United Flight 93 Transcript

The Smoking Gun has posted the transcript of the final minutes from the cockpit voice recorder of United Flight 93, which crashed into a Pennsylvania field on 9/11. The tape had been entered into evidence at Zacarias Moussaoui's trial but the judge released only a transcript rather than the audio itself.

It makes for horrifying reading, from the first pleas of passengers or flight personnel to the repeated hijacker incantation "Allah is the greatest..." at the transcript's end. Whole transcript here.

As the controversy over the upcoming Hollywood movie Flight 93 heats up a bit--the trailer for the April 28 film has been pulled from some theaters due to negative audience response--one thing seems clear: Even if the details are not fully knowable, the actions taken by the passengers to storm the cockpit remains one of the most powerful, inspiring, and brutally sad stories of 9/11. After communicating with the ground via cell and onboard phones, the passengers pieced together the narrative of the attacks and realized what they were caught up in--and that the hijackers planned to use the plane as a missile against a target in DC or elsewhere. To know that you are doomed and to struggle until the very end--well, "heroic" doesn't begin to cover it.

Memorial to passengers here.

2002 CNN story about victims' families listening to audio recording of tape here, with this kicker:

"I am proud in a very sad way. I would rather have our brother with us than he be portrayed as a hero," said [the sister of passenger Lou Nacke, 42].

"I wish they were here to tell their own story," she said.

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  • ||

    That's pretty horrible - sends shivers down your spine.

    The movie looks like it's going to be awful. There are certain things Hollywood just shouldn't touch.

  • ||

    I'm with MatK - this is just tasteless morbidity.

    JMJ

  • ||

    There are most certainly subjects that Hollywood should not touch. If they know what is for the best.

  • ||

    Too soon?
    How about Harpers Ferry? The Boston Massacre?
    Perhaps Hollywood should stick to gladiator movies?

  • Sandy||

    It's been conclusively proven that you have to wait 22.3 years.

  • ||

    "Even if the details are not fully knowable, the actions taken by the passengers to storm the cockpit remains one of the most powerful, inspiring, and brutally sad stories of 9/11."

    That much is certainly true, but I am not going to rush out and see this movie. Just not up for that right now. Think a few more years need to pass. Hope at least that don't make it too damn cheesy as well.

    It would be nice to know if maybe some of the proceeds of the movie were going to some of the kids whose parents died on the flight or something. Least they could do I believe. Anyone know on this?

  • ||

    I'm calling bullshit on this one. If you look at the last page (9), you'll see that it is nearly identical to the final cockpit transcript of the Egyptian Air flight that went down off the east coast back in the 90's. Word for word. This is totally plagirism.

  • R C Dean||

    Its been five years. Five.

    How many years is enough before you can tell the story of American heoism against Islamist maniacs?

    And what makes a story of American heroism uniquely unsuited for a movie?

    Really. Do expand. These assertions strike me as so counterintuitive that I need a little help here.

  • ||

    "And what makes a story of American heroism uniquely unsuited for a movie?"

    Er nothing at all. I assume your next question is why do I hate America?

    I honestly think if I had a relative that died on that plane it would be too soon for me to see a movie about it. But that's just me.

    They are certainly free to do whatever they want to do. They should pay some money to the victims families. They pay scriptwriters so how about compensation for the folk's families who died in the creation of this tome? I think that alone should show you my respect for these folks RC. They may be doing that already but thought it deserved mention.

    Does that clarify it, or is my patriotism still damaged?

  • ||

    RC,

    People have been "telling" this story of American heroism since a few days after 9/11.

    I think it's the "profiting from" part that's sticking in people's craws. That, or the "Hollywood turning every decent thing it touches into crap" part.

  • Not David||

    How many years is enough before you can tell the story of American heoism against Islamist maniacs?

    I think that depends on how you intend to tell it. The story was told ten minutes after it happened, as news. If someone wants to tell it now as history, with a sense of responsibility and respect toward the people who participated (and died) in that history, I have no problem with that.

    Call me cynical, though, but that isn't the way Hollywood typically tells "true stories." Not enough details are known to write a script, so something has to be fictionalized. Surely what's been fictionalized has been designed to heighten on-screen drama. Whatever story has been created around the sketchy outline of established facts has been created to put butts in seats. That is not the same as trying to tell an accurate and unbiased account of what happened. The people who died on that plane, and their families, deserve better than to become grist in an entertainment machine.

