FLIGHT 77 TIMELINE
By Paul Thompson
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Part 1: 1979 - 2000
Part 2: Jan. 2001 - 9/11
Part 3: Day of 9/11
Part 4: 9/11 - Dec. 2001
Part 5: Jan. 2002 - present
American Airlines Flight 11. Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles. 81 passengers, nine flight attendants, two pilots, Hijackers: Waleed Alshehri (Seat 2B), Wail Alshehri (Seat 2A), Mohamed Atta (Seat 8D, the likely pilot), Abdulaziz Alomari (Seat 8G) and Satam Al Suqami (Seat 10B).
United Airlines Flight 93. Flying from Newark to San Francisco. 38 passengers (out of 182 seats), five flight attendants, two pilots. Hijackers: Ahmed Alhaznawi, Ahmed Alnami, Ziad Jarrah (the likely pilot) and Saeed Alghamdi (had flight training).
United Airlines Flight 175. Boeing 767 flying from Boston to Los Angeles. 56 passengers, seven flight attendants, two pilots. Hijackers: Marwan Alshehhi (the likely pilot), Fayez Ahmed Banihammad (Alshehri) (had flight training), Mohand Alshehri (had flight training), Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi.
American Airlines Flight 77. Boeing 757 flying from Dulles Airport outside Washington to Los Angeles. 58 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots. Hijackers: Khalid Almihdhar (Seat 12B), Majed Moqed (Seat 12A), Nawaf Alhazmi, Salem Alhazmi (Seat 5F), and Hani Hanjour (the likely pilot).
George Bush's movements and sayings.
All other events.
Approximate times are marked in parentheses.
(8:20 A.M.)╩Flight 77 departs Dulles International Airport near Washington, ten minutes after the scheduled departure time. [8:20, CNN, 9/17/01, 8:20, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 8:20, Guardian, 10/17/01, 8:21, AP, 8/19/02]
8:25 A.M. Boston air traffic controllers notify other air traffic control centers of the Flight 11 hijacking, but supposedly they don't notify the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for another 13 minutes. [8:25:00, Guardian, 10/17/01] Doesn't it seem logical that NORAD was notified at this time along with everyone else, but they claim otherwise to cover up the lack of sending any fighters after the plane in response? Note that this means the controllers working Flights 77 and Flight 93 would have been aware of Flight 11's hijacking from this time. [Village Voice, 9/13/01]
8:43 A.M.╩ NORAD is notified that Flight 175 has been hijacked. [8:43, NORAD, 9/18/01, 8:43, CNN, 9/17/01, 8:43, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 8:43, AP, 8/19/02, 8:43, Newsday, 9/10/02] Note that this means the controllers working Flights 77 and Flight 93 would have been aware of both Flight 175 and Flight 11's hijacking from this time.
8:46 A.M.╩ Flight 11 slams into the north tower, 1 World Trade Center. Investigators believe it still had about 10,000 gallons of fuel and was traveling 470 mph. [New York Times, 9/11/02] Approximately 2662 people are killed on the ground between this crash and the crash of Flight 175. [AP, 8/19/02] [8:45, CNN, 9/12/01, 8:45, New York Times, 9/12/01, 8:46 (based on seismic data), New York Times, 9/12/01, 8:46, CNN, 9/17/01, 8:46, NORAD, 9/18/01, 8:46, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 8:46, AP, 8/19/02, 8:46, USA Today, 9/3/02, 8:46, Newsday, 9/10/02, 8:47:00, Guardian, 10/17/01, 8:48, MSNBC, 9/22/01, 8:46:26, New York Times, 9/11/02, 8:46:26, seismic records]
8:46 A.M. At the time of the first WTC crash, three F-16's assigned to Andrews Air Force Base 10 miles from Washington are flying an air-to-ground training mission on a range in North Carolina, 207 miles away. Eventually they are recalled to Andrews and land there at some point after Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02] F-16's can travel a maximum speed of 1500 mph. Travelling even at 1250 mph, at least one of the F-16's could have returned to Washington within 10 minutes and started patrolling the skies well before 9:00 A.M. Why were they recalled so late, and then ordered back to base (and then to take off again) instead of being sent straight to Washington?
