Did Flight 93 Crash in Shanksville?

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Last updated:  09/13/2010

Plane Crash Comparisons


Flight Year Plane Speed/mph Degree Terrain Imprints? % Buried Misc
PSA 1771 1987 BAe-146 700 70 field no -  Most compared to alleged Flight 93 crash.
United 93* 2001 Boeing 757 580 40 field yes 80%  Back-filled strip mine. 'Wing & tail' marks visible.
Pan Am 103 1988 Boeing 747 500+ n/a houses no -  Broke up in mid-air from bomb explosion.
Canberra WD991 1952 Canberra B.2 460-518 80 field no -  Explosion marks fanned out on field.
Am. Eagle 4184 1994 Aeritalia ATR-72 432 ? field no -  Wet soybean field.
Crossair 498 2000 Saab 340B 357 80 field no 80%?  Rain-soaked field. 20% of the debris above ground.
USAir 427 1994 Boeing 737 300 80 field no -  
United 585 1991 Boeing 737 230+ 80 field no -  
Aeroméxico 498 1986 DC-9 ? 80? houses no -  
Bellview 210 2005 Boeing 737 ? ? field no ?  Appeared to have exploded mid-air.

 *Official story stats for United 93.  Imprints = visible wing/tail marks.  Dash = no indication much debris buried.



Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771

near Paso Robles, CA - Dec 7, 1987

Speed:  700 mph

Accident description
Date: 07 DEC 1987
Type: British Aerospace BAe-146-200
Operator: Pacific Southwest Airlines - PSA
Total: Fatalities: 43 / Occupants: 43
Location: near Paso Robles, CA
Flightnumber: 1771
"A recently discharged USAir employee boarded Flight 1771 on which his former supervisor was flying to San Francisco. The man carried a Magnum .44 pistol and fired several shots in or near the cockpit. Within 25 seconds the aircraft descended in a steep nose down attitude and crashed." -

Video:  Black Box - Sky Crimes: Part 1 & Part 2 (Source of images below.)

This crash is the most often compared with the alleged Shanksville crash because the plane was reduced to small-sized debris after impact, however there's no indication that much of this plane buried at all even though it crash going 100mph faster and at a much steeper angle than Flight 93 allegedly did.


"Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 was a commercial flight that crashed near Cayucos, California, United States, on December 7, 1987, after an incident of air piracy. All 43 people on board the aircraft died, including the man who caused the crash, an angry former employee of USAir, the parent company of PSA.

The plane then descended and crashed into the hillside of a cattle ranch at 4:16 p.m. in the Santa Lucia Mountains near Paso Robles and Cayucos. The plane was estimated to have crashed nose first at a speed of around 700 miles per hour, disintegrating instantly. The crash was witnessed by three different people on the ground, all of whom were able to see the plane until a fraction of a second before it hit the ground. Two men in a pickup driving East on Highway 46 saw the plane against a clear blue sky. The third witness was an undocumented worker who was very near the impact site who never publicly came forward, who was said to have feared for his life. The plane was completely intact until impact, and was traveling at approximately a 70 degree angle toward the south. The plane impacted a rocky hillside, leaving a crater less than 2 feet deep and 4 feet across, presumably where the landing gear struck the ground. Unburnt paper was flying everywhere as small aircraft fuel fires burned on the ground. The human remains were in very small pieces, the largest of which were feet in shoes. The force of the impact caused such extensive damage that 27 of the passengers were never identified. All aboard, including Burke and Thomson, were killed.
After the crash site was located by a CBS News helicopter piloted by Bob Tur, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were joined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who after two days over digging through what was left of the site found a handgun containing six spent bullet casings and a note written on the air-sickness bag written by Burke, admitting he was the person responsible for the crash. FBI investigators were also able to lift a print from a fragment of finger stuck in the pistol's trigger guard, which positively identified Burke." - wikipedia



Special Report: Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771

"Detective Bill Wammock is the first to arrive on the scene. He recalls "nothing that resembled an airliner... we went on for hours, before we heard the news reports of a missing airliner, believing that we were dealing with a small airplane full of newspapers that had crashed. We saw no pieces of the aircraft that were larger than, maybe, a human hand. It did not look like a passenger aircraft." -

