Discussion Page for:

John D. Wyndham

Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate

First Published: Foreign Policy Journal, October 2016, Version 1

View Author Details for: Wyndham


Discussion for Version 1, October 2016


Comment 1: - By: Robin Hordon, Former FAA Air Traffic Controller - Received 12/16/16 - Posted: 04/16/17

[Moderator Note: The following statement by Robin Hordon, former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Controller, was preceded and followed by a number of points of concern regarding the 9/11 Pentagon event. These points included ones that questioned the authenticity and interpretation of the FDR data, whether light pole #2 was knocked down by the plane or by some other means, and whether or not there was a Pentagon event at an earlier time than 09:37:46 which is the official event time.]

"Please note while referring to above noted points about the USAF operating both B757 and B767 aircraft in their fleet, it's not that complicated to paint one of the USAF aircraft to reflect AAL's paint scheme. This is why my slightly revised position about the Pentagon attack is that:"

"A twin under-wing turbojet engine low wing aircraft painted in American Airlines' color, which was the size of an airliner...and after passing atop the Naval Annex, then impacted the VADOT sign support removing a step rung...then cut off and ingested the top of a tree at the edge of Hwy 27 with its left engine...then its wings impacted at least three light poles all nearer the Pentagon...and then just before Pentagon impact, the aircraft impacted both a low wall near the Pentagon with the left engine...and impacted, in two places, a generator located close to and at the side of the Pentagon. The two impact locations on the generator are: the top left corner with the aircraft's right engine...and the top-middle surface of the generator with what could be the wing's flap track nearest the right engine...with all of the above happening just before the aircraft impacted the Pentagon at and below the second floor cement slab...and all the while the aircraft was in a slight left bank from at least the generator into the Pentagon."

"So, I think that with more research I will be able to support more of your positions."


Comment 2: - By: John D. Wyndham - Posted: 04/20/17

Response from Scientific Method 9/11 to Robin Hordon's comment of 12/16/16

Thank you for your comments.

Your statement above already supports the bulk of our position, namely, that a large plane, matching the description and dimensions of an American Airlines Boeing 757, struck the Pentagon on 9/11 [1,2]. Some of your many other points and details will require further research before a response is made. However, we will begin the discussion with your “revised position” statement above.

The physical evidence for the plane’s dimensions comes from photographs of the downed light poles, and the impacts at the low wall and generator trailer. This physical evidence is supported by eyewitness’ accounts of the plane striking the light poles, and the plane engines striking the low wall and generator. The plane type is supported by witness observations of the size, markings and shape of the aircraft.

The physical separation of the low concrete wall and the top left or north corner of the generator was about 43 feet, matching the engine separation of a Boeing 757 which is 42.5 feet. The plane struck five light poles whose position and separation on each side of the plane path indicates a wingspan of at least 100 feet. The locations of other nearby poles which were not struck indicate a wingspan not more than 130 feet. The actual wingspan of a Boeing 757 is within this range at about 125 feet. The separation of the struck portion of the generator and the gouge from the first flap canoe is approximately 6 to 10 feet, which also matches the geometry of a Boeing 757 (approximately 9.7 feet horizontal distance from center of engine to first flap canoe).

The vast majority of eyewitnesses who saw the plane, including 62 or more who saw the plane impact the west wall of the Pentagon, described the plane as a large one. Many witnesses noticed the markings on the plane and tail as being those of an American Airlines plane. A number of witnesses stated it was Boeing 757, 737, 767 or 707. One expert eyewitness, an airlines pilot, Tim Timmerman, stated that the plane was an American Airways 757.

The plane’s path is well-defined by eyewitnesses, the radar data, and the properly-decoded FDR data which was analyzed by Warren Stutt and Frank Legge [3, 4]. Your concerns about the FDR data are noted here, but we cannot respond to them at this time. The plane did not pass “atop the Naval Annex” but flew close to the south-east corner of the building between Columbia Pike and Highway 395. We are in agreement that the plane’s wingtip most probably removed a step rung from a VDOT pole., and it was the right wingtip that did this damage. However it was the right engine, not the left engine which clipped and ingested the branches from the top of a tree near Highway 27. This is ascertained from the location of the clipped tree and the plane path as determined, for example, by the downed light poles. Branches ingested by the right engine can explain the smoke trail from the right engine from that point on, as seen in the security camera videos. The plane impacted five light poles; your concern about the second light pole is noted, but will be addressed through further analysis. We agree with your statements about the low wall and generator impacts, the plane’s nose hitting just below the second floor slab, and the plane’s tilt to the left upon impact.

There is no credible evidence for an event time earlier than 09:37:46. This issue has been thoroughly dealt with in other papers [5,6].

We are encouraged by the substantial amount of agreement now existing between your analysis and our own. Further research is needed to respond to and resolve some of your other points. However, in our opinion, these resolutions will not change the conclusion of large plane impact at the Pentagon on 9/11, an issue that has been the subject of vigorous debate since September 11, 2001.

References

[1] John D. Wyndham, "Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate," October, 2016.

[2] Ken Jenkins (video) and David Chandler (talk), Video: "The Pentagon Plane Puzzle." Talk: "Going Beyond Speculation: A Scientific Look at the Pentagon Evidence." August, 2016. First published November, 2015.

[3] Frank Legge, "The 9/11 Attack on the Pentagon: the Search for Consensus," June, 2012.

[4] Frank Legge and Warren Stutt, "Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis Supports the Official Flight Path...," January, 2011.

