Category Archives: Flying skills

The flight skills of alleged suicide-pilot Hani Hanjour

The flight skills of alleged suicide-pilot Hani Hanjour

by Elias Davidsson

According to the official account, repeated by the media, “[c]ontrollers say the plane crossed the Pentagon at 7,000 feet and then made a sweeping circle to the right, during which time it dropped down tonear surface level”.1

One of the alleged hijacking pilots, Hani Hanjour, was credited with having mastered the most difficult maneuver of that day, namely plunging Flight AA77, a Boeing 757, horizontally into the ground floor of the Pentagon at approximately 500 mph. An experienced military pilot, Gary Eitel, told author Michael C. Ruppert that the maneuver performed by that aircraft, as described in official reports, was beyond the capabilities of 90 percent of even the best and most experienced pilots in the world.2

Commander Ted Muga, a retired Pan-Am commercial and military airline pilot with years of experience, stated in a media interview in 2007:

The maneuver at the Pentagon was just a tight spiral coming down out of 7,000 feet.  And a commercial aircraft, while they can in fact structurally somewhat handle that maneuver, they are very, very, very difficult.  And it would take considerable training.  In other words, commercial aircraft are designed for a particular purpose and that is for comfort and for passengers and it’s not for military maneuvers.  And while they are structurally capable of doing them, it takes some very, very talented pilots to do that. (…)  I just can’t imagine an amateur even being able to come close to performing a maneuver of that nature.3

The above evaluation is corroborated by Capt. Fred Fox, a retired commercial airline pilot with 33 years experience flying for American Airlines:

I know from my experience that it would have been highly improbable that even a seasoned American test pilot, a military test pilot, could have flown a T-category, aircraft like the 757, into the first floor of the Pentagon because of a thing called Ground Effect.4

Commander Ralph Kolstad, U.S. Navy (ret.) says:

I have 6,000 hours of flight time in Boeing 757’s and 767’s and could not have flown it the way the flight path was described.

Flight controller Danielle O’Brien recalled what she observed on her radar screen: “The speed, the maneuverability, the way that [Flight 77] turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane.”5 According to a 2002 report by the NTSB  “[Flight 77] started a right 330-degree descending turn to the right. At the end of the turn, the aircraft was at about 2,000 feet altitude and four miles southwest of the Pentagon. Over the next 30 seconds, power was increased to near maximum and the nose was pitched down in response to control column movements.”6 The “complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed.”7 Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm…Someone even knew how to turn off the transponder, a move that is considerably less than obvious.8

According to press reports, flight AA77 flew so low as to knock down electrical poles on its approach to the Pentagon. After crossing the highway the pilot had to take the plane to within inches of the ground so as to crash into the Pentagon on its side.  According to official reports, the airliner crashed between the first and second floor at approximately 400 mph and penetrated three rings of the building, indicating that it had approached the building at nearly horizontal position.

Did Hani Hanjour possess the skills necessary to accomplish these tasks?  New York Times devoted an entire article to Hanjour in 2002.9 That’s what they wrote: Hanjour “was reported to the [Federal Aviation Administration] in February 2001 after instructors at his flight school in Phoenix had found his piloting skills so shoddy and his grasp of English so inadequate that they questioned whether his pilot’s license was genuine.”10 In a subsequent New York Times article, it is revealed that Hanjour’s instructors thought he was so bad a pilot and spoke such poor English that they contacted the Federal Aviation Administration to verify that his license was not a fake. The aviation agency verified the license and reportedly “offered to find Mr. Hanjour a language tutor.”11

According to CBS News, the staff of the Phoenix flight school will be so appalled at his lack of skills that they will contact the FAA not less than five (5) times and ask them to investigate how he got a pilot’s license.12 Peggy Chevrette, manager at that school said: “”I couldn’t believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had.”  The FAA, reacting to these repeated complaints, sent an inspector by the name of John Anthony to verify that Hanjour’s 1999 license was legitimate.  The inspector even suggested that the school provide Hani with an interpreter. This surprised Chevrette, because it was a violation of FAA rules.  According to an unnamed official the inspector “did not observe any serious issue” with Hanjour’s English. Laura Brown, spokeswoman of the FAA, explained:  “There was nothing about the pilot’s actions to signal criminal intent at the time or that would have caused us to alert law enforcement.” 13 That was evidently not the point.  The point was rather: why did the FAA issue a pilot’s license to Hanjour in the first place and then tried desperately to let him keep it?

After 9/11, the FBI will appear to investigate how Hanjour got his license and question and polygraph the instructor who signed off on his flying skills. The Washington Post will note that, since Hanjour’s pilot skills were so bad, the issue of how he was able to get a license “remains a lingering question that FAA officials refuse to discuss.”14

Other Arizona flight schools he attended also questioned his abilities.15 A former employee of the school reportedly said that Hanjour was a poor student. To complete one written problem that usually takes 20 minutes, Mr. Hanjour needed three hours, the former employee said, and he answered incorrectly. But the ex-employee said Mr. Hanjour continued to pay to train on a simulator for Boeing 737 jets. ”He didn’t care about the fact that he couldn’t get through the course,” the ex-employee said.”16

At Freeway Airport in Bowie, Md., 20 miles west of Washington, flight instructor Sheri Baxter instantly recognized the name of alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour when the FBI released a list of 19 suspects in the four hijackings. Hanjour, the only suspect on Flight 77 the FBI listed as a pilot, had come to the airport [in August 2001] seeking to rent a small plane. However, when Baxter and fellow instructor Ben Conner took the slender, soft-spoken Hanjour on three test runs during the second week of August, they found he had trouble controlling and landing the single-engine Cessna 172. Even though Hanjour showed a federal pilot’s license and a log book cataloging 600 hours of flying experience, chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard declined to rent him a plane without more lessons.17

FBI Special Agent Scott Thorlin was interviewed by the staff of the 9/11 Commission on January 5, 2004 at the FBI, Phoenix Field Office. In his testimony he said Amro Hassan had been a flight instructor for Hanjour who apparently referred to Hanjour as a “terrible pilot.”18

The only significantly different evaluation of Hani Hanjour’s flight skills was provided to the 9/11 Commission by an Israeli “instructor at Congressional Air Charters of Gaithersburg, Maryland.”19 The Final Report of the 9/11 Commission does not provide any information about that person. In a Memorandum For the Record drafted by the Commission staff and released in 2009,  some details are given about this man named Eddie Shalev. The company for which he worked apparently “went out of business”.  Shalev is reported to have evaluated Hanjour’s flying skills in August 2001 to determine if Hanjour be allowed to rent an aircraft from that company. Shalev said that Hanjour used “landmark or terrain recognition system for navigation” and not instruments. He said that he considered this “unusual”. He thought that Hanjour “may have received training from a military pilot because of his use of terrain recognition for navigation.” He stated that, based on his observations, Hanjour was a “good” pilot.  On August 26, 2001 Hanjour reportedly returned to Congressional Air Charters with a “young mid-eastern male” and rented an aircraft. Shalev said he did not know where they flew on that day. Shalev said he had been interviewed on September 13, 2001 by the FBI.20 Contrary to the hundreds of released 302-reports, summarizing interviews conducted by the FBI in connection with the attacks, the 302-report on Shalev’s interview was not released.  Shalev could not be located in order to interview him.

