Category Archives: Flight AA77

The dubious security video from Dulles Airport

The dubious security video from Dulles Airport

By Elias Davidsson

A security video recording purports to show alleged hijackers of flight AA77 pass through the security checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C.  This recording was not voluntarily released by the US government, but was forced out in 2004 by the Motley Rice law firm representing some survivors’ families, under the Freedom Of Information Act.1 This video recording was released as an exhibit by the prosecution in the Moussaoui trial but requires a lengthy download to watch.2 It is however available on various websites.3 The video purports to show persons designated as the hijackers of flight AA77 pass security check on the morning of 9/11.

Jay Kolar, who published a detailed, critical analysis of this video recording,4 pointed out that it  lacks a camera identification number and time stamp (data:time clock). Joe Vialls, who also analyzed this video recording in 2004, wrote that “[j]ust this single terminal at Dulles Airport has well over 100 such cameras, everyone of them with an individual camera ident[ifcation] number and date-time clock of its own.“5 He explained: “On-film data is essential of course, because it would be extremely difficult to track a target around the airport without these basic tools, and absolutely impossible to sort out the precise time and date of an event that occurred more than two years before, which is exactly what the 9-11 Commission now claims to have done.“  According to Vialls, the video recording could not have been made on the morning of 9/11 because the light suggests that it had been made around noon.  He urges viewers to ”play back a full size copy [of the video recording]…and freeze-frame at the appropriate points”, pointing out the “footprint size shadow underneath the cab, and the brilliant sunshine streaming in through the open doors. On a full-screen picture you can even see the minuscule short [near vertical] shadows of the people standing outside the doors.”

Compare this video recording with an entry in an FBI timeline of the alleged hijackers’ activities before 9/11, which indicates the precise time, to the second. There we read: On September 5, 2001, “Atta and Alomari [were] filmed entering a bank lobby and at bank counter (Bank Atlantic, 10 Fairway Drive, Deerfield, Florida). Surveillance video shows these same two individuals entering the branch at 12:36:35 and existing at about 12:37:50.”6 Ironically, this video recording was never shown in public.

A strange story about the Dulles security video, which appears to confirm the suspicion that it was fabricated before 9/11, was told by airport security manager Ed Nelson of Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. to authors Susan and Joseph Trento. Ed Nelson said that shortly after arriving at the airport on the morning of 9/11, FBI agents confiscated a security tape from a checkpoint through which he believed the alleged hijackers had passed before boarding the plane. He then said about the FBI agents:

They pulled the tape right away.… They brought me to look at it. They went right to the first hijacker on the tape and identified him. They knew who the hijackers were out of hundreds of people going through the checkpoints. They would go ‘roll and stop it’ and showed me each of the hijackers.… It boggles my mind that they had already had the hijackers identified.… Both metal detectors were open at that time, and lots of traffic was moving through. So picking people out is hard.… I wanted to know how they had that kind of information. So fast. It didn’t make sense to me.”7

Apparently, the agents did not explain to Ed Nelson how they were able to identify the suspects on the tape „so fast“.  We do not know what went on in Ed Nelson’s mind.  But it wouldn’t be unreasonable of him to suspect that the recording had been made prior to 9/11.  He was, however, careful not to mention this sinister thought.

1 Nick Grimm, ‘Commission report finalized as 9/11 airport video released’, ABC.net.au, 22 July 2004. Available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1159804.htm

2 At http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution.html

(last visited January 9, 2011), or the version issued by Associated Press: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYPS-h8mYDc (last visited May 25, 2011)

4 Jay Kolar, ‘What we now know about the alleged 9-11 hijackers’, in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001, Research in Political Economy, Vol. 23, 3-45, Elsevier Ltd. (2006), pp. 7-10

5  Joe Vialls,  Clueless 9-11 Commission Cheats American Public, July 23, 2004.

6  Working Draft Chronology of Events for Hijackers and Associates, Part C,  FBI,  November 14, 2003 , at http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/sourcedocuments/2001/pdfs/fbi911timeline210-2…

7  Susan B. Trento and Joseph J. Trento, Unsafe at any Altitude: Failed Terrorism Investigations, Scapegoating 9/11, and the Shocking Truth about Aviation Security Today, Steerforth Press, October 2006, p. 37

American Airlines refuse to release facsimile of passenger lists

Exchange of letters between Elias Davidsson and American Airlines regarding 9/11


Letter 1: Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 29 November 2005

Dear Mr. Bentel,

I was advised to contact you by Naomi Klaus of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

My request was for the names and email/telephone numbers of AA employees who personally attended the boarding/departure of AA77 from Dulles Airport on September 11, 2001. I wish to interview these people in relation with my research on the events of 9/11.