[5] Victoria Ashley, David Chandler, Jonathan H. Cole, Jim Hoffman, Ken Jenkins, Frank Legge, and John D. Wyndham, "The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted," April, 2016.

[6] John D. Wyndham, "The Pentagon Attack: The Event Time Revisited," March, 2013.

For additional papers on this subject, see the Pentagon sections at Scientific Method 9/11 and Scientists for 9/11 Truth.


Comment 3: - By: Sami Yli-Karjanmaa - Received 10/19/16 - Posted: 05/16/17

"I very much appreciate your effort to apply the scientific method in the Pentagon case. Theories that do not explain our observations must be rejected."

"[There is a] lack of any obvious visible damage in the facade where the tail should have hit it; … I am not aware of the markings which J. Hoffman may have discovered … . The height of the damage to the facade of the building was much less than the height of the aircraft’s tail."

"You write, 'It is possible that the tail was blown off and fragmented, and did not reach the wall intact.' This type of explanation could be applied to the column [undamaged column 18] as well. I have two problems with it. First, in practical terms, an explosion would not change the fact that there were tons of matter on the move. An explosion would divert matter in all directions, but it would also accelerate part of the debris to an even greater velocity (and momentum) to the direction of the facade. That explosions would create areas devoid of visible damage in the relatively soft limestone wall -- do you find this credible?"

"Second, from the scientific viewpoint the statement quoted is extremely problematic, because it is, in practice, not falsifiable. (We cannot get anyone flying B-757s into limestone facades.)"

"As I see it, there is no explanation to the lack of damage …. In my view, then, the crash of a B-757 is a theory that contradicts our observations."


Comment 4: - By: John D. Wyndham - Posted: 05/16/17

Response from Scientific Method 9/11 to Sami Yli-Karjanmaa's comment of 05/16/17

Thank you for your comment.

With regard to the scientific method, it is important to note that this method considers all observations before accepting or rejecting an hypothesis and formulating a theory.

While Pentagon researchers have noted the absence of a clear gash in the Pentagon façade corresponding to the vertical tail fin of a Boeing 757, there was indeed façade damage up to the height of such a tail of approximately 45 feet, as shown by Jim Hoffman [1]. This damage extended almost to the top of the fourth floor, or a height of almost 50 feet. The Pentagon Building and Performance Report recorded significant damage up to the third floor slab, and minor damage up to the fourth floor [2]. In contrast, there was a clear gash in the façade caused by the plane’s right wing which impacted the wall intact [3]. From these two different observations, one can conclude that the vertical tail fin did not reach the wall intact. Can we explain why only fragments of the vertical tail fin reached the wall? The answer is ‘Yes.”

The” tons of matter on the move” were mainly the plane fuselage, wings and engines. The plane’s fuel was in wing tanks and in the center tank in the fuselage between the wings. The massive fuel explosion occurred when these tanks impacted the wall. At the time of the fuel explosion, the tail had not reached the wall, and there are witnesses who could still see the tail when the explosion occurred. Plane tails are relatively light and have been blown off (detached from the plane) by turbulence (see the example reported by Jim Hoffman) [4]. As for the statement that the fuel explosion would accelerate debris, including tail debris, “to the direction of the façade,” the opposite appears to be true

Plane parts, including large pieces, were blown back away from the wall and landed all over the lawn and the roadway, damaging cars. Plane pieces were picked up by motorists. According to eyewitnesses Penny Elgas, Terry Morin, and Steve Storti, the plane tail was still visible when the explosion occurred [5]. Because of the 52 degree angle of attack between the plane path and the wall, the plane tail presented a significant surface to the force of the explosion. It is highly credible that the tail was blown to bits and the bits mostly traveled away from the façade. Only some of the tail pieces reached the façade to cause the observed damage.

Scores of eyewitnesses observed the plane as it traveled toward the Pentagon. Of these, 62 or more eyewitnesses saw the plane hit the wall. In addition there is much physical evidence of large plane approach and impact including the clipped tree, downed light poles, and damage from engines to the low concrete wall and generator-trailer [6]. Eyewitnesses Steve Riskus, Ryan James, and Mike Walter described the tail and its markings, specifically the large double AAs logo [7]. Here is one testimony of an eyewitness to the aftermath [8]:

Blast expert Allyn E. Kilsheimer was the first structural engineer to arrive at the Pentagon after the crash and helped coordinate the emergency response. "It was absolutely a plane, and I'll tell you why," says Kilsheimer, CEO of KCE Structural Engineers PC, Washington, D.C. "I saw the marks of the plane wing on the face of the building. I picked up parts of the plane with the airline markings on them. I held in my hand the tail section of the plane, and I found the black box." Kilsheimer's eyewitness account is backed up by photos of plane wreckage inside and outside the building. Kilsheimer adds: "I held parts of uniforms from crew members in my hands, including body parts. Okay?"

There is an explanation for the relative lack of damage from the impact of a vertical tail fin. Taking all the evidence into consideration, we can conclude that a large plane impacted the Pentagon on 9/11. The resulting fuel explosion fragmented the plane tail so that only fragments reached the Pentagon wall.

References

[1] Jim Hoffman, Pentagon - Exterior Impact Damage.
See also John D. Wyndham, Is There No Visible Damage to the Façade from the Tail?, page 18.

[2] Pentagon Building and Performance Report, page 20.

[3] Pentagon Building and Performance Report, figure 5.12, page 29.

