9-11: Delta 1989; Addendum, Confirmed not trip by Delta

The purpose of this article is to establish that Delta Airlines did not consider Delta 1989 to be a “trip,” a hijacked aircraft.  At 9:55, Herndon Center, Operations Position 27 called Delta asking about the flight.  Delta confirmed that it was landing normally at Cleveland.

The primary source audio can be heard here. 095527 Delta 1989 not a trip

Delta Airlines considered the source of the concern about Delta 1989 to be Boston Center, ZBW.  ZBW, on its own initiative, had assessed the developing situation and determined that the hijack pattern concerned transcontinental flights departing Boston.  Three flights fit that profile: AA 11, UA 175, and D 1989. ZBW shared its analysis, and what was originally an expression of concern by ZBW morphed into speculation that D 1989, itself, had been hijacked.

My understanding, using the lens of Chaos Theory, is that D 1989 became a “strange attractor,” a focal point for attention that could not be predicted.  Contorted concern for the flight became disruptive feedback into the air traffic control system during an already chaotic time.  An unknown aircraft (AA 77) had just slammed into the Pentagon.  Minutes earlier, Cleveland Center had reported that UA 93 had a bomb on board.

The conflation of events concerning D 1989, UA 93 and AA 77 persisted long after the attack was over.  Norman Mineta conflated the AA 77 and UA 93 stories.  General Arnold and Colonel Marr conflated the D 1989 and UA 93 stories.

All three internalized the events of the day in the immediate aftermath as FAA and NORAD failed to agree on a common timeline.  Their misunderstanding of events became the public story, one which persists erroneously to this day.