Source of research: http://thewebfairy.com/killtown/flight77/hijackers.html#fighter%20pilot
Did Flight 77 really crash into the Pentagon?
Was Hani Hanjour really flying Flight 77 and was he even on the plane?
Fighter pilot ace…
"The unidentified pilot executed a pivot so tight that it reminded observers of a fighter jet maneuver."
"The hijacker-pilots were then forced to execute a difficult high-speed descending turn. Radar shows Flight 77 did a down-ward spiral, turning almost a complete circle and dropping the last 7,000 feet in two-and-a-half minutes."
"…all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane…You don’t fly a 757 in that manner. It’s unsafe…This must be a fighter."
"Hani Hanjour, 29, is believed to have the pilot of Flight 77" (BBC 28 Sep. 2001)
…or clueless pilot?
"…his 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.’"
"…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 … chief flight instructor…declined to rent him a plane…"
"I’m still to this day amazed that he could have flown into the Pentagon…He could not fly at all."
"His name was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight because he may not have had a ticket."
"Hanjour, the only suspect on Flight 77 the FBI listed as a pilot." -NewsDay (09/23/01)
"Barely over 5 feet tall, skinny and boyish, Hanjour displayed a temperament and actions that were out of sync with those of his fellow pilots in several ways. He was the only alleged pilot who does not appear to have been part of an al-Qaida cell in Europe." -Cape Cod Times (10/21/01)
Hani Hanjour, pilot and group leader
"Hanjour led the terrorist group based in San Diego. His only Florida contact came in 1996 when he stayed with friends of his brother in Miramar. In the weeks before Sept. 11, he met twice with Mohamed Atta in Las Vegas. The FBI now believes those sessions at a discount motel were crucial in planning the attacks. Hanjour took flying lessons in Scottsdale, Ariz., where his instructors said his skills were poor. Investigators say that could be the reason Flight 77, with Hanjour at the controls, began to jerk." – St. Petersburg Times (’02)
"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)
"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
"QUESTION: What can you tell us about flight training that any of the hijackers had received? Did they receive any training here in the United States?
ASHCROFT: It is our belief and the evidence indicates that flight training was received in the United States and that their capacity to operate the aircraft was substantial.
It’s very clear that these orchestrated coordinated assaults on our country were well-conducted and conducted in a technically proficient way. It is not that easy to land these kinds of aircraft at very specific locations with accuracy or to direct them with the kind of accuracy, which was deadly in this case." – Global Security (9/14/01)
"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)
"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)
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)
"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)
"There wasn’t anything in the air, except for one airplane, and it looked like it was loitering over Georgetown, in a high, left-hand bank," he said. "That may have been the plane. I have never seen one on that (flight) pattern." -CNN (9/13/01)
"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)
"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)
"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)
"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 (10/21/02)
"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)
"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)
That plane, apparently piloted by Hanjour, began to jerk wildly in the air. There was perhaps a struggle with the pilots, but investigators believe it was more likely a result of Hanjour’s poor skills — his flying school teachers would later say he had been a sorry student." -St. Petersburg Times (11/01/02)
"Before they were hijackers, they were suburbanites.
They roomed together in a motel, worked out together at a gym, and one even visited an adult bookstore in the Washington suburbs in the weeks before smashing a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. 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.
The only thing that seemed odd about Hanjour, who paid the $400 flying bill in cash, was his address: a motel in Laurel.
At the Valencia Motel on a hardscrabble stretch of Route 1 in Laurel, long-term residents say they know each other well. The five men who stayed in Room 343, a two-room suite, in early September, were an exception, they said. The men drove an old four-door Toyota with California license plates and said nothing.
"They kept way to themselves," said Charmain Mungo, who lives in Room 342 and said she identified Hanjour and Majed Moqed, another suspected Flight 77 hijacker, from an FBI photo.
Moqed apparently visited a nearby adult video store three times between late-July and mid-August, said the store manager, who would not give his name but said he picked Moqed out "immediately" when the FBI showed him the surveillance photo among seven or eight other photos.
"He was extremely uncomfortable," said the manager, who recalled paying attention to Moqed because he wondered whether the man was studying the store for a possible robbery. Moqed visited three times, always between 10:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., the manager said, adding that he looked at magazines and movies but didn’t buy anything." -News Day (09/23/01)
Of the four men believed to have been the pilots in the hijacking conspiracy that claimed nearly 5,000 lives, Hani Hanjour stands out as the most unlikely — certainly, the most enigmatic — terrorist.
He was so unambitious that, as a teenager in Saudi Arabia, he thought of dropping out of high school to become a flight attendant. Short and slight, he was so shy that, as a houseguest of family friends in Florida, he would not confess that he had forgotten a toothbrush. 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.
Hanjour, 29, shared the piety of Islamic extremists. The most religious among seven children, he prayed and attended mosque regularly at home and in the United States. But his seemed an inward devotion, not an overtly political zeal.
Even today, his family cannot fathom his alleged role in the plot. They recognized his photograph as the person who investigators say crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
[…]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.
Wes Fults, the former manager of the flight simulator at Sawyer School of Aviation in Phoenix, gave Hanjour a one-hour orientation lesson when he arrived as a new member of the school’s "sim club" in 1998. "Mr. Hanjour was, if not dour, to some degree furtive. He never looked happy," Fults recalled. "He had only the barest understanding what the instruments were there to do."Washington Post (10/15/01)
"His name [Hani Hanjour] was not on the American Airlines manifest for the flight because he may not have had a ticket." -Washington Post ("Four Planes, Four Coordinated Teams"