Pan Am Flight 103

Lockerbie, Scotland - Dec. 21, 1988

Speed:  over 500 mph

Accident description
Date: 21 DEC 1988
Type: Boeing 747-121A
Operator: Pan American World Airways
Total: Fatalities: 259 / Occupants: 259
Location: Lockerbie (United Kingdom)
Flightnumber: 103

"The forward fuselage and flight deck area separated when the aircraft was in a nose down and left roll attitude, peeling away to the right at Station 800. The nose section then knocked the no. 3 engine off its pylon. The remaining aircraft disintegrated while it was descending nearly vertically from 19000 feet to 9000 feet. A section of cabin floor and baggage hold (from approx. Station 1241-1920) fell onto housing at Rosebank Terrace, Lockerbie. The main wing structure struck the ground with a high yaw angle at Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie causing a massive fire." - Aviation Safety Network


"A minute later, the wing section containing 200,000 lb [29,200 gal] of fuel hit the ground at Sherwood Crescent, Lockerbie. The British Geological Survey at Eskdalemuir, just outside Lockerbie, registered a seismic event measuring 1.6 on the Richter scale as all trace of two families, several houses, and the 196 ft (60 m) wing of the aircraft disappeared. A British Airways pilot, Captain Robin Chamberlain, flying the Glasgow–London shuttle near Carlisle called Scottish to report that he could see a massive fire on the ground.

As it descended, the fuselage broke into smaller pieces, with the section attached to the wings landing first in Sherwood Crescent, where the aviation fuel inside the wings ignited, causing a fireball that destroyed several houses, and which was so intense that nothing remained of the left wing of the aircraft. Investigators were able to determine that both wings had landed in the crater only after counting the number of large steel flapjack screws that were found there (Cox and Foster 1992).

On the ground, 11 Lockerbie residents were killed when the wings, still attached by a piece of fuselage, hit 13 Sherwood Crescent at more than 500 mph and exploded, creating a crater (155 ft) long and with a volume of (730 yd³), vaporizing several houses and their foundations, and damaging 21 others so badly they had to be demolished." - wikipedia


"Passing overhead Lockerbie, Scotland, the aircraft disintegrated when an explosion occurred in the forward baggage hold. The centre fuselage and wing sections fell into a residential district, digging a crater some 30ft deep and 150ft long. 20 houses were destroyed." -


(Photo source:  Victims of Pan Am Flight 103See also:


Canberra Mk.2 WD991

Preston, Lancashire UK - Mar. 25, 1952

Speed:  460-518 mph

Accident description
Date: 25-MAR-1952
Time: 1150
Type: English Electric Canberra B.2
Operator: English Electric Co.
Registration: WD991
Fatalities: Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Location: W of Preston, Lancashire - United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Nature: Test
Departure airport: Samlesbury
Destination airport: Warton -


Crash site of WD991 on open farmland North of Preston


(Notice the very visible fanning out of the explosion and debris after this plane crashed at an estimated 80 deg angle compared to no fanning effect at the Shanksville field even though Flight 93 supposedly crashed at a 40 deg angle going faster.  Also notice most of the debris in this crash stayed above ground compared to the official claim that most of Flight 93 was buried underground.)


"WD991 had been inspected and certified fit for flight that morning and with fine weather conditions, the flight appeared routine, with all pre-take off procedures being carried out normally. Tommy Evans made no radio contact after take off, though this was normal procedure, and only four to five minutes later witnesses observed the aircraft flying level at approx. 1000 feet over the North of Preston. The aircraft was described as flying "low and fast" when suddenly it entered a steep dive, with no apparent attempt to pull out, striking the ground at an angle of approx. 80 degrees at an estimated speed of 400-450kts. WD991 instantly completely disintegrated, scattering wreckage for some 600 yards beyond the main impact crater and sending a column of black smoke into the sky. Fortunately the impact was in open farmland and the only nearby building - a bungalow on Valentine Lane - was peppered with debris, shattering all the windows facing the impact and tearing several holes in the roof. Fortunately no one was at home at the time.


