ERROR: 'The Jetliner that Appeared to Crash into the Pentagon Actually Flew Over It'
In contrast to the the "no-plane" or
theories that deny the crash of a jetliner into the Pentagon on 9/11,
a theory circulated since 2003 maintains that
a jetliner with American Airlines livery did indeed approach
the Pentagon, as
reported by scores of eyewitnesses,
but actually flew over the vast building, slipping away unnoticed.
The same witnesses were fooled into thinking that it crashed there,
we are told,
by a spectacular "magic show" in which the plane flew through the explosion.
The 'flyover theory' has a certain appeal to people who
accept the vigorously-promoted assertion that a Boeing couldn't
have crashed into the Pentagon, because, unlike the 'no-Boeing' theories,
it does not require the wholesale dismissal of the large number
of witnesses who saw the jetliner.
However, the absurdity of the flyover theory becomes obvious
when one considers the number of witnesses who would have clearly seen it,
given the geography of the Pentagon's immediate surroundings,
and the predictable distribution of bystanders
with a relatively clear view
at any given time of day condition of traffic.
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The Pentagon 'flyover theory'
is the central premise of The PentaCon,
despite the fact neither CIT nor any of its supporters
has provided a detailed account of how the "magic trick"
could have been accomplished.
That theory isn't even remotely plausible
when one considers the number of observers who would have had
a clear view of the purported overflight,
even if the maneuver were engineered to be as inconspicuous as possible.
Given the topography of the Pentagon's immediate surroundings,
with its vast parking lots,
highways and access roads of at least six lanes on each of its sides,
and highrise buildings starting 300 feet to the south,
such an event would have been witnessed by hundreds at least,
as an unmistakable sight of a commercial jetliner
leaving a huge explosion, as if it had bombed the building.
The thunderous sound of the explosion would have guaranteed
that most of the people in a position to see the event
would have turned their heads to see the explosion
and the plane in close proximity.
The same witnesses would have been riveted to the action
as the plane departed from the scene,
whether it made a spectacular banking turn to land at National Airport,
or made an equally spectacular climb away from the Pentagon over the Potomac.
Had that happened, nothing could have silenced the hundreds
of diverse witnesses who saw something so unmistakable
and so utterly irreconcilable with the official story
that the silver jetliner had hit the Pentagon.
Had that happened,
CIT would have more to work with than a few witnesses
who recalled seeing the jetliner flying to the north instead of the south
of the Citgo station.
From more than a mile of the 6-lane 395,
with its several overpasses and flanking roads,
the claimed overflight following the explosion
would have been obvious and unmistakable.
The Pentacon and "CIT"
The flyover theory,
articulated as early as 2003
by the internet persona Richard Eastman,
has reached the greatest audience with
an effort representing itself as the work of two independent investigators,
the "Citizen Investigation Team (CIT)",
interviewing actual witnesses to the Pentagon attack
to expose the purported falsity
of the official story that Flight 77 hit the building.
The methods used by CIT to support their conclusion
are the subject of the 2009 essay
To Con a Movement:
Exposing CIT's PentaCon 'Magic Show'
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despite the broad rejection of CIT by much of the 9/11 activist community,
event organizers are all too willing to feature hyped
"mysteries” like PentaCon --
seemingly regardless of the absurdity of the films' methods,
the demonstrable falseness of their claims,
their effectiveness in polarizing activists,
or the history of disruption by the filmmakers themselves.
Whether such promotions reflect a misguided belief
that such films help "grow the movement" because of the "excitement"
or whether they reflect a more deliberate form of "false flag 9/11 truth"
the effect is the same:
damaging the credibility and viability of 9/11 activist efforts
by giving center stage to hoax material.
The Alleged North-of-Citgo Flight Path
Although the apparent purpose of CIT's project is
to discredit independent investigations of the attack
by advancing the flyover claim --
with its transparently absurdity
to anyone knowledgeable about the geography of the Pentagon's surroundings --
CIT's explicit focus is its assertion that
the plane flew north of the CITGO station.
The flyover claim is, for the most part,
advanced implicitly as a corollary,
since the north-of-CITGO flight-path is inconsistent with the
crash damage pattern in and around the building.
Interestingly, a number of individuals who have acquiesced to
CIT's aggressive campaign to secure endorsements
accept both the no-jetliner-impact and north-of-CITGO claims,
yet distance themselves from the flyover theory.
David Griffin called the north-of-CITGO claim
"established beyond a reasonable doubt", but describes CIT's case for
fly-over claim as "not as clear".
The north-of-CITGO (NOC) claim is refuted by a 2011 paper by
Frank Legge and David Chandler.
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It is physically impossible for any plane to pass NOC at the reported speed
without banking steeply, hence the few witnesses
who claimed to have observed the north path were necessarily mistaken
about the path of the plane. Several such witnesses reported
that the plane was flying level in the vicinity of the Navy Annex,
in complete contradiction of the curved NOC path.36
The NOC witnesses are outnumbered by witnesses to impact by about 10 to 1,
or about twice that if we disqualify the NOC witnesses
who contradicted themselves by reporting that they saw the impact.
There is a complete absence of witnesses to the plane flying over the Pentagon,
though hundreds of people were in a position to see it and the sight would have
been striking, commencing, or approaching, with a remarkably steep bank.
page last modified: 2011-09-05