(8:46 A.M.) Flight 77 from Washington goes severely off course. It heads due north for a while, then flies due south and gets back on course. [see USA Today's Flight 77 flight path] It was off course by around 15 miles, and stayed off course for about five minutes. According to regulations a fighter should have scrambled to see what was going on, regardless of any excuses from the pilot
(After 8:46 A.M.) According to NORAD command director Capt. Michael H. Jellinek, at some point not long after the WTC hit, telephone links are established with the National Military Command Center (NMCC) located inside the Pentagon, Canada's equivalent command center, Strategic Command, theater Cincs and federal emergency-response agencies. An Air Threat Conference Call is initiated. At one time or another, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and key military officers are heard on the open line. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02]
(After 8:46 A.M.) Shortly after the WTC is hit, the FAA has a open telephone line with the Secret Service, keeping them informed of all events. [Cheney: "The Secret Service has an arrangement with the FAA They had open lines after the World Trade Center was... " NBC, 9/16/01]
8:46 A.M.) "During the hour or so that American Airlines Flight 77
was under the control of hijackers, up to the moment it struck the west side
of the Pentagon, military officials in a command center on the east side of
the [Pentagon] were urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control
officials about what to do." [New York Times,
9/15/01] Since the Pentagon was struck around 9:41, this means that shortly
after the first signs of trouble, the military knew that Flight 77 was hijacked,
even though, supposedly, NORAD is not notified until 9:24.
(Between 8:46 - 8:55 A.M.) ╩A passenger on Flight 77, Barbara Olson, calls her husband, Solicitor General Theodore Olson at the Justice Department. He is watching the WTC news on TV. She tells him, ''they had box cutters and knives. They rounded up the passengers at the back of the plane.'' She asks him, "What should I tell the pilot to do?" She gets cuts off, he calls the Justice Department's command center to alert them of the hijacking. She calls back and says the plane is turning around. [no time marker, Toronto Sun, 9/16/01, Boston Globe, 11/23/01, "by 9:25," Washington Post, 9/21/01] She appears to have been the only person on this flight to have been able to call someone on the ground.
A.M. The first news reports appear on TV and
radio that a plane may have crashed into the WTC. [New
York Times, 9/15/01, CNN, 9/11/01]
8:50 A.M. The last radio contact with Flight 77 is made when the pilots ask for clearance to fly higher. But then they fail to respond to a routine instruction.╩[Guardian, 10/17/01, Boston Globe, 11/23/01, 8:50:51, New York Times, 10/16/01] Note that normal communications continues with Flight 77 about four minutes after the plane went significantly off course, suggesting the original pilot continued to fly the plane for at least a while after it was hijacked. Again, evidence that a hijacker was in the cockpit at the start of the hijacking?
(8:55 A.M.)╩ Flight 77 turns around over northeastern Kentucky, and heads back towards Washington. The plane has already started turning before the transponder signal is lost. [Washington Post, 9/12/01, Newsday, 9/23/01] This actually probably occurred about five minutes later, if one looks at the flight path and calculates the timing. [see USA Today's Flight 77 flight path]
(8:56 A.M.)╩ Flight 77's transponder signal is turned off. [8:56, Guardian, 10/17/01, 8:56, Boston Globe, 11/23/01, "six minutes before" Flight 175 hits WTC, Newsday, 9/23/01] For some minutes the plane is missing because flight controllers are looking for the radar signal towards the west and don't realize the plane is headed east. Rumors circulate that the plane might have exploded in midair. [Newsday, 9/23/01]
(8:56 A.M.) According to the New York Times, by this time (if not earlier), it is clear Flight 77 has gone missing. Yet the same newspaper points out NORAD is not notified about it for another 28 minutes! [New York Times, 10/16/01] Why were fighters not scrambled now to find Flight 77?
9:00 A.M. The Pentagon moves its alert status up one notch from normal to Alpha. It stays on Alpha until after Flight 77 hits, and then goes up two more notches to Charlie later on in the day. [USA Today, 9/16/01]
9:03 A.M.╩ Flight 175, hits the south tower, 2 World Trade Center. Approximately 2662 people are killed on the ground between this crash and the crash of Flight 175. [AP, 8/19/02] F-15 fighter jets from Otis Air National Guard Base are still 71 miles or eight minutes away. [9:02, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:02, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:02, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 9:03, New York Times, 9/12/01, 9:03 (based on seismic data), New York Times, 9/12/01, 9:03, Guardian, 10/17/01, 9:03, CNN, 9/12/01, 9:03, AP, 8/19/02, 9:03, Newsday, 9/10/02, 9:03, USA Today, 9/3/02, 9:05, MSNBC, 9/22/01, 9:05, Washington Post, 1/27/02, 9:02:54, New York Times, 9/11/02, 9:02:54, seismic records] The Otis Air National Guard Base is 188 miles from New York City. According to NORAD's timeline, fighters left Otis 11 minutes earlier. If they were still 70 miles away, then that means they must have been traveling about 650 mph, when the top speed for an F-15 is 1875 mph!