    How long? I say, frankly, that if you're claiming your story as history ("based on a true story," etc.) you have a responsibility to the truth -- not that everyone will agree on what the truth is or was, but you have the responsibility to try to be accurate and fair. If you're claiming truth, tell it. That's so no matter how long ago the "true story" happened. If the truth isn't sufficiently dramatic for your purposes, learn to write fiction.

  • ||

  • ||

    I just don't think film is the best medium for politics.

    I NEVER EVER believe anything I see in the cinema. It's propoganda - the medium is too persuasuve. When you're sat in the dark and you hear the score and see the big screen everything just floods over you and you'll buy anything. Critical reasoning is a lot harder for most people with films because there's far less effort involved with sitting on your ass on watching stuff.

    In fact, I don't like films unless there dumb and and have Will Ferrell in them.

    Sure, it might be 'correct' or 'truthful' or 'important' but when it comes to stuff like this, Hollywood is just leading a lynch-mob.

  • ||

    "The New York Times had a story that makes it clear the families were involved with the making of the movie and are fine with it."

    Cool I feel better already. All I was looking for. A little respect is all I ever ask. I hope it is a good movie then, it is certainly a story that should be told. It has the potential, given Hollywood's history, to be done very very badly. Let's hope they did it right.

  • ||

    Jeff Wells is not a particularly well-known critic, and he's often full of shit, but here's what he's had to say after a screening:

    Is Paul Greengrass's United 93 (Universal, 4.28) a knockout, a time-stopper, a mind-blower? It sure as hell is.

    You're probably going to need to stand outside the theatre for a few minutes after it's over and just chill...trust me. And then you're going to want a drink, even if you don't drink. And then talk it out with friends for an hour or so. See it with some. Don't go alone.

    Is feeling power-drilled all over again by one of the worst real-life nightmares of all time a good thing? To me, it is.

    It happened, it's real, and this film knocks your socks off because it takes you right back to that surreal morning and that feeling, that almost-afraid-to-breathe feeling, and to me, that's partly what good films do -- they lift you out of your realm and make you forget about everything but what's on-screen.

    All I know is that I was watching and taking it all in, and that the old feelings started to build and churn around and then pour back in, like a damburst. The chills and forebodings of doom were back, and this time with a closer, more comprehensive perspective.

    United 93 didn't make me "happy" but I relished it. I'm not a baby or a coward. I'm not a "too-sooner." Show me anything that smacks of honesty and hard truth or at least skillful manipulations of same, and I'm there for firsts, seconds and thirds.

    Time's Richard Corliss called it "unbearable and unmissable." Mainly the latter, I'd say. As long as it's not a cheap-ass horror film, I eat "unbearable" for breakfast.

    Not one frame of this film struck me as distasteful or exploitative. It shows what needs to be shown with as much restraint as could be managed without changing the known facts.

    We were told at the screening that the print shown wasn't quite finished. It looked pretty finished to me. No obviously raw effects, nothing that screamed out, "Oops ...sorry!"

    What surprised me is that two-thirds of United 93 don't have a whole lot to do with United #93. They're about what happened as air traffic controllers, the FAA and the military tried to monitor what was happening with American Airlines #11, United #193 and American #77 (i.e., the flights that slammed into the North Tower, the South Tower and the Pentagon, respectively). It's about how a lot of focused dec- ent professionals tried to keep up with the horror and couldn't.

    United 93 runs about an hour and 45 minutes. It's about 30 minutes before Flight 93 takes off, but you're not really paying that much attention, frankly, to those doomed souls on the plane...not at first. It's the confused folks in the control rooms who pull you in. The second plane hits about 45 minutes in, give or take, and it's another 15 minutes -- a full hour -- before the hijackers, who've waited and eyeball- ed each other from their first-class seats and stalled, it seems to me, like nervous nellies, before finally making their move.

    For me, that opening hour is classic. Greengrass has never done anything quite as good. The tension and verisimilitude surpasses his work in Bloody Sunday, and that's saying something. Each and every bit actor, every line...every last piece of it screws you to your seat.

