Hanjour's flying skills
However, when Hanjour went on three test runs in the second week of August
He had trouble controlling and landing a single engine Cessna 172.
Who says this? It’s not in the video. Hanjour did have a commercial instrument-rated pilot license. Had he flown a 172 before? How about a little research, guys? Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if takeoffs and landings were what he practiced the least on the ol’ flight simulator.
Yes, Loose Change doesn't provide the source, so I do: Source
" And consensus was , he was very quiet, " " average, or below average piloting skills, "
" English was very poor " " so, that's about the best description I can get, give you "
Now THAT was an earth-shattering inteview.
A minute and 8 seconds to hear that Hanjour was a nice guy who was instrument-rated but who wasn’t a great Cessna pilot? How hurting can you be for filler? How about at least telling us that Hanjour wasn’t able to rent the Cessna?
From the Greenbelt (Maryland) Gazette:
Well, to say "he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it" is an oversimplification of what actually happened. But we will go into the maneuver of Flight 77 later. And it's also important to note that Bernard didn't instruct Hanjour personaly, but two of his employess have, the insturctors Baxter and Conner.The standard evaluation consists of one-to-one-and-a-half-hour flights east over the Chesapeake Bay area. Hanjour paid $400 cash and provided a valid pilot's license from Arizona, Bernard said. He failed because he showed problems landing the airplane and the flight instructor had to help him, Bernard said. But Hanjour's problems were nothing unusual, Bernard said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that once (Flight 77) got going, he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it.” Gazette (Greenbelt), 9/21/2001
But let's look at Hani Hanjour's flying skills in a chronological timeline:
September 96 - Academy of Aeronautics
According to Hanjour's brother, Yasser, Hanis intention to visit flight schools in the USA was because he wanted to become a pilot for the Saudi national airline.
The Saudi carrier required Saudi pilots to be FAA-certified in the United States. (This, Saudi officials point out, explains why so many Saudis were in US flight schools. Since Sept. 11, the Saudi regulation has been changed.) Source
After being rejected by a Saudi flight school, Hanjour returned to the United States to pursue flight training in 1996. Source
At the end of this period, Hanjour enrolls on a rigorous one-year flight training program at the renowned Sierra Academy of Aeronautics, in Oakland. However, he only attends the 30-minute orientation class, on September 8, and then never returns. CBS 5 (San Francisco), 10/10/2001San Francisco Chronicle, 10/10/2001Associated Press, 10/11/2001Associated Press, 5/10/2002While in Oakland, he enrolled at the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics. He attended a 30-minute class on Sept. 8 and never came back. Dan Shaffer, the academy's vice president for flight operations, speculated that Hanjour was intimidated by the school's two-year training regimen and $35,000 price tag. Source
End of 96 - CRM Airline Training Center Scottsdale, Arizona
Certainly, Hanjour's own piloting skills were shaky. He took lessons at a Scottsdale, Ariz., flight school four years ago, but eventually was asked to leave by instructors who said his skills were poor and his manner difficult. Source
For someone suspected of steering a jetliner into the Pentagon, the 29-year-old man who used the name Hani Hanjour sure convinced a lot of people he barely knew how to fly.
Hanjour attended CRM Airline Training Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. Duncan Hastie, the owner of CRM, said Hanjour attended the school the last three months of 1996. Then Hanjour "sort of disappeared," he said, returning in December 1997.
Hastie said Hanjour wasn't much of a pilot.
"One of the first accomplishments of someone in flight school is to fly a plane without an instructor," Hastie said. "It is a confidence-building procedure. He managed to do that. That is like being able to pull a car out and drive down the street. It is not driving on the freeway."
Hastie said that three months normally would be enough to earn a private pilot's certificate, but Hanjour "did not accomplish that at my school."
After Hanjour last took classes at the school, he called back numerous times to ask about further instruction. At least once, Hastie recalled, Hanjour said he was living in Florida. He told Hastie he had continued with his training.
"He was a pain in the rear," Hastie said. "We didn't want him back at our school because he was not serious about becoming a good pilot." Source
During three months of instruction in late 1996, Duncan K.M. Hastie, CRM's owner, found Hanjour a "weak student" who "was wasting our resources." Hanjour left, then returned in December 1997 - a year later - and stayed only a few weeks. Over the next three years, Hanjour called Hastie about twice a year, asking to come back for more instruction.