Dismissing the overwhelming number of negative testimonies about Hanjour’s flight skills, the staff of the 9/11 Commission wrote in their declassified report of August 26, 2004:  “[Hanjour] was perhaps the most experienced and highly trained pilot among the 9/11 hijackers.” Probably the only true word in the preceding sentence is “perhaps”. The report concluded by referring to unnamed “experts consulted by the Commission staff” who believe that the “training and experience [of the four alleged pilots of the hijacked planes] adequately prepared them to complete the mission.”

Going by the redaction of James Charles McRae’s entire testimony to the FBI regarding his experience with Hani Hanjour as his flight student at Airline Training Center in Phoenix, Arizona, it appears that this testimony was considered too damaging for the U.S. government to reveal.21

In a detailed essay by Mark Gaffney entitled “How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77”,22 the author provides evidence supporting the view that the suppression of evidence about Hanjour’s sub-standard flight skills, was both intentional and constituted merely one element in a larger cover-up operation.

Author Jeremy R. Hammond also provides a detailed analysis of Hani Hanjour’s flight skills (or lack of same) and convincingly demonstrates a “clear pattern of willful deception on the part of the 9/11 Commission with regard to alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour”.23

END

1Glen Johnson, supra n. (author’s document #450)

2 Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon, p. 350

3Statement by Commander Ted Muga, April 1, 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

4Statement by Capt. Fred Fox, in 9/11 Ripple Effect, August 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

5 ABC News, Air Traffic Controllers Recall Sept. 11, September 24, 2001, at http://web.archive.org/web/20011025074733/http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/2020/2020_011024_atc_feature.html (last visited December 11, 2010)

6 NTSB, Flight Path Study – AA77, February 19, 2001. at http://www.ntsb.gov/info/Flight_%20Path_%20Study_AA77.pdf (last visited December 11, 2010)

7 CBS News, 189 Dead or Missing From Pentagon Attack,  September 21, 2001, at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/11/national/main310721.shtml (last visited December 11, 2010)

8 Marc Fisher and Don Phillips, On Flight 77:’Our Plane Is Being Hijacked’, Washington Post, September 12, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A14365-2001Sep11 (last visited December 11, 2010)

9 Jim Yardley, A Trainee Noted for Incompetence, New York Times, 4 May 2002. Doc.079-Hanjour.pdf

10 Ibid.

11Jim Yardley and Jo Thomas, For Agent it Phoenix, the Cause of Many Frustrations Extended to His Own Office, New York Times, 19 June 2002, at http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/19/national/19ARIZ.html?pagewanted=all&position=top

12David Hancock, FAA Was Alerted To Sept. 11 Hijacker, CBS News, May 10, 2002, at  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/10/attack/main508656.shtml

13Ibid.

14Amy Goldstein,  Lena H. Sun and George Lardner, Jr.,  Hanjour a Study in Paradox, Washington Post, October 15, 2001, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A59451-2001Oct14&notFound=true

15 CBS News, May 10, 2002, at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/10/attack/main508656.shtml

16 Ibid.

17 Thomas Frank, Tracing Trail of Hijackers,  Newsday, 23 September 2001, Doc.080-Hanjour.pdf

18 9/11 Commission records, MFR 04017510 of January 5, 2004

19 Final Report of the 9/11 Commission, Footnote 170 for Chapter 7

20 9/11 Commission, MFR 04018410. Author’s document #344

21FBI document 315N-NY-280350-302 Serial 4839, September 17, 2001

22 Mark Gaffney, How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77, Information Clearinghouse, July 7, 2009, at  http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article22999.htm (last visited December 13, 2010)

23Jeremy R. Hammond, Hani Hanjour: Al Qaeda’s Top Gun, April 18, 2010, at  http://911blogger.com/news/2010-04-18/al-qaeda’s-top-gun-willful-deception-911-commission-jeremy-r-hammond-april-18th-2010

The difficulties of hitting a building at 500 mph

The difficulties of hitting a building at 500 mph

by Elias Davidsson

John Lear, a retired commercial airline pilot with over 19,000+ total hours flown in over 100 different types of planes for 10 different airlines in 60 different countries around the world, doubted that even a professional pilot could fly into the World Trade Center at 500 miles an hour.1 He said in an interview with Rob Balsamo, himself a pilot:

[N]o Arab hijacker, ever in a million years, ever flew into the World Trade Center.  And if you got 30 minutes I’ll tell you exactly why he couldn’t do it the first time.  Now, I’d have trouble doing it the first time…Maybe if I had a couple tries to line up a few building, I could have done it.  But certainly not the first time and certainly not at 500 or 600 miles an hour.2

Rob Balsamo then added:

Yeah, as a matter of fact, one of our members [Pilots for 9/11 Truth3], he was a 737 Check Airman.  He was in the sim at the time on September 11 and right after it happened they tried to duplicate it in the simulator and they said they couldn’t do it.  They were trying to hit the Towers and they couldn’t do it.4

Capt. Russ Wittenberg, a retired commercial pilot who flew for Pan Am and United Airlines for 35 years on most commercial aircraft said:

I don’t believe it’s possible for (…) a so-called terrorist to train on a [Cessna] 172, then jump in a cockpit of a 757-767 class cockpit, and vertical navigate the aircraft, lateral navigate the aircraft, and fly the airplane at speeds exceeding it’s design limit speed by over 100 knots, make high-speed high-banked turns, exceeding – pulling probably 5, 6, 7 G’s. And the aircraft would literally fall out of the sky. I couldn’t do it and I’m absolutely positive they couldn’t do it.5

Commander Ralph Kolstad, retired commercial airline captain with 27 years experience on most commercial aircraft said:

I was also a Navy fighter pilot and Air Combat Instructor, U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School and have experience flying low altitude, high speed aircraft.  I could not have done what these beginners [apparently] did. Something stinks to high heaven!6

Gaffney (p. 199-200) reports the remarkable story of a flight instructor named Dan Govatos, who was  on  9/11 training a class on a Boeing 737 flight simulator.  The next morning Govatos said, “Hey, guys, let’s try something. Let’s see if we can hit those buildings [the WTC]. Like we saw happen.”  So they all took turns trying to crash the Boeing 737 into the WTC.  They all had many years flight experience, but none of them could do it, not even after ten high-speed runs at the building.  They only succeeded to hit the building when slowing down to near-landing speeds.  During the radio interview Govatos explained why his pilots had failed to replicate the impacts at the WTC:

You’ve to understand, when you’re going 300 knots in a Boeing airliner and you move the controls like you would expect to do in a little airplane, you couldn’t stand the “G” forces. Everything has to be fingertip control. Even pilots who have logged thousands of hours of flight time have an extremely difficult time controlling a large airplane at those speeds.

