THE FINAL MOMENTS OF FLIGHT 93 - A CLOSE LOOK AT THE RADIO TRAFFIC
To start with, here is
an mp3 recording of the air traffic controllers during the moments leading up to the crash of United Flight
93. It lasts 3 minutes and 58 seconds.
In the tape, there are two communications which purport to be
from the hijacked aircraft.
The first transmission is at 1 minute and 14 seconds into the recording. [mp3 download]
The second transmission is at 2 minutes and 3 seconds into the recording. [mp3 download]
There is a very noticeable tone overlaying the supposed communications from United Flight 93. This tone is at
440 Hz and is the frequency of aircraft alternating power. If you listen carefully, you can hear the same tone
at a much lower level on some of the other aircraft communications. My question is why the radio transmitting
from what is supposed to be United Flight 93 has such a pronounced tone. When compared to the other aircraft
(indeed to other air traffic tapes from other incidents such as TWA 800) it is clear that something is very
unusual about this radio. It is easy to suspect that we are not really hearing Flight 93 but an unshielded
aircraft radio somewhere on the ground quickly wired to an aircraft power supply to "spoof" the controllers.
Now then, let us filter out that tone.
Here is the filtered
version of the first transmission.
Note the claim that they have a bomb on board the plane.
Here is the filtered
version of the second transmission.
This radio transmission clearly mentions a list of demands! If
indeed this transmission is coming from Flight 93, then the hijackers believe that they are planning to land
the plane at some point and trade hostages for whatever those demands are. They do not appear to be aware of a
plan to crash into a building. More to the point if this is what the hijackers are saying, then this is what
the passengers of Flight 93 also think.
And here is the most important part. From the transmission
about a list of demands to the first report of a puff of smoke in the air where Flight 93 was flying at
altitude is just 45 seconds. From the transmission about the list of demands it is clear that the hijacker is
untroubled by any unruly passengers. We know the plane is at 35,000 feet altitude, as that is the confirmation
the controller is asking for as the tape starts. The only way that United Airlines Flight 93 could have
crashed in the 45 seconds after the second transmission regarding the list of demands would have been to point
nose directly down and power down the whole way without any interruption. This leaves no time for the
passengers to burst through the door, or the hijacker pilot to react. Any struggle over the controls would
have sent the plane spiralling across the sky, pointed up as much as down.
Therefore, if these radio
transmissions are genuine, we now know two facts. The hijackers were talking about a list of demands, not
suicide. And the story of the passengers crashing the plane during a fight with the hijackers simply could not
have happened that way.