:53

The situation continues as ZOB updates all participants on the status of both airplanes.  Margaret informs ZOB that Herndon knew about UA 93 but not about D 1989 and she will pass the word.  That update can be heard at this link.  ZOB Undates Participants at 0953

D 1989 apparently resolved

In a conversation at 9:56 Herndon determines that D 1989 is not a ‘trip,’ that he is fine and that he is going to Cleveland.  In this conversation we learn that the concern about D 1989 originated with Boston Center, ZBW.  That conversation can be heard at this link.  ZOB D 1989 Going to Clevelend

Real time updates on UA 93

By 9:58 ZOB enters a new flight plan for UA 93 to assist ZDC.  ZDC acknowledges and sees the airplane at their TMU desk.  ZOB is trying as best it can to associate tracking information with the data blocks.  They did not have an altitude.

The implication is that ZDC can see the plane on radar as long as it is flying and can track the flight plan on a TSD display.  The exchange of information between the TMU at ZOB and the TMUat ZDC can be heard at this link.  ZOB UA 93 new flight plan and alert to ZDC.  I should note here that when I observed the TSD playback of 9-11 at Herndon Center the icon for UA 93 visably jumped on the screen to its new location as determined by ZOB.

Shortly thereafter, in the 9:59 time frame,  ZOB did obtain altitude information on UA 93 from a VFR aircraft.  That information can be heard at this link.  ZOB reports altitude on UA 93 Whenever Ricky Bell at Severe Weather keeps the microphone open you can hear voices in the background.  We will cover that in Part 3 when we talk about Herndon continuously updating FAA Headquarters.

Next, ZOB provides altitude and heading information in real time to Herndon.  You can, again, hear voices in the background and you hear Ricky Bell repeating information as he hears it so that others at Herndon are aware.  This minute long conversation segment  begins approximately 10:00 and can be heard at this link.  ZOB provides location and heading for UA 93

From 10:01 to 10:02 the real time updates report erratic flying.  That near one minute conversation segment can be heard at this link.  ZOB reports erratic flying

UA 93 transponder back on

The UA 93 transponder did come back on, briefly for two sweeps just  before 10:03.  84th RADES radar lost coverage on the plane soon after 9:47, but reacquired the aircraft near the end of its flight.  Radar data from The Plains radar shows the transponder back on for just two radar returns.  Based on those two returns the aircraft dropped at a significant rate.  It was in extremis.  The last recorded RADES radar return is at 10:02:57 at 6100 feet altitude.  Location was 40 040 04N 78 55 02W.

ZOB describes the transponder event to Herndon as heard on this link.  ZOB Reports Transponder Back On.  The ZOB report is time consistent and altitude consistent with RADES radar.  ZOB reports an altitude of 8200 feet when the transponder came back on.  The RADES radar files show an altitude of 7800 feet at that time.

Here is a circa Summer 93 graphic I prepared concerning UA 93.  My complete set of UA 93 powerpoint slides has been uploaded to the History Commons Scribd site; I can’t find the link for now, and is available at this link.

UA 93 Final Radar Returns
UA 93 Final Radar Returns

UA 93 lost by ZOB

Just before 10:03 ZOB reports losing UA 93 on radar except for one primary return.  ZOB defers to ZDC as can be heard at this link.  ZOB losing UA 93 on radar

A few moments later Herndon reconnects with ZOB to ask about both UA 93 and D 1989.  Herndon learns that ZOB has lost UA 93; it was last headed toward Washington.  Herndon also learns at the same time that D 1989 is not a hijack.  That exchange can be heard at this link.  ZOB advises UA 93 lost D1989 not a hijack

And, to finish off part 2 of this trilogy, at 10:10 ZOB and Herndon have a concluding converstion that reaffirms that ZOB has lost UA 93 on radar and that D 1989 is not a hijack.  This conversation segment provides additional insight in how Herndon was operating and what it knew.  ZOB Herndon Discusses Both Planes

Observations in real time

First, at no time at the desk level, do air traffic control personnel speak to or even mention contacting the military.  That is to be expected, their job was to track and report.

Second, at no time did Herndon or ZOB conflate information concerning UA 93 and D 1989.  Both planes were monitored distinctly and separately and reported that way.  FAA up to the Herndon level had situation awareness in real time.  Researchers who argue differently are simply wrong.

Third, separately, ZOB is learning of the fate of UA 93 and we will discuss that in Part 1 of this trilogy.  For now, the embedded graphic provides useful data points.  Gofer 06 soon after turning north at ZOB direction reported shortly after 10:04 that the pilot saw smoke in the direction of UA 93.  The private jet, N20VF? on the graphic, was vectored by ZOB to the crash site.  The Falcon circled once and provided GPS coordinates around 10:14.

Finally, at the national level. Norman Mineta is arriving at the PEOC during the final moments of UA 93.  Subsequently he will receive information from Monte Belger about that aircraft, most likely as seen on a TSD display.  That track, terminating at Reagan National at 10:28 is a ghost and has been since shortly after 10:03.

That begs a question.  Given that Herndon had near real time information and was immediately passing that information to FAA Headquarters, how was that being passed, if at all, to the national level?  We will grapple with that in Part 3.  For now I would simply point out that the SVTS link was activated at 9:25 and Richard Clarke convened the conference soon after 9:40.  He wrote in Against All Enemies, “Okay, I began.  Let’s start with the facts.  FAA, FAA, go.”  Jane Garvey was at the FAA end.

What do we make of that?

I am separately publishing articles on the linear processes the government attempted to use that day.  So far I have spoken to NOIWON.  Once I get an Air Threat Conference article out I will then turn to SVTS.  Suffice it to say for now that, as I’ve elsewhere attributed to an NMCC staff officer, the SVTS process was counter-productive.

So, I will speak to SVTS, probably before I write Part 3 of this air traffic control trilogy concerning UA 93.

At some point, of course, we will ultimately need to address the Mineta story.