Note: There are alternate theories about the attack on the Pentagon. This is the latest paper. We will see if Pilots for 9/11 Truth has a rebuttal to this paper or concurs with its findings. There is also the question of whether or not the additional flight data recording information is accurate or has been tampered with in the past nine years since the 9/11 attacks.


Frank Legge, (B.Sc.(Hons.), Ph.D.) and Warren Stutt, ( B.Sc.(Hons.) Comp. Sci.)
January 2011
Journal of 9/11 Studies


The official narrative of the events which have become known as 9/11 includes descriptions of attacks on the World Trade Centre towers and the Pentagon by aircraft on 11 September, 2001. The towers were eventually destroyed and the Pentagon was severely damaged.

The account of the attack on the Pentagon includes the following: A Boeing 757, operated by American Airlines, took off from Washington Dulles International Airport at 8:20 a.m. At 8:54 it deviated from its assigned route and at 8:56 the transponder was switched off. The plane, under the control of hijackers, headed back toward Washington and descended. As it approached the Pentagon it performed a descending spiral to the right and finally dived toward the Pentagon while accelerating. It hit some light poles and other objects on the ground and then penetrated the west face of the building at 9:37:44,1 or 9:37:46,2 depending on source.

Various claims have been made about the attack on the Pentagon. Early claims included damage by a missile or a truck bomb.3 However, as so many witnesses had reported seeing a large commercial aircraft approaching the Pentagon, these claims received little attentionfrom the public. It was not until the data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) was received from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that serious consideration was given to alternative explanations of the damage. The data was received in two forms, following a number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. One form could not be understood by inspection and the other, a readable comma-separated values (CSV) file, had some columns of data missing, a critical omission being radio height.4

After considerable difficulty, assistance in interpreting the coded file was received and the result came into public hands.5 Like the CSV file, it appeared to indicate that the flight terminated at a position which was too high to have struck the Pentagon in the described manner. There has been much debate about the flight path of the plane. One group asserts that the plane approached from a direction which would not have permitted it to create the observed straight line of damage through the light poles and inside the Pentagon. This assertion is based on the group’s discovery of 13 eyewitnesses who allegedly place the course of the plane to the north of the former Citgo service station. It is argued from this that the plane must have passed over the Pentagon, despite the existence of a large number of eyewitness reports that the plane hit the building,6 including some of these 13 north-path witnesses,7 and despite the absence of the many reports of the plane flying over the building that would be expected, given the large number of vehicles in traffic jams nearby.8 This theory requires that the long, straight line of complex damage was done by some other means, and done in its entirety without any of the activity being reported.9

Another group which studied the FDR data claimed that it would have been impossible for the plane to pull out of the dive which was needed to arrive at the light poles and then level off to hit the Pentagon, as the g-force would produce a wing load greatly exceeding the structural strength of the plane. They assume the data finished close to the Pentagon and argue that the data file proves the official description of the flight false, apparently ignoring the alternative view that the many reports of the plane hitting the building might be indicating that there was a defect in the data.

For the rest of the article Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis Supports the Official Flight Path Leading to Impact with the Pentagon