"I would recognize his voice," Hastie said. "He was always talking about wanting more training. Yes, he wanted to be an airline pilot. That was his stated goal. That's why I didn't allow him to come back. I thought, 'You're never going to make it.' Source
In the spring of 2000, Hanjour had asked to enroll in the CRM Airline Training Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., for advanced training, said the center's attorney, Gerald Chilton Jr. Hanjour had attended the school for three months in late 1996 and again in December 1997 but never finished coursework for a license to fly a single-engine aircraft, Chilton said.
When Hanjour reapplied to the center last year, "We declined to provide training to him because we didn't think he was a good enough student when he was there in 1996 and 1997," Chilton said. Newsday (12/23/01)
January 1998 - Arizona Aviation Mesa, ArizonaHe also was trained for a few months at a private school in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1996, but did not finish the course because instructors felt he was not capable.Source
1998 - Sawyer School of Aviation Phoenix, Arizona
April 1999 - Sunbird Flight Services Tempe, ArizonaOver five years, Hanjour hopscotched among flight schools and airplane rental companies, but his instructors regarded him as a poor student, even in the weeks before the attacks.
Wes Fults, the former manager of the flight simulator at Sawyer School of Aviation in Phoenix, gave Hanjour a one-hour orientation lesson when he arrived as a new member of the school's "sim club" in 1998. "Mr. Hanjour was, if not dour, to some degree furtive. He never looked happy," Fults recalled. "He had only the barest understanding what the instruments were there to do"
.... In 1998, he joined the simulator club at Sawyer, a small Phoenix school known locally as a flight school of last resort. "It was a commonly held truth that, if you failed anywhere else, go to Sawyer Aviation. They had good instructors," said Fults, the former simulator manager there.
Sawyer's simulator is in a closet-sized room that students and pilots alike use to practice the basics of instrument flight. Fults remembers Hanjour as "a neophyte. ... The impression I got is he came and, like a lot of guys, got overwhelmed with the instruments." He used the simulator perhaps three or four more times, Fults said, then "disappeared like a fog." Washington Post, 10/15/2001
Sunbird Flight Services residents at Chandler Municipal Airport.Agency records show that Hanjour was certified as an "Airplane Multi-Engine Land/Commercial Pilot" on April 15, 1999, by Daryl Strong , a designated pilot examiner in Tempe, Ariz. It was the last of three certifications Hanjour obtained from private examiners.
Strong, 71, said his flight logs confirm that he conducted a check ride with Mr. Hanjour in 1999 in a twin-engine Piper Apache but that he remembers nothing remarkable about him. Source
After he got his license,
So Hanjour went to the United States in 1999 and received his certificate, but came home and still couldn't land a job with the airline. Source"Hanjour reportedly applied to the civil aviation school in Jeddah after returning home, but was rejected."Commission Report
In a CBC-Article, dealing with Hanjour's license, it's written that one of Hanjour's instructors, an Arab-American man, came under pressure by the FBI. He told agents that Hanjour was "a very average pilot, maybe struggling a little bit." The instructor added, "Maybe his English wasn't very good." Source
But this instructor remains unkmown, also his company and the time when he trained Hanjour (it's only stated that it was before he got his license, April 15. 99).
Dezember 2000 - Arizona Aviation Phoenix, Arizona
January/February 2001 - Jet Tech International Phoenix, ArizonaHazmi and Hanjour left San Diego almost immediately and drove to Arizona. Settling in Mesa, Hanjour began refresher training at his old school, Arizona Aviation. He wanted to train on multi-engine planes, but had difficulties because his English was not good enough. The instructor advised him to discontinue but Hanjour said he could not go home without completing the training. Commission Report
"Staff members characterized Mr. Hanjour as polite, meek and very quiet. But most of all, the former employee said, they considered him a very bad pilot.
"I'm still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon," the former employee said. "He could not fly at all." -New York Times (5/04/02)
Instructors at a flying school in Phoenix, Arizona express concern to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials about the poor English and limited flying skills of one of their students, Hani Hanjour.
