takeoff to takeover; Putting it all together
(Click photo for source.)
1. 7:49 a.m.
Mark Bingham calls friend. Says that he is sitting in first class and
drinking orange juice.
2. 8:42 a.m.
United Airlines Flight 93 departs from Newark International Airport in New
Jersey, 41 minutes late.
3. 8:47 a.m.
Plane passes through 10,000 ft.
4. 9:02 a.m.
Plane reaches cruising altitude of 31,000 feet. Estimated cruising speed is
515 mph, but actual speed on this flight may have varied.
5. Just after 9 a.m.
United warns all aircraft of the potential for cockpit intrusion and to take
precautions to barricade cockpit doors.
6. 9:20 a.m.
Hijacking begins. Tom Burnett calls wife, reports takeover.
7. 9:28 a.m.
Keyed microphone reveals someone in cockpit saying, "Get out of here!"
8. 9:29 a.m.
Jeremy Glick calls his wife and describes the hijackers. He is told
about the attacks in New York.
9. 9:34 a.m.
Cockpit intercom: In broken English, a man announces there is a bomb and
that the plane is returning to the airport.
10. 9:35 a.m.
Hijacked plane is turned around near Cleveland.
11. 9:41 a.m.
Marion Britton calls friend. She tells him that two people have been
killed and the plane has been turned around.
12. 9:45 a.m.
Todd Beamer's cell phone call is transferred to Verizon operator Lisa
Jefferson. He tells her about the passengers' plan to fight the hijackers.
13. 9:49 a.m.
Pittsburgh International Airport flight tower is evacuated.
14. 9:50 a.m.
Sandra Bradshaw calls her husband. She tells him that they are in the
rear galley filling pitchers with hot water to use against the hijackers.
15. 9:58 a.m.
Todd Beamer's call ends as he and others begin to carry out their plan
to force their way into the cockpit and take over the plane.
CeeCee Lyles has called her husband. Screams and jumbled noises heard in
the background. Call disconnects as confrontation with hijackers begins.
16. 10:04 a.m.
Johnstown-Cambria Country Airport reports the plane is 15 miles south and
17. 10:05 a.m.
People on the ground witness the plane flying low and erratically.
18. 10:06 a.m.
Flight 93 crashes near Shanksville, approximately 80 miles southeast of
19. 15-20 minutes away
Possible terrorist target: Washington D.C. approximately 124 miles, or 15-20
minutes, from crash site.
"The following timeline is for United Airlines flight 93, scheduled
to fly from Newark International Airport to San Francisco. The flight
crashed in Pennsylvania.
--8:42 a.m.: United Airlines flight 93 takes off from Newark
--9:16 a.m.: FAA informs NORAD that United Airlines flight 93 may
have been hijacked.
--9:40 a.m.: Transponder signal from United flight 93 ceases and
radar contact is lost.
--10:02 a.m.: After a review of radar tapes, a radar signal is
detected near Shanksville, Pennsylvania." - CNN (9/17/01)
What was the real reason the
FBI didn't want to release Flight 93's cockpit recordings?
FBI refuses to release cockpit tape from hijacked flight
"The FBI has turned down family requests
that it release the cockpit voice recording from an airliner hijacked on
Sept. 11 that crashed in a Pennsylvania field, saying the horror
captured on the tape would do little to assuage their grief.
"(FBI) Director (Robert) Mueller has personally listened to the recording
from the hijacked flight and advised that the FBI will not be releasing the
tape at this time," an FBI spokesman said in a letter to U.S. Rep. Ellen
"While we empathize with the grieving families, we do not believe that the
horror captured on the cockpit voice recording will console them in any
way," the spokesman said.
Tauscher, a California Democrat, had written to the FBI on behalf of Deena
Burnett, whose husband Thomas was among those aboard the plane when it was
hijacked on Sept. 11.