 

END

1  According to NIST (Final Report) p. 9, the aircraft hit the North Tower at the speed of 466 mph. ±34 mph, while the other aircraft hit the South Tower at 542 ±24 mph. (NIST, NCSTAR p. 24)

2 http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html

3 Pilots for 9/11 Truth is an organization of aviation professionals and pilots throughout the globe who have gathered together for one purpose. We are committed to seeking the truth surrounding the events of the 11th of September 2001. The organization’s website is: http://pilotsfor911truth.org/

4 Ibid.

5Statement by Capt. Russ Wittenberg, U.S. Air Force, August 2007. At http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/pilots.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

6Statement by Commander Ralph Kolstad (US Navy (ret)), August 20, 2007, at http://www.patriotsquestion911.com/Statement%20Kolstad2.html (last visited 2.9.2011)

Hani Hanjour Got Pilot’s License from For-Profit Contractors

Hani Hanjour Got Pilot's License from For-Profit Contractors

Report: 9/11 Hijacker Bypassed FAA http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/homefront.html

D A L L A S, June 13, 2002 ? A suspected Saudi terrorist believed to have piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon bypassed the Federal Aviation Administration for his flight licenses, according to a published report today.

Sources and agency records cited by The Dallas Morning News showed that Hani Saleh Hanjour obtained certification by using private examiners who independently contract with the FAA. That certification allowed him to begin passenger jet training at an Arizona flight school despite having what instructors later described as limited flying skills and an even more limited command of English.

The jet training enabled the 30-year-old Hanjour to take the controls of American Airlines Flight 77 on the morning of Sept. 11 and crash it into the Pentagon, killing 188 people including all passengers aboard.

Certification of Hanjour illustrates a flaw in the federal system, one official said.

An FAA inspector in California who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper a pilot now "could go all the way through to become a 747 captain, if you will, having never gone before the FAA."

Agency records show that Hanjour was certified as an "Airplane Multi-Engine Land/Commercial Pilot" on April 15, 1999, by Daryl Strong, a designated pilot examiner in Tempe, Ariz. It was the last of three certifications Hanjour obtained from private examiners.

Strong, 71, said his flight logs confirm that he conducted a check ride with Mr. Hanjour in 1999 in a twin-engine Piper Apache but that he remembers nothing remarkable about him. Strong, with more than 50 years of flying experience that included a commercial crop duster, said until recently he conducted about 200 such check rides each year, at $200 per flight.

FAA officials confirm one of their inspectors, John Anthony, was contacted by Pan Am International Flight Academy in Miami in January and February about Hanjour and, at the request of the school, checked Hanjour's commercial pilot's license to ensure it was valid.

"There should have been a stop right then and there," said Michael Gonzales, an FAA inspector speaking as president of the Professional Airways Systems Specialists chapter in Scottsdale that represents FAA field inspectors. He said Hanjour should have been re-examined as a commercial pilot, as required by federal law. “The Associated Press

http://archive.democrats.com/view.cfm?id=7893
29/11/2006 21.35.59

FAA contractors approved flight licenses for Sept. 11 suspect

FAA contractors approved flight licenses for Sept. 11 suspect

 

The man suspected of flying a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11 obtained three federal flight licenses from private contractors working for the Federal Aviation Administration, an agency spokesman confirmed Thursday.

 

Hani Saleh Hanjour, whom authorities believe flew American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, passed all the proficiency tests necessary to obtain the flight licenses, according to FAA spokesman Les Dorr. The Dallas Morning News first reported the story Thursday.

 

The certification from the private contractors enabled Hanjour to take a class in how to fly passenger jets at an Arizona flight school, the newspaper reported. Hanjour failed the flight training class.

 

For decades, the FAA has used contractors, known as "designees," to examine candidates who apply for different types of certification, including pilot licenses and aircraft mechanic licenses. "The designee system has served the agency quite well – with few exceptions – over those years," Dorr said. "The designees used, whether pilot examiners or other types of examiners, are thoroughly screened and very proficient in what they're involved in." The FAA has more than 20,000 designees, about 1,800 of whom are pilot examiners.

 

The designee system was not the problem in Hanjour's case, Dorr said. "As far as demonstrating proficiency, Hanjour had to pass the same exams that every other pilot – foreign and American – has to pass to get a license," Dorr said. "FAA personnel would have administered the same tests as the designees did."

 

Pilots and aviation instructors must be able to read, write and speak English to obtain a pilot license, according to the FAA. Hanjour's proficiency in English and flying skills were good enough to obtain certification from pilot examiners, but not strong enough to pass the training class at the flight school, according to The Dallas Morning News.

 

The FAA "does an excellent job" of overseeing designees, according to Dorr. "If we receive complaints [about designees], we investigate, and if they are not following the regulations, we don't hesitate to revoke their designee's license, or let their renewal lapse," he said. The FAA renews licenses for the contractors annually. Dorr did not know how many designee licenses the FAA has revoked or decided not to renew because the agency does not keep that information in a central database.

 

But the FAA's lax oversight of designees is precisely the problem, according to Heather Awsumb, a spokeswoman for the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) union. PASS represents more than 11,000 FAA and Defense Department employees.

 

"The ultimate issue is not that a terrorist received a pilot license; even if he hadn't, he still could have hijacked a plane and done the same thing," Awsumb said. "The real problem is that regular oversight is handed over to private industry."

 

Awsumb said the FAA has only 2,800 inspectors to oversee the 20,000 designees. And much of the oversight involves simply sifting though paperwork, she said.

 

Designees have a financial interest in certifying as many people as possible, Awsumb argued. "They receive between $200 and $300 for each flight check," she said. "If they get a reputation for being tough, they won't get any business."

 

"We don't think the system works," Awsumb said. "There are too many loopholes to allow safety to be sold to the lowest bidder."

 

The FAA is now considering a rule that would allow organizations such as flight schools and trade organizations to become designees. The rule is still in draft form, and Dorr did not know when it would be ready for public comment.

FAA Was Alerted To Sept. 11 Hijacker Hani Hanjour

"I couldn't believe [Hani Hanjour] had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had." Peggy Chevrette, Arizona flight school manager

FAA Was Alerted To Sept. 11 Hijacker

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2002

"I couldn't believe [Hani Hanjour] had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had."
Peggy Chevrette, Arizona flight school manager

(CBS) Months before Hani Hanjour is believed to have flown an American Airlines jet into the Pentagon, managers at an Arizona flight school reported him at least five times to the FAA, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.

