Granted the air crashes of 09/11 were unlike anything ever before. But for the first time, we're not left guessing or searching for a flight recorder to figure out details. Why?
Cell phones. Airphones.
This was the first jetliner crash in history that was actually phoned in to the local police department(PA) before it happened.
Modern technology and the proliferation over the last 5 to 10 years of the obssessive need to comunicate have now been used in a new way....real time voice recorders.
Imagine JAL in the 80s with cell phones....what about United at Sioux City? Valujet?
From now on, if a stricken airliner and its' passengers have the misfortune to lurk about a bit before their end(i.e. not instantaneous like TWA 800) in an area decently served by cells, we most likely will get a vivid description of the end from some poor soul in the cabin.
Welcome to the 21st Century.