They believe his pilot's license may be fraudulent.
The FAA finds it is genuine - but school administrators tell Mr. Hanjour he will not qualify for an advanced certificate." BBC (5/17/02)
Jet Tech has closed in the meantime and was owned by Pan Am International Flight Academy."Months before Hani Hanjour is believed to have flown an American Airlines jet into the Pentagon, managers at an Arizona flight school reported him at least five times to the FAA.
They reported him not because they feared he was a terrorist, but because his English and flying skills were so bad...they didn't think he should keep his pilot's license.
" I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had." Peggy Chevrette, Arizona flight school manager."CBS News (5/10/02)
Early 2001 - Pan Am Intern. Flight Academy Mesa, Arizona
April 2001 - Air Fleet Trainings System Teterboro, New Jersey
June/Juli 2001 - Caldwell Flight Academy Fairfield, New Jersey[u/]Hanjour, too, requested to fly the Hudson Corridor about this same time, at Air Fleet Training Systems in Teterboro, New Jersey, where he started receiving ground instruction soon after settling in the area with Hazmi. Hanjour flew the Hudson Corridor, but his instructor declined a second request because of what he considered Hanjour's poor piloting skills. Commission Report
Shortly thereafter, Hanjour switched to Caldwell Flight Academy in Fairfield, New Jersey, where he rented small aircraft on several occasions during June and July. In one such instance on July 20, Hanjour-likely accompanied by Hazmi-rented a plane from Caldwell and took a practice flight from Fairfield to Gaithersburg, Maryland, a route that would have allowed them to fly near Washington, D.C. Other evidence suggests that Hanjour may even have returned to Arizona for flight simulator training earlier in June. Commission Report
But Cooperative Research notes:
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Caldwell’s owner will confirm that several suspects sought by the FBI, reportedly including Mohamed Atta, had rented planes from him, though when they did so is unstated. A search of the Lexis Nexus database indicates there are no media accounts of any witnesses recalling Hanjour or any of the other hijackers attending these schools. Source
August 2001 - Freeway Aviation Bowie, Maryland
Hanjour, always an uncertain pilot, showed up at flight school in Bowie, Md. Three times, he attempted to rent a plane. Each time, a different instructor took him on a test flight and deemed him incompetent to fly alone.
"We have a level of standards that we hold all our pilots to, and he couldn't meet it," said the manager of the flight school.
Hanjour could not handle basic air maneuvers, the manager said. Hanjour was also reluctant to provide his address, a standard part of the plane rental application. Source
That plot was in high gear by the second week of August, when Hanjour arrived in the Washington area for what appears to have been his final preparation - this time, at Freeway Airport in Bowie, Md. Instructors once again questioned his competence. After three sessions in a single-engine plane, the school decided Hanjour was not ready to rent a plane by himself. Cape Cod Times (10/21/02)
"Instructors at the school told Bernard that after three times in the air, they still felt he was unable to fly solo and that Hanjour seemed disappointed.
Hanjour had 600 hours listed in his log book, Bernard said, and instructors were surprised he was not able to fly better with the amount of experience he had." Source
„However, when Baxter and fellow instructor Ben Conner took the slender, soft-spoken Hanjour on three test runs during the second week of August, they found he had trouble controlling and landing the single-engine Cessna 172. Even though Hanjour showed a federal pilot's license and a log book cataloging 600 hours of flying experience, chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard declined to rent him a plane without more lessons.“ Source
August 2001 - Congressional Air Charters Gaithersburg, Maryland
According to a footnote in the 9/11 Commission Report, some time in August 2001 Hanjour successfully conducts “a challenging certification flight supervised by an instructor at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg, Maryland, landing at a small airport with a difficult approach.” The instructor thinks that “Hanjour may have had training from a military pilot because he used a terrain recognition system for navigation.” 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 248 and 531
Cooperative Research states that
"besides the 9/11 Commission Report, no other evidence exists of Hanjour passing this certification flight. A search of the Lexis Nexus database indicates there are no mentions of Hanjour attending this school, or any witnesses recalling him there." Source
According to the 'Chronology of Events for Hijackers, 8/16/01 - 9/11/01, Hani Hanjour' from the Moussaoui-Trial, Hanjour took this lesson on the 20th of August at 15.00h and paid in cash.