[4] Jim Hoffman, Lateral Displacement of Tail Damage Suggests Explosion

[5] What really Happened, 9/11 Pentagon Eyewitness Accounts

[6] Ashley et al., The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted

[7] Arabesque, “Witnesses observed the tail of the plane” and “Plane Debris”.

[8] Testimony of Allyn E. Kilsheimer quoted by Salem News


Comment 5: - By: Enver Masud - Received 08/31/17 - Posted: 09/26/17

[Moderator Note: The comments below by Enver Masud were received in several different email messages starting on 08/31/17. For ease of reply, we have divided them into three groups with titles that reflect the substance of the comment].

Comment 5A: The F4 Experiment
Masud quotes from the paper under discussion, "Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate" by John D. Wyndham.
Quote: In the F4 Phantom jet experiment, a plane was propelled at high speed on a rocket sled into a massive and impenetrable concrete wall. The plane was completely fragmented into small pieces. This experiment supports the fragmentation of the Boeing 757 plane parts that did not enter the building.

Masud writes: "It does not. The F4 example is for the containment building at a nuclear power plant -- not for the outer wall of the Pentagon."
"The assertion by Scientists for 9/11 Truth that Sandia National Laboratories' F-4 Phantom jet crash test represents what happened at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 is utter nonsense."
"[See] Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate? [by Enver Masud]."

Comment 5B: g-Force Calculation
Masud writes: "Can you cite a single paper that rebuts this one point?" The "one point" is that "Given the topography, the force generated by the transition of 'Flight 77' from its downward path to level flight would cause the aircraft to crash before striking the Pentagon." Masud elaborates on this point in his article:
"Pentagon 9/11: Scientific Evidence Proves Official Account of 'Flight 77' Is False" [by Enver Masud].
Masud writes: "This alone is sufficient to rebut the official account of Flight 77."

Comment 5C: Additional Arguments
In Comment 5C, Masud presents a number of reasons "off the top of my head" why he disagrees with the analysis and conclusions in the paper under discussion, "Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate,” by John D. Wyndham.

Masud lists these arguments:

  1. "Eyewitnesses cited are neither named nor vetted.
  2. The F4 example given is not consistent with the internal column damage cited and the C-ring exit hole.
  3. There’s no verification or simulation of the Flight Data Recorder data.
  4. The assumed flight path apparently ignores the actual terrain which slopes down from the communications tower to the Pentagon.
  5. Evidence in Pentagon transcripts and the testimony of FMFD Unit 161 is ignored.
  6. FBI evidence contradicting the Solicitor General's account of conversations with his wife on Flight 77 is ignored.
  7. Photo published in the Washington Post showing "50 FBI officers ... picking up debris" (instead of preserving the crime scene) is ignored.
  8. Serial numbers on AA Flight 77 parts are not matched to plane logs ... ."

Masud also points to his article, "Eyewitnesses, Pentagon Transcripts, Official Records Refute 'The 9/11 Commission Report'" September 11, 2011, updated Sep.1, 2017.

[Moderator Note: Another article written and referenced by Masud, "What Really Happened on 9/11" contains links to articles on many different 9/11 topics, many or most of which are outside the scope of the present discussion on the Pentagon.]


Comment 6: - By: John D. Wyndham - Received 09/19/17 - Posted: 09/26/17

This comment is a reply to Comment 5 by Enver Masud.

Reply to Masud Comment 5A: The F4 Experiment
In this comment Masud writes: "The F4 example is for the containment building at a nuclear power plant -- not for the outer wall of the Pentagon."
"The assertion by Scientists for 9/11 Truth that Sandia National Laboratories' F-4 Phantom jet crash test represents what happened at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 is utter nonsense."
"[See] Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate? [by Enver Masud]."

In his cited article, Masud stresses the dissimilarity of the barrier impacted by the F4 jet (a 12 feet thick reinforced concrete wall) and the Pentagon west wall at Wedge 1 (2 feet thick consisting of "6 inches of Indiana limestone, 8 inches of bricks, and 10 inches of concrete with steel and Kevlar mesh"). As Masud correctly points out, the Kevlar mesh did not add to the strength of the Pentagon wall, and apparently the wall itself was not re-inforced with steel - it was the internal columns that were steel-reinforced. The wall also had windows. Masud then writes that Wyndham "[assumes] that the F-4 test represents the behavior of a Boeing 757 striking the Pentagon ... ." This statement by Massud is completely erroneous - no such assumption was made.

What I and other scientists have asserted is that the F4 "experiment supports the fragmentation of the Boeing 757 plane parts that did not enter the building." The key observation here is that an airplane, constructed largely of aluminum and traveling at very high speed, will fragment into thousands of small pieces when it impacts a massive concrete wall. If the thickness and strength of the wall is gradually decreased, fragmentation will continue to occur, even when the wall's thickness and strength are reduced to the point where plane parts break through the wall. The analogy between the Pentagon plane impact and the F4 test was used only to illustrate what we know can happen in high speed plane impacts with concrete walls. Many observers who did not see the plane impact, not being familiar with the F4 test, were puzzled by the apparent absence of large plane parts at the Pentagon and the presence of many small fragments that they did not recognize as having come from the impacting plane. Based on the F4 experiment, it is reasonable to expect that a Boeing 757 hitting a weaker wall, such as that at the Pentagon, at over 500 miles/hour might produce many small fragments as well as breaching the wall. This, in fact, is what scores of eyewitnesses observed at the Pentagon.