Unlike three other passenger jets hijacked that day that crashed into the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon, United Flight 93 crashed into a field
in Pennsylvania, apparently brought down amid a passenger revolt against the
hijackers." -Houston Chronicle/Reuters (12/20/01)
Three-minute discrepancy in tape - Cockpit voice recording ends before
Flight 93's official time of impact
"THE FINAL three minutes of hijacked United
Flight 93 are still a mystery more than a year after it crashed in western
Pennsylvania - even to grieving relatives who sought comfort in listening to
its cockpit tapes in April.
A Daily News investigation has found a roughly three-minute gap between
the time the tape goes silent - according to government-prepared
transcripts - and the time that top scientists have pinpointed for the
Several leading seismologists agree that Flight 93 crashed last Sept. 11
at 10:06:05 a.m., give or take a couple of seconds. Family members
allowed to hear the cockpit voice recorder in Princeton, N.J., last
spring were told it stopped just after 10:03.
The FBI and other agencies refused repeated requests to explain the
Aviation experts said there could be several explanations for the gap.
...President Bush and other top government officials continue to invoke the
story - based largely on the cell-phone calls - of fighting between the
passengers and the hijackers as a "Let's roll" rallying cry to
continue the war against global terrorism.
But the FBI has clamped a tight lid of secrecy on the flight data
recorder - which could best show how Flight 93 actually crashed - and on
the cockpit voice recorder.
An FBI spokesman, Steven Berry, said the bureau continues to officially
list the time of the Flight 93 crash as 10:03 a.m. The NTSB referred all
questions to the FBI.
But the relatives of Flight 93 passengers who heard the cockpit tape April
18 at a Princeton hotel said government officials laid out a timetable for
the crash in a briefing and in a transcript that accompanied the recording.
Relatives later reported they heard sounds of an on-board struggle beginning
at 9:58 a.m., but there was a final "rushing sound" at 10:03, and the
tape fell silent.
"There is no sound of the impact," said Kenneth Nacke, whose brother,
Lou Nacke Jr., is one of the passengers believed to have fought with the
hijackers. Nacke confirmed that the government said the tape ended at
"The seismic signals are consistent with impact at 10:06:05," plus or
minus two seconds, said Terry Wallace, who heads the Southern Arizona
Seismic Observatory and is considered the leading expert on the seismology
of man-made events. "I don't know where the 10:03 time comes from."
None of the family members interviewed for this story recalls any
explanation of a discrepancy between the times on the tape recording and the
actual crash at 10:06.
Investigators typically nail down the correct times very early in a probe,
experts said. Todd Curtis, who runs the Web site AirSafe.com, said the
three-minute gap "does not make sense."
But the three-minute gap is certain to fuel ongoing debates on the
Internet over how Flight 93 really crashed, and whether the plane could
have been shot down by military jet fighters that were sent aloft as the
Sept. 11 hijackings unfolded. The government insists there was no shoot
Numerous witnesses in the Shanksville area have told the Daily News
and other publications since last September that a mysterious, low-flying
unmarked white jet, military in nature, circled the area at the time of the
crash. The FBI has claimed this was a business jet that had been
asked by air-traffic controllers to inspect the Flight 93 crater.
The debate has also been driven by the wide debris field from Flight 93
- including papers found eight miles away - and by conflicting accounts over
whether a 911 caller reported an explosion and white smoke on board.
Grose, the former NTSB member, said he doubts the entire story of Flight 93
will ever be told.
"I don't think so," he said. "It's like David Crockett at the Alamo.
We need heroes." -Philadelphia Daily News (9/16/02) [Reprinted
NORAD's Flight 93
Response Time Missing
On October 27,
2004, NORAD took this timeline off their website with no explanation as
NORAD'S Response Times, Sept. 11, 2001
***** The FAA and NEADS established a line
of open communication discussing AA Flt 77 and UA Flt 93
United Flight 93 – Newark to
FAA Notification to NEADS
Fighter Scramble: Order (Langley F-16s already
airborne for AA Flt 77)
Fighters Airborne (Langley F-16 CAP remains in
place to protect DC)
Airline Impact Time (Pennsylvania)
Fighter Time/Distance from Airline Impact
Location approx 11 min/100 miles (from DC F-16 CAP)
To preserve, protect, and defend the
Constitution of the United States
enemies, foreign or domestic.
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