(After 9:03 A.M.) Shortly after the second WTC crash, calls from fighter units start "pouring into NORAD and sector operations centers, asking, 'What can we do to help?' At Syracuse, New York, an ANG commander [tells Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) commander Robert] Marr, 'Give me 10 min. and I can give you hot guns. Give me 30 min. and I'll have heat-seeker [missiles]. Give me an hour and I can give you slammers [Amraams].'" Marr replies, "I want it all." [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Yet supposedly, the first fighters don't take off from Syracuse until 10:44 - over an hour and a half later. These are supposedly the first fighters scrambled from the ground aside from three at Langley, two at Otis, and two fighters that took off from Toledo at 10:16. [Toledo Blade, 12/9/01] What happened to all these volunteer fighters? Armed fighters could have been in the air from Syracuse by 9:20 or so, yet supposedly, when NORAD needed fighters to go after Flight 93 at least 20 minutes after that, the only ones they sent were two completely unarmed fighters on a training mission near Detroit! [ABC News, 8/30/02] The only likely explanation is that these fighters were prohibited from taking off. Aircraft cannon (the "hot guns" mentioned) would have been all that was needed in such a situation, since any fighter would presumably follow procedure and intercept visually first, tip their wings from a very short distance away, fire a warning shot, and so on, before firing on the plane.
(After 9:03 A.M.) A few minutes after 9:03, the Secret Service calls Andrews Air Force Base, located 10 miles from Washington. They are notified to get F-16's armed and ready to fly. Missiles are still being loaded onto the F-16's when the Pentagon is hit over half an hour later. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 9/9/02] The problem with this account is that prior to 9/11, The District of Columbia Air National Guard (located at Andrews) had a publicly stated mission "to provide combat units in the highest possible state of readiness." Shortly after 9/11 this mission statement on its website is changed, so it merely has a "vision" to "provide peacetime command and control and administrative mission oversight to support customers, DCANG units, and NGB in achieving the highest levels of readiness." [DCANG Home Page (before and after the change)] Either Andrews failed in its stated mission, or fighters were not ordered to scramble so early.
(9:05 A.M.) West Virginia flight control notices a new eastbound plane entering their radar with no radio contact and no transponder identification. They are not sure it is Flight 77. Supposedly they wait another 19 minutes before notifying NORAD about it. ["about 9:05", Newsday, 9/23/01]
9:06 A.M.╩ All air traffic facilities nationwide are notified that the Flight 11 crash in the WTC was probably a hijacking. [Newsday, 9/23/01]
9:09 A.M. Supposedly, NORAD orders F-16's at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, on battle stations alert. Yet the order to scramble won't come till 9:27 or so, and they won't take off until 9:30. Around this time, the FAA command center reports 11 aircraft either not in communication with FAA facilities, or flying unexpected routes. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] So why aren't planes scrambled immediately, at 9:09 or even before, to find out what's going on? One of the pilots who actually took off from Langley says the battle stations alert isn't sounded until 9:24. [The book Among the Heroes, 8/02, p. 64-65]
9:15 A.M. American Airlines orders no new takeoffs in the US, United Airlines follows suit five minutes later.[Wall Street Journal, 10/15/01]
9:16 A.M.╩ The FAA informs NORAD that Flight 93 may have been hijacked. No fighters are scrambled in specific response, now or later (there is the possibility some fighters sent after Flight 77 later headed towards Flight 93). Although this is what CNN learned from NORAD, its not clear why NORAD claims it was hijacked at this time (NORAD's own timeline inexplicably fails to say when the FAA told them about the hijack, the only flight they fail to provide this data for). [CNN, 9/17/01 , NORAD, 9/18/01] However, there may be one explanation: Fox News TV reported that "Investigators believe that on at least one flight, one of the hijackers was already inside the cockpit before takeoff." Cockpit voice recordings indicate that Flight 93's pilots believed their guest was a colleague "and was thereby extended the typical airline courtesy of allowing any pilot from any airline to join a flight by sitting in the jumpseat, the folded over extra seat located inside the cockpit." [Fox News, 9/24/01] Note that all witnesses later report seeing only three hijackers, not four. So perhaps one hijacker tenuously held control of the cockpit as the original pilots still flew it, while waiting for reinforcements? Could this have happened before 9:01, when Flight 93 got a warning to beware of cockpit intrusions? Note that the crash of Flight 77 is still 25 minutes away. F-16 fighters from the far off Langley Air Force Base could have reached Washington in six minutes if they traveled at 1300 mph (maximum speed for an F-16 is 1500 mph). Even if the fighters were traveling slower and it took some minutes to get the plane off the ground, they still could easily have made it to Washington in those 25 minutes and prevented the Flight 77 crash.
A.M. A British newspaper later strongly suggests that a fighter passed near
Flight 93 well before it crashed. "Further verification that some kind
of military aircraft was operating in the area is scientifically irrefutable.
A sonic boom - caused by supersonic flight - was picked up by an earthquake
monitoring station in southern Pennsylvania, 60 miles from Shanksville."
[Mirror, 9/13/02] If
this was a fighter, it could easily have reached Washington before Flight 77.
Why isn't anything known about this?
9:24 A.M. The FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 77 "may" have been hijacked and appears to be headed towards Washington. [9:24, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:24, AP, 8/19/02, 9:25, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:25, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 9:25, Guardian, 10/17/01] This notification is 34 MINUTES after flight control lost contact with the plane and well after two planes have crashed, and even then the FAA only says "may"? Is such a long delay believable, or has that information been doctored to cover the lack of any scrambling of fighters? Additionally, with the exception of Vice President Cheney and possibility a few others, no one is evacuated in Washington until after the Pentagon crash. A Pentagon spokesman says, "The Pentagon was simply not aware that this aircraft was coming our way." Even Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his top aides in the Pentagon remain unaware of any danger up to the moment of impact 17 minutes later. [Newsday, 9/23/01] Yet since at least the Flight 11 crash, "military officials in a command center [the National Military Command Center] on the east side of the [Pentagon] were urgently talking to law enforcement and air traffic control officials about what to do." [New York Times, 9/15/01] Is it believable that everyone in the Pentagon outside of that command center, even the Secretary of Defense, would remain uniformed?
9:24 A.M. A fighter pilot codenamed Honey who flew one of the F-16's from Langley offers a different story than the official one. He claims that at 9:24 a battle stations alert sounds, and two other pilots are given the order to climb into their F-16's and await further instructions. Then, Honey, who is the supervisor, goes and talks to the two other pilots. Then, "five or ten minutes later," a person from NORAD calls, and Honey speaks to him at the nearby administrative office. He is told that all three of them are ordered to scramble. Then, Honey goes to his living quarters, grabs his flight gear, puts it on, runs to his plane and takes off. Its hard to know exactly how long all of this took, but clearly his recollection doesn't jibe with the official timeline, that NORAD ordered the fighters scrambled at 9:27 and they took off at 9:30. [The book Among the Heroes, 8/02, p. 64-65] Is NORAD fudging the numbers to hide their inexplicable behavior?
(9:26 A.M.) New takeoffs of airplanes in the US are banned. [9:26, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02, 9:26, Newsday, 9/23/01, 9:26, AP, 8/19/02, 9:26, Newsday, 9/10/02, 9:49, Washington Post, 9/12/01]
(9:27 A.M.)╩ NORAD orders three F-16 fighters scrambled from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to intercept Flight 77.╩Langley is 129 miles from Washington.╩Ready aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base, 15 miles away, are not scrambled. [Newsday, 9/23/01] [9:24, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:27, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:25, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 9:35, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:35, Washington Post, 9/15/01] Note that according to the official NORAD timeline, they ordered the F-16's scrambled the same minute they were told about the hijacking. A rare example of competence. But earlier, according to their own timeline, they waited six minutes before scrambling fighters after Flight 11. Why? Flight 77 had supposedly been missing from the radar screen since 8:56. Why wait 31 minutes to send a plane and find out where it is?
9:30 A.M. United begins landing all of its flights inside the US. American Airlines follows suit five minutes later. [Wall Street Journal, 10/15/01]
9:30 A.M. The F-16's scrambled towards Flight 77 get airborne. [9:30, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:35, Washington Post, 9/12/01] If the NORAD departure time is correct, the F-16's would have to travel slightly over 700 mph to reach Washington before Flight 77 does. The maximum speed of an F-16 is 1500 mph. [AP, 6/16/00] Even at traveling 1300 mph, these planes could have reached Washington in six minutes - well before any claim of when Flight 77 crashed. Yet they obviously don't.
(9:30 A.M.) Around this general time, the hijackers on Flight 77 tell the passengers that the plane is going to hit the White House in a few minutes. [Sunday Herald, 9/16/01]
(9:30 A.M.) The hijackers make an announcement to the passengers in Flight 77, telling them to phone their families as they are "all going to die". They also told the passengers that they were going to hit the White House. ["When they took over the controls," Sunday Herald, 9/16/01, "around 9:30," Cox News, 10/21/01] Given this announcement, why are there almost no phone calls from this flight?
9:32 A.M.╩ Flight 77 crosses over the Capital Beltway at least 7000 feet up, and starts making a sharp turn, rapidly dropping towards the Pentagon. It drops down nearly to surface level and so is lost to radar. [Guardian, 10/17/01, no time marker, Boston Globe, 11/23/01]
9:33 A.M. According to the New York Times, Flight 77 was lost at 8:56 when it turned off its transponder, and stayed lost until now. Washington air traffic control sees a fast moving blip on their radar at this time and sends a warning to Dulles Airport in Washington. [New York Times, 10/16/01] Is it conceivable that an airplane could be lost inside US air space for 37 minutes? One doesn't need a transponder signal to get a radar signal! If this is true, that why did the FAA warn that the plane was headed towards Washington at 9:24?9.36 A.M. The national airport instructs a military C-130 (Golfer 06) that has just departed Andrews air force base to intercept Flight 77 and identify it. [Guardian, 10/17/01, New York Times, 10/16/01]
(9:40 A.M.) As fireman Alan Wallace is walking in front of the Pentagon, he looks up and sees a jet coming straight at him. It is about 25 feet off the ground, no landing wheels visible, a few hundred yards away and closing fast. He runs about 30 feet and dives under a nearby van. ["about 9:40," Washington Post, 9/21/01]
(9:41 A.M.) Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is sitting in the Pentagon, but supposedly completely oblivious of the approaching Flight 77. As he watches TV coverage of WTC, he says, "Believe me, this isn't over yet. There's going to be another attack, and it could be us." Supposedly, "moments later, the plane hit." [Telegraph, 12/16/01] Rumsfeld is apparently psychic, because two minutes before the first WTC crash and supposedly completely ignorant of the hijackings, he predicted a terrorist attack upon the US (see 8:44 A.M.). Which is more believable - that Rumsfeld twice has uncanny predictive luck or ability on this day, or that he knew what was going to happen?
(9:41 A.M.)╩ Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.╩The section of the Pentagon hit consists mainly of newly renovated, unoccupied offices.╩Approximately 125 are later determined killed or missing.╩The surface to air missiles presumably surrounding the Pentagon are not fired in defense. Fighters are supposedly still 105 miles or 12 minutes away. [Newsday, 9/23/01, NORAD, 9/18/01] [9:37, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:37, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 9:38, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:38, Guardian, 10/17/01, 9:39, Washington Post, 1/27/02, 9:40, AP, 8/19/02, 9:43, CNN, 9/12/01, 9:43, MSNBC, 9/22/01, 9:43, MSNBC, 9/3/02, 9:43, New York Times, 9/12/01, 9:45, Boston Globe, 11/23/01] NORAD states the fighters took off from Langley at 9:30, 129 miles away, yet when Flight 77 crashes they are still 105 miles away. [NORAD, 9/18/01] So that means they must have been flying at an average of about 130 mph! Even if one uses the NORAD crash time of 9:37 (which we know is untrue), that still averages to only about 205 mph!
9:41 A.M. The F-16 pilot codenamed Honey later offers a different explanation of where the F-16's are when Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. He says they are flying towards New York, when they see a black column of smoke coming from Washington, about 30 or 40 miles to the west. He is then asked over the radio by the North East Air Defense Sector of NORAD if he can confirm the Pentagon is burning. He confirms it. The F-16's are then ordered to set up a defensive perimeter above Washington. [The book Among the Heroes, 8/02, p. 76] This contradicts the official NORAD claim that the F-16's were still 105 miles away when the Pentagon was hit. [NORAD, 9/18/01] If his account is true, it shows that the F-16's would have been over Washington in time to shoot down Flight 77 if they had been given orders to fly to Washington, and not to New York, which was already defended by two F-15's! (additionally, subtract 8-10 miles (Sidewinder missile) or 12-20 miles (Sparrow missile) from the flight distance required for the fighters [Slate, 1/16/02]) Well before these F-16's took off, NORAD already knew there was a threat to Washington and that New York was being defended by F-15's, and yet they were ordered to New York and Washington was left undefended? At 9:36, a C-130, a slow and large transport plane, was ordered to intercept and identify Flight 77, and these F-16's were not? If Honey's account is true, and the F-16's took off at, say, 9:34, they would have been averaging a speed of about 1100 mph up to the Pentagon crash, much more reasonable than the crazy speeds of 200 mph and the like if one follows the NORAD story. It would also explain eyewitness claims of fighters over Washington only a couple of minutes after the Pentagon crash, not at 9:56 when they supposedly arrived. At 1100 mph, it would have taken about three minutes for Honey to reach Washington from where he says he was.
(9:45 A.M.) The White House begins evacuation. This is 21 minutes after the FAA has warned a hijacked plane appears to be headed towards Washington. [9:43, New York Times, 9/12/01, 9:45, MSNBC, 9/22/01, 9:45, Washington Post, 1/27/02, 9:45, Telegraph, 12/16/01, 9:45, CNN, 9/12/01, 9:48, Washington Post, 9/12/01, 9:48, AP, 8/19/02]
(9:45 A.M.)╩The FAA orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at US airports are stopped.╩Over 4,000 flights are still in the air at the time. [AP, 8/12/02] [9:40, MSNBC, 9/22/01, 9:40, CNN, 9/12/01, 9:40, New York Times, 9/12/01, 9:45, AP, 8/12/02, 9:45, AP, 8/19/02, 9:45, Newsday, 9/10/02, 9:49, Washington Post, 9/12/01]
9:48 A.M. The Capitol building in Washington begins evacuation. [AP, 8/19/02]
(9:49 A.M.)╩Three F-16's scrambled from Langley at 9:30 reach the Pentagon.╩The planes, armed with heat-seeking, Sidewinder missiles, are authorized to knock down civilian aircraft. According to NORAD, they were flying at 650 mph. The official maximum speed for F-16's is 1500 mph. [9:49, CNN, 9/17/01, 9:49, NORAD, 9/18/01, 9:56: "15 minutes after Flight 77 hit the Pentagon", New York Times, 9/15/01, "just before 10:00," CBS, 9/14/01] Using the New York Times arrival time and given that Langley is 129 miles away, this means the fighters were flying at an average speed of about 300 mph! But using NORAD's official departure time of 9:30 and even the generous CNN arrival time, the journey takes 19 minutes, or a speed of about 410 mph!
(After 9:55 A.M.)╩ After flying off in Air Force One, Bush talks to Cheney on the phone. Cheney recommends that Bush authorize the military to shoot down any plane under control of the hijackers. "I said, 'You bet,'" Bush later recalls. "We had a little discussion, but not much." ["after Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon", Newsday, 9/23/01, time unknown, USA Today, 9/16/01, "Once airborne, Bush spoke again to Cheney", Washington Post, 1/27/02, after Bush is airborne, CBS, 9/11/02] If this decision was so easy to make, why wasn't it given earlier? What has Bush been doing since giving a speech at 9:30? Why hasn't he okayed the shooting down of any aircraft during that time, when its been known there is a hijacked plane headed towards Washington since before he gave the speech?
10:08 A.M.╩ Armed agents deploy around the White House. [CNN, 9/12/01]
10:10 A.M. The section of the Pentagon hit by a crash collapses. [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01] A few minutes prior to its collapse firefighters saw warning signs and sounded a general evacuation tone. No firefighters were injured. [NFPA Journal, 11/1/01]
10:13 A.M.╩ Federal buildings in Washington begin evacuation. The UN building evacuates first, others follow later. [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01]
1:27 P.M.╩ A state of emergency is declared in Washington. [CNN, 9/12/01, New York Times, 9/12/01]