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ERROR: 'Flight-Path Obstacles Can't be Reconciled With the Crash of a 757'

Several Pentagon attack researchers have maintained that the damage or lack thereof to obstacles in the alleged flight path of a 757 crashing into the Pentagon mean that no such plane crashed. The most common arguments are:

  • The cable spools standing in front of the impact area after the crash could not have been knocked over by the 757.
  • The gouge to the diesel generator in the construction yard, supposedly caused by the 757's starboard engine, was in the wrong orientation.
We first consider these two arguments separately.

Cable Spools

In post-crash photographs of the Pentagon the cable spools appear to be very close to the building. In the silentbutdeadly photo montage the spools appear to be right against the facade, an illusion created by superimposing a photograph showing the spools taken from ground level onto an aerial photograph of the building. (See the first photograph in the right margin.) Even without making the mistake of making estimates based on the montage, it is easy to assume the spools were much closer to the building than they were.

e x c e r p t
title: Spools in the Flightpath
authors: Jeff Strahl and Jim Hoffman

Both photos are from the direction of the plane's approach. Large spools stand directly in the path of a 757's right wing and engine.

In second photo, spools are covered with fire suppression foam.

Large spool in center of lower photo is just a few feet from building.

The conclusion that the large spool was "just a few feet from building" is not based on any actual computation. The authors of members.surfeu.fi/11syyskuu/spools.html, who do attempt to quantitatively establish the location of the spools, estimate that the large spool was about 25 feet from the facade. (It's doubtful that they seriously overestimate the distance, since the site argues for the no-757-crash theory.) All the other spools are much further from the facade.

Whether the large spool presents a problem for the supposed flight-path of a 757 crashing into the Pentagon depends on a number of assumptions. Given the features of the downed light-poles, the eyewitness accounts of the jetliner's trajectory, and the impact damage, the following assumptions would seem reasonable:

  • The large spool was 25 feet from the facade, and thus slightly further from the center-point of impact of the jetliner given its oblique trajectory.
  • The 757 was losing one foot of altitude for each ten horizontal feet traveled.
  • The bottom of the 757's fuselage hit the facade at 5 feet above the ground.
  • The top of the large spool, which is slightly sunken behind a retaining wall, is six feet above the average ground level.
  • The 757 passed directly over the large spool, one of its engines on either side.
Based on these assumptions, the 757 would have cleared the top of the large spool by at least two feet.

No-757-crash theorists have argued that the large spool closest to the building, if not the other spools, could not have remained standing after being overflown by just a few feet because the jetliner's wake turbulence would have knocked them over. However, this argument makes assumptions without supporting them. How heavy were the spools? How strong is a 757's wake turbulence near ground level? Furthermore, the possibilities that spools may have rolled in the plane's wake, or that the one spool may have been secured to the ground, invalidate this argument.

Diesel Generator

Some proponents of the no-757-crash theory contend that the damage to the diesel generator trailer at the corner of the construction yard about 120 feet southwest of the impact zone center was inconsistent with the crash of a 757.

After the crash the generator showed damage that appears consistent with the impact by parts of a 757 under the right wing: a broad semicircular gouge with a radius matching a 757 engine pod, and a shallow linear gouge offset by a distance matching the distance between a 757's engine and the adjacent flap canoe.

No-757-crash theorists point out that the orientation of the gouges is not consistent with the alleged flight path of the attack jet, the linear gouge being rotated about 20 degrees away from the path. This fact is reconciled with the 757 crash by supposing that the impact of the jet's engine and flap canoe jolted the generator and caused it to rotate.

page last modified: 2010-01-18
Copyright 2004 - 2011,911Review.com / revision 1.08 site last modified: 12/21/2012
This photo-montage by silentbutdeadly superimposes a photograph taken at ground level with an aerial photograph, resulting in distortions in the apparent positions of objects in the yard.
This photograph shows the corner of the construction yard shortly after the crash. The solid object on the left behind the fence is the diesel generator.
These photographs provide other views of damage to the diesel generator in the corner of the construction yard.