A man who answered the phone at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg declined to give his name and said the company no longer gives flight instruction. On July 20, 2001, Hanjour - likely accompanied by Nawaf al-Hazmi, another member of the Flight 77 team - completed a 'challenging certification flight' supervised by an instructor from Congressional, according to the report of the 9/11 Commission. Source
The Commission-Report's statement contradicts all others. And as we've seen there's no evidence that this certification flight ever happened. The Commission-report quotes an anonymous instructor who thinks that Hanjour had "training from a military pilot". As there's no way that Hanjour could improve his skills in a few days more than in five years before, there are only two possibilities: this story is complete fraud, or it is true but then the instructor is obviously not talking about the same Hanjour.
September 1996 Aeronautic Academy: He attended a 30-minute class on Sept. 8 and never came back.
End of 1996 CRM: skills were poor - barely knew how to fly. - wasn't much of a pilot. - pain in the rear - not serious about becoming a good pilot - a pretty weak student - wasting our resources - he was not capable
January 1998 Arizona Aviation: supposedly receives his commercial pilot rating while there.
1998 Saywer School: only the barest understanding what the instruments were there to do - got overwhelmed with the instruments.
before April 1999 Anonymous instructor/flight school - very average pilot, maybe struggling a little bit
April 1999 Sunbird Flight Service - nothing remarkable
Dezember 2000 Arizona Aviation: instructor advised him to discontinue
January/February 2001 Jet Tech: a very bad pilot. - He could not fly at all.-express concern to Federal Aviation Administration - not qualify for an advanced certificate - flying skills were so bad...they didn't think he should keep his pilot's license. " I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had.
Early 2001 Pan Am International: An instructor there found his work well below standard and discouraged him from continuing.
April 2001 Air Fleet Trainings: poor piloting skills.
June/Juli 2001 Caldwell: still in question that he ever been there
August 2001 Freeway Aviation: incompetent to fly alone. - could not handle basic air maneuvers - was not ready to rent a plane by himself. - unable to fly solo - instructors were surprised he was not able to fly better with the amount of experience
August 01 Congressional Air Charters: challenging certification flight - with a difficult approach - training from a military pilot - still in question that he ever been there
So if we take Bernard's 'average, low-average' as a 'neutral' reference point, than we have only three sources certifying Hanjour better skills. An anonymous instructor from an anonymous flight school (see April 1999), an anonymous instructor from Congressional Air Charters (a company which no longer gives flight instructions), who thought Hanjour had been trained by a military pilot (see August 2001), and Daryl Strong, who signed Hanjours multi-engine license and is a private contractor to the FAA. A FAA spokesman said:
"Designees have a financial interest in certifying as many people as possible, Awsumb argued. "They receive between $200 and $300 for each flight check," she said. "If they get a reputation for being tough, they won't get any business." Source
This may explain very well why Strong "remembered nothing remarkable". On the other side we have testimonies from seven different flight-schools certifying Hanjour's low-average/poor flight skills.
Besides flying an airplane, Hanjour wasn't even competent enough to pass a driving test.
After being fined for speeding the day before Hanjour fails a test to obtain a Virginia driver’s license. Hanjour already has an Arizona driving license and an international driving license. According to the Virginia police, Hanjour also has a Florida driver’s license, although the 9/11 Commission will dispute this. Source
Despite of all the reports of Hanjour's weak piloting skills, the Commission-Report concludes:
"Among the five hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 77, Hani Hanjour was the sole individual who FAA records show completed flight training and received FAA pilot certification. Hanjour received his commercial multi-engine pilot certificate from the FAA in March 1999. He received extensive flight training in the United States including flight simulator training, and was perhaps the most experienced and highly trained pilot among the 9/11 hijackers." Commission Report
and state that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed assigned the Pentagon target specifically to Hanjour because he was “the operation’s most experienced pilot.” 9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 530
If he was the best, how worse the others had to be! But the Commission-Report is wrong, at least Mohamed Atta (Flight 11) had better skills than Hanjour.
9:38. Arlington, Virginia.