They reported him not because they feared he was a terrorist, but because his English and flying skills were so bad, they told the Associated Press, they didn't think he should keep his pilot's license.

"I couldn't believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had," said Peggy Chevrette, the manager for the now-defunct JetTech flight school in Phoenix.

Reacting to the alert in January 2001, an FAA inspector checked to ensure Hanjour's 1999 license was legitimate and even sat next to him in one of the Arizona classes.

But he didn't tell the FBI or take action to rescind Hanjour's license, FAA officials said.

"There was nothing about the pilot's actions to signal criminal intent at the time or that would have caused us to alert law enforcement," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said.

But one official said the inspector, John Anthony, did not suggest a translator and "did not observe any serious issue" with Hanjour's English, even though University of Arizona records show he failed his English classes with a 0.26 grade point average. Other Arizona flight schools he attended also questioned his abilities.

"He didn't do his homework, didn't attend on time and he would sort of come and go," said Duncan Hastie of Cockpit Resource Management.

Marilyn Ladner, the vice president of Pan Am Flight Academy in Miami ? the company that owned JetTech before it closed in the aftermath of Sept. 11 ? told CBS News, "We did everything we were supposed to do," in reporting Hanjour.

Hanjour attended flight schools with two other Pentagon hijackers. And in July last year, an Arizona FBI agent alerted Washington that a large number of Middle Eastern men were taking flying lessons, but he was ignored.

Then a month later, a Minnesota flight school reported Zacarias Moussaoui to the FBI. He was arrested and is now awaiting trial; the only accused Sept. 11 conspirator who has been caught.

The Arizona school's alert is the latest revelation about the extent of information the government possessed before Sept. 11 about the hijackers or concerns about a terrorist strike. Last week, the Associated Press reported the FBI in Arizona raised concerns in July 2001 that a large number of Arab students were training at a U.S. flight school and urged FBI headquarters to check all schools nationwide for such students ? advice that wasn't followed until after Sept. 11.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said Friday he didn't know there had been a red flag raised about Hanjour. "I'd be pleased to include information like this in our investigation, but it's not something with which I'm familiar."

Key members of Congress said the latest revelation shows the government still has a long way to go to eliminate America's vulnerabilities to terrorism.

"We're only a few small steps ahead of where we were before Sept. 11. The flaws of the past are still pretty much in place," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who said the House aviation subcommittee he oversees would look into the Hanjour matter.

Chevrette said Hanjour's English was so poor that it took him five hours to complete a section of a mock pilot's oral exam that is supposed to last just a couple of hours.

Chevrette said she contacted Anthony again when Hanjour began ground training for Boeing 737 jetliners and it became clear he didn't have the skills for the commercial pilot's license.

"I don't truly believe he should have had it and I questioned that," she said.

FBI agents have questioned and administered a lie detector test to one of Hanjour's instructors in Arizona who was an Arab American and had signed off on Hanjour's flight instruction credentials before he got his pilot's license.

That instructor said he told agents that Hanjour was "a very average pilot, maybe struggling a little bit." The instructor added, "Maybe his English wasn't very good."

Hanjour?s ‘flight skills?

Hanjour’s “flight skills?


"Hani Hanjour, 29, is  believed to have been the pilot of Flight 77." -BBC (09/28/01) "Hanjour, the   only suspect on Flight 77 the FBI listed as a pilot." -NewsDay (09/23/01)

How experts and officials described the way Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon…

1. "But just as the plane seemed to be on a suicide mission into the White House, the unidentified pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver…Aviation sources said the plane was flown with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm, possibly one of the hijackers." -Washington Post (9/12/01)

2. "The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane," says O’Brien. "You don’t fly a 757 in that manner. It’s unsafe."…"And it went six, five, four. And I had it in my mouth to say, three, and all of a sudden the plane turned away. In the room, it was almost a sense of relief. This must be a fighter. This must be one of our guys sent in, scrambled to patrol our capital, and to protect our president, and we sat back in our chairs and breathed for just a second," says O’Brien.
But the plane continued to turn right until it had made a 360-degree maneuver." – ABC (10/24/01)

3. "Q: How could terrorists fly these? Were they trained?
A: Whoever flew at least three of the death planes seemed very skilled. Investigators are impressed that they were schooled enough to turn off flight transponders — which provide tower control with flight ID, altitude and location. Investigators are particularly impressed with the pilot who slammed into the Pentagon and, just before impact, performed a tightly banked 270-degree turn at low altitude with almost military precision." -Detroit News (9/13/01)

4. "New radar evidence obtained by CBS News strongly suggests that the hijacked jetliner which crashed into the Pentagon hit its intended target."
"But the jet, flying at more than 400 mph, was too fast and too high when it neared the Pentagon at 9:35. The hijacker-pilots were then forced to execute a difficult high-speed descending turn."
"Radar shows Flight 77 did a downward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes."
"The steep turn was so smooth, the sources say, it’s clear there was no fight for control going on. And the complex maneuver suggests the hijackers had better flying skills than many investigators first believed." -CBS (9/21/01)

5. "To pull off the coordinated aerial attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Tuesday, the hijackers must have been  extremely knowledgeable and capable aviators, a flight expert said.
By seizing four planes, diverting them from scheduled flight paths and managing to crash two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, they must have had plenty of skill and training.
It was not known how the hijackers slipped through airport security checkpoints with their weapons.
There are no indications that any of the airline crews activated a four-digit code alerting ground controllers that a hijacking was in progress." -CNN (9/12/01)

How Hani Hanjour’s flight instructors described his piloting abilities…

1. "Mr. Hanjour, who investigators contend piloted the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon, was reported to the aviation agency in February 2001 after instructors at his flight school in Phoenix had found his piloting skills so shoddy and his grasp of English so inadequate  that they questioned whether his pilot’s license was genuine.

Ms. Ladner said the Phoenix staff never suspected that Mr. Hanjour was a hijacker but feared that his skills were so weak that he could pose a safety hazard if he flew a commercial airliner.

Staff members characterized Mr. Hanjour as polite, meek and very quiet. But most of all, the former employee said, they considered him a very bad pilot. "I’m still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon," the former employee said. "He could not fly at all." -New York Times (5/04/02)

2. "Months before Hani Hanjour is believed to have flown an American Airlines jet into the Pentagon,  managers at an Arizona flight school reported him at least five times to the FAA.

They reported him not because they feared he was a terrorist, but because his English and flying skills were so bad…they didn’t think he should keep his pilot’s license. "I couldn’t believe he had a commercial license of any kind with the skills that he had." Peggy Chevrette, Arizona flight school manager." -CBS News (5/10/02)

3. "The hijacker believed to have steered American Airlines Flight 77 on its fatal path toward the Pentagon recently honed his rusty flying skills at a small Maryland airport, and more than a year ago sought training at a flight school in Arizona.