Reply to Masud Comment 5B: g-Force Calculation
In this comment Masud writes: "Can you cite a single paper that rebuts this one point?"
"Pentagon 9/11: Scientific Evidence Proves Official Account of 'Flight 77' Is False" [by Enver Masud].
"This alone is sufficient to rebut the official account of Flight 77."

The "one point" of which Masud speaks is a calculation by Pilots for 9/11 Truth (PFT) that has been widely circulated, but which has been shown to be incorrect and misleading. The PFT calculation has been rebutted by Frank Legge and David Chandler. See Chandler's article on his website 911SpeakOut.org with the title g-Force and the Pentagon Plane or on the Scientific Method 9/11 website here.

Masud's claim that this calculation by PFT "alone is sufficient to rebut the official account of Flight 77" is an example of an attempt to use a single, questionable calculation to refute actual observations, whether they be eyewitness accounts, physical evidence, or the results of laboratory experiments. Observation is key to science, and if a theory disagrees with observation, it is the theory that is suspect. In the case of the Pentagon, large plane impact is supported by eyewitness accounts and substantial physical evidence, as shown in the many papers on the Pentagon listed on this website. Before any g-force calculation, purporting to show that the planes's trajectory was impossible, could be taken seriously, this large body of eyewitness and other evidence would have to be proven false. But rather than doing this, critics of the large plane impact theory simply ignore the evidence.

Reply to Masud Comment 5C: Additional Arguments
Summary: Masud does not attempt to find the truth using the scientific method, but rather seeks to deny large plane impact by citing many easily-refutable non-observations and other non-revelant items of evidence. In so doing, he omits to mention most of the compelling physical and eyewitness evidence that points to large plane impact by a Boeing 757, AA Flight 77.

In this comment Masud presents a list of arguments against impact of a Boeing 757 and/or AA Flight 77 at the Pentagon on 9/11. Masud also gives a link to his article, "Eyewitnesses, Pentagon Transcripts, Official Records Refute 'The 9/11 Commission Report'", containing more such arguments. Many of these arguments are not germane to the question, "Did a Boeing 757, AA Flight 77, strike the Pentagon on 9/11?" In considering all the evidence, as required by the scientific method, it is also necessary to decide which items of evidence are relevant to the question at hand. As shown below, many of Masud's arguments are not relevant to the main question, or have been refuted in other papers in the Pentagon section on this website.


Argument 5C-1: "Eyewitnesses cited are neither named nor vetted."

Rebuttal 5C-1: The paper under discussion, "Bringing Closure to the 9/11 Pentagon Debate" by John D. Wyndham, is a summary paper based on ten preceding and referenced papers, all of which are listed in the Pentagon section on this website. It would not have been appropriate or feasible to have included details already published in other papers or videos.

The papers listed in the Pentagon section on this website name many witnesses to large plane impact at the Pentagon. Many witnesses have been vetted by interviews and by their own public statements. These papers also draw on the research work of others such as Jim Hoffman, Jerry Russell, and witness lists such as those of Bart, Arabesque, and the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project of the Library of Congress. A comprehensive presentation of witness lists and a name-by-name list of over 60 eyewitnesses to large plane impact can be found in Appendix A of The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted by Victoria Ashley et al.

In addition, see The Pentagon Plane Puzzle by Ken Jenkins, a video of eyewitnesses to large plane impact who were interviewed shortly after the event. See also the first main section, Eyewitness Testimony to Plane Impact, in the paper The Pentagon Attack: Eyewitnesses, Debris Flow and Other Issues by John D. Wyndham for an analysis of Jerry Russell's 31 witnesses to large plane impact.

Also, the Citizens Investigation Team (CIT) conducted interviews of about a dozen eyewitnesses of the flight path in their endeavor to establish a north path of approach for the plane. The north path requires a very steep left bank not observed by eyewitnesses, as shown in the paper The Pentagon Attack on 9/11: A Refutation of the Pentagon Flyover Hypothesis by Frank Legge and David Chandler. There are no reliable witnesses to flyover, and a north path approach could not have created the observed damage outside and inside the Pentagon. Of significance is the fact that most of the eyewitnesses interviewed by CIT stated that the plane they saw impacted the Pentagon.

The conclusion that the plane was a Boeing 757 is supported by the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony. A Boeing 757 and AA Flight 77 are supported by the continuous radar data from Dulles to a point close to the Pentagon, and from there to the Pentagon by eyewitness testimony, and by the correctly-analyzed FDR data in the paper Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis by Frank Legge and Warren Stutt.

The large plane impact at the Pentagon on 9/11 happened in full view of hundreds of eyewitnesses, many of whom were stuck in traffic on the highway that runs parallel to the Pentagon west wall. An effort to discount or explain away these eyewitnesses began within days of 9/11, spearheaded by French author Thierry Meyssan whose arguments were based on very meager evidence and a non-understanding of what type of crash scene a very high speed plane impact at the Pentagon might produce. Meyssan's speculation set the stage for the cognitve dissonance and confirmation bias (see Ken Jenkins article) exhibited by many people to this day on the Pentagon question.


Argument 5C-2: "The F4 example given is not consistent with the internal column damage cited and the C-ring exit hole."

Rebuttal 5C-2: The only relevance of the F4 example is that it shows what happens when an airplane travelling at high speed (well over 500 mph) impacts a thick concrete wall. The aluminum body and wings can shatter into thousands of tiny fragments. For the Pentagon wall, the plane, especially the heavy parts, broke through. Even so, there was much fragmentation, with small pieces being blown all over the Pentagon lawn and the adjoining highway.

But the F4 experiment, involving an impenetrable concrete wall, has no relevance for what happened when the plane broke through the Pentagon wall. The plane fuselage and parts of the wings were shredded by the many steel-reinforced vertical columns, resulting in a high speed "flow" of plane debris that eventually broke through the C ring wall. There were no intervening walls on the first floor between the E ring wall and the C ring wall. The abraded columns, bent in the direction of the plane debris flow, are entirely consistent with the high speed flow of shredded plane debris. Some plane parts and other debris were found in the A&E driveway outside the C ring hole. The debris and parts were scattered in a pattern consistent with the direction of flow of plane debris that made a 52 degree angle with the Pentagon west wall. The bent and abraded columns gave a value of the impact angle accurate to within four degrees (42 degrees to the normal to the wall, or 48 degrees with the wall). The first floor suddenly filled with debris, even though the ceiling of the first floor (the part that did not later collapse) was intact. This could not have been faked - the plane impact and shredding give a most credible and consistent explanation of the internal damage scene.

For further description, see papers on this website such as Section G of The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted. by Victoria Ashley et al.


Argument 5C-3: "There’s no verification or simulation of the Flight Data Recorder data."

Rebuttal 5C-3: As shown in the paper Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis by Frank Legge and Warren Stutt, the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) data, when properly decoded, supports the flight of AA Flight 77 all the way from Dulles International Airport to final impact at the Pentagon west wall. Simulation of the complex information in the FDR data would be a challenge, but verification of Legge and Stutt's work by other independent researchers would be a welcome development. It should be noted, however, that the eyewitness and physical evidence for impact by a large plane with dimensions matching those of a Boeing 757 is solid and independent of the FDR data.


Argument 5C-4: "The assumed flight path apparently ignores the actual terrain which slopes down from the communications tower to the Pentagon."

Rebuttal 5C-4: See the papers Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis by Frank Legge and Warren Stutt, and The 9/11 Attack on the Pentagon: the Search for Consensus by Frank Legge.


Argument 5C-5: "Evidence in Pentagon transcripts and the testimony of FMFD Unit 161 is ignored."

Rebuttal 5C-5: Regarding Pentagon transcripts, there were statements about the aftermath evidence presented at the Pentagon News Briefings on September 12 and September 15, 2001. Speakers such as Ed Plaugher (fire chief of Arlington County) and Lee Evey (Pentagon Renovation Manager) were not eyewitnesses to the actual event of plane impact, but only saw the aftermath. Thus their statements were guarded and alluded mainly to the many small plane parts or confetti that puzzled aftermath witnesses. However, Evey said explicitly: " "Actually, there's considerable evidence of the aircraft outside the E Ring. It's just not very visible." Regarding reports of the nose cone having broken through the C ring wall, these were never verified officially or otherwise. See the sections Donald Rumsfeld's and Lee Evey's Testimony, page 29, and The C Ring Hole, page 32, in the paper The Pentagon Attack: Eyewitnesses, Debris Flow and Other Issues by John D. Wyndham.

The presence at the Pentagon of Fort Myers Fire Depart (FMFD) Unit 161, either before or after the plane impact, is not relevant to the question of what impacted the Pentagon. It is relevant only to whether there was foreknowledge of an event on 9/11 at the Pentagon involving fire.


Argument 5C-6: "FBI evidence contradicting the Solicitor General's account of conversations with his wife on Flight 77 is ignored."

Rebuttal 5C-6: This argument has relevance as to the veracity of the Solicitor General, the "box cutter" story, and how the plane was piloted, but has no bearing on the evidence that a large plane matching a Boeing 757 and most probably AA Flight 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11. This point was not included in the summary paper under discussion, but has been discussed elsewhere, for example, on page 12 in "The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted" by Victoria Ashley et al. Please read thoroughly all the papers in the Pentagon section on this website, since the summary paper under discussion is based on these papers.


Argument 5C-7: "Photo published in the Washington Post showing "50 FBI officers ... picking up debris" (instead of preserving the crime scene) is ignored."

Rebuttal 5C-7: This observation has bearing on the handling of the physical evidence in the aftermath of the Pentagon event, but has no relevance for the evidence that the Pentagon was hit on 9/11 by a large plane with dimensions matching a Boeing 757 and most probably AA Flight 77.


Argument 5C-8: "Serial numbers on AA Flight 77 parts are not matched to plane logs ... .."

Rebuttal 5C-8: According to Col. George Nelson of Pilots for 9/11 Truth, "[for the Pentagon event] no attempt was made to produce serial numbers or to identify the specific parts found." This brings into question the identity of the plane as a "Boeing 757, [with] registration number N644AA..." but it does not invalidate the other evidence that a large plane with dimensions matching a Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon on 9/11. See "Aircraft Parts as a Positive Clue to Aircraft Identity" by George Nelson.


NOTE: The following additional arguments are taken from the article "Eyewitnesses, Pentagon Transcripts, Official Records Refute 'The 9/11 Commission Report'" by Enver Masud.


Argument 5C-9: 'The security camera video of "Flight 77" released by the Pentagon has one frame showing something -- labeled "Approaching Aircraft" -- moving parallel to the ground about 100 yards in front of the Pentagon. This is the U.S. government's evidence to support its claim that American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.'

