FBI Says Hijackers Crashed Flight 93

Not really MPSIMS, but definately interesting Cite.

I’d often wondered about that. There have been threads asking whether a non-pilot (or even a general aviation pilot) could land a jet. According to tests performed in simulators, it’s unlikely. But most airplanes are inherently stable. Why didn’t someone get on a radio? (A layman might not know exactly how to work it, but it’s not all that hard to figure out.) I was left with two theories: The first was that the struggle lasted until the airplane hit the ground. (i.e., the passengers were struggling with the pilot-hijacker and they crashed before they could subdue him.) The second was that the hijackers deliberately crashed the aircraft.

I didn’t think the hijackers would purposely crash before they reached their objective. I thought they would not give up until they either fulfilled their mission, or until they accidentally crashed. If I were a hijacker, I wouldn’t just give up. But according to the evidence, apparently I don’t think like a hijacker.

I guess we always knew that was a possibility, but it still doesn’t change the fact that the hijackers didn’t complete their mission because the passengers distracted them.

Can you even imagine the impact it would have had on our national psyche had they succeeded in flying into the White House?

Well, since Bush wasn’t there, it would’ve been a bummer.

… as opposed to a national tragedy, of course. Yeah, that’s it, a tragedy.

Damnit, now I’m on THAT list again!

Just thinking here… If a passenger could have put his belt around the pilot-hijacker’s neck, he might have stopped him from crashing the plane. Left on it own, the airplane should have stabilized because of its positive stability. Another passenger could have gotten him out of the harness.

The plane probably still would have crashed because that’s what happened in the tests when a person untrained in jets tried to land it in the simulator; but it might have bought some time and given them a chance.

Of course, cockpits are rather small and crowded. As I said, I’m just thinking…

a quote from aviation expert John Nance:

(from an interview here )

so, had the passengers gotten control of the plane, perhaps they could have contacted the ground, and someone could have told them how to program the autopilot to land.

I don’t see where it changes much.

The passengers stopped a bunch of monsters from using a plane as an instrument of mass murder. They are therefore heroes.

The hijackers, realizing they were fucked and would not successfully complete their mission, crashed the plane in order to kill the passengers. They are therefore bastards.

Seems like the same opinion I had last week, even with the facts changed…

Can’t argue with that, Wang-Ka.

Long time sim pilot here, I read about that avaition test also. I was shocked…for me I had always believed that if I really had to I could get one of those birds on the ground if someone could talk me through it. In addition to the simulator tests for non-pilots, the really disturbing thing is that seasoned pilots of smaller aircraft had about the same difficulties as the non-pilots.

Yes, I think the passengers of the plane were heroes. I think the hijackers knew that the passengers were very serious about taking that plane. And what could the hijackers threaten them with ? More death? So, being the sick “spoiled-sport” bastards that they were (and are) they crashed the plane. (A rather lethal version of ‘I’m taking my ball and going home’)

Can you imagine the incredible morale boost to the American psyche on September 11, 2001 if just 1 person got on the radio to say they had taken over the airplane - even it was sabotaged to crash?
Maybe a civilian couldn’t land a plane but I’d take my chances with that option as oppsed to being flown into the WTC or Pentagon.

It is surprising that the hijackers would choose to plow the plane into the ground, but it doesn’t change the fact that the passengers forced the hijackers into a “no-win” situation and are most definately heroes.

I think that if the passengers had managed to regain control of the plane, the folks in ATC would have busted their asses to try and figure out how to talk the plane down safely. I’m not a pilot, but it seems to me that the best plan would have been to get the plane flying on a straight-line course towards an open field where rescue workers could be prepositioned that was far enough away from where the plane currently was so that it was low on fuel when they attempted the landing (in theory, that should help reduce the chances of a massive fire if the plane crashed).

Couldn’t the terrorist just cut the engines? Or at least throttle back enought to cause a stall? My guess is that as soon as the door to cockpit was being opened by someone not a terrorist the ‘pilot’ would have done those things.

It appears that the passengers never made it into the cabin, from the way I read it.

My first thought was that report that the terrorists crashed the plane may bring some comfort to the families of the passengers who died - not that it would have been any less heroic if the passengers took the plane down, but some religious beliefs of those involved related to suicide could have been causing the relatives of the deceased some distress. Not my belief, but some religions are rather strict on that point.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t happen again.

I believed that the passengers crashed the plane; I was awed by such selflessness, bravery, and strength of will (and I am not a naive or sentimental person).

If the hijackers crashed the plane, I am impressed by the passengers’ selflessness, bravery, and strength of will (and I am not easily impressed).

For the passengers to have crashed the plane was, to me, an inspiring example of anti-‘mob-mentality’, the heights to which people can rise when supported and inspired by each other.

For the hijackers to have crashed the plane is, to me, bitter-sweet.

Whether they made it into the cockpit or not is moot. The actions of the passengers caused flight 93 to miss its target. When they rushed forward they had to know the odds of success were minimal but they did it any way. That is courage; that is heroic.


From what I understand, both UA pilots were murdered. By leading an insurrection against the only pilot left (a terrorist), the passengers were signing their death warrant and they knew it. Do you honestly believe they thought they could land that plane without a pilot? IMO, their decision to storm the cockpit had NOTHING to do with saving their own skin and had everything to do with saving innocent strangers. And if that isn’t heroic, then honestly, I don’t know what is.

The hijackers, on the other hand, showed even MORE cowardice than I’d previously given them credit for by taking the plane down when they realized they were about to be given a quick lesson in manners by the passengers. First they attack defenseless men and women, then they ground the plane when they risk getting their collective asses kicked.


Bill Marr (sp) got in trouble for this…While they were assholes, bastrads and evil sons of bitches, Surely crashing the plane and killing yourself isn’t cowardly.

Of course the passengers were heroes, and I don’t mean to detract from their actions.

That’s it! carnivorousplant, we’re cancelling your TV show! :wink:

I think there’s a difference between the indoctrinated bravery of the terrorists and the altruistic bravery of the passengers.