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Twist_U_Up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-13-06 03:35 PM
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The Impossibility of Flying Heavy Aircraft Without Training
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by Nila Sagadevan

There are some who maintain that the mythical 9/11 hijackers, although proven to be too incompetent to fly a little Cessna 172, had acquired the impressive skills that enabled them to fly airliners by training in flight simulators.

What follows is an attempt to bury this myth once and for all, because Ive heard this ludicrous explanation bandied about, ad nauseam, on the Internet and the TV networksinvariably by people who know nothing substantive about flight simulators, flying, or even airplanes.


To get an idea of what Hanjour would have seen from his seat at 35,000 feet, please see photo below (Note altimeter reading ):

The author recently received a letter from a senior 757 captain currently flying with one of the airlines involved in 9/11. It contains the following statement:

Regarding your comments on flight simulators, several of my colleagues and I have tried to simulate the hijackers final approach maneuvers into the towers on our company 767 simulator. We tried repeated tight, steeply banked 180 turns at 500 mph followed by a fast rollout and lineup with a tall building. More than two-thirds of those who attempted the maneuver failed to make a hit. How these rookies who couldnt fly a trainer pulled this off is beyond comprehension.

The differences in complexity between a Cessna 150 and Boeing 757 are indescribably huge. Twenty-five years ago, I transitioned from an 18,000-lb, 28-passenger twin-turboprop commuter aircraft, to a 150,000-lb, 4-engined turboprop freighter. After several thousand hours of flight time in the smaller aircraft (which was ten times heavier and far more complex than a Cessna trainer) and then two months of ground school and flying the simulators of the more advanced aircraft for 20 hours, I was still in information overload for the first few weeks of flying the latter.

I find it impossible to believe that someone who couldn't solo a Cessna 172 could navigate his way back across two States to the target and execute a diving spiral from high altitude, at a very high rate of descent but without overspeeding or overstressing the aircraft to the point of shedding parts (a very narrow margin for error), and then line up on the most difficult approach to the Pentagon to hit the side that was virtually unoccupied.

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