Frequently Asked Questions
>> Why does it matter which side of the
gas station the plane flew on? Couldn’t the plane have flown on the north
side of the gas station and still hit the light poles and building?
As made clear in the video presentation
National Security Alert,
it is impossible for a plane on the north side -- let alone one in a
significant right-hand bank as described by all witnesses who were in
the best locations to observe the plane's flight path as it approached
from over the Navy Annex -- to hit the light poles, hit the generator
trailer, and/or to cause the required low and level directional damage
to the building.
I. THE DOWNED LIGHT POLES
The five downed light poles are along a straight path to the alleged impact spot. Only a plane flying in a straight trajectory on a south side flight path can
hit all five light poles. There is virtually no room for error.
Even a minor deviation from this flight path would have caused the plane
to miss one or more of the poles. A plane on the north side misses
all five downed poles, yet would have to fly over other light poles and
obstacles which were not struck or downed (see third and sixth image
below; also explained in more detail later on this page).
II. DIRECTIONAL DAMAGE TO THE BUILDING
The damage to the Pentagon, starting with the damage to the facade and
leading up to the curious, almost- perfectly round hole in the C ring, is
meaning that it delineates a very specific trajectory for the
This was noted as
early as September 15, 2001 by Pentagon Renovation Manager Lee Evey, who said
DoD News Briefing:
...this is the damage pattern that we see to
the columns inside the building, and you can almost trace the path of the
aircraft. This is why we believe it came in at an angle. The key here is,
the red dots are where the columns are missing or cut completely.
That statement was made while he was showing a slide show containing
this image (which is still available
here on the DoD's website):
The specific trajectory required is the same straight south side flight required for the plane to hit the light poles.
The white image depicting the damage to the building leading up to the C
ring hole, which has been scaled down to size and overlaid on top of the
Pentagon in the image above, is taken directly from page 53 of
the ASCE Building Performance Report. Here it is as it appears in that
The directional damage to the building is also established by the
photographic evidence, beginning with the E-Ring "entrance" hole on the
facade of the building and ending with the C-Ring hole, which is labeled "Hole in wall" by the ASCE in the image above.
As you saw above, the south side flight path aligns with the damage
from the ASCE report image, and the fuselage lines up with the C-Ring
hole. This is not the case with even the closest-possible
hypothetical north side flight path, and remember, this path had the
plane much closer to the station than all but one witness reported, and
does not account for the significant bank reported. With these
things taken into account the plane would have hit the building closer
to perpendicular, causing a damage path that is even more blatantly
inconsistent with the one documented by the ASCE and photographic
Three of the images below are also from the ASCE Building Performance Report, and
they all depict a south side flight path.
III. THE GENERATOR TRAILER
(Image from ASCE report, p. 36)
(Image from ASCE report, p. 39)
Furthermore, the damage to the generator trailer outside of the
building is also irreconcilable with the north side flight path described
by the witnesses.
In the September 15, 2001 DoD News Briefing cited above, Pentagon
Lee Evey continued:
On its way in, the wing clipped. Our guess
is an engine clipped a generator. We had an emergency temporary generator
to provide life-safety emergency electrical power, should the power go off
in the building. The wing actually clipped that generator, and portions of
it broke off.
This allegation was also made by the ASCE.
On page 13 of their report they published this image, showing the plane
approaching on a south side flight path and in line with the generator:
Then on page 18 they said:
The aircraft flew over the grassy area next to the Pentagon
until its right wing struck a piece of construction equipment that
was approximately 100 to 110 ft from the face of the building (0.10
second before impact) (figure 3.14)
Here is the image that they published on page 20 of their report as Figure
3.14 with the caption "Aircraft at impact with generator".
It's impossible for a plane approaching on the north side flight path
described by the witnesses to have caused the damage to the generator trailer.
IV. THE REQUIRED LOW AND LEVEL IMPACT VERSUS STANDING POLES &
OBSTACLES ON THE NORTH SIDE PATH
The damage to the building is at ground level, and the foundation is
The ground-level damage is acknowledged by the ASCE. On p. 17, they
published the following image, with the caption "Impact location before
On p. 28 they state:
With the possible exception of the immediate vicinity of the fuselage’s
entry point at column line 14, essentially all interior impact damage was inflicted in the first story: The
aircraft seems for the most part to have slipped between the first-floor slab on grade and the second floor.
One does not need to consult the ASCE, however, to know that the
damage is primarily to the first floor, since it is also documented by
the photographic evidence (click a thumbnail to load larger image).Tip:
Press the STOP button to stop automatic picture scrolling. You can
then use the arrow buttons to cycle through the
Here are some composite images created by stitching together various
photos. The creator of the second image has added a scaled CGI 757. (Click an image to load larger version)
The ASCE does not list any significant damage to the foundation, and it
appears relatively undamaged in all of the photographs, such as this one
taken by Jocelyn Augustino on 9/21/01, just ten days after the event.
More photographs of the foundation can be found in
The ground-level damage combined with the lack of foundation damage
means that the plane -- if it had struck -- would have had to have done
so extremely low and virtually level with the ground (i.e. not in a
However, the photographic evidence shows all poles and obstacles on the
north side path fully in tact. This means that a plane approaching
from north of the Citgo station would not only have missed the downed
light poles, but would also have flown OVER numerous other light poles
and other obstacles an instant before reaching the building.
images at your own pace.
This further underscores the fact that the plane did not hit the
building, and could only have continued on over the building after
clearing all of those obstacles on the north side flight path.
Note: As seen in our video
National Security Alert,
eyewitness Robert Turcios, who was at the Citgo Station, said that he
saw the plane "pick up" over the highway to clear these obstacles.
V. EXPERT ANALYSIS BY PILOTS
Click here to read "NORTH APPROACH
IMPACT ANALYSIS" by Robert Balsamo, an FAA certified pilot and
certified flight instructor with 4000+ hours of total flight time.
Right click here and choose "Save
As" to download the PDF verison (0.91 MB)
This is a new tech paper, complete with calculations and animations, that
formally and scientifically demonstrates that a plane on the north side of
the gas station cannot cause the physical damage photographed and
documented at the Pentagon, starting with the light poles.
The paper was reviewed and approved by Captain Jeff Latas and Commander Ralph Kolstad.
Before going to work for JetBlue, Latas spent over 20 years in the United
States Air Force, and his exemplary military record includes nearly 5000
hours in fighter aircraft, the Distinguish Flying Cross for Heroism, four
Air Medals, four Meritorious Service Medals, and nine Aerial Achievement
Medals. A detailed bio can be read
here and is summarized on his
LinkedIn page. Commander Kolstad (picture),
who has logged 23,000 of flight time, spent over 20 years in the US Navy
flying fighters off of aircraft carriers, achieving TopGun twice
He spent 13 years flying Boeing 757/767, mostly as an international
captain for American Airlines. He has command time in tail number
N644AA, the very plane dispatched as American 77.
Conclusion: "It is impossible for any fixed-wing aircraft to cause the
directional physical damage to the light poles, generator trailer, and the
Pentagon leading to the C-ring hole approaching from directly over the
Navy Annex and north of the former Citgo gas station. The flight paths
illustrated by the witnesses would require G forces beyond the physical
limitations of any aircraft for it to transition to an approach that lines
up with the physical damage. Additionally, a hypothetical least
challenging scenario at low speed would require bank angles that are
irreconcilable with the physical damage, as well as the witness
statements, and require an instantaneously performed roll that is
impossible for any fixed-wing aircraft.."