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Old 01-18-2012, 01:37 PM
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Default Major Heather Penney on September 11, 2001.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/300959-1

First read this and then there is also an 1 hr interview here with
LT Heather Penny on c-span...if you have the time some evening it is a
fascinating interview.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/300959-1



First time I've heard of this mission. Here is a very sobering thought,

from a pilot to pilots. By Steve Hendrix.

F-16 pilot Heather Penney was ordered to fly a suicide mission on Sept. 11, 2001,

to bring down United Flight 93. "I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot," she recalls

10 years later.

On the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather "Lucky" Penney was on a

runway at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and ready to fly. She had her hand

on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines

Flight 93. The day's fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward

Washington , D.C. Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that

morning, was told to stop it.

The one thing she didn't have as she roared into the sky was live

ammunition. Or missiles. Or anything to throw at a hostile aircraft. Except her

own plane. So that was the plan. Because the surprise attacks were unfolding, in

that innocent age, faster than their warplanes could be armed, Penney and her

commanding officer went up to fly their jets straight into a Boeing 757. "We

wouldn't be shooting it down. We'd be ramming the aircraft," Penney recalls of

that day. "I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot."

For years, Penney, one of the first generation of U.S. female combat

pilots, gave no interviews about her experiences on Sept.

11, which included, eventually, escorting Air Force One back into

Washington 's suddenly highly restricted airspace. But 10 years later, she is

reflecting on one of the lesser-told tales of that endlessly examined morning:

how the first counterpunch the U.S. military prepared to throw at the attackers

was effectively a suicide mission. "We had to protect the airspace any way we

could," she said last week in her office at Lockheed Martin, where she is a

director in the F-35 program. Penney, now a major, is no longer a combat flier.

She flew two tours in Iraq and serves as a part-time National Guard pilot,

mostly hauling VIPs around in a military Gulfstream. She takes the stick of her

own vintage 1941 Taylorcraft tail-dragger whenever she can. She was a rookie in

2001, the first female F-16 pilot at the 121st Fighter Squadron of the D.C. Air

National Guard. She had grown up smelling jet fuel. Her father flew jets in

Vietnam and still races them. She earned her pilot's license when she was a

literature major at Purdue. She planned to be a teacher. But during a graduate

program in American studies, Congress opened combat aviation to women, and

Penney was nearly first in line.

"I signed up immediately. I wanted to be a fighter pilot like my dad," she said.

On that Tuesday, she and her colleagues had just finished two weeks of

air-combat training in Nevada . They were sitting around a briefing table when

someone looked in to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York .

When it happened once, they assumed it was some yahoo in a Cessna. When it

happened again, they knew it was war. In the monumental confusion of those first

hours, it was impossible to get clear orders. Nothing was ready. The jets were

still equipped with dummy bullets from the training mission. There were no armed

aircraft standing by and no system in place to scramble them over Washington .

"There was no perceived threat at the time, especially one coming from the

homeland like that," said Col. George Degnon, vice commander of the

113th Wing at Andrews.

Things are different today, Degnon said. At least two "hot-cocked" planes

are ready at all times, their pilots never more than yards from the jet.

A third plane hit the Pentagon, and almost at once came word that a fourth

plane, maybe more, could be on the way. The jets would be armed within an hour,

but somebody had to fly now, weapons or no weapons. "Lucky, you're coming with

me," Col. Marc Sasseville barked. They were gearing up in the preflight life-support

area when Sasseville, struggling into his flight suit, met her eye. "I'm going

to go for the cockpit,"Sasseville said. She replied without hesitating.

"I'll take the tail." It was a plan. And a pact. "Let's go!" She climbed in,

rushed to power up the engines, screamed for her ground crew to pull the chocks.

She muttered a fighter pilot's prayer "God, don't let me (expletive) up" and followed

Sasseville into the sky.


They screamed over the smoldering Pentagon, heading northwest at more than

400 mph, flying low and scanning the clear horizon.

Her commander had time to think about the best place to hit the enemy. Grim

calculations, "We don't train to bring down airliners," said Sasseville, now

stationed at the Pentagon. "If you just hit the engine, it could still glide and

(the pilot) could guide it to a target. My thought was the cockpit or the wing.

"He also thought about his ejection seat. Would there be an instant just before

impact? "I was hoping to do both at the same time," he said. "It probably wasn't

going to work, but that's what I was hoping." Penney worried about missing the

target if she tried to bail out. "If you eject and your jet soars through

without impact ... ," she trailed off, the thought of failing more dreadful than

the thought of dying. Unexpected outcome. But she didn't have to die. She didn't

have to knock down an airliner full of children and salespeople and loved ones.

The passengers did that themselves.