    Those guys playing air-traffic controllers are perfect. Remember the tension in that air-traffic controller scene in the opening moments of Close Encounters of the Third Kind? It's that tripled or quadrupled. Ben Sliney, a gray-haired office mana- ger type who was having his first day on 9/11 as national operations manager for the FAA, plays himself. Nobody, really, seems to be "acting" in this. Every bit player rules in every control-room scene in this film.


    (It goes on a bit. There's also some more at the top of the page about another critic's reaction.)

  • ||

    If someone wants to tell it now as history, with a sense of responsibility and respect toward the people who participated (and died) in that history, I have no problem with that.

    I'm with 'not David'.

    Something about this just does not feel right - like kissing your mother in law.

    Cinema is, first and foremost, entertainment and is not the right medium for 'historical truth', which is what this issue requires.

    I hope to god there aren't any 'Stars' involved. Can you imagine Nicholas Cage overpowering muslims.....

  • ||

    Gimme a break, Lurker. You sound like Jesse Jackson with the "compensation" bit. What happened is history. Nobody owns history. And just as Apollo 13 was NASA's "most successful failure," Flight 93 may be considered both a tragedy and a triumph. The passengers who brought down the plane are indeed heroes and their story should be told.

  • ||

    Phil,

    they lift you out of your realm and make you forget about everything but what's on-screen

    That is the EXACT thing I hate, hate, hate about cinema when it's dealing with world politics.

    Isn't the whole point that the dust has settled and we don't want to have to go back to that feeling again, on that morning, on that day blah blah blah. Somethings really are best left forgotten.

    Show me anything that smacks of honesty and hard truth or at least skillful manipulations of same, and I'm there for firsts, seconds and thirds

    And exactly what honesty will this film help America discover? What, a 'truth' that all muslims suck and it should still be in Iraq shooting 'ragheads'. Not good, not good.

    And it's not fair to use the victim's families as a sort of pseudo justification for what Hollywood is doing - i.e they're fine with it so no one can argue with us.

    And I bet Bush will LOVE this movie.

    A film like this is grief masturbation. Man, I hate Hollywood...

  • ||

    kissing your mother in law is wrong!!!

    Wow Ed, my wife is going to laugh like hell when she hears someone said I was like Jesse Jackson! LMAO.

    You don't read too good I guess. I never said they HAD to do that, just that it would be a good thing to do. Kind of like taking up a collection for the kid of someone whose father was killed. No wonder folks think we libertarians are cold.

    What is wrong with a little private charity and giving to folks? If you really think they are heros then you would agree with what I am saying. I think you have just had a knee jerk patriotic reaction and wound up with your foot in your mouth. Here let me give you a hand.

  • ||

    Mark,

    They're not called "films" when Will Ferrell is in them. They're called "movies."

  • ||

    In terms of the "is it too soon" discussion, let me add that it can't be soon enough for Hit 'n' Run posters to put down the stale "Why Does X Hate America?" line and back away from its tired, as-funny-as-a-Laverne-&-Shirley-California-years-rerun ass.

  • ||

    They're not called "films" when Will Ferrell is in them. They're called "movies."

    Whatever they're called, they goddamn rule!

  • ||

    YALUt"AL"

    If we do that, the terrorists win.

    Also, Kerry would have been worse.

  • ||

    Why does Yet Another Lurker Unrelated to "Another Lurker" hate "Why Does X Hate America?"?

  • Timothy||

    I saw the preview with Inside Man before they pulled it. I got the impression that the movie was tastefully done, and it didn't seem like it would be offensive...but I really have no urge to see it. It'll probably be better than the Oliver Stone 9/11 movie, which will probably blame everything on LBJ.

  • ||

    I went to see "Thank You For Smoking" last week with my girlfriend and some friends. I was *so* pissed off when the United 93 trailer played. I just wanted to throw something at the screen. I felt like I was being assaulted. The filmmakers have TOTALLY mis-read the public on this one. It looked like any other movie. I think it is *possible* to make a good movie about Flight 93, but this doesn't look like it will be it.

  • ||

    "as-funny-as-a-Laverne-&-Shirley-California-years-rerun"

    If the comedic genius of that show is lost on you then you are beyond saving my friend.

    Anyone who would criticize Laverne and Shirley in the first place is obviously a pinko America Hater!

    LOL

  • ||

    It'll probably be better than the Oliver Stone 9/11 movie, which will probably blame everything on LBJ.

    Too true,

    And we'll have to listen to Barber's Adagio as the planes hit the towers.....

  • ||

    Did anybody watch "The Flight that Fought Back" on (I think) A&E a few months ago?

    It was TERRIBLE. First, it was narrated by Kiefer Sutherland in his Jack Bauer voice (does he have another?). Now, I love the guy, but his 24 baggage is not what this story needs. Even worse, the movie was filled to the brim with 24-like visual and audio effects -- multi-screen views of the same action from different angles, a "beep-beep... beep-beep" ticking digital clock on screen, and all that. It was really blatant and in very poor taste.

    I'm wondering why there is no controversy over that one, or even a mention of it in these articles about Flight 93 -- did just nobody see it?

  • ||

    flight 93 was shot down and both the cockpit recorder and telephone calls are fakes

    see "loose change"

  • MP||

    I saw the preview online and it made me tear up. As someone who exited a Wall St. subway station that day into a world of ash, I'm in no rush to relive it. I have no objection to the film, and for some I'm sure it will be a good healing tool, but count me out.

  • ||

    "It'll probably be better than the Oliver Stone 9/11 movie, which will probably blame everything on LBJ."

    There are not enough things that can be blamed on LBJ. And to stay on topic, I really don't get the "It's too soon!" mentality. Hollywood was cranking out war movies within weeks of Pearl Harbor being bombed.

  • ||

    The transcript begins after the initial cockpit assault. For me, one of the enduring mysteries of 9/11 is: how did the jihadis successfully overpower the pilots on _all_ four flights, using only knives? That part of the CVR transcript might give us a clue, but I guess we're not going to get to see it anytime soon.

  • ||

    Gutta,

    If only the pilots had guns, tasers, or anything to defend themselves.

    But nooooo - we can't trust the pilots with anything that could possibly harm someone, could we?

  • ||

    I really don't get the "It's too soon!" mentality. Hollywood was cranking out war movies within weeks of Pearl Harbor being bombed.

    Yep, but presumably the Pearl Harbour Movies were used as propoganda - to get people behind the war effort. I think that's why people are cautious about it.

    It would be interesting to know who produced this new movie. Hollywood is normally anti-war but we might be seeing a cluster of American patriotic movies to shut the likes of George Clooney up.

    i've also realised that I am committing the cardinal sin of judging a movie I haven't seen....

  • VM||

    "It'll probably be better than the Oliver Stone 9/11 movie, which will probably blame everything on LBJ."

    grin, Timothy! grin.

    (x prime x) inverse (x prime) y.....

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    The movie looks like it's going to be awful. There are certain things Hollywood just shouldn't touch.

    Discovery already did a pseudo-documentary/pseudo-movie about this. What the holy hell is the issue here?

    http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/flight/flight.html

  • ||

    Goiter -- thanks for finding that link; I couldn't remember what channel produced it.

    There's no way "Flight 93" could be done as poorly as "The Flight that Fought Back."

  • ||

    Discovery already did a pseudo-documentary/pseudo-movie about this. What the holy hell is the issue here?

    The issue here is what get's everyone who lives outside America pissed off.

    Basically, American Sentimentality.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    I'm wondering why there is no controversy over that one, or even a mention of it in these articles about Flight 93 -- did just nobody see it?

    EXACTLY.

    Christ on a cracker I hate these fucking reactionaries. It's already been done, but now that THEY hear about it, it's SHOCKING!

    It's like the ports deal. There were ports that were already under foreign management, but because now this one was in the news, it's SHOCKING!

    Eff off - all of you.

  • ||

    To know that you are doomed and to struggle until the very end--well, "heroic" doesn't begin to cover it.

    While it's never easy to be heroic, and I certainly wouldn't underestimate the guts it took in the heat of the moment, but isn't it easi-*er* when there is nothing to lose? It's what makes hijacking, or hostage taking work. As long as there is hope of living, the hijacker/hostage taker knows that people will stay in line. Take away that hope, and one has nothing to lose by acting.

  • ||

    EXACTLY.

    Christ on a cracker I hate these fucking reactionaries. It's already been done, but now that THEY hear about it, it's SHOCKING!

    It's like the ports deal. There were ports that were already under foreign management, but because now this one was in the news, it's SHOCKING!

    Eff off - all of you.


    Wwwwoooooo touchy..

    Apologies, Mr Goiter. Obviously opinion and comment is only reserved for those who claim subject matter first.

    Dick.

  • ||

    From what I understand, the passengers on the other planes did not fight back because the hijackers said they had bombs, no?

  • ||

    And I'm *really* not looking forward to the reports of audiences cheering at all the wrong places when this gets shown in certain countries.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    There's no way "Flight 93" could be done as poorly as "The Flight that Fought Back."

    I'm with you on that one. I thought theme behind the story was a good one, breaking it down into pieces and showing different perspectives from the families, but the execution of the idea was abysmal.

    I told my wife as I was watching it "If ever there was a story that didn't need campy hooks and corny effects, it's this one."

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    Apologies, Mr Goiter. Obviously opinion and comment is only reserved for those who claim subject matter first.

    Treating subject matter like it's newly discovered and coverin that with outrage is intellectually craptacular. Before people throw yet another log on the OUTRAGED fire, maybe they should do some fact-checking and some reading.

    Idiot reactionaries.

  • ||

    "...one of the enduring mysteries of 9/11 is: how did the jihadis successfully overpower the pilots on _all_ four flights, using only knives?"

    Unfortunately for the people on those planes, until that day, standard procedure was for every person on the plane to sit quietly, with their hands in their laps, and not resist. This was based on prior experience, and the expectation that the hijackers would make demands which could be met. The plane would go somewhere not on the original itinerary, but everyone would eventually be released; traumatized, but mostly unharmed.

    The rules changed that day, in the time it took for the people on flt 93 to hear about the first plane hitting a building. Nobody is going to be able to stand up on a commercial airliner and say, "We're taking control" again. And it doesn't have much of anything to do with the TSA.

    ps As for the movie, I think I'll stay away.

  • ||

    Before people throw yet another log on the OUTRAGED fire, maybe they should do some fact-checking and some reading.

    Hahahaha!

    MR GRUMPY!!!!

    And why do they need to do any reading? Surely they can just go and watch this film and and understand everything.

  • ||

    There's a difference between a documentary and a Hollywood Drama.

    Take some Midol, Goiter.

  • ||

    I have no interest in seeing that movie.

    That transcript makes me want to fucking kill someone.

    And dead elvis-- you are correct. These people realized they literally had nothing to lose, and acted accordingly.

  • ||

    And exactly what honesty will this film help America discover? What, a 'truth' that all muslims suck and it should still be in Iraq shooting 'ragheads'. Not good, not good.

    And I bet Bush will LOVE this movie.


    You know, it might behoove you to find out a little about the writer/director of this movie, Paul Greengrass, before tossing out crap like this. Outside of his for-hire action-movie stuff, his output could probably best be described as social/political docudramas, many with a slightly left-of-center bent, or at least "sticking up for the underdog." A phrase that would not describe him is "tool of the right wing." Just sayin'.

    It would be interesting to know who produced this new movie.

    If only there were some resource available to help us ferret out that deeply-protected information.

    As for the Oliver Stone movie, all accounts have it as very much a work-for-hire, concentrating very closely on the stories of the firefighters and not much else, with no political foofaraw going on. It's not a conspiracy-theory diatribe.

  • ||

    There's a difference between a documentary and a Hollywood Drama.

    In certain significant ways, yes; in other, equally significant way, no. The documentarian -- outside of the most dry, unappealing "you are there" newsreel reporting -- picks and chooses his point of view, his narrative and his emphases just as carefully as any other moviemaker. Which reminds me that there was a post in recent weeks by maybe Gillespie or Cavanaugh on that very topic.

  • ||

    You know, it might behoove you to find out a little about the writer/director of this movie, Paul Greengrass, before tossing out crap like this.

    Gees, Mr Grumpypanse 2.

    How dare I post on a blog without a fucking post-doctorate in Paul Greengrass's cinematic and tele-docu work post 1960, you patronising ass.

    And who the fuck uses the word 'Behoove'?


    Outside of his for-hire action-movie stuff, his output could probably best be described as social/political docudramas, many with a slightly left-of-center bent, or at least "sticking up for the underdog." A phrase that would not describe him is "tool of the right wing."

    Oh, Ok. Don't worry everyone. That's great. Paul's 'slightly left of centre bent', the films bound to be a cool and reasoned treatise on the nature of 9/11 and it's aftermath. And of course, he only does the 'for hire action stuff' to make ends meet, so there's no way the cloying and cinematic tricks of the 'Bourne Movies' could possibly creep into anyting as sacracant as Paul 'I stick up for the Underdog' Greengrass's new movie.

  • ||

    OK, Mark, or you can keep spouting off and looking like a hotheaded dummy. Your choice. I mean, I try and give you some info, and you go off like Vesuvius . . . really makes me value your opinion. A LOT.

    Dickface.

  • ||

    Dickface

    Arseclown.

  • ||

    And frankly, I admire him for taking on the project if only because it pisses off uptight assheads like you. Warms my heart.

  • ||

    Thanks for being frank with me Phil.

    Can I be Phil to your Frank?

  • ||

    IronChef, yes, I agree it would have been better if the pilots had sidearms. P Brooks, yes, cooperation with hijackers was SOP at the time, but I don't think that went so far as pilots passively allowing the hijackers to actually take seats at the controls. The pilots must have been killed, or injured to incapacity.

    Some of these pilots were military vets, so knew something about hand-to-hand combat. I've read (pre-9/11) that some pilots study aikido in anticipation of a cockpit assault. And, looking to history, has there ever been any other assault in which a hijacker successfully seized the controls of an aircraft? The only case I can think of off the top of my head happened to one of the air-shipping companies (FedEx or UPS, don't remember which.) A disturbed employee went after the flight crew with a hammer, tried to get control in order to crash the jet into a shipping terminal, but the crew, despite very serious injuries, fought him off.

    So how did the jihadis succeed four-for-four on 9/11? Did they have some kind of super-duper martial-arts skills, or guns, or what? Note: I'm not disputing "the official story;" I just think we don't know the actual tactics that took those planes, and the undisclosed portion of the Flight 93 CVR transcript might reveal them.

    BTW, I will rent the upcoming Flight 93 movie when it hits DVD. It's not "too soon" for me.

  • ||

    "P Brooks, yes, cooperation with hijackers was SOP at the time, but I don't think that went so far as pilots passively allowing the hijackers to actually take seats at the controls. The pilots must have been killed, or injured to incapacity."

    Point taken, GP. I definitely don't believe that the cockpit crew would have politely risen and offered their seats to the hijackers. I suspect that the existing policy of passive compliance made it possible/ easier for the hijackers to put themselves in position to forcibly gain control of the plane.

  • ||

    For those who complain that "it is too soon" or "Hollywood will profit from it" (since when is profit a dirty word?) ask if "The Killing Fields" was too soon after the Cambodian Holocaust, and does the knowledge that the studio made a profit depresses you?

  • ||

    This reminds me of the stories I have heard about marines and soldiers booing John Wayne during World War II. They did so because they had been to combat and knew his movies, while patriotic and all, were, like nearly everything from Hollywood, bullshit. The problem with making flight 93 into a movie is that unlike combat, everyone knows what happened and has some general sense or can at least imagine what it was really like on that plane. Consequently, like the combat veterens watching the John Wayne movies, they are going to know the bullshit when they see it. In Hollywood's defense, real life makes for messy and boring movies, so all movies to be entertaining must have some bullshit. It is the same reason sports movies that are about the sporting events themselves instead of being dramas built around the events never work. We all know what sports really look like, we watch them every week on TV, therefore the movies just don't work.

    I am all for recognizing what those people did, I just don't think a movie is a particularly good way to do it.

  • ||

    Note: I'm not disputing "the official story;" I just think we don't know the actual tactics that took those planes, and the undisclosed portion of the Flight 93 CVR transcript might reveal them.

    There might not be an undisclosed portion. Some cockpit voice recorders only have a thirty minute capacity. If the hijacking began more than thirty minutes before the crash, we may never know what happened.

