Tom Kovach
October 12, 2005
Flight 93 was shot down (Part 5)
By Tom Kovach

NOTE: If you have not already begun reading the other parts of this series, in order, it is recommended that you do so. It is especially recommended that you read Part 4 before reading the rest of this article.

We will now continue to examine the significance of the two debris fields.

Because the debris fields were separate, rather than continuous, it is likely that they were produced by two separate incidents. The type of debris is consistent with a pair of strikes by 20-mm cannon fire from an Air Force interceptor. The fact that there are debris fields so far from the impact point indicates that the incidents occurred while the plane was still in flight. That differs significantly from the government-sponsored story that the airliner was damaged entirely by the crash impact.

According to government weather data for September of 2001, the average wind on "9-11" at the Altoona Airport (the weather observation station nearest to the crash site) was out of the south-southwest at 240 degrees at an average of nine knots. First of all, that wind direction and speed makes it impossible that pieces of paper could drift from the crash site near Buckstown Road to the waters and shore of Indian Lake. Eyewitnesses reported at the time that they saw crash debris fall upon the lake "a few moments" after hearing an explosion. Rather than "a few moments," the cloud of "confetti" would have taken 13.2 minutes to arrive from the crash site even if the wind direction had been right. And, that is assuming that the papers could have first climbed over the hill, and then their flight could have survived the downdraft caused by the hot air cooling after it crossed the ridge.

Some eyewitnesses also reported that the lights at Indian Lake Marina flickered just before hearing the explosion that preceded the sighting of falling debris. There is nothing in the government-sponsored story that would cause the lights to flicker. But, there are three possible actions in a shoot-down scenario that would be consistent with both the flickering lights and the sequence of events. The first is that stray rounds from the aircraft cannon struck an electric line somewhere in the vicinity. The second is that a fighter jet maneuvered so low to the ground that its "wake turbulence" actually shook the power line. The third is that the interceptor used an EMP weapon to momentarily disrupt the airliner's controls, and that weapon disturbed electrical circuits on the ground. We might never know which of those possibilities is correct, just as we might never get access to all of the government's information about what really happened that day. But, one thing continues to become clearer: the government-sponsored story does not fit the evidence, and it does not make sense in light of national policy on dealing with terrorists.

But, the debris fields have more story to tell. The type of debris items found indicates that the cargo hold was breached before any area containing people was breached. The documents found on the ground near New Baltimore apparently came from US Mail containers in the front of the cargo hold, beneath the cockpit. After the first debris field was created, though, the airliner continued flying in a straight line. But, shortly after the second debris field was created, Flight 93 crashed.

Three points on a straight line: debris shows what happened.

Note that the first debris field created was in New Baltimore. That is evidenced by the fact that no human body parts were found there, compared to the debris at Indian Lake Marina. Thus, the first incident (cannon fire) was less damaging to the airliner and/or the pilot than the second incident. And, note that the straight line formed by the two outlying debris fields and the final impact crater is almost perpendicular to the wind direction reported by the Flight Service Station at Altoona. Given that almost the entire eastern half of the United States was under a large dome of high atmospheric pressure that day, it is quite unlikely that the wind direction was much different in Shanksville than it was at Altoona. In simple terms, it was virtually impossible for debris to have floated on the wind from the impact crater to those two debris fields. Therefore, the debris must have fallen from the sky, as I asserted in Part 4. And, in order for that to happen, something had to penetrate the skin of the aircraft at two separate times, about 40 seconds apart. That is entirely consistent with a cannon fire scenario, and not consistent with any other scenarios.

concentric scenarios?

But, the debris keeps talking to us. If the debris fields were actually produced in this sequence, as indicated by the types of debris found, then we can establish the final path of Flight 93. And, that path is in almost the exact opposite direction that the government-sponsored story has told us for the past four years. As the arrow on the map below indicates, at the time of the crash, Flight 93 was flying away from Washington, DC, not toward it. Both eyewitnesses and Flight 93: The Flight That Fought Back concur that the airliner flew erratically in its final few minutes. But, it is not only what Flight 93 was headed away from that is significant. The evidence indicates that Flight 93 might have actually been flying toward a specific point.

Located about six miles (or 40 seconds flying time) beyond the impact point is the Stoystown NDB navigational aid. The NDB is a non-directional beacon. Such beacons are located at key points near an airport. They differ from a VOR, which is an omnidirectional beacon. The VOR generally helps pilots to navigate along a route in the sky, but the NDB helps pilots to locate an airport. In sophisticated aircraft, such as the Boeing 757 that became Flight 93, a pilot can put his directional gyro (DG) into search mode, and find the nearest NDB quickly. No doubt, this is what many pilots did that day in order to comply with the FAA order for all aircraft to land immediately.

Although we don't know for sure, it is likely that the terrorists killed Captain Jason Dahl and First Officer Leroy W. Homer, Jr. But, that does not mean that the plane had to crash after passengers stormed the cockpit. Included among the passengers of Flight 93 were a former air-traffic controller (Andrew Garcia) and an experienced pilot (Donald Greene). Furthermore, Greene was the president of a company that makes flight instruments, and would have known how to quickly operate the DG to search for a nearby available airport. And, given the apparent high level of brainpower of the people that fought back against the hijackers, it is very likely that Greene and Garcia were recruited to fly the plane once the terrorists were plucked from the pilots' seats.

In addition to judo champion Jeremy Glick, the passengers also included a current Federal law enforcement officer (Richard J. Guadagno), an Army veteran and former ironworker (William Joseph Cashman), a former star quarterback (Thomas Burnett), a distribution center director (Louis Joseph Nacke II), and a 20-year-old former soccer goalie from Japan (Toshiya Kuge). Of the list of passengers aboard Flight 93, these are the ones that I believe were likely to make up a "combat team" to storm the cockpit and recover the controls. And, in particular, I think that Greene and Garcia would have figured out the importance of turning the aircraft away from Washington, DC, to show that it was no longer a threat.