Hani Hanjour allegedly executes a 330 degree turn at 530 MPH
The 9/11 Commission says it was 330 degrees, most other sources I’ve seen say it was 270.
Hanjour first overflew the Pentagon at 7,000 feet. The turnaround may have been due, not to great skill, but to inexperience.
Let's start with a statement from General Schwarzkopf regarding the Pentagon-Maneuver, made in the evening of 9/11. This rare clip contains also some interesting footage of the Pentagon: WMV 18mB
Here are other reports:
"But just as the plane seemed to be on a suicide mission into the White House, the unidentified pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver."
"Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm, possibly one of the hijackers." Washington Post (9/12/01)
But on the morning of Sept. 11, as Flight 77 veered off its course to Los Angeles and streaked toward Washington and the Pentagon, Hanjour is thought to have been the one who executed what a top aviation source called "a nice, coordinated turn." Washington Post (09/30/01)
"Q: How could terrorists fly these? Were they trained?
A: Whoever flew at least three of the death planes seemed very skilled. Investigators are impressed that they were schooled enough to turn off flight transponders -- which provide tower control with flight ID, altitude and location. Investigators are particularly impressed with the pilot who slammed into the Pentagon and, just before impact, performed a tightly banked 270-degree turn at low altitude with almost military precision." Detroit News (9/13/01)
"New radar evidence obtained by CBS News strongly suggests that the hijacked jetliner which crashed into the Pentagon hit its intended target."
"But the jet, flying at more than 400 mph, was too fast and too high when it neared the Pentagon at 9:35. The hijacker-pilots were then forced to execute a difficult high-speed descending turn."
"Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes."CBS (9/21/01)
"To pull off the coordinated aerial attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Tuesday, the hijackers must have been extremely knowledgeable and capable aviators, a flight expert said.
By seizing four planes, diverting them from scheduled flight paths and managing to crash two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, they must have had plenty of skill and training.
It was not known how the hijackers slipped through airport security checkpoints with their weapons.
There are no indications that any of the airline crews activated a four-digit code alerting ground controllers that a hijacking was in progress." CNN (9/12/01)
"The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane," says O'Brien. "You don't fly a 757 in that manner. It's unsafe." ABC (10/24/01)
Loose Change used this quote, but without the 'it's unsafe' comment at the end. That's why Screw Loose Change claims that this statement - as a whole - debunks by itself the point here made by Loose Change. But let's look closer: experienced air traffic controllers, which have monitored the radar, thought to that time it was a military plane. The 757-statement is an interpretation made afterwards, when it was announced that Flight 77 crashed at the Pentagon. At the moment he's talking of none of them had thought that it could be a 757. And that's the point here! And this becomes absolute clear if we follow his statement:
"And it went six, five, four. And I had it in my mouth to say, three, and all of a sudden the plane turned away. In the room, it was almost a sense of relief. This must be a fighter. This must be one of our guys sent in, scrambled to patrol our capital, and to protect our president, and we sat back in our chairs and breathed for just a second," says O'Brien.
But the plane continued to turn right until it had made a 360-degree maneuver."
After the attacks, for example, aviation experts concluded that the final maneuvers of American Airlines Flight 77 -- a tight turn followed by a steep, accurate descent into the Pentagon -- was the work of "a great talent . . . virtually a textbook turn and landing," the law enforcement official said. Washington Post, (9/10/2002)
Markus Kirschneck, from the pilots-association "Cockpit":
"The Pentagon-Maneuver was one of the most difficult maneuvers you could do with a passengers-jet at all." Source (in German)
And from Webster Tarpleys book: 9/11 Synthetic Terror:
In a CNN interview on September 15, 2001, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak commented about the 9/11 events. His testimony is of interest because he spent his military career as a fighter pilot in the Egyptian Air Force. Mubarak was also one of the world leaders who had tried to warn the US government about what was coming in the summer of 2001. Mubarak said first of all that he found the US government’s official version, which was then taking shape, technically implausible. Mubarak: “Not any intelligence in the world could have the capability in the world to say they are going to use commercial planes with passengers on board to crash the towers, to crash the Pentagon, those who did that should have flown in the area for a long time, for example. The Pentagon is not very high, a pilot could come straight to the Pentagon like this to hit, he should have flown a lot in this area to know the obstacles which could meet him when
he is flying very low with a big commercial plane to hit the Pentagon in a special place. Somebody has studied this very well, someone has flown in this area very much.”