I would be most grateful for your assistance in locating these individuals

Letter 2: Reply by American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 30 November 2005

Dear Mr. Davidsson

Ms. Klaus contacted me in relation to your request, which I misunderstood as a request for the passenger list of American Airlines’ flight 77 on 9/11/01. That information is a matter of public record and I had hoped to assist your search by providing it. The names and contact information of the employees attending the boarding and departure of the flight, however, are not public information. In the interest of protecting my colleagues’ privacy, I do not feel at liberty to disclose this information. At this point, without knowing the nature of your research, I am at a loss to know how we might further assist you.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 3: Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 1 December 2005

Dear Sean Bentel,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I did not know that the passenger list of AA77 was a matter of public record. Could you please send me that list (that is a replica of the original passenger list).

The purpose of my research is to document in their own words the comments of AA employees who saw off the passengers board AA77.  I have not seen yet any such comments in the media and would be most interested to add their comments to the various other testimonies regarding the various flights. I hope you will be kind enough to communicate to me their names and means of contacting them.

Sincerely yours,
Elias Davidsson

Letter 4: American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 December 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

The passenger list for the flight follows:
[a typed list includes 53 names, only names, one full name per line]

As for the remainder of your research, I again do not feel at liberty to disclose personal contact information in this pursuit, as a matter of respecting privacy.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 5 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines. 1 December 2005

The list you sent to me is useless. It does not reflect the original passenger list. I would be thankful if you could send me something more authentic.

Kindly,
Elias Davidsson

Letter 6 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 December 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

The names I sent to you are accurate. From what I see below, there may have been a formatting problem in transition. The information is in the public domain and accessible from a variety of internet resources; perhaps those would be more useful or readable on your system.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Letter 7 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 1 December 2005

Dear Sean Bentel,

I am not concerned about formatting. The email you sent contained correct adequate formatting. What I am asking is for a replica of the original passenger list (either a scan of the original, or at least a document faithfully reflecting the contents of that list). By passenger list I mean, of course, the list of the paying passengers who boarded AA77. Can I take it that the list you sent me faithfully reflects the names of the paying passengers who boarded AA77?

Thanks,

Elias Davidsson

Letter 8 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 1 Decembeer 2005

Mr. Davidsson,

Names of terrorists were redacted.

Sean Bentel

Letter 9 from Elias Davidsson to American Airlines, 2 December 2005

Why can’t you send me a facsimile copy of the passenger lists, including the names of the terrorists?

Elias Davidsson

Letter 10 from American Airlines to Elias Davidsson, 2 December 2005

This is the information we have for public release.

I am glad to have been of some help to you; best wishes on the remainder of your project.

Sincerely,
Sean Bentel
American Airlines

Did Nawaf Alhazmi fly Flight 77?

Did Nawaf Alhazmi fly Flight 77?

"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)

Did Khalid Almihdhar fly Flight 77?

Did Khalid Almihdhar fly Flight 77?

 "For the two would-be suicide hijackers, the flying lessons didn’t get off to a great start.
With their limited English, they seemed unable to follow instructions. Their knowledge of aviation was so sketchy that when asked to draw a plane, one man got the wings backward. And when one student attempted a landing in a single-engine Cessna, the other became frightened and began loudly praying to Allah.
Their instructor at a San Diego flight school flunked them, and later described the men as "Dumb and Dumber."
Then again, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi never needed to develop any skill in landing planes. They just needed to learn how to crash them into buildings – a goal they achieved Sept. 11 when American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon.
In fact, the FBI was looking for Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, who appeared to have spent most of the past two years together in the United States.
Investigators aren’t even entirely sure that Almihdhar and Alhazmi are the men’s real names – or that several people weren’t using those names as aliases. They have used several spellings for both Almihdhar and Alhazmi since the attacks, and some newspapers and television stations briefly mixed up Almihdhar with Khalid al-Mihmadi, a Saudi exchange student who lived in Daytona Beach until last May.
Occasionally their paths crossed with Hanjour, who later joined them on Flight 77.
Almihdhar and Alhazmi also paid $3,000 cash for a 1988 Toyota Corolla, registering it under a false address but scrupulously following the law on emissions testing.
A day after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI towed a car matching the same description from Dulles International Airport in Washington. The car, registered to Nawaf Alhazmi, contained a list of instructions for the hijackers, telling them to "strike as the heroes would strike … and then you will know all the heavens are decorated in the best way to meet you."
In Washington: The five Flight 77 suspects bought weeklong gym memberships in the Beltway area in August – much like their compatriots in south Palm Beach County. They got driver’s licenses in Virginia using fake addresses, taking advantage of that state’s lax laws on what proof of identity is required.
On Sept. 11, either Almