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The Five-Sided Fantasy Island
An analysis of the Pentagon crash on 9-11
By Richard Stanley & Jerry Russell version 2.0 (3/12/2004) Page 4 of 5
The Quantum Flight Path?
Alternative 757 flight paths. Source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9-11-demonstrative-evidence-of-frameup/message/30, with additional annotations.
Ron Harvey's analysis of downed lamp poles, as well as the ASCE evaluation of damaged columns inside the pentagon, imply a flight path along the purple trajectory in the figure above -- at least from the cloverleaf on towards the impact point. However, Dick Eastman's analysis of eyewitness testimony indicates that a 757 was seen approaching the Pentagon on a path that was generally indicated by the green path. Eastman points to witness William Lagasse, who claims that he was at the gas station and saw the 757 pass to the North, as well as a report of an Arlington Cemetery gardener, Omar Campo, who was cutting grass somewhere in the area.
In order to comply with both flight paths: starting at the gas station, the 757 (if it was the same plane that hit the lamp-posts and the Pentagon) must have realigned its flight path by at least 250 feet southward within a distance of 1000 feet. We estimate that the minimal turning radius required for this re-alignment would be about 2000 feet. Even at a ground speed of only 200 mph, this would require a turning force of 1.5 G, which would also require a bank over 45 degrees. The turn would have needed to be established and then cleared within a period of roughly 3 seconds. Also, as Eastman noted, other early indications (and testimony by witness Steve Riskus) said that the 757 was seen approaching the Pentagon at approximately a 90 degree angle (second part of green line), which of course is completely inconsistent with the light pole evidence.
The above image gives a graphic view of the impossibility that a 757 could have gone directly over the annex (the large building in the foreground) and then knocked over light-poles at the Washington Blvd. overpass (at right) before striking the Pentagon.
Of all accounts of the Pentagon scenario, the hypothesis of Dick Eastman (that a small "killer jet" was responsible for the actual impact to the Pentagon) is most responsive to eyewitness accounts by all civilian observers, including the testimony of Lagasse, Riskus, and Campo placing the 757 well to the north of the lamp pole damage; as well as the early testimony indicating that a smaller plane than a 757 was seen close to the impact. At any rate, if these eyewitness accounts are correct, then the 757 seen over the gas station and over Washington Blvd, could not possibly be the same as the cause of the damage to the Pentagon.
Yet all of this eyewitness testimony can hardly be treated as conclusive. Some of the testimony may have been confused, some might have been planted or coached (either to lend credibility to the "official story" or to "muddy the water" by providing evidence for the missile theory), and it is also possible (in accordance with the pure demolition theory) that these witnesses saw the 757 approaching at a higher altitude, and then saw the explosion at the Pentagon -- and confabulated that the plane was lower and smaller than it was, in order to build a consistent mental image of events which took place very quickly. We don't know of any witnesses who described seeing a fighter jet, as suggested by Eastman's theory.
Also, a broader review of the eyewitness evidence presents a much more ambiguous picture. Several witnesses thought that the plane came in over the Columbia Pike (which would be just south of the Annex, rather than north of it.) Even Lagasse himself indicated that the plane was over the Columbia Pike as it passed the Annex. A particularly detailed account of the 757's passage over the Annex is given by witness Terry Morin, who carefully describes his walk outside the Annex but maddeningly fails to explicitly state whether he was at the north or south edge of the Annex.
Just as importantly, there are some witnesses who explicitly state that they saw the entire incident, from an excellent vantage point on Washington Blvd. or from across I-395, who are confident that they saw a 757 which then went on to strike the Pentagon. The "no 757" advocates must dismiss these few witnesses as deluded or psychopathic liars, or as coerced testimony.
The near level approach attitude of the alleged craft resulted in a pre-collapse impact related damage pattern to the Pentagon structure confined to the first and second floors of the building. This has led to a number of questions.
The following image (from Delorme's Topo USA 4.0) shows an elevation profile for a hypothetical 757 flight path. This clearly illustrates the descending terrain as the plane approaches the Pentagon. The Sheraton Hotel is a 17-story building near Orme Street, the Annex is a large 5-story office building between Highway 244 (Columbia Pike), Southgate Rd, and Oak Street, and the Citgo gas station is east of Joyce St. Note that the small light blue cross on the flight path corresponds to the blue crossing lines on the profiles for reference. And note that there is not much elevation change from the cloverleaf to the area of the Pentagon, but the elevation gets steeper further to the west of the cloverleaf.
Elevation profile with approximate 757 flight path
Starting over the Sheraton and ending at the Pentagon, and noting that Lagasse estimated that the 757 passed 50 feet over the Annex, and 80 feet over the gas station, and estimating that the 1st lamp post was at least 40 feet tall, we obtain the following estimates for the aircraft altitude over sea level at various checkpoints:
0 mile mark (Sheraton) -- 320 feet
0.35 miles (Naval Annex) -- 230 feet
0.6 miles (gas station) -- 125 feet
0.75 miles (1st lamp post) -- 70 feet
0.95 miles (Pentagon hit) -- 50 feet
These estimates are consistent with an average descent rate of about 1 foot vertically for each 20 feet horizontally, except for a (possibly problematic) dip at the first lamp post, and subsequent leveling-out. At any rate it is difficult to justify the idea that the plane was low enough over Highway 27, to have clipped the antenna of a Jeep Cherokee, as Frank Probst claimed.
