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Would It Have Made Sense To Have Shotdown Flt. 77?  
User currently offlinelenbrazil From Brazil, joined Apr 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5249 times:

In response to the 9/11 attacks 2 F-16s were launched from Langley AFB, in southern VA. at 9:22. This was too late to reach DC before the Pentagon crash and for reasons that are not really clear they were initially sent out over the Atlantic. Also Bush did not issued his shoot-down order till after the Pentagon had been hit.

But let’s imagine history had happened a little bit differently: the fighters took off a few minutes earlier, headed directly for DC and got there before crash at which point the POTUS had given the order. Would it have made sense to have shot down the 757? Eleven people were killed on the ground in Lockerbie after a bomb exploded in a 747 flying over it. A 747 is about 3x more massive than a 757 and flight 103 had a lot more fuel than flight 77 on the other hand flight 103 was at about 11,000 feet leading the debris to be dispersed over a wide area and Alexandria, especially the area around the Pentagon is very densely populated. According to Wikipedia the population density was 8,452 or- 9,493 in 2010 -11 but it would have been higher along the plane’s approach path on 9/11. I was not able to info on the Scottish town’s size or density but its total population is only about 4000. There was a traffic jam on the portion of highway the plane flew over and there was only about 250 of lawn between the Columbia Pike and the Pentagon. Since the 757 was flying at about 750 feet/sec. I doubt a fighter pilot could have timed the shot to have hit at the precise moment. To make a long story short I imagine a lot more than 11 people would have been killed if 77 had been shot down, perhaps more than were killed in the Pentagon. And not to sound insensitive but while there were many civilians in the building most occupants were military personnel, a career in which risking your life to protect civilians is part of the job description. Would it have made sense to sacrifice the latter to protect the former?

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinelenbrazil From Brazil, joined Apr 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 5140 times:

Quoting lenbrazil (Thread starter):
2 F-16s were launched from Langley AFB, in southern VA. at 9:2

Correction the fighters took off at 9;30.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 911 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4974 times:

There was no correct way to handle this situation, imo. Do you risk killing more civilians or allow military personnel to take the brunt of the attack?

User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7575 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 4955 times:

I suspect that Flt 77 would not have been shot down if the fighters had got in the correct position.

The plane was observed for it's final descent and actual crash from a ANG C-130 which had much difficulty keeping the plane in sight - a combination of the normal haze in the area and the silver color of the plane being very difficult to pick out against the background.

As far as damage from debris of the aircraft - only in the last few seconds could anyone have been sure the target was the Pentagon and not the White House or the Capitol Building or some other highly populated building in the area.

However, I don't think it would have happened. At the time the plane hit the Pentagon - 09:37 - there was still a bit of uncertainty about what was actually occuring. Though the planes had hit the WTC at 08:46 and 09:03 - the sense of disbelief that these could be deliberate attacks was still very strong.

It was the crash of Flt 77 that eliminated any doubt.



Quoting lenbrazil (Thread starter):
for reasons that are not really clear they were initially sent out over the Atlantic.

The base presumption is that a threat will come from outside the US and the defense posture was to stop aircraft from getting over US territory.

Today we know that is a false presumption.

The concept of sending fighters to possibly shoot down US passenger aircraft on US domestic flights wasn't part of the training or planning back in 2001. Sending planes out into the ADIZ was SOP and proper in 2001.


User currently offlinelenbrazil From Brazil, joined Apr 2006, 114 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 4934 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):

Quoting lenbrazil (Thread starter):
for reasons that are not really clear they were initially sent out over the Atlantic.

The base presumption is that a threat will come from outside the US and the defense posture was to stop aircraft from getting over US territory.

Today we know that is a false presumption.

The concept of sending fighters to possibly shoot down US passenger aircraft on US domestic flights wasn't part of the training or planning back in 2001. Sending planes out into the ADIZ was SOP and proper in 2001.

Except that the threat they were scrambled to defend against was a 'phantom' AA11 suspected of closing in on DC. That's where they were initially vectored to but for reasons which AFAIK have not been explained, were replaced with the SOP vector. This has provided much fodder for CTs. I don't know about the Langley planes put interceptors from FLA normally scrambled to intercept incoming planes that had diverted from their flight plans and were no radio. The fighters were vectored towards those planes not preset points over the ocean.


User currently offlineflyingturtle From Switzerland, joined Oct 2011, 2300 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4929 times:

Quoting lenbrazil (Thread starter):

Just to nitpick a bit: Lockerbie was very rural, while D.C. is urban. The bomb that brought down Pan Am 103 shredded the aircraft in several bigger pieces, while a AA missile hit could cripple the A/C, leading to a more or less controlled emergency landing (assuming the pilots were still in command).

I don't think these cases are a good comparison anyway. It would be better to discuss if we should even think about shooting down airliners in the first place. My opinion is that the government should value human lives equally (i.e., AA 77 should never be shot down because that would trade X passengers for Y people on the ground, though both are equally innocent).


David



Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7575 posts, RR: 32
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4900 times:

Quoting lenbrazil (Reply 4):
Except that the threat they were scrambled to defend against was a 'phantom' AA11 suspected of closing in on DC. That's where they were initially vectored to but for reasons which AFAIK have not been explained, were replaced with the SOP vector. This has provided much fodder for CTs.

Unlike the movies - the military is made up of humans, which can make mistakes. Also, vectoring in the US depends upon much data from the FAA ATC system. There is an interface issue.

People who assume the military will do everthing to perfection with clockwork precision simply haven't been in the military under high pressure situations.

The side which wins is the side which makes the fewest mental mistakes.

As I said to one fellow recently who was relating a CT he heard on talk radio concerning on Benghazi

"How long have you worked for the US government, including your military service?"

He replied "31 years"

I said "Have you ever seen a level of compentence in the US military or US government to actually properly plan, much less pull off something so complicated. Not to mention the complete inability of the civilian side of government to ever keep anything secret."

"Very true" was his answer.

The reason vectors were given 'wrong' and phantoms were chased is very simple. People made mistakes when presented with conflicting information about situations their brains refused to believe were real.

Quoting flyingturtle (Reply 5):
It would be better to discuss if we should even think about shooting down airliners in the first place.

Unless a US military pilot can clearly see the danger - I don't believe any are going to shoot down a civilian airliner. The military is trained very deeply that their job is to protect the people of the United States. Shooting down a civilian airliner is going against that training, that belief system.


User currently offlinechecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1078 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4885 times:

lenbrazil and rfields5421...

Actually the Langley based jets were sent out over the Atlantic to a holding area as part of normal procedure when a specific target is not identified to the alert jets. The scramble order gave heading and altitude, however, did not include a specific target, so the flight plan defaulted to the holding area. No secrets here gents...just facts.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 4727 times:

If, and its a big IF, the F-16s could intercept the AA B-757 to shoot it down, it would have to be over a rural area. Once AA-77 was over the urban sprall of Axlandria, VA, shoting down the airliner was no longer an option. You could cause more damage and casualties than just letting it reach its target. So, the F-16s were already launched to late.

Then you have the psycological effects on the Fighter Pilot. He knows he HAS to make a solid kill shot, not just take out an engine or damage the airliner, and he also knows he will kill everyone aboard it. He would have to get well within visual range to confirm the target, that could mean reading the tail number. Remember there were stil other airliners in the air beginning to divert to their newly directed landing airports.


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