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Pentagon -- Exterior Impact Damage

[ Original URL: http://www.freewebs.com/stjarna/eximpactdamage.html ]

The following annotated photos show exactly the locations of impact damage on the Pentagon E-ring facade. The outer limestone facade was breached between column lines 8 and 18, producing a hole spanning approximately 96 feet. Additional impact damage can be found between columns 5 and 8 and between columns 18 and 20. The entire width of impacted facade measured at least 140 feet, as indicated by the building plan in the Arlington After Action Report.

http://www.co.arlington.va.us/fire/edu/about/pdf/after_report.pdf

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#1: The Will Morris photo

exterior impact damage from the left wing
[ Original picture source: http://amigaphil.planetinternet.be/pic/Pentagon091104.jpg ]

This photo shows exterior impact damage from the left wing from columns 5-8, and an impact hole from columns 8 onward until it is obscured by smoke. The right edge of the center impact hole is visible at column 15. Note the vertical displacement between columns 11 and 12, particularly in the sagging window line.

The Morris photo also reveals impact damage in the vicinity of column 13 on the third floor. This is likely where debris from the vertical stabilizer struck the building. Note also that the blast-proof window next to it has been destroyed, while the two adjacent windows between columns 13 and 15 were intact. We will consider this impact site in more detail below.

The Morris photo also reveals impact damage in the 
vicinity of column 13 on the third floor

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#2 The Jason Ingersoll photo (ca. 10:05am)

The vertical displacement in the outer facade is 
visible
[ Original picture source: http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/pentagon/images/6.jpg ]

The vertical displacement in the outer facade is visible at the expansion joint at column 11, where the sag line will mark the left edge of the collapsed section. The center impact hole is visible between columns 14 and 15. Just as in photo #1, the right edge of the center impact hole is at column 18. Columns 15, 16, and 17 have been uprooted from their foundations and are only attached to the second floor support structure. The right wing impact hole terminates at column 18. We find further impact damage on the second floor from column lines 18 to 20. Here it is magnified from the high-resolution version of the photo:

The entire width of the impact hole

The entire width of the impact hole from column lines 8 to 18 is approximately 96 feet. The entire width of the damaged facade from column lines 5 to 20 is about 140 feet.

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#3 The obscured Jason Ingersoll photo

This photo is useful because it shows the center 
impact hole more clearly
[ Original picture source: http://www.asile.org/citoyens/numero13/pentagone/images/facade-intacte-hte-def2.jpg ]

This photo is a favorite of "Hunt the Boeing" because firefighting sprays have obscured the right wing impact hole. This photo however is useful because it shows the center impact hole more clearly. The sag line is again visible at column 11. Despite the foam spray, the right wing impact hole is still slightly visible at column 17.

This photo is also valuable for revealing in detail the extent of damage at the vertical stabilizer impact site. Note that there is relatively light damage at column 14, where the center of the fuselage struck on the first floor. In the area just right of the impact site (between columns 14 and 15) the four windows were intact. Between columns 13 and 14, closest to the presumed tail impact site, we find two intact windows, one cracked window, and one possibly damaged window. Just to the left of this window line however we find substantially greater damage. The limestone is buckled, cracked, and scraped at column 13 and two windows between column lines 12 and 13 have been thoroughly destroyed. At column 12 we find somewhat lighter damage -- another crack in the limestone, and one partially shattered window between columns 11 and 12. And the third-floor windows are completely intact between columns 10 and 11 (not visible in this image). The area of heaviest damage appears to have thus been between columns 12 and 13, and the damage extended almost up to the fifth floor slab. This is consistent with the dimensions of the vertical stabilizer.

The unexpected location of this damage is possibly 
due to a slight roll to the left caused by the fuselage's passage through the 
building

The unexpected location of this damage is possibly due to a slight roll to the left caused by the fuselage's passage through the building, so that by the time the rear portion of the plane struck the building, the tailfin was angled leftward above the second floor.

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#4 The Daryl Donley photo (ca. 9:40am)

This photo taken just minutes after the explosion 
clearly shows the right wing impact hole
[ Original picture source: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/911/images/01750r.jpg ]

This photo taken just minutes after the explosion clearly shows the right wing impact hole and some depth inside of it. The right edge of the center hole is again at column 15 and the uprooted support columns 15, 16, and 17.

