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ERROR: 'The South Tower Impact Involved Missiles and/or Explosives'

In contrast to the North Tower impact, the South Tower jetliner impact was captured by many cameras. Alleged anomalies in the crash photographs and videos, all of which show the jet impact with poor resolution at best, have been the source for a palette of imaginative theories. These theories include ones that posit missiles or other devices carried on the aircraft firing at the Tower just before impact, explosives planted in the Tower to simulate a jetliner crash, and even canisters of "appropriate debris" catapulted from the Tower.

The theories of anomalous crash events harmonize with the theories of anomalous planes, or pod plane theories: why should a plane have a pod unless it's going to do something, like fire a missile? Indeed, many authors include both elements in their theory, such as Leonard Spencer, in What Hit WTC2? Another Look at the Second Plane .


The most widely publicized anomalies in South Tower crash images are bright spots that occur momentarily as the plane begins to collide with the building. The slickly produced In Plane Site (IPS) shows five different videos, each showing a flash at the same apparent moment in the crash. Von Kleist waves the DVD case of CNN's America Remembers -- the source of the South Tower crash video repeated the most times on IPS. The flashes, according to Von Kleist, are anomalous and very important to study -- far more important than whether controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers, judging from his allocation of time and use of dramatics.

Three videos in wide circulation show a flash when the jetliner's fuselage first begins to impact the South Tower.

Supposing that the flashes are real rather than video edits, we can think of explanations that don't involve the detonations of missiles suggested by Von Kleist. Some have suggested that it might be a kind of static-electric discharge involving the plane's radar dome. However, similar but smaller flashes are seen when the engines impact the curtain wall. The most plausible explanation for the flashes we've seen is that the kinetic energy of the collisions vaporized a mix of materials, including steel and aluminum, which were rapidly oxidized by the pressure and heat of the 400+ mph collision. Perhaps the flashes are entirely explainable by the oxidation of aluminum.

This hypothesis explains the flashes much better than missile theories, because the flashes occur just as the densest parts of the aircraft start to penetrate the curtain wall. Von Kleist and other missile theorists state that the flashes occur before the plane hits the South Tower, ignoring that the fuselage enters the Tower's shadow just before impact. Close examination of the footage, noting the distance from the aircraft wings to its nose, shows that the flashes happen just as contact begins.

e x c e r p t
title: Analysis of Flight 175 'Pod' and related claims
authors: Brian Salter
In the case of the south tower, In Plane Site and others have claimed that there is a gap between the fuselage and the flash, using the Spiegel TV footage to support this. But keep in mind that the building casts a very slender shadow over the front part of the plane as it enters. The shadow can be seen over the front part of the nose when the flash occurs in the Fairbanks and Spiegel footage, and can also be seen on the wings and engines in the CNN footage. Notice in the CNN footage how the left engine loses it's highlight just before entering the building. The appearance of a gap was probably caused by the shadow of the building on the fuselage. As part of their analysis, In Plane Site argues that the reflection of the flash can be seen on the fuselage, but this may be the tail end of the reflection of sunlight seen in earlier frames (it's shape slightly changed from flexing in the skin of the airplane due to the impact.) Or it may be a combination of both, with the reflection of the flash (which would be less intense than sunlight) on the shaded part of the fuselage obscured by the intense ringing effect from the highlight (the ringing is the dark blob in between the highlight and the flash).

The rapid metal-oxidation hypothesis also explains the brevity of the flashes. The flash caused by the fuselage is little more than a video frame in duration. That's much too brief to be a conventional explosive, but it is consistent with impact-induced chemical reactions, because the high pressures leading to the vaporization and oxidation would tend to occur only on the leading edges of the aircraft as it contacts the building.

A much more detailed examination of the likely cause of the flashes is provided here.

page last modified: 2009-04-26
Copyright 2004 - 2011,911Review.com / revision 1.08 site last modified: 12/21/2012
This graphic is from the detailed QuestionsQuestions article, which has the videos for the crash of Flight 175 from four different vantage points.