At Freeway Airport in Bowie, Md., 20 miles west of Washington, flight instructor Sheri Baxter instantly recognized the name of alleged hijacker Hani Hanjour when the FBI released a list of 19 suspects in the four hijackings. Hanjour, the only suspect on Flight 77 the FBI listed as a pilot, had come to the airport one month earlier seeking to rent a small plane.
However, when Baxter and fellow instructor Ben Conner took the slender, soft-spoken Hanjour on three test runs during the second week of August, they found he had trouble controlling and landing the single-engine Cessna 172. Even though Hanjour showed a federal pilot’s license and a log book cataloging 600 hours of flying experience, chief flight instructor Marcel Bernard declined to rent him a plane without more lessons.

In the spring of 2000, Hanjour had asked to enroll in the CRM Airline Training Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., for advanced training, said the center’s attorney, Gerald Chilton Jr. Hanjour had attended the school for three months in late 1996 and again in December 1997 but never finished coursework for a license to fly a single-engine aircraft, Chilton said.
When Hanjour reapplied to the center last year, "We declined to provide training to him because we didn’t think he was a good enough student when he was there in 1996 and 1997," Chilton said." – Newsday (09/23/01)

4. "Even as he pursued the flight training he would need for his final act, instructors found him withdrawn, slow to pick up a feel for the cockpit.
Over five years, Hanjour hopscotched among flight schools and airplane rental companies, but his instructors regarded him as a poor student, even in the weeks before the attacks.

Federal Aviation Administration records show he obtained a commercial pilot’s license in April 1999, but how and where he did so remains a lingering question that FAA officials refuse to discuss. His limited flying abilities do afford an insight into one feature of the attacks: The conspiracy apparently did not include a surplus of skilled pilots.
"He had only the barest understanding what the instruments were there to do."

During three months of instruction in late 1996, Duncan K.M. Hastie, CRM’s owner, found Hanjour a "weak student" who "was wasting our resources."
"The impression I got is he came and, like a lot of guys, got overwhelmed with the instruments." He used the simulator perhaps three or four more times, Fults said, then "disappeared like a fog."

Instructors once again questioned his competence. After three sessions in a single-engine plane, the school decided Hanjour was not ready to rent a plane by himself." – Cape Cod Times (10/12/02)

5. "Instructors at a flying school in Phoenix, Arizona express concern to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials about the poor English and  limited flying skills of one of their students, Hani Hanjour.
They believe his pilot’s license may be fraudulent. The FAA finds it is genuine – but school administrators tell Mr. Hanjour he will not qualify for an advanced certificate." -BBC (5/17/02)

6. "Instructors at the school told Bernard that after three times in the air,   they still felt he was unable to fly solo and that Hanjour seemed disappointed.

Published reports said Hanjour obtained his pilot’s license in April 1999, but it expired six months later because he did not complete a required medical exam. He also was trained for a few months at a private school in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1996, but did not finish the course because instructors felt he was not capable.

Hanjour had 600 hours listed in his log book, Bernard said, and instructors were surprised he was not able to fly better with the amount of experience he had." -Prince George’s Journal (9/18/01)

7. "School officials confirmed that Hanjour received   three months of instruction during 1996 and 1997 and had put down a deposit for additional training in 1997, but did not attend those classes."
"The Federal Aviation Administration’s directory shows that Hanjour was licensed as a commercial pilot for single-engine aircraft in Taife, Saudi Arabia. CRM provides instruction in larger commercial jets, training that could have been used by a terrorist to guide a Boeing 757 on a kamikaze attack."

"The bureau identified Hanjour as the only pilot among the five suspects aboard American Airlines Flight 77…"

"Although Hanjour left a paper trail from Phoenix to Tucson to Florida to the Middle East, his life seems to have been ghostly. No close friends or acquaintances have surfaced, and Valley Muslim leaders said they have never heard of him." -The Arizona Republic

8. Wes Fults, the manager of the flight simulator, says Hanjour has “only the barest understanding what the instruments were there to do.” After using the simulator four or five times, Hanjour disappears from the school. [Washington Post, 10/15/2001]

9. On April 15, 1999, he is certified as a multi-engine commercial pilot by Daryl Strong in Tempe, Arizona. Strong is one of many private examiners independently contracted with the FAA. A spokesperson for the FAA?s workers union will later complain that contractors like Strong “receive between $200 and $300 for each flight check. If they get a reputation for being tough, they won’t get any business.” Hanjour’s new license allows him to begin passenger jet training at other flight schools, despite having limited flying skills and an extremely poor grasp of English. [Government Executive, 6/13/2002; Associated Press, 6/13/2002]

10. After 9/11, the FBI will appear to investigate how Hanjour got his license and questions and polygraphs the instructor who signed off on his flying skills. The Washington Post will note that since Hanjour’s pilot skills were so bad, how he was ever able to get a license “remains a lingering question that FAA officials refuse to discuss.” [Washington Post, 10/15/2001; CBS News, 5/10/2002]

The FBI knew about Hanjour before 9/11

1. "A paid FBI informant told ABCNEWS that    three years before Sept. 11, he began providing the FBI with information about a young Saudi who later flew a hijacked passenger plane into the Pentagon.

Aukai Collins, the informant, said he worked for the FBI for four years in Phoenix, monitoring the Arab and Islamic communities there. Hani Hanjour was the hijacker Collins claimed to have told the FBI about while Hanjour was in flight training in Phoenix.

Twenty hours after ABCNEWS first requested a response, the FBI issued an "emphatic denial" that Collins had told the agency anything about Hanjour, though FBI sources acknowledged that Collins had worked for them.
Collins said the FBI knew Hanjour lived in Phoenix, knew his exact address, his phone number and even what car he drove. "They knew everything about the guy," said Collins.

Once in Phoenix, in 1996, the FBI asked Collins to focus on a group of young Arab men, many of whom were taking flying lessons, including Hanjour, Collins said.

"They drank alcohol, messed around with girls and stuff like that," Collins told ABCNEWS. "They all lived in an apartment together, Hani and the others."

The FBI in Phoenix either failed to monitor Hanjour’s communications or Hanjour himself practiced extraordinary skill in hiding his intentions ? because the FBI never regarded him as a threat.

"I can’t figure it out either," said Collins, "how they went from their back yard to flying airplanes into buildings."