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#5 The earliest Jason Ingersoll photo (ca. 9:40am)

This photo is roughly contemporaneous with the 
Donley photo and shows the same impact area from across Route 27
[ Original picture source: http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/pentagon/images/1-1.jpg ]

This photo is roughly contemporaneous with the Donley photo and shows the same impact area from across Route 27. Note again that the right edge of the impact hole is at column 15. Limestone is missing where we see uprooted columns 16 and 17. Furthermore, we find futher right wing impact damage in the vicinity of column 19 on the third and fourth floors. This damage suggests that the right wing was indeed fragmented by the impact with the generator.

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#6. Video Footage Before the Collapse

This frame from video footage shows the same 
features found in the other photos
[ Original picture source: "Pentagon Attack: Minute by Minute," aired on A&E on 9/11/02. ]

This frame from video footage shows the same features found in the other photos. It clearly shows the hole in the facade between columns 15 and 17.

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#7. Post-Collapse Photo (9/14/01)

the collapsed section days afterward
[ Original picture source: http://www.defenselink.mil/photos/Sep2001/010914-F-8006R-001.jpg ]

Finally for comparison, I offer a photo taken of the collapsed section days afterward. Note that columns 4-8 are numbered on the columns themselves by the recovery workers. Note also the impact damage at columns 4-8 which was visible in the Morris photo. Between columns 8-11 we find the left wing impact hole, shored up but exactly of the same dimensions seen in the Morris photo. Note that the left edge of the collapse is right at column 11, where we saw the vertical displacement in the Ingersoll photos. The right edge of the collapsed section is right at column 18 -- exactly where the right wing impact hole terminated. In the collapsed section itself, columns 12 through 17 are visible. Also note that right wing impact damage extends beyond the hole, between columns 18 and 21 -- from the second floor, to the third and fourth floors, just as we saw in photo #5.

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The following composite of Ingersoll photos gives an idea of the size of the initial impact hole, which was substantially wider than the height of the Pentagon facade. I have annotated the composite with features visible in the above photos. The area of breached limestone is indicated in red, other substantial areas of impact damage are shown in green, non-load bearing spiral columns still attached to the second floor are indicated in orange, and stripped load bearing columns (in this case, columns 18 and 19) are indicated in purple. The line of vertical displacement at column 11 is indicated in blue. The relevant heights and widths (as indicated in the After Action Report Damage Plan and other official sources) are indicated in yellow. One should bear in mind that because of the perspective of the photographer, the yellow lines themselves do not precisely reflect the actual distances involved.

composite of the Ingersoll photos

Below I combine the data from these photos with the Damage Plan published in the Arlington After Action Report, and I illustrate with a scaled depiction of a 757 exactly where the plane would have hit the building:

data from these photos with the Damage Plan published in
the Arlington After Action Report

We see that the entire left wing damaged the building, and almost the entire wing except for the wing tip entered the building. The right wing just a little past the right engine also entered the building. However the rest of the wing, about two-thirds of the length of the wing, did not. The reason for this was the angle of the wings. The right wing was higher than than left; if the wings were level, the right wing would have demolished the white construction trailer in addition to the emergency generator next to it. The outer portion of the wing crashed above the first floor, and the horizontal second floor slab (more strongly reinforced than the vertical columns and which was parallel to the vector of the impacting wing) absorbed much of the force of the impacting wing above the first floor. The left wing slipped below the second floor slab and thus created a larger hole. The right wing did inflict considerable damage above the first floor, but the limestone facade was only breached between columns 13 and 15 on the second floor. Due to the strength of the floor slabs, the dimensions of the hole reflects the structure more than the actual dimensions of the plane.

The airliner, however, did not inflict much visible damage between columns 20 and 22. One should note in this vein that there is impact damage on the third and fourth floors between columns 18 and 21. This suggests that the wing fragmented into pieces after the impact with the power generator, and the outer wing tip was hurled up to the third and fourth floors.

The following graphic from the ASCE Pentagon Building Performance Report (2003: 20), shows schematically what the orientation of the plane to the building would have been like when the nose made impact (before the wings reached the facade).

graphic from the ASCE Pentagon Building Performance 
Report

Last Revised: February 18, 2003