Rebuttal 5C-9: The above frame and a similar frame, taken by a second security camera not obscured by the box in the first frame, do show a large plane with AA colors, and a tail whose height matches that of a Boeing 757. Ken Jenkins and David Chandler have recently worked on this piece of evidence, using blink comparison to bring out the plane image. See the papers "The 85 Pentagon Area Surveillance Cameras" by Ken Jenkins and Blink Comparator Views of the Plane at the Pentagon by David Chandler based on prior work Ken Jenkins. The smoke trail was most probably caused by tree branches clipped and ingested by the plane's right engine, an observation that adds compellingly to the fact of plane impact.


Argument 5C-10: "September 11, 2001: CNN News Reports by Jamie McIntyre, Other Eyewitnesses, and Other Accounts [failed to substantiate plane impact]."

Rebuttal 5C-10: Enver Masud's selection of witnesses shows severe bias. The eight eyewitnesses assembled in these sections by Masud have one significant feature in common - they are all AFTERMATH witnesses. One, Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski, who was inside the Pentgaon building, saw the fireball, but was not in a position to see what caused it. Masud fails to quote a single witness to PLANE IMPACT, of which there are scores. Yet it would take only one credible witness to large plane impact to override all eight of Masud's witnesses, many of whom later saw small plane parts and were confused by the absence of large plane parts. For a list of eyewitnesses to plane impact, see Appendix A of The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted by Victoria Ashley et al. In addition, see The Pentagon Plane Puzzle by Ken Jenkins for interviews of eyewitnesses to plane impact.

Jamie McIntyre's account was in fact taken out of context - he clearly states that he saw plane parts. See Jamie McIntyre and the Pentagon. April Gallop never saw anything at all of significance. She navigated her way out in darkness with her baby and several other people and collapsed and lost consciousness after exiting through a window. Gallop did not exit through the plane entry hole as later claimed, and her office was in Wedge 2 over 100 feet away from the entry hole in Wedge 1, not 40 feet as Masud claims. Gallop's original testimony is well documented in the book, Pentagon 9/11 by OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) historian Alfred Goldberg, page 30. Barbara Honegger's claim of an earlier event time which she deduces from stopped clocks has been thoroughly refuted in the paper "The Pentagon Attack: The Event Time Revisited" by John D. Wyndham.


Argument 5C-11: [The] '"Pentagon Building Performance Report" ... contradicts the official account of 9/11.'

Rebuttal 5C-11: In this section of his article, Enver Masud claims that the Pentagon facade damage expected from the wings and tail of a Boeing 757 does not match the description of the observed damage reported in The Pentagon Building Performance Report. This may be partly true for that report. However, a close examination of the facade damage by Jim Hoffman and others shows that there is no contradiction or inconsistency here. The event was a complex one, involving the right wing first impacting the generator-trailer with possible fragmentation, and a fuel explosion that occurred while the plane tail was still visible. Comments 3 and 4 on this discussion page deal with the tail damage. For the wings, see Jim Hoffman's paper Pentagon - Exterior Impact Damage.


Argument 5C-12: "Arlington County After-Action Report [raises several issues]."

Rebuttal 5C-12: Here are some brief rebuttals to those issues:

  1. The possible presence of Fort Myer Foam Unit 161 at the Pentagon prior to plane impact has no relevance to what struck the Pentagon on 9/11, but only to possible foreknowledge of the event.
  2. April Gallop did not exit through a "blasted opening in the outside wall," but with several others through a window over 100 feet north of the impact hole. Once outside she collapsed and was unconscious until she awakened in a hospital. Her later statements seriously conflict with her earlier testimony collected by Alfred Goldberg.
  3. The "slab deflected upward" was not caused by a pre-planted explosion. See the paper The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted by Victoria Ashley et al., page 55.
  4. Honegger's wall clocks showing earlier times are misleading. The hands moved back when the clocks fell off the walls. See the paper "The Pentagon Attack: The Event Time Revisited" by John D. Wyndham.

Argument 5C-13: "Damage Path Not Consistent With Boeing 757 Strike."

Rebuttal 5C-13: [Note: This section of Masud's article has many inaccuracies. Masud's text is reproduced here and interspersed with my comments and corrections in italics.]

Masud writes:

"With Flight 77 alleged to have struck the Pentagon at "an angle of approximately 42 degrees", the flight path and the damage path is not likely to form a straight line."

The angle was 38 degrees to the normal to the wall, and 52 degrees with the wall. The authors of "The Pentagon Building Performance Report" (PBPR) deduced the angle of 42 degrees with the normal from their examination of the columns that were bent and abraded by the high speed flow of fragmented plane parts. For a diagram with better accuracy by Pickering, see Appendix D of The Pentagon Event: The Honegger Hypothesis Refuted. The damage path, for reasons explained below, did center on a straight line from entry hole to the C ring exit hole.

"Flying at "an angle of approximately 42 degrees" [or more accurately 52 degrees with the wall] the Boeing 757's starboard wing would have struck the west wall of the Pentagon before the port wing."

This is true. The starboard or right wing hit the Pentagon wall before the port or left wing.

"This would cause the aircraft to veer to the right, and the damage path would be in line with the aircraft's new heading -- not with the aircraft's heading prior to impact (assuming -- miraculously -- the plane was able to penetrate the C Ring)."