  • ||

    "So how did the jihadis succeed four-for-four on 9/11? Did they have some kind of super-duper martial-arts skills, or guns, or what? Note: I'm not disputing "the official story;" I just think we don't know the actual tactics that took those planes, and the undisclosed portion of the Flight 93 CVR transcript might reveal them."


    I thnk you may be right about that. I think there may have been more people involved with the highjacking that enabled them to get more than just boxcutters on the planes. The government for the obvious reason that they don't want people to totally loose faith in airline security has kept the full nature of the plot and the tactics secret.

  • R C Dean||

    I imagine one stewardess bleeding out on the floor and knife to the neck of another one would be all the leverage the highjackers would need to get the pilots out of the cockpit.

  • ||

    RC,

    All the more reason to arm pilots. I think one bullet in the head of one highjacker would give the pilots all the leverage they need to keep control of the plane.

  • ||

    The decision not to arm pilots isn't a consequence of their perceived combat skills, but of the need to have somebody flying the plane. Instead of arming the pilots, they put air marshalls on the flights.

    The 9/11 Commission Report made it pretty clear that the hijackers weren't just armed with boxcutters, but had some kind of chemical spray - probably mace or pepper spraw - on at least some of the flights. People calling the ground reported stinging eyes and trouble breathing.

  • ||

    Joe,

    Marshalls are so expensive and there are two pilots on every plane and it only takes one to fly a modern jetliner. The second pilot is just there in case the first is incapacitated. Maybe we should arm the flight attendents or do the kid from Brooklyn's idea of giving every passanger a ball bat.

  • ||

    I'm agnostic on the whole question. Just trying to scoop out some crud that got into the pool.

  • ||

    Joe,

    I think it is a dead issue really. 9-11 happened partially because no one ever thought that a highjacked plane would go anywhere but Cuba, so the passengers and pilots did the reasonable thing and went along with the highjackers. Now that will never happen again. The best a terrorist could hope for is flying the plane into the ground. No way would passengers sit back and let them fly the plane into a building.

  • Thomas Paine's Goiter||

    There's a difference between a documentary and a Hollywood Drama.

    If you are classifying the Discovery movie as a "documentary", it tells me you didn't watch it.

  • the snob||

    Tehran's gonna get bombed over this movie. Seriously, at 5pm on 9/11/01 my Berkeley-dwelling sister called me and said "Let's just nuke Palestine and get this over with." By 9/14 or so she was back to blaming Bush and the Zionists for everything. This movie is going to take a lot of people back to that emotional state.

  • ||

    Here is a link to the FedEx cockpit assault story I mentioned above, including CVR transcript:
    http://www.tailstrike.com/070494.htm

    It shows how formidably pilots will fight to defend themselves and control of the aircraft.

  • ||

    Some of these pilots were military vets, so knew something about hand-to-hand combat
    Common misconception. Most folks in the armed services get only the most rudimentrary H2H training in basic, then rarely see anything like that again. Obviously the combat arms (infantry, etc.) guys are exceptions, but even they haven't had much good H2H training until very recently (I think it's called combatives now). I'm not an aviator, but somehow I imagine that most pilots in the military get very very little of that type of training. They have much more important, specialized, & complicated things to train. Also, I'd bet the pilots are quite a bit older than the attackers, so even if they were trained, the attackers would have too many advantages.

    Did they have some kind of super-duper martial-arts skills?
    They probably did, but probably didn't need it (see above on pilots'). I thought that some of the hijackers studied jiu jitsu intensively. Jiu jitsu > any other single martial art. Superior grappling skills + box cutters = cockpit ownage.

    I just think we don't know the actual tactics that took those planes.
    And likely never will, but that doens't mean that the official, most likely, very plausible story is a cover-up.

  • ||

    gutta percha:

    Wow, what an incredible story. Thanks for the link.

  • ||

    Only one comment, after seeing the passenger list of Flight 93:

    New Jersey, represent.

  • ||

    To everyone who says "too soon," I can only imagine how torn up you were by Farenheit 911. That Michael Moore sure is insenstive.

    Weirdly, I never heard anyone, not one soul, make that assertion. Hmmm...

  • ||

    It shows how formidably pilots will fight to defend themselves and control of the aircraft.

