Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

August 25, 2006

9-11 Air Traffic Control recordings and flight paths released

Filed under: Aviation Security,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Kate Phillips on August 25, 2006

The George Washington University’s National Security Archive posted earlier this monththe full transcripts of the 9-11 air traffic control recordings, as well as detailed flight paths for three of the four hijacked airplanes. The documents, released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) on a FOIA request, were previously summarized in the 9/11 Commission Report. However, there are some minor differences–and certainly additional detail–to be found in the text:

For example, the NTSB transcript differs slightly from the Commission’s text of the warning that United Airlines Flight 93 received only minutes before the hijackers attacked. At 9:23am, the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) shows a text message to Flight 93 reading: “BEWARE OF ANY COCKPIT INTROUSION [sic]. TWO AIRCRAFT IN NY, HIT TRADE CNTER BUILDS [sic].” Five minutes later at 9:28am Flight 93 was sending the message “***(mayday)*** (hey get out of here) ***” as it was being hijacked.

The Flight Path Studies reconstruct the routes of American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 175. Complied from recorded radar data and information from the Flight Data Recorders, the studies’ illustrations of radar ground tracks, maps and altitude profiles provide graphic guides to each hijacking and were used by the NTSB to determine the takeover points where the hijackers gained control of the planes.

For a reference point, you can access the first chapter of the 9/11 Commission Report here.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

August 25, 2006 @ 10:42 am

Welcome Kate! I wonder if the 9/11 Commission Public Discourse Project could follow up on an annual basis. I know there interview data and notes are scheduled to become public in 2009. But there follow-ups are pretty darn interesting. With the dribble of info here and there it would be interesting to see how their report calibrates at least through the public release of their underlying data and of course the members individual comments are invaluable. Like the Warren Commission time will tell but only if everyone cooperates.

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