This statement by Masud is incorrect, being based on faulty information and reasoning. By the time the relatively weak outer portion of the right wing reached the wall, a third of the heavy fuselage and the heavy right engine (or what was left of it after impacting the generator-trailer) had entered the building. At this point the fuel tanks in the right wing impacted the wall and exploded, fragmenting the wing. The remainder of the heavy fuselage continued on its original path making a 52 degree angle with the wall. The portion of the fuselage that had entered the building and the rest of the fuselage that followed were shredded by the interior concrete steel-reinforced columns, with the debris traveling at high speed, bending and abrading internal columns and ultimately breaking through the C ring wall, spewing debris in line with the travel path into the A&E driveway.

"However, the "Pentagon Building Performance Report" Figures 6.2 and 6.6 show that the flight path and damage path (damage path also illustrated in the "Arlington County After Action Report", page 23) do form a straight line extending from the center-line of the fuselage of the aircraft to where the "the nose of the aircraft broke through this innermost wall of C Ring". Pentagon Building Performance Report, Fig 6.2 Pentagon Building Performance Report, Fig 6.6."

PBPR figure 6.2 is manifestly incorrect, since it shows the plane nose and the right wing tip both reaching the wall at the same time. Refer again to Pickering's diagram. Nevertheless, much of the plane debris did follow a straight line path from the entry hole to the C ring exit hole. There is no convincing evidence that the plane nose cone broke through the C ring wall, though some other heavy parts did.

"If the wings sheared off, we may conclude that the wall presented enough resistance to cause the plane to veer right."

The wings did not shear off but larely fragmented. There are markings on the facade where portions of the wings created a visible gash, or where fragments created facade damage. One third of the heavy fuselage and the heavy right engine had entered the building by the time the right wing tip reached the wall, and the disintegrating right wing could not have provided the turning moment necessary to cause a veer to the right by the remaining two-thirds of the heavy fuselage.

"If the wings sliced through, we would have a 125 ft opening - the wingspan of a Boeing 757 - in the outer wall. Neither occurred, and observed damage did not extend to the height of the aircraft's tail."

The outer wing tips are very light and would more likely break off and/or fragment before penetrating the facade. The gash in the first floor was 96 feet. If the wing tips could have penetrated the wall, the opening would be about 140 feet because of the oblique angle of strike. This in fact was the width of the visible damage. See “Pentagon -- Exterior Impact Damage" by Jim Hoffman for a detailed discussion of the facade damage from the wings and tail of the plane. The tail fragmented but there are signs of damage up to the height of the tail. See Comments 3 and 4 on this discussion page.

"The path from outer wall to C Ring is consistent with a missile strike."

A missile strike is ruled out for several reasons: A missile could not have downed the five light poles, or have simultaneously impacted the generator-trailer and the low concrete wall whose separation of about 43 feet matches the engines' separation of a Boeing 757. Nor could a missile have created the interior column damage (bent and abraded) and the debris that extended over a wide area.


Argument 5C-14: "Why strike the more difficult target, Wedge 1 - Hani Hanjour could not fly - Wedge 1 housed personnel tracking the missing $2.3 trillion in transactions cited by Rumsfeld".

Rebuttal 5C-14: These issues do not have specific bearing on what struck the Pentagon on 9/11. The plane was apparenly flown by remote control. Destroying the ongoing accounting for the missing money could provide the reason for striking Wedge 1, as well as avoiding other more populated and important areas of the Pentagon where top officials had their offices.



Comment 7: - By: David Chandler - Received 09/24/17 - Posted: 09/26/17

This comment is a reply to Comment 5 by Enver Masud.

In his July 2, 2009 article on the Wisdom Fund site, "Pentagon 9/11: Scientific Evidence Proves Official Account of 'Flight 77' Is False", Enver Masud asserts: “Given the topography, the force generated by the transition of 'Flight 77' from its downward path to level flight would cause the aircraft to crash before striking the Pentagon.”

In his Comment 5B, Masud continues: "Can you cite a single paper that rebuts this one point?"

My response: Here are my calculations for the g-force of pull-up for a plane flying into the Pentagon: "g-Force and the Pentagon Plane". There is a link to this pdf on the Pentagon page of my website, "911SpeakOut.org ". These calculations support the findings of [the late] Frank Legge who did similar calculations in 2011. The latest version of a spreadsheet with his results can be found here: "G-force_calculator_Pilots7". Frank Legge brought his calculations to the attention of Pilots for 9/11 Truth but did not receive a scientific response, as I myself have personally experienced as well. Pilots for 9/11 Truth continues to promote their demonstrably false calculation on their web site without rationally addressing the calculations we have made.

Masud is in large part restating Rob Balsamo’s calculation for PFT. In the July 2, 2009 article cited above, Masud correctly states the problem: “...we need to calculate the maximum radius (the most conservative case) of the arc that would allow the aircraft to transition from its downward path to level flight (while clearing obstacles in its path), and strike the Pentagon at the point described in official reports.” Neither Legge and I nor PFT are claiming to compute the actual path of the plane, but rather to answer whether a dynamically feasible path exists.


Enver Masud's g-Force Diagram

Motion along an arc requires acceleration toward the center of curvature, called centripetal acceleration which is given by v2/r. Increasing the speed and/or reducing the radius of curvature increase the centripetal acceleration. An additional 1g must be added to counteract gravity, which is required even for level flight. Since the arc is a vertical one, leveling out from a descent, the acceleration must be provided by lift from the wings. Failure to pull up sufficiently would cause the plane to crash. Enver Masud has an engineering background so he is presumably familiar with all of this.