    Yes, I remember reading the NTSB report on that incident yeas ago - it is an amazing story. But in that case there was only one attacker, yet consider the seriousness of the injuries he was able to inflict. On the hijacked flights you had four or five - so I'd say it is no surprise that four or five people could quickly overpower a flight crew; if they had some kind of pepper spray, all the easier. Even with one guy left to scare the passengers into submission with threats of a bomb, that still leaves three or four to attack the pilots. I'd say it is not all that surprising that they succeeded.

  • ||

    To know that you are doomed and to struggle until the very end--well, "heroic" doesn't begin to cover it.

    I'm not sure that "heroic" covers it at all. Maybe I'm uniquely amoral (though I doubt it), but in that situation my calculation would have been that the only way to preserve my own life was to thwart the hijacking. I'm not at all sure that the well-being of the inhabitants of the Capitol, or whatever, would have entered into it. I don't think that struggling to preserve one's own life really has a moral dimension: it's just about the most powerful instinct we have.

    I don't really understand people's need to mythologise in this way.

  • ||

    I can't argue with your 4:10 post, John.

    It is a dead issue.

  • ||

    Hey Mark, you're not uniquely amoral. You're just a typical dipshit troll. Die in fire, or better yet, a few weeks after a fire.

  • joey||

    Liberal men have always been uncomfortable with any tale of heroism. They've been molded their entire lives to be effeminate nancy boys that chose to 'reason' with others to settle disputes and they've been told that anything, wars, culture clashes, muggings, robberies, home invasions, can be solved with some hand holding, candle light vigiles, and harmonic convergences. Having this rubbed in their faces in beyond the pale. Does this movie mean we're to expect them to rise to any such challenge? They could spill their latte, break a nail, or harsh their buzz by standing up and fighting.

    This will never do. To a liberal a hero is someone who admits they're gay in public or stands up for the rights of a death row inmate. A liberal can rally around, and safely behind, a hero like that.

    It is too soon. It's too soon to be raising the bar for what it takes to be called a hero. Too soon to be reminding people why there's a war, why young men and women volunteer to fight, and to soon in the election cycle.

  • ||

    My email's real, sissyboy. Care to say that to my liberal face?

  • ||

    "My email's real, sissyboy. Care to say that to my liberal face?" - joe

    joe, here's some friendly advice: either stop saying stupid crap like that or buy a pistol and a shotgun and train your wife and yourself to hit the target. Anything else is pretty irresponsible if you're posting with no hope of anononymity. Crazy people exist, and some of them will take you up on your bravado... Just sayin', amigo. As much as I disagree with you, you're still a good guy who doesn't deserve insanity like that.

    joey - Knock it off. You show up at joe's and joe shoots you, then someone will think it's my fault...

    "Common misconception. Most folks in the armed services get only the most rudimentrary H2H training in basic, then rarely see anything like that again." - Guy

    Sadly true. But there are also plenty of us who have studied everything from striking to grappling to pressure point manipulation and anything else we could pick up along the way. I'd have loved to be on a hijacked plane full of military, wrestlers and martial artists. Solely to help dole out the comeuppance those SOBs richly deserve.

    The good guys would sweep the bad guys with (most likely) only a few deep cuts that wouldn't be fatal and First Aid would be sufficient until real medical assistance on the ground.

    "Jiu jitsu > any other single martial art. Superior grappling skills + box cutters = cockpit ownage" - Guy

    Not true. Jiu jitsu is a great style and incredibly useful, but like any style it has its limitations. It's most effective when and if you've got 1) room to roll around on the floor and 2) the floor is nice and soft and broken-glass free and 3) you can afford to concentrate all of your grappling skills on one opponent.

    In an environment like a passenger jet, the guy with the box-cutter is in charge (regardless of training) because he can kill much more quickly -for the simple reason that he's armed. (In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. In the land of the disarmed, the guy with the pointy/sharp object is king).

    Anyone defending the plane is going to get cut, but numbers and skill count - especially against an adversary whose weapons are limited to a 1 inch blade. And until firearms are allowed on passenger jets, a group of guys who can handle unarmed combat is your best safety net. What are the odds any of us will fly with a group that includes "full of military, wrestlers and martial artists"?

    Better to have one little old lady with a pistol, frankly...

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