Admittedly, it could be sheer coincidence that Flight 93 was headed toward the Stoystown NDB just before it was shot down. But, I don't think so. Once over the beacon, Greene would have had his choice of several nearby airports to land Flight 93. The best choice was the Johnstown Airport, 14.3 miles northeast of the beacon. That airport's runway had the best aircraft weight capacity (87,000 pounds for double-wheel landing struts). It just so happens that, according to the chart on Page 120 of the Boeing technical specifications for the B-757 (Manual # D6-58327), the airliner could land safely at Johnstown. But, if necessary, Flight 93 also could have landed at Somerset County Airport, or at Altoona Airport. (In both of those alternatives, the wheels would likely have dug into the runway, creating a landing problem. But, the aircraft would likely have survived intact.) The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) aboard Flight 93 proved that the passengers did succeed in breaching the cockpit. Then, the final minutes of the CVR tape were deleted from the released version. Before the tape cut out, though, the sound of wind was heard inside the cockpit.

educated guess

Here is what I think happened in those final minutes that the government has covered up. As both cell phone conversations and the CVR prove, the passengers used a rolling drink cart to ram the cockpit door. Apparently, this worked after a few tries. Meanwhile, at the controls, one of the hijackers is heard praying repeatedly to Allah. (Was he praying because he heard the passengers coming behind him, or because he saw the interceptors coming in front of him?) The hijacker at the door is knocked backwards as the cart breaks the door open.

At about the same time that the door is broken open, the first burst of F-15 cannon fire hits Flight 93. At least one shell penetrates the cockpit, allowing the sound of the 500-mph wind to be recorded by the CVR. Other shells strike Flight 93 just below the cockpit, causing US Mail to spill from the cargo hold and fall upon a cornfield in New Baltimore. Possibly, a shell from that first burst hits the hijacker at the door. Nacke and Kuge quickly maneuver the cart out of the way, while Guadagno and Glick lunge through the door and attack the hijacker at the controls. Cashman then hurls the doorman out of the cockpit. Nacke and Kuge then grab the doorman, and shove his body out of the way. Glick snaps the neck of the hijacker at the controls (just as his wife said on the Discovery Channel documentary). Glick and Guadagno drag the now-dead hijacker out of the pilot seat and out of the cockpit. Greene and Garcia make their way into the pilots' seats. Guadagno then attends to the airline captain and first officer, assisted by Glick. It is not clear whether Capt. Dahl and FO Homer survived the terrorists' storming of the cockpit. But, either way, Guadagno and Glick would have been the most likely to handle the two injured United Airlines pilots.

Flight Attendant CeeCee Ross Lyles was a police officer before joining United Airlines. If the doorman survived the storming of the cockpit, she would likely have been trying to get information out of him before he died. If he did not survive, and if the flight crew did survive, then she would likely have been supervising any first aid for Dahl and Homer. As Nacke and Kuge clear the area near the cockpit, the other passengers begin to realize that the plan was successful. Sighs of relief, prayers, and applause emanate from the passenger cabin. Meanwhile, Greene regains straight and level control of the airliner, and Garcia is tuning the radio to contact controllers on the ground, or even the interceptors directly. Greene tunes in the DG to search mode, finds the Stoystown NDB, and guides the 757 toward the beacon while Garcia attempts to get landing clearance at Johnstown.

Then, the F-15 fires the second cannon burst over Indian Lake.

The cockpit is penetrated significantly this time. Sparks fly as the heavy depleted-uranium projectiles cut through the electronics in the instrument panel, and Garcia is thrown backward by the impact of a shell to his torso. Pieces of the pilots' seats are broken off, both by the shells and by the flying metal from the dash cutting into the plastic parts of the seats. Metal and plastic are sucked out of the holes in the pressurized cockpit by the 500-mph wind, and rain down over Indian Lake. Greene pulls back against the control yoke, trying to keep Flight 93 airborne as the aerodynamics suddenly change because of the cuts in the aircraft's nose. Then, another shell flies through the cockpit, and strikes Greene in the rib breaking it off instantly. The rib shows up the next day on the shore of Indian Lake. As Greene dies from the shock of a pound of metal hitting him at more than twice the speed of sound, he slumps to one side against the control yoke. The aircraft does a half-roll to that side, and dives vertical but inverted into a strip-mine field near Buckstown Road, between Indian Lake and Shanksville.

One interceptor turns on the afterburner, and makes a rapid vertical climb out of sight (the noise is masked by the sound of the crash and subsequent flames). The other F-15 dives low, and records the grim scene on the gun camera before turning back toward base. Several eyewitnesses on the ground spot that second fighter. Later, FBI agents will try to confuse the witnesses, and get them to recant their reported sightings.

Before the second F-15 catches up with the first, government spin-doctors are already working on a "containment strategy" for information about the unfortunate incident. News reporters begin to ask questions about whether Flight was shot down. The premised is pooh-poohed by the government, until an air-traffic controller in Boston speaks to reporters. He is quickly put under a gag order, as are the interceptor pilots. Then, the government calls a press conference to deny the obvious. And, the particular "Minister of Truth" that they call in becomes the key to the unraveling of the mystery of Flight 93, because General Paul A. Weaver, Jr., is a documented liar.

Only time will tell whether this "best guess" scenario is correct. But, one thing we know for sure now: the government-sponsored story about Flight 93 does not stand up to the evidence. In conclusion, Flight 93 was shot down!

 Read Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

© Tom Kovach


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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Tom Kovach

Tom Kovach lives near Nashville, is a former USAF Blue Beret, and has written for several online publications... (more)

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