The PFT calculation assumes a straight line descent from the top of the VDOT tower to the first impacted light pole. From there, at a speed of 532.5 miles/hour the plane transitions to level flight in an arc with radius of curvature PFT claim’s to be 2085 ft, a value PFT could not justify when asked, apart from appeal to their own authority. That radius of curvature would cause the flight to level out within 200 feet. Those values for the speed and radius lead to a centripetal acceleration of 9.1g. When 1g is added, that becomes PFT’s claimed 10.1g.

Here is Masud’s diagram. He is correct to acknowledge that it is “Not to scale,” but in addition to being grossly distorted, it is incorrect. The geometric construction indicated (constructing a circle tangent to the assumed linear initial path of descent and intersecting the Pentagon wall at right angles) is not quite right. The center of Masud’s circle would be found by constructing a perpendicular to the incoming path at the light pole and finding the intersection of that line with a vertical line at the Pentagon wall. The radius of that circle works out to be 10,933 ft, leading to a centripetal acceleration of 1.7g, or a total g-force of 2.7g. The problem with this construction is it would intersect the ground before getting to the Pentagon wall. The correct construction would produce a circle passing through the light pole, the observed impact point at the Pentagon, and tangent to the incoming path of descent. That construction leads to a radius of curvature of 8675 ft, a centripetal acceleration of 2.18g, and therefore a net g-force of 3.18g.

Where Masud gets the erroneous radius of 579 ft, which is far smaller than even the value used by PFT, is a mystery to me. Perhaps Masud could clarify this. Maybe he could also persuade Rob Balsamo to justify his claimed value of 2085 ft. for the radius of curvature. Balsamo has not been responsive to this inquiry from Frank Legge or myself. (All of these constructions are easy to carry out and quantify using the free software tool, Geogebra, available from Geogebra.org.)


Two Possible Paths

Rather than stop here we might ask why we must assume the plane flew in a straight line of descent from the top of the VDOT tower to the first light pole. There is no reason it could not have begun the transition to level flight much earlier. (The FDR data shows it did start its leveling maneuver earlier.) When the plane is allowed to follow a circular arc from the VDOT tower through the first light pole to the point of impact, the radius of curvature is 29,233 ft, the centripetal acceleration is 0.648g, and the net g-force is 1.648g, which would be not at all stressful to the plane or the passengers. (These values come from Geogebra which has a convenient tool to fit a circle to any three noncolinear points.) A drawing, to scale, showing both the long arc (in red) and the straight line descent followed by a shorter arc to the impact point (in blue) is given in my g-force Summary article and reproduced here.


AA Flight 77 flight path

The VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) communication tower, the first light pole, and the point of impact on the Pentagon wall were the three constraints used by PFT and adopted by Frank Legge and myself for our responses to the PFT calculation. (The elevations and distances can be determined from Google Earth on maps rolled back to September 2001.)

Masud attempts to further discredit the work of Frank Legge and myself by adding two supposedly overlooked constraints when he writes: “Calculations by Frank Legge and David Chandler, Scientists for 9/11 Truth, do not take into account the 4-storey Navy Annex on the north side of Columbia Pike (its southeast corner is at an elevation of 124 feet) and the gas station and electric power line west of the Pentagon. These appear to be above their calculated flight path. Legge and Chandler do not provide data points for their and the government's alleged flight paths for us to critique.”

First of all, we did in fact indicate the flight path on maps in several of our articles derived from radar data, the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) data, the damage path of the light poles, and their alignment with the interior damage path in the Pentagon from the entrance hole to the C-ring exit hole. Here is a version of that map with several additional annotations.

Note that the flight path does not pass over the Naval Annex, so the altitude of that building is irrelevant. Furthermore, the 124 ft elevation cited by Masud does not come close to interfering with either the red or blue flight path. In checking this out on Google Earth I found that the 124 ft figure is actually the elevation of the ground at the Naval Annex. The top of the building is 215 ft. If the plane had flown over the Naval Annex, this would be a constraint roughly equivalent to the VDOT tower, for the straight line descent path (blue), and would require only a slight modification for the long arc (red) path. All of this is purely hypothetical, however, because the plane did not fly over the Naval Annex.


Two Possible Paths with Masud's Constraints

The other “missed constraint” is even more puzzling. Masud shows a picture of the CITGO gas station west of the Pentagon with telephone lines along the street and claims these would interfere with Frank’s and my calculated flight path.


CITGO gas station with local power and telephone lines

Note that the telephone lines in question are ordinary phone and local power lines. They are west of the highway overpass at street level. The first impacted pole, on the other hand, is on top of the overpass, much higher than street level. There is no way these low lying wires would be a problem for our calculation. Had there been hypothetical elevated high power lines that would interfere, they would create problems for the PFT calculations as well. Frank Legge and I and PFT are all in agreement that the three relevant constraint points were the VDOT tower, the first light pole, and the point of impact at the Pentagon.

These claims, together with the earlier inaccurate calculations that Masud has published on his Wisdom Fund web site, are unworthy of the good work on other issues evidenced on that site. I wrote him a sincere personal letter acknowledging the value of the site, saying we really should be on the same side in this effort, and asked him to take down the seriously flawed material. He said he did not have time to continue the dialogue and had other priorities. His flawed material has not yet been removed. I am posting this critique here in the hope that he will find time to make “Truth” a priority.