In fact, the real difficulty may be how the airplane managed to maintain this continuous downward flight path. If the pilot was trying hard to push the airplane down as close to the ground as possible, the craft would have encountered "ground effect", an increase of lift and decrease of drag experienced by low-wing aircraft operating a few feet above the terrain. This effect can make it very difficult to land an airplane until all excess speed has been "bled off".
A review of the "engine fingerprint" evidence (impacts to a generator, a chain-link fence and a concrete vent structure in front of the Pentagon) reveals another possible problem with the "official" flight path. In order to comply with the lateral trajectory path over the Naval Annex, the plane needed to be making a left turn in order to pick up the 5 light poles, just missing the adjacent overhead highway sign and much taller VDOT camera pole to its right, and allow for the engines to hit the steam vault retaining wall and the chain link fence adjacent to the electrical generator. This means that between the Naval Annex and the light poles the plane needed to level out much of its turning bank angle to avoid hitting the ground with its left wingtip or engine, and do this while also pulling out of its simultaneous dive as discussed just above, all in the space of a few seconds.
Because of this necessary left turn arc further to the south, it becomes difficult for the plane to pick up both the 5 light poles and the engine impacts with the retaining wall and the chain link fence, and have the centerline of the 757 fuselage impact column 14. Column 14 was located at the center of the second story gap between columns 13 and 15. This means the building impact needed to be significantly further to the left -- unless the flight path was slightly deflected back towards the right by the forces of the engine impact with the retaining wall. Both the ASCE study and the Desmoulins study show the fuselage impact near column 13, in order to comply with the engine fingerprints. Yet we can see the presence of a hanging window between columns 12 and 13 before the collapse. While a real 757 might have had trouble completely penetrating the blast-reinforced windows, the contrast between the behavior of the second-story walls between columns 11 and 13, and between 13 and 15, is quite surprising if in fact the fuselage impact was at column 13, not at column 14.
The fuselage of the "757" must have passed very close to, or directly over, some large cable spools which were located in front of the Pentagon on 9-11. "Killtown" called these the "Pentanium Spools" because of their amazing resistance to damage by the 757.
This figure (from Jeff Strahl's talk, linked on Page 1, with additional annotations by the authors), shows the location of the spools (the small dark dots directly in front of the plane) along with a flight path estimated by the lamp pole damage. It appears that the fuselage will hit two of the spools, and that one spool will be hit by an engine.
However, if the path of the aircraft was just slightly deflected down and to the right by the impact with the generator trailer (shown in green) or if the flight path shown is just slightly in error, then it appears that both the engines and the fuselage might clear the spools, or deliver glancing blows. This seems to be pushing the bounds of credulity, and some observers may reasonably consider that the spools are among the proofs that no 757 hit the Pentagon.
Aside from showing a very surprising lack of debris directly in front of the starboard wing impact with the Pentagon, this image shows that the spools do indeed appear to be bent-up and tossed. This is the appearance that we would expect if the plane "threaded the needle" and delivered (at most) glancing blows to any of the spools. It is perhaps surprising that the spools landed on-edge, butthe authors tried an experiment with some sewing bobbins, and found that spools tossed about into the air, do indeed sometimes land on the rolling edge. The odds depend on the aspect ratio and loading of the spools, but we didn't do enough testing to parameterize this accurately.
References for page 4:
Dick Eastman flight path analysis
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9-11-demonstrative-evidence-of-frameup/message/20 - Lagasse testimony
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9-11-demonstrative-evidence-of-frameup/message/21 - more Lagasse testimony
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9-11-demonstrative-evidence-of-frameup/message/27 - discussion of Riskus testimony
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9-11-demonstrative-evidence-of-frameup/message/30 - map of flight path
http://www.coping.org/911/survivor/pentagon.htm Terry Morin eyewitness statementhttp://www.suprmchaos.com/bcEnt-Tue-031202.index.html More eyewitness accounts
http://www.911review.org/Wiki/Flight77Witnesses.shtml Eyewitness analysis & references from Michael Elliot
More Elliot analysis
Jean-Pierre Desmoulins "engine fingerprint" studies
"Spot the poles" by Ron Harvey# The 9/7/2001 pic is the one which was circulated as the strange line in the grass photo. It is legit, only the line is a wear line in the grass between manhole covers of what is apparently a conduit that runs between them and in line with the utility vaults in front of the impact zone.
Copies of the same above
http://www.ceo.ncsu.edu/attack/ Series of satellite images
WTC - BTW
The above IKONOS images are reproduced here with Space Imaging's permission. Here is their required legal information "Credit spaceimaging.com. Copyright © Space Imaging. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to publish in hard copy, broadcast and electronic media, provided proper attribution is given for each and every use."
http://www.infinity21.co.kr/non-it/wig_home/wig_aerodynamics.html Information about ground effect.