It was hours before Penney and Sasseville learned that United

93 had gone down in Pennsylvania, an insurrection by hostages willing to do

what the two Guard pilots had been willing to do:

Anything and everything. "The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93

who were willing to sacrifice themselves," Penney said. "I was just an

accidental witness to history." She and Sasseville flew the rest of the day,

clearing the airspace, escorting the president, looking down onto a city that

would soon be sending them to war. She's a single mom of two girls now and still

loves to fly. And she thinks often of that extraordinary ride down the runway.

"I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off," she said.

"If we did it right, this would be it."
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:41 PM
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Several eyewitness accounts of 2 fighter jets in close vicinity of United flt 93. No one saw any missiles launched. Any suggestion the Nat'l Guard was the only aircraft available is laughable.


"Eight miles away in New Baltimore, Melanie Hankinson said she found singed papers and other light debris from the crash, including pages from Hemispheres Magazine, United's in-flight magazine. Stoe said authorities initially insisted crash debris could not have traveled over a mountain ridge more than eight miles from the crash.


http://www.flight93crash.com/



Rumsfeld clearly states the plane was shot down, but not by who. See the 20-second Youtube video.



Why was flight 93's engine found miles away from the rest of the plane?

The only possibility: It was shot down.


and Donald Rumsfeld admits it in a live interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Xoxaf1A


http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...0134616AAyfF75

Debris, and an intact engine 8-miles away from a crash site is tough nut to swallow. The suggestion the engine was shot off the United flt makes sense. From that story above the objective was to bring down United flt 93, no matter what. So shooting it down is a very plausible explanation.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyeball View Post
Several eyewitness accounts of 2 fighter jets in close vicinity of United flt 93. No one saw any missiles launched. Any suggestion the Nat'l Guard was the only aircraft available is laughable.


"Eight miles away in New Baltimore, Melanie Hankinson said she found singed papers and other light debris from the crash, including pages from Hemispheres Magazine, United's in-flight magazine. Stoe said authorities initially insisted crash debris could not have traveled over a mountain ridge more than eight miles from the crash.


http://www.flight93crash.com/



Rumsfeld clearly states the plane was shot down, but not by who. See the 20-second Youtube video.



Why was flight 93's engine found miles away from the rest of the plane?

The only possibility: It was shot down.


and Donald Rumsfeld admits it in a live interview:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Xoxaf1A


http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...0134616AAyfF75

Debris, and an intact engine 8-miles away from a crash site is tough nut to swallow. The suggestion the engine was shot off the United flt makes sense. From that story above the objective was to bring down United flt 93, no matter what. So shooting it down is a very plausible explanation.

Lots of reasons aircraft parts could end up far away from the crash site. One reason, maybe the aircraft was put into a fairly steep dive, got too fast for the structural integrity of the aircraft and just started to break apart....

As far as the National Guard aircraft, it's a fact that they were airborne first. The 16's from DC and 15's from Cape Cod....
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:07 PM
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So we don't keep our fighter jets armed and ready? I find that a matter of utter incompetence or an outright lie. I'm leaning towards the lie.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobb View Post
Lots of reasons aircraft parts could end up far away from the crash site. One reason, maybe the aircraft was put into a fairly steep dive, got too fast for the structural integrity of the aircraft and just started to break apart....

If I remember correctly, the engine was in a location that was not explainable if it had fallen off, e.g. the plane is on a south to north heading but the engine is eight miles to the West of the flt path. If it was on a north/south line parallel to the flight path it could be explained by the plane breaking apart as you suggest.

The whole thing is strange.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eyeball View Post
If I remember correctly, the engine was in a location that was not explainable if it had fallen off, e.g. the plane is on a south to north heading but the engine is eight miles to the West of the flt path. If it was on a north/south line parallel to the flight path it could be explained by the plane breaking apart as you suggest.

The whole thing is strange.


When the passengers rushed the cockpit, the struggle for control of the aircraft may have caused all sorts of course and aircraft attitude changes... Who really knows...
At the speed they were probably going, it would have taken less then one minute to go 8 miles. Very possible that during the struggle, and the plane started to break apart, parts
would be easily separated by that distance...

Last edited by bobb; 01-18-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
So we don't keep our fighter jets armed and ready? I find that a matter of utter incompetence or an outright lie. I'm leaning towards the lie.

We didn't on 9/11... Used to when the Soviets were always testing our alert status, but that ended..
Maybe post 9/11, things changed... (I hope)
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobb View Post
When the passengers rushed the cockpit, the struggle for control of the aircraft may have caused all sorts of course and aircraft attitude changes... Who really knows...
At the speed they were probably going, it would have taken less then one minute to go 8 miles. Very possible that during the struggle, and the plane started to break apart, parts
would be easily separated by that distance...

That could be. Or, as others have speculated, fighter jets caught up with the airliner, saw civilians at the controls, not knowing they were passengers that overcame the hijackers, and brought it down. That explains the witnesses that saw a couple of fighter jets in the vicinity of the airliner before it went down. Take your pick on theories -- one is just as good as the next one.
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