Congress cannot figure it out either, as it continues to demand answers from the FBI." -ABC (5/24/02)

2.  An FAA official named John Anthony sits next to Hanjour in class and observes his skills. He suggests the use of a translator to help Hanjour pass, but the flight school points out that goes “against the rules that require a pilot to be able to write and speak English fluently before they even get their license.” [Associated Press, 5/10/2002] The FAA verifies that Hanjour’s 1999 pilot’s license is legitimate (see April 15, 1999), but takes no other action. However, his license should have been rejected because it had already expired in late 1999 when he failed to take a manadatory medical test. [CBS News, 5/10/2002; Associated Press, 9/15/2001] An Arizona FAA inspector later says, “There should have been a stop right then and there.” He will claim that federal law would have required Hanjour to be re-examined. [Associated Press, 6/13/2002] In February, Hanjour begins advanced simulator training, “a far more complicated task than he had faced in earning a commercial license.” [New York Times, 6/19/2002] The flight school again alerts the FAA about this and gives a total of five alerts about Hanjour, but no further action on him is taken. The FBI is not told about Hanjour. [CBS News, 5/10/2002]

Jetliner Aerobatics by Flight School Dropout Who Never Flew a Jet

"None of the 9/11 hijackers were good pilots. None had ever flown jets, let alone large commercial jetliners."

http://911research.wtc7.net/disinfo/deceptions/badpilots.html

lueless Super-Pilot

 

Jetliner Aerobatics by Flight School Dropout Who Never Flew a Jet

None of the 9/11 hijackers were good pilots. None had ever flown jets, let alone large commercial jetliners. Hani Hanjour, the person accused of flying Flight 77 into the Pentagon, was failing his courses at the Arizona flight school. According to an employee, "He didn’t care about the fact that he couldn’t get through the course." 1 Rick Garza, a flight instructor at Sorbi’s Flying Club, had this to say about the two alleged hijackers originally thought to have piloted Flight 77, Khalid al-Mihdar and Nawaq al-Hamzi: "It was like Dumb and Dumber, I mean, they were clueless. It was clear they were never going to make it as pilots."

 

In the second week of August 2001, Hanjour had attempted to rent a small plane from an airport in Bowie, MD. Flight instructors Sheri Baxter and Ben Conner declined his request, after taking Hanjour on three test runs, noting he had trouble controlling and landing the Cessna 172. Though Hanjour had attended a flight school in Scottsdale, AZ, for four months in 1996 and 1997, he never completed the coursework for a single-engine aircraft license. 2

 

It is doubtful that the best trained fighter pilots could have executed the maneuver that supposedly crashed a 757 into the Pentagon. It required making a tight 270-degree turn while descending seven thousand feet, then leveling out so as to fly low enough over the highway just west of the Pentagon to knock down lamp posts. After crossing the highway the pilot had to take the plane to within inches of the ground so as to crash into the Pentagon at the first-floor level and at such a shallow angle that an engine penetrated three rings of the building, while managing to avoid touching the lawn. And he had to do all of this while flying over 400 mph. Quite a feat for a flight school flunky who had never sat in the cockpit of a jet!

 

9/11 hijackers had to be extremely capable pilots

To pull off the coordinated aerial attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Tuesday, the hijackers must have been extremely knowledgeable and capable aviators, a flight expert said.

http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/12/hijackers.skills/

Hijackers ‘knew what they were doing’

September 12, 2001 Posted: 8:32 AM EDT (1232 GMT)

(CNN) — To pull off the coordinated aerial attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Tuesday, the hijackers must have been extremely knowledgeable and capable aviators, a flight expert said.



All four commercial jetliners seized in the air for the deadly assaults had just started transcontinental flights, ensuring that they carried the maximum amount of fuel.

One of the planes, United Airlines Flight 93, for example, could have carried as much as 200,000 pounds of the highly explosive fuel, according to one source, a veteran pilot.

By seizing four planes, diverting them from scheduled flight paths and managing to crash two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon, they must have had plenty of skill and training.

"They know what they were doing," said the source, a pilot with a major carrier for more than 30 years.

It was not known how the hijackers slipped through airport security checkpoints with their weapons.

How soon after departure the hijackers took over the planes remains unclear. But a handful of crew members and passengers managed to call authorities and loved ones on the ground, informing them that the planes had been commandeered, in some cases with deadly force, by assailants brandishing knives and who claimed to have bombs.

An open microphone on one of the flights recorded sounds of distress, according to reports.

There are no indications that any of the airline crews activated a four-digit code alerting ground controllers that a hijacking was in progress.

Interview With Huffman Aviation Casts Doubt on Official Story

September 13, 2001 – Interview With Huffman Aviation Casts Doubt on Official Story

Interview conducted by Jared Israel around noon, 13 September, 2001.
 "Israel: Hi, is this Huffman Aviation?
 Dekkers: …Yes this is Huffman Aviation.
 Israel: Ok, I’m going to keep you on for ten seconds. I just have a very quick question to ask you. Emperors-Clothes, we’re a news Website. Do you train people on the actual planes that were used in that horrible thing in NY?
 Dekkers: No sir. We train small single engine, small multi-engine airplanes. And they are good for four people; that’s it. That’s not turbine. Total different systems. Not capable to fly anything like that. I have learned yesterday from the media – you are talking to Rudi Dekkers.
 Israel: Could you spell your name?
 Dekkers: R-u-d-i D-e-k-k-e-r-s.
 Israel: And you’re talking to Jared Israel at Emperor’s Clothes which is at www.tenc.net and is very skeptical about the story because it didn’t make sense.
 Dekkers: No, what happened was after the training they had here they went to another flight school in Pompano Beach and they had jet training there, simulator or big planes, but there is where they conducted the training to do what they had to do.
 Israel: Are you sure of that?
 Dekkers: Yeah we have heard that from several directions.
 Israel: But even so, with the training you would get would you trust somebody to get in a plane and fly?
 Dekkers: No, I fly 20 years in these kind of small planes and I would not do for a million dollars to take over that cockpit.
 Israel: So it’s still questionable, isn’t it?
 Dekkers: Oh, you bet. (Phone rings.) One second…(Off line) Larry, Larry keep on the line I have 30 seconds and then I am with you…(Back on line) 30 seconds.
 Israel: Yes. You’re very helpful. Your point is the more sophisticated training with the other place but that might give you a certificate but would you trust somebody to do the kind of sophisticated thing they did?
 Dekkers: No they didn’t have the certificate to do that. They only had only a multi-commercial license but not for commercial airlines. That is a different license. But these people didn’t need a license, so that’s another question.
 Israel: But wouldn’t what they did require sophistication?
 Dekkers: Yeah, they want to that school, I have heard the name, they call it a jet center for simulator training, there is no way – this is not my opinion. My opinion is I don’t think it is possible. I have spoken to many captains from the airlines and they say there is no way what the planes did they could have done that. They changed altitude. They changed speed. They changed direction. They had to know about the equipment to do what they had to do and there is no way that could have been done." – Emperor’sClothes.com (09/13/01)

Alleged 9/11 hijacker, Nawaf Alhazmi, claimed pilot of AA77

February 6, 2005 – Alleged 9/11 hijacker, Nawaf Alhazmi, is reported to be the pilot of Flight 77 in an AP article.

"The terrorist believed to have flown a hijacked airliner into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, obtained a California driver’s license without providing the required Social Security number for identification, officials are acknowledging for the first time.

Nawaf M.S. Alhazmi then used that license when he registered for the flight training that enabled him to pilot the doomed airliner." – San Luis Obispo Tribune/AP (02/06/05)

9/11 Flight School Cover-Up

Source: http://www.konformist.com/2005/911-flight-school.htm 9/11 Flight School Cover-Up

By Len Bracken

As the result of a two-year investigation, an intrepid journalist has disclosed evidence of a cover-up concerning the flight schools in Florida that trained three of the four terrorists who piloted the hijacked planes. Daniel Hopsicker saw Venice, Fla., as the biggest unexploded crime scene in the September 11, 2001 attacks and arrived there two months later. He fearlessly pursued leads down dark alleys peopled with intelligence types and drug-running gangsters and tenaciously tracked down highly revealing witnesses, such as Mohamed Atta’s girlfriend.

The case that emerges from his multitude of facts is alarming, although not airtight. First, Hopsicker discloses evidence that shatters the FBI’s timeline of Mohamed Atta’s movements. Second, Hopsicker demonstrates that Atta’s relationship with flight school executive Rudi Dekkers was not what he testified it was under oath. Third, Hopsicker provides testimony of FBI witness intimidation. Furthermore, by personally going the extra mile with bold interviews, aviation industry research, and following up on local reporting, Hopsicker simultaneously shows, in a fairly convincing way, that the CIA "was actually running the operation" that brought Arab pilot trainees into Florida and that the national media, he notes with sarcasm, have been willfully ignorant of these scandalous facts. Hopsicker surely needed his sense of humor to sustain his quest as he wandered through this dark maze of Florida flight schools and aviation companies.

While Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi trained at Huffman Aviation, which was owned by the notorious Rudi Dekkers, terrorist pilot Said Al-Jarrah was at Venice’s other flight school, Florida Flight Training Center, which was owned by Arne Kruithof. Eight members of the 9/11 terrorist cadre trained at these two flight schools, as did Zacharias Moussaoui. In what Hopsicker facetiously calls the Magic Dutch Boy Theory, two Netherlands citizens, months apart, purchased flight schools at the same airport and then Arab pilots began to arrive in Venice in unprecedented numbers. An eyewitness said both flight school owners knew one another prior to Venice, although Dekkers denied this, and both worked with a German named Pascal Schreier who recruited trainees for the flight school.

"Rudi Dekkers said Atta and his sidekick just showed up at his facility one day," Hopsicker writes. "He had, instead, been actively marketing his flight school," according to reports in local papers, "in Germany at the exact time Mohamed Atta and his terrorist cell left Hamburg and moved to Florida."

Dekkers asserted that Atta left Venice around Christmas 2000, and the shifty Dutchman said in sworn congressional testimony that he never saw Atta again. But in his video, Mohamed Atta’s Venice Flying Circus, and now in his book, Welcome to TerrorLand: Mohamed Atta and the 9-11 Cover-Up in Florida, Hopsicker reveals that eyewitnesses who spoke with him and with local reporters said Atta lived in nearby North Port from January 2001 until early March. And Atta lived with Amanda Keller in the Sandpiper Apartments in March and April of 2001, four months after the FBI said he left Venice. Several witnesses saw Atta with Dekkers in Venice two weeks before the attacks and another said Atta bought a sandwich from her in Venice one week before 9/11.

In the FBI biography of Atta, no mention is made of Venice, Fla., but the FBI knows from its debriefing of Venice Yellow Cab driver Bob Simpson that Atta and Dekkers shared cab rides in August 2001. "They knew each other well, really well," Simpson told Hopsicker. "They were going to a nightclub in Sarasota, talking and very sociable with each other." According to Hopsicker, the FBI lied to protect Dekkers, and the Dutch flight school owner lied to Congress regarding his relationship with Atta. The 9/11 Commission has conspicuously ignored the issue of flight schools in Venice.

The facts Hopsicker compiles against the shady flight school owner stagger the imagination. While running another flight school in nearby Naples, Fla., Dekkers crashed airplanes, violated air space, chartered airplanes without a license, and was reported to the FAA for several other violations. He reportedly had tax problems and was the subject of an arrest warrant for smuggling computer chips. Naples aviation executive John Vellada said that DEA and U.S. Customs had investigated him, adding, "Everything he ever did, from A to Z, was illegal." Although he was "thrown out of Naples as a con artist," according to a local aviation observer Rob Tillman, Dekkers was able to buy Huffman Aviation, which was Venice Airport’s fixed base operator or FBO, a position which carries with it civic responsibilities.

In short order, as was reported in the Venice Gondolier, Dekkers was repeatedly threatened by the city of Venice with eviction for not paying rent. The money he was making from training Atta and other terrorists apparently went into the improbable scheme of launching a statewide airline with slim prospects, a venture that won high praise from passengers Governor Jeb Bush and State Secretary Katherine Harris. Dekkers was, according to Hopsicker, a CIA asset and therefore somehow able to pay up his rent one month before the 9/11 attacks. While the rest of the industry suffered and were behind on payments, he never missed after that.

Hopsicker quotes local investigator Bill Warner as saying, "There are enough judgments in his name and his companies name to paper his office walls," yet he was somehow able to pay off a series of lawsuits after the 9/11 attacks. According to Florida State’s Attorney Jonathan Greene, Dekkers was wanted in the Netherlands where he reportedly owed the government $3 million. He was also the target of a multiagency federal investigation in the mid-90s, yet not even an eyebrow of suspicion was raised when he spoke on CNN or Larry King Live, or when he testified to Congress on how to prevent more attacks. Moreover, Dekkers repeatedly changed his story to the press regarding his relationship with Atta and Al-Shehhi, although none of these accounts match those of Hopsicker’s eyewitnesses.

Hopsicker’s sobering accounts of the FBI intimidating witnesses, such as the bar manager who first said Atta drank Stolichnaya like a Russian and then retracted his story and amended it to cranberry juice, are too numerous to recount here. The case of his star witness, Amanda Keller, deserves brief mention that will not do justice to the amazing testimony in the book. She is the one Hopsicker tracked down after numerous calls to the police and child protective services workers, and she draws an intimate portrait of Mohamed Atta in Welcome to TerrorLand as a coke-snorting foot fetishist. Keller, like other Sandpiper Apartment residents, was bullied by the FBI into not talking about what she knows.

A reporter from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Venice bureau, Earle Kimel, helped break the story about Atta’s American girlfriend. But the paper, which is owned by the New York Times, pulled Kimel off the case and ran a story in which Keller allowed herself to appear to have been mistaken "because of the intimidation by the FBI." So now it was another Mohamed she had been living with for two months. When a New York Times reporter attempted to interview Keller, she put him on the line with the FBI. "I don’t know what was said," Keller told Hopsicker, "but after that he left me alone." The constant FBI surveillance and phone calls continued when she moved away from Venice, to the point where she was ordered by a G-man not to burn leaves because it could be evidence.