Graphic evidence of the force of impact -the fragmentary remains of WD991


Such was the complete destruction of the aircraft that it made the job of the Accidents investigation Branch a difficult one and all the wreckage recovered was taken back to Samlesbury and laid out in a Hanger for detailed inspection." -

General characteristics

* Crew: 3
* Length: 65 ft 6 in (19.96 m)
* Wingspan: 64 ft 0 in (19.51 m)
* Height: 15 ft 8 in (4.77 m)
* Wing area: 960 ft² (89.19 m²)
* Empty weight: 21,650 lb (9,820 kg)
* Loaded weight: 46,000 lb (21,000 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 55,000 lb (25,000 kg)
* Powerplant: 2× Rolls-Royce Avon R.A.7 Mk.109 turbojets, 7,400 lbf (36 kN) each -


American Eagle Flight 4184


Roselawn, Indiana  - Oct 31, 1994


Speed:  432 mph

Accident description

Date: 31 OCT 1994
Time: 15:59
Type: Aérospatiale/Aeritalia ATR-72-212
Operator: American Eagle / Simmons Airlines
Total: Fatalities: 68 / Occupants: 68
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Location: near Roselawn, IN
Phase: Approach (APR)
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Flightnumber: 4184


"The last recorded data on the FDR occurred at an altitude of 1,682 feet (vertical speed of approximately 500 feet per second), and indicated that the airplane was at an airspeed of 375 KIAS, a pitch attitude of 38 degrees nose down with 5 degrees of nose-up elevator, and was experiencing a vertical acceleration of 3.6 G. The airplane impacted a wet soybean field partially inverted, in a nose down, left-wing-low attitude." -


Photo source:

Photo sources:


Crossair Flight 498


Niederhasli, Switzerland - Jan. 10, 2000


Speed: 357 mph

Accident description

Date: 10 JAN 2000
Time: 17:56
Type: Saab 340B
Operator: Crossair
Engines: 2 General Electric CT7-9B
Total: Fatalities: 10 / Occupants: 10
Location: near Nassenwil (Switzerland)
Nature: International Scheduled Passenger
Flightnumber: 498

"The aircraft climbed normally at 136 knots IAS. After retracting the gear the Flight Director was switched on, NAV mode engaged and LRN1 captured.

While climbing through 2500 feet QNH the crew switched to Zurich Departure Control and were recleared to climb to FL110.

By then the pitch had also decreased rapidly, accompanied by a marked speed increase and the Saab entered a high speed high-rate spiral descent. At 17:56:28 the aircraft crashed in an open field." -


Final Report of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau
on the accident to the Saab 340B aircraft, registration HB-AKK of Crossair flight CRX 498 on 10 January 2000 near Nassenwil/ZH

"- 1.12.1 Impact
Shortly before impact, the aircraft was in a spiral dive to the right. The heading at the start of the spiral dive was north and on impact was approximately 120°.
The last recordings of the DFDR, approximately 2 seconds before impact, showed the following parameters concerning the movement of the aircraft:
Rate of descent: 27461 ft/min, corresponding to 459 ft/sec, increasing.
Indicated airspeed: 285 KIAS (interpolated at impact: 310 kt).
Heading: 080° (interpolated at impact: 120°).
Pitch: 62° AND (interpolated on impact: 63° AND).
- 1.12.2 Initial findings at the site of the accident
The following points could be established immediately after the accident:
• No survivors
• A crater at the point of impact (soil thrown up)
• Large concentration of aircraft wreckage at the point of impact
• Small items of debris spread over a wide area
• A fire in the crater
- 1.12.3 Debris field
The debris field was characterised by a crater at the aircraft's point of impact. As a result of the high impact speed and the steep angle of impact, the degree of destruction of the aircraft was extraordinarily high. A large proportion of the wreckage, mainly from the cockpit and fuselage, bored into the soft ground.
About 20% of the debris (predominantly the rear of the fuselage and parts of the wing structure) were spread over an extended ground area in the direction of the final flight path.
The extent of the destruction and the position of the debris is consistent with the recorded DFDR data immediately before the crash.
- 1.12.4 Salvage operations
Before commencement of the salvage work, the parts lying on the surface of the ground were labeled, numbered, measured and recorded on a plan. Salvage was then carried out by continuously removing soil and sorting the items of wreckage (detailed plan: cf Annex 3)." -


USAir Flight 427


Aliquippa, PA - Sept. 8, 1994


Speed: 300 mph

Accident description

Date: 08 SEP 1994
Type: Boeing 737-3B7
Operator: USAir
Total: Fatalities: 132 / Occupants: 132
Location: near Aliquippa, PA (map)
Flightnumber: 427


"The plane descended fast and impacted the ground nose first at 261 knots in an 80deg nose down, 60deg left bank attitude and with significant sideslip." - Aviation Safety Network


Date: 08 September 1994
Airline: USAir
Flight No.: 427
Aircraft: B737-300
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Fatalities: 132:132

About a 100 miles from Shanksville - Yahoo maps

All that remains of USAir Flight 427, on a hill outside Pittsburgh. What would cause the Boeing 737 to spiral out of a blue sky and dive into a gravel road at 300 mph? It would be one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. - St. Petersburg Times (map) [Hi Res - Source]



"Because some portions of the wreckage were not visible above the ground, investigative personnel used ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to locate and recover additional pieces of the wreckage. Some pieces of wreckage were excavated from the hillside at depths of up to 8 feet. Most of the airplane wreckage, including all flight controls and major components, was located within a 350-foot radius of the main impact crater.

The left wing and the No. 1 engine, which were located south of the access road and east of the main impact crater, exhibited severe impact and postimpact fire damage. The No. 1 engine was separated from the left wing and partially covered by burned left wing skin and spar materials. A ground scar, about 25 feet in length, extended in an easterly direction from the No. 1 engine and left wing wreckage on an up-sloping hill.

The right wing, which was located along the northern edge of the access road about 40 feet west of the main impact crater, also exhibited severe impact damage. The No. 2 engine was separated from the right wing and located along the northern edge of the access road about 30 feet west of the main impact crater.

The cockpit, which was found approximately 45 feet south of the main impact crater, was severely fragmented. The identified sections of the cockpit and the forward portion of the fuselage exhibited compression damage, deformation along the airplane's longitudinal axis, and some postimpact fire damage." - NTSB


USAir Flight 427: The remnants of the Boeing 737-3B7 are scattered along a Hopewell Township hillside on Sept. 9, 1994, the day after it crashed. All 132 on board were killed in what remains the area’s worst aviation disaster in history. -


Wreckage of US Air 427, near Pittsburgh, September 8, 1994. -

Airplane Simulation Chase View:  Video Simulation
USAir Flight 427
Aliquippa, PA
September 8, 1994
Boeing 737-300 - EuroSafety




United Airlines Flight 585


Colorado Springs, CO - March 3, 1991


Speed: over 230 mph

Accident description
Date: 03 MAR 1991
Type: Boeing 737-291
Operator: United Airlines
Location: near Colorado Springs, CO
Flight number: 585

"The aircraft then suddenly rolled to the right and started to pitch nose down. The crew tried to initiate a go-around by selecting 15-deg. flaps and an increase in thrust. The altitude decreased rapidly, acceleration increased to over 4G until the aircraft struck the ground of Widefield Park almost vertically." - Aviation Safety Network


The wreckage of United Airlines 585.

An aerial view of the United 585 crash site.


(Photo source:


Special Report: United Airlines Flight 585

"The aircraft was turning from its 45° intercept to the extended runway centerline, and the first officer called "we're at 1,000 feet."
Dozens of witnesses in the community directly under the extended centerline watched as the airplane levelled off momentarily on the runway heading, 3.5 miles from the threshold. Then, it rolled to the right, pitched down until reaching a nearly vertical attitude, and compacted itself into a 39-foot wide, 15-foot deep crater in an area known as Widefield Park. All onboard were killed.

The first officer said, "Oh, God," - the altitude decreased rapidly; the indicated airspeed increased to over 200 knots; and the normal acceleration increased to over 4g." - AirDisaster.Com



Uncontrolled Descent and Collision With Terrain, United Airlines Flight 585
"There was no damage to structures on the ground. Trees adjacent to the impact crater were damaged by flying debris and soot, and nearby patches of grass north and northeast of the crater were scorched. The size of the impact crater measured approximately 39 feet by 24 feet and was about 15 feet deep.

The flightpath direction was about 020 degrees magnetic, and the flightpath angle was about 80 degrees down.

An aerial search along the flightpath found no debris that had separated from the airplane before ground impact... The airplane's fuselage had severe accordion-like fore and aft crushing throughout its entire length with overstress breaks. Except for two aft fuselage sections of skin and small debris, the entire fuselage was contained within the impact crater.

