ERROR: 'The Pentagon Attack Left No Aircraft Debris'
The lack of apparent aircraft debris
in photographs showing the Pentagon's west face
shortly after the attack
is a remarkable feature of the Pentagon attack.
who said they saw the jetliner crash into the Pentagon,
also marveled at how the jetliner seemed to completely disappear.
The absence of large pieces of aircraft debris in post-crash photographs
is not so difficult to reconcile with the crash of a 757 when one considers:
Distant Photographs Show Almost No Debris
Photographs of the crash site show a lawn free of debris seemingly
right up to the building.
There are no signs of gouging, or large pieces of aircraft
in the large lawn.
The extent of aircraft debris indicated by the photographs is,
however, less conclusive than may at first appear.
The first photograph was apparently taken by a person standing on the
road about 350 feet from the crash zone.
The lawn appears free of debris, but a slight dip in the terrain
beyond the fire truck obscures the lawn area close to the building.
The fence, which appears to be near the base of the facade,
is in fact about 100 feet out in front of it.
The second photograph,
taken before the fire trucks arrived,
gives a better sense of the position of the
fence relative to the building.
Although apparently taken from a helicopter,
this photograph also exhibits some deceptive foreshortening:
the distance between the cloverleaf ramp in the right foreground
and the crash zone is about 500 feet.
This photograph shows a clean lawn up to the fence,
but most of the ground between the fence and the crash zone
is obscured by smoke or the trailers behind the fence.
This photograph also gives the illusion that there
is almost no impact hole in the facade.
However, other pre-collapse photographs show an area
of broken-away walls extending about 90 feet in width
on the first floor.
The third photograph,
taken from the ground and probably about 500 feet from the crash site,
shows almost no crash debris,
but any debris would likely be obscured by the fence
or the rubble of the then-collapsed portion of the building.
Foreshortened Debris Field
Photographs taken from more northerly vantage points than the above
photos show debris.
Steve Riskus took several photos shortly after the crash.
In one taken from the part of the highway nearest the heliport
-- the concrete pad on the lawn --
small debris are visible.
The quantity of those debris may be much greater than it appears.
In the photo the heliport appears to be close to the facade,
but in fact its side nearest the facade is more than
one hundred feet away from it.
The Lonely Hull Piece
A photograph from further to the north
shows scattered pieces of small debris in the background,
and a single sizable piece of debris in the foreground.
The photograph was taken by Mark Faram,
who arrived some minutes after the attack.
Because this piece
appears to match an American Airlines 757
and yet does not show obvious abrasion or shearing damage
and was photographed more than a hundred feet to the left of the flightpath,
some researchers have speculated that it was planted.
However, given an event as chaotic as a plane crash,
it is not clear that the damage it shows or its position relative
to the flightpath is truly anomalous.
Moreover it is possible that the piece was moved to position
in which it was photographed for innocent reasons,
such as to provide the press with a photo-op of a trophy piece.
Alternatively, the piece could have been moved
to confuse skeptics of the official story.
Even if the damage to and position of the piece
were anomalous for a simple crash,
they may not have been anomalous for the kind of crash that Flight 77 suffered,
which may have involved a strike by some kind of defensive weapon.
Inside or Outside the Building
The absence of photographic evidence of large quantities of aircraft debris
outside of the building would not be surprising if the vast majority
of the plane entered the building through the punctured walls in the facade.
This idea has been ridiculed by some commentators because the size
of the punctured regions is not large enough to accommodate the extremities
of the plane, such as the outer 25 feet of each wing and most of
the vertical stabilizer.
However those extremities are very light, constituting just a few
tons of materials such as aluminum.
The vast majority of the aircraft's mass could have penetrated
the building through the regions with punctured walls
as indicated in the above graphic,
whose derivation is described on the
impact hole page.
If most of the jetliner passed into the building,
757-crash skeptics ask,
then why are there so few reports and photographs
of significant quantities of aircraft debris inside the building?
There are a number of possible answers to this question
consistent with the idea that Flight 77 crashed at the Pentagon.
FEMA apparently controlled the Pentagon crash scene in much the same
way that it controlled Ground Zero,
assuring that photographs where not taken
and physical evidence was not saved for further study.
The absence of abundant public evidence of the remains of Flight 77
but it is not evidence the jetliner did not crash there.
Wheel Hub Matches a 757
An article in AboveTopSecret.com,
despite making a number of errors,
such as incorrectly assuming that the turbine rotor
photographed outside the Pentagon
doesn't match a 757's engine,
provides a good analysis of a photograph of the remains of a wheel hub.
e x c e r p t
Rim photographed in the Pentagon wreckage. You can clearly see
it is a double bead design as required by the NTSB,
and you can also see it has had 90%
of the rim edge smashed off in the crash.
Some people have tried to claim that the rims are different from a 757 rim -
well here (bottom) is a 757-200 rim from an American Airlines 757,
I've outlined the exact same symmetrical holes.
I think perhaps some people are thrown off by the balancing lead weights
attached on the rims in the bottom photo?
Have you never taken your car in for a wheel alignment and tire balancing?
This is clearly the same kind of rim found on a 757.
(The hub-covers/grease-covers are not present for obvious reasons -
to remove one you pop it off with a flathead screw driver...
so how would you expect it to stay on in a 400mph impact
with a reinforced concrete wall?)
page last modified: 2010-12-18