Hopsicker’s previous book-length work, Barry and the Boys, which is about Barry Seal and clandestine flights to and from Mena, Ark., gave him experience examining the aviation industry public record, and it shows. The journalist traces the ownership of flight schools, airlines and planes from Washington State, to Las Vegas, to an extremely wealthy man named Wally Hilliard. Hopsicker is being sued for Barry and the Boys so it’s no surprise that when commenting on TerrorLand and the stories on Hopsicker’s Mad Cow Morning News website, Hilliard brought up the question of libel. He told his hometown paper in Wisconsin, the Green Bay Press-Gazette, he had spoken with friends in the FBI and they said a suit was not worth the trouble because laws protect the writer.

The paper quotes him as saying he lives as morally as he can, "trying not to do anything immoral, illegal or fattening," whereas Hopsicker sees him as the person who funded the operation that brought many bin Laden operatives to a flight school only nominally owned by Dekkers. Hilliard told his hometown paper he received thirty cents for every dollar he invested in Huffman Aviation; Hopsicker contends that part of the point about Hilliard is that so many of his operations made no business sense. To mention another example, after losing possession of a Lear Jet due to a 43-pound heroin bust, Hilliard was loaned a Beechcraft King Air 200 for a dollar by Truman Arnold, but the transaction wasn’t recorded until a year later, in January 2002.

The best link that Hopsicker can make to the CIA came via a tip from a local reporter at the Lynchburg News & Advance. Business reporter Chris Flores alerted the author to a dispute in the Virginia town regarding Britannia Aviation. Hilliard had invested heavily in Huffman Aviation and it was there that Britannia worked under Huffman’s FAA license. In another deal that did not make business sense, Lynchburg gave a contract to Britannia even though it did not have the proper FAA license and was undercapitalized. At a town hall meeting, the Britannia representative let on that the company had done aviation maintenance for Caribe Air while at Venice Airport, not realizing that it would quickly be recognized as a CIA proprietary airline by local reporters.

In his December 29, 2003 interview on PowerHour, Hopsicker is quite explicit: "I discovered that we were dealing with flight school owners who are CIA assets. … Mohamed Atta was in this country as a result of a program being run through the Central Intelligence Agency." He is so confident of his evidence that he wants his day in court. "Sue me," Hopsicker said on radio, "if this is incorrect information." On the same broadcast, the journalist told listeners what he thought were the broad strategic considerations: "Somebody in the U.S. government was trading with Osama bin Laden and the deal, almost, very likely, was oil and heroin for guns and training. Either the CIA was secretly trading with Osama bin Laden or people who were able to manipulate the CIA were trading with Osama bin Laden. And his people, the representatives of his drug-trafficking Islamic organization, turned around and double-crossed us."

Hopsicker doesn’t speculate much about this double cross possibility in his book, although he does go into Atta’s early work for a US government program in Hamburg. On a trip back to Egypt during this period, Atta made unconvincing indications that he had gone through an Islamic conversion. Hopsicker’s unnamed source places Atta at Maxwell Air Force Base’s International Officer’s Training School, and the author covers the significant leaks made by individuals in the military regarding these connections. The Air Force’s partial denial that covered all of the purported hijackers explicitly did not rule out Atta’s attendance at Maxwell. If, after so much effort went into training the hijackers, the CIA or DIA or the Secret Team as Fletcher Prouty identifies it, was double crossed, then this is the main point – once again the people who are so intent on spying, for example, intent on having assets as pilots on Arabic airlines, do more harm than good.

Such a colossal failure by the intelligence community is never mentioned in the mainstream press or in the hearings of the 9/11 Commission. The reason is simple. Instead of being a positive asset – which is already more than the intelligence community wants to admit – Atta and his ilk were more likely negative assets, which is to say they were al-Qaeda infiltrators who actually or only purportedly wanted to directly attack the United States. To his credit as an investigative journalist, Hopsicker steers clear of speculating on this, although someone must ask, in light of these assertions, a key question: Was Atta led to believe that he could get away with his conspiracy, that he could double-cross his case officers, or was he aware that the US government backed the operation and perhaps helped plan aspects of it?

In his May 3, 2004 dispatch on Hilliard, on his Mad Cow Morning News website, Hopsicker writes that Hilliard and Dekkers were implicated in a federal complaint accusing them of making "unauthorized and unsupervised flights," without an operating certificate, during April and May of 1999. Hopsicker’s sources tell him that Hilliard and Dekkers were "ferrying Saudi princes" all over the United States. The government claims that the complaint is unrelated to 9/11, but this appears to be another unconvincing denial given that these covert flights were never investigated by any of the oversight committees looking into the attacks.

It will come as little surprise to readers of My Times: A Memoir of Dissent by veteran newspaperman John Hess that major dailies such as the New York Times play by national security rules. Hopsicker, who effectively used local papers in his research, writes it was just a strange coincidence that of the over 220 flight schools in Florida, the Times ran an article about only two particular ones for its two-year anniversary story on 9/11. One was Arne Kruithof’s Florida Flight Training Center and the other, Pelican Flight Training Center, is where Pascal Shchreirer’s wife works. These well-connected schools may still cater to the same Europeans – the Germans, Swiss and others – who were close to Atta, the drug-smuggling pilots or sinister people like them.

Although his self-produced book and video, which, inevitably, would benefit from more editorial and directorial oversight, don’t outline a perfect case so much as reshape his Internet essays with the colorings of hard-hitting journalism with what are at times self-mocking and distracting tones, the investigation by Daniel Hopsicker takes on increased significance given at least three considerations: 1) the FBI’s investigation of 9/11, according to a regional FBI office, was directed from the White House; 2) the investigation was impeded by the shift of resources to the subsequent anthrax attacks; and 3) the records from the Venice police station and from Huffman Aviation were deemed so sensitive that the president’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush, personally escorted them to Washington immediately after the attacks.

The 9/11 Commission must investigate Hopsicker’s accusations of covert CIA activity with the hijackers and the cover-up of the facts by the FBI using witness intimidation and other underhanded tactics. Each commissioner should at least watch Mohamed Atta and the Venice Flying Circus to sample the journalist’s bemused indignation at the spies from the famous clown school. Even for someone like Hopsicker, who has seen plenty of government corruption, the goings on in Florida were extraordinarily shameful because of their terrible consequences. If the 9/11 Commission fails to investigate the CIA and its use of flight schools in Venice for training Arabs as kamikazes, it will have been complicit in the cover-up.

 
Len Bracken is the author of Shadow Government: 9-11 and State Terror (Adventures Unlimited Press, 2002).