The left wing was partially in the crater at the crash site. The entire length was broken into pieces, and the portion of the wing in the crater was burned and partially consumed by fire.

The right wing was partially in the crater. The entire wing, from the engine attach points outboard, was severely crushed. The outer 35 feet of the wing was located outside the crater and was embedded in the ground with the leading edge down and the chord of the wing perpendicular to the ground.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder were in the impact crater, damaged severely by impact and fire. Remnants of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were removed from the crater and examined for preimpact abnormalities. The vertical stabilizer fin cap was damaged but complete. The lower vertical stabilizer front spar structure was in the crater and was severely damaged by impact.
The horizontal stabilizer was in the crater, in pieces and severely burned. The horizontal stabilizer parts were located at the top of the pile of destroyed airplane debris. The star section (front and rear horizontal spar to fuselage attach structure) was separated into three major pieces.

The forward portion of the right engine was buried about 7 feet in the ground under the right wing at an angle of about 50 degrees." - NTSB


Airplane Simulation Chase View:  Video simulation
United Airlines Flight 585
Colorado Springs, CO
March 3, 1991
Boeing 737-200 - EuroSafety


Bellview Airlines Flight 210

Lisa, Nigeria - Oct. 22, 2005

Speed: ?

Accident description
Date: 22 OCT 2005
Type: Boeing 737-2L9
Operator: Bellview Airlines
Total: Fatalities: 117 / Occupants: 117
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Location: near Lisa (Nigeria)
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Flightnumber: 210

"Bellview flight 210 took off from Lagos at 20:35 for a domestic flight to Abuja. Last radio contact was about three minutes after takeoff. The flight was cleared to climb to FL250 and was to report when reaching FL130.
The next morning the wreckage was found about 30 kms (20 miles) north of Lagos." -

Photo source:

117 killed in Nigeria plane crash
LAGOS, Nigeria (CNN) -- All 117 people aboard a passenger jet that crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos are dead, including several high-level Nigerian officials, the government said Sunday.
Dismembered and burned body parts, fuselage fragments and engine parts were strewn over an area the size of a football field near the village of Lissa, about 30 km (20 miles) north of Lagos." - CNN (10/23/05)

Nigeria: 117 Perish in Bellview Crash
"THE ill-fated Bellview Boeing 737 which crashed Saturday night at Lisa village in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State appeared to have exploded mid-air before plunging into a cocoa grove in pieces with its 117 occupants, villagers said at the scene, yesterday.
Other witnesses corroborated this account, which appeared to be borne out by the widely scattered wreckage left behind by the crash.
At the site of the impact, the still smoking, corpse-strewn wreckage was not recognisable as a plane. Chunks of fuselage were buried in deep craters. A dozen large trees and several local homes were demolished when the Boeing 737 came down." - (10/24/05)

"The plane crashed soon after, leaving a smoking 70-foot crater, uprooting trees and blowing the roofs off nearby houses." - (10/24/05)


Aeroméxico Flight 498


Cerritos, CA  - Aug 31, 1986


Speed:  ?

Accident description

Date: 31 AUG 1986
Type: McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32
Operator: Aeroméxico
Total: Fatalities: 64 / Occupants: 64
Location: Cerritos, CA (United States of America)
Phase: Approach
Flight number: 498

"Aéromexico flight 498 was a scheduled passenger flight from Mexico City to Los Angeles with intermediate stops at Guadalajara, Loreto and Tijuana. The DC-9, named "Hermosillo", departed Tijuana at 11:20 and proceeded toward Los Angeles at FL100. At 11:44 Coast Approach Control cleared the flight to 7000 feet. Just three minutes earlier Piper Pa-28-181 Cherokee N4891F departed Torrance, CA for a VFR flight to Big Bear, CA. On board were a pilot and two passengers.
At about 11:52:09, flight 498 and the Piper collided over Cerritos at an altitude of about 6,560 feet. The Piper struck the left hand side of the DC-9's horizontal and vertical stabilizer. The horizontal stabilizer sliced through the Piper's cabin following which it separated from the tailplane. Both planes tumbled down out of control. The wreckage and postimpact fires destroyed five houses and damaged seven others. Fifteen persons on the ground were killed." - Aviation Safety Network


Accident Investigation Report NTSB/AAR-87/07 (PDF)


(Photos source:

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