Nikki Lauda, a legendary Formula One race driver, was a pilot and the founder of his
own airline. He was asked by Jauch: “Is it easy to learn, we’ve seen that a video was
found in a car near the Boston airport, and people think that the car belonged to a
kidnapper, who had used it to bone up in advance on what the inside of a cockpit looks like. Is it so simple, for example, to learn that with the help of a computer simulator?”
Lauda judged that “these gentlemen were properly trained to fly a plane like that.” In
particular, he stressed that “you have to know exactly what the turning radius of a planelike that is, if I am trying to hit the World Trade Center. That means, these had to be fully trained 767 or 757 pilots, because otherwise they would have missed. It certainly could not be the case that some half-trained pilot tries it somehow, because then he will not hit it. That’s not so easy, coming out of a curve….If he’s coming out of a curve, then he has to know precisely the turning radius that derives from the speed of the plane in order to be able to calculate it, so that he will hit right there.”
Jauch asked which was harder to hit, the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. Lauda:“Well, what impressed me is the organization of this whole operation, since without good weather it would have not been possible at all, because then you can’t see anything. These were visual flights, using VFR [visual flight rules] as we call them. And so the World Trade Center is relatively easy to find, because it is stands out so tall…. The Pentagon is another matter again, because it is a building that is relatively flat. That means, they had to be trained well enough that they had flown around in the air in the New York area, I would speculate, so they could see the scene from above of where the building is located and how you could best reach it.” To hit a flat building like the Pentagon is “an even more difficult case” than the World Trade Center.
Lauda: “That means, to fly downwards out of a curve, and still hit the building in its core, I would have to be the best trained of all. I would speculate that a normal airline pilot would have a hard time with that, because you are simply not prepared for things like that. That means, they must have had some super-training to have been able to handle an airliner so precisely.”
In the days after 9/11, a private group of US military and civilian pilots held a seminar to evaluate this crucial feature of the official story – could the hijackers have flown the planes with the requisite accuracy? After 72 hours of deliberation and discussion, they issued a press release summarizing their findings: “The so-called terrorist attack was in fact a superbly executed military operation carried out against the USA, requiring the utmost professional military skill in command, communications and control. It was flawless in timing, in the choice of selected aircraft to be used as guided missiles and in the coordinated delivery of those missiles to their pre-selected targets.”
One of the organizers of the seminar, retired Colonel Donn Grandpre, said that it would be impossible for novices to have taken control of the four aircraft and orchestrated such a complicated operation, which obviously had as a prerequisite military precision of the highest order. The seminar concluded that it was likely that the hijackers were not the ones in control of the aircraft.
One participant in the seminar was a US Air Force officer who flew over 100 sorties
during the Vietnam war. This experienced combat pilot concluded that “Those birds
either had a crack fighter pilot in the left seat, or they were being maneuvered by remote control.”
Another spokesman for the group was identified as Captain Kent Hill (USAF retired),
who was reportedly a friend of Chic Burlingame, the pilot of the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Hill recalled that the US had already carried out multiple flights of an unmanned aircraft, similar in size to a Boeing 737, between Edwards Air Force base in California across the Pacific to South Australia. Hill said this plane had flown on a preprogrammed flight path under the supervision of a pilot in an outside station.
But others disagree that much skill is needed to perform the maneuvers the hijackers made:
"It doesn't take that much skill; just enough knowledge to home in on a radio station in New York or Washington, and the needle (zeroes) right in," said McNicol, referring to the automatic direction finder that steers an aircraft. "You don't have to know anything about flying, other than the wings have to be level to fly straight." McNicol noted that the suspects, some of whom attended flight schools in Florida and Arizona, "probably got all the information they needed [there]." (...)
A pilot with only a couple of hundred hours experience could have pulled off the operation, concurred Richard Theokas, chairman of the flight training department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. "You just need to know how to fly straight and level and keep on target," Theokas said. "These guys allowed others to take off, and they didn't have to land it." Source
But here's the talk of 'fly straight and keep on target' which wasn't the case with Flight 77 (and also Flight 175, aiming at the WTC in a curve). This is the same false asumption Bernard made when he talked of "he could have pointed that plane at a building and hit it." and not of a 330 degree turn and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes.
Hitting a target directly is the easy maneuver, hitting as it was executed at the Pentagon, is the hard one.
So, if this maneuver was due to 'incompetence', why was he competent enough to perform a 330 degree turn (hard one), but not competent enough to hit it directly (easy one)? And if he was so incompetent, would he have recognized early enough to see that he was too high/fast to hit it directly and then make a loop in this accuracy?
But, from the dutch TV we have the following clip showing us in a simulator, how easy it is to hit the Pentagon, even under the actaul conditions (rapid descending and flying in a curve): About 4:40 in the video
However, this experiment doesn't proof that Hanjour had the capabilities to do the maneuver. First, though it's said that the pilot from the experiment is comparable with Hanjour, i.e.experience only on small planes and simulators, we don't know what his actual skills are. Was he also described as a "poor pilot", "overhelmed with the instruments", and "advised to discontinue"? That he has experience only on small planes and simulators like Hanjour, does this in any way affect the skills of Hanjour?
Second, as it's the easier way to hit it direct on, I think we can asume that the decision to hit it from a curve was made relatively spontaneously. The pilot from the experiment knew before he started that he had to perform such a maneuver. So he had time to think of, to calculate when would be the best moment to perform, etc. And of course, he had not be afraid of being shot down or passengers revolting or to get nervous about going to die in a few minutes.
Third, the experiment excluded real-scenario items like flying level to the ground including hitting light poles, g-forces, etc making the whole maneuver more difficult.
Let's look into another aspect of the maneuver-scenario:
"The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it's clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed." Source
The question is 'Why was there no fight going on'? Though this question might at first occur unreasonable, let's not forget the official version in the case of Flight 93: Passengers knew that they were on a suicide mission so they made the decision to strike back. Let's compare this with Flight 77.
At least ten of the 59 passengers had a military background and 21 of them were involved in government/defense related work, including Korea-, Vietnam-, and Gulf-war veterans. Which means that we can assume that they wouldn't go into death without resistance. ( compilation of infos about the passengers )
There were two cell-phone calls from flight 77. The first from flight attendant Renee May at 9:12, the second from Barbara Olsen at 9:16. This means they phoned AFTER the second plane hit the WTC.
"'Unlike the earlier flights, the Flight 77 hijackers were reported by a passenger to have box cutters. At some point between 9:16 and 9:26, Barbara Olson called her husband, Ted Olson, the solicitor general of the United States. She reported that the flight had been hijacked, and the hijackers had knives and box cutters. She further indicated that the hijackers were not aware of her phone call, and that they had put all the passengers in the back of the plane. About a minute into the conversation, the call was cut off. Solicitor General Olson tried unsuccessfully to reach Attorney General John Ashcroft. Shortly after the first call, Barbara Olson reached her husband again. She reported that the pilot had announced that the flight had been hijacked, and she asked her husband what she should tell the captain to do. Ted Olson asked for her location and she replied that the aircraft was then flying over houses.
Another passenger told her they were traveling northeast. The Solicitor General then informed his wife of the two previous hijackings and crashes. She did not display signs of panic and did not indicate any awareness of an impending crash. At that point, the second call was cut off." Commission Report
"Herded to the back of the plane by hijackers armed with knives and box-cutters, the passengers and crew members of American Airlines Flight 77 -- including the wife of Solicitor General Theodore Olson -- were ordered to call relatives to say they were about to die." Washington Post (09/12/01)
So the passengers of flight 77 were aware that they were not dealing with a normal hijacking. They were aware that they were going to die.
I think it's safe to say that every normal person would have fight for survival, and certainly the passengers (not to forget the crew!) with military background would have fought back! Many of them were confrontated with live-threating situations before! Against maximum FOUR hjackers with BOXCUTTERS!
Bottomline: Loose Change is backed up by the facts. Screw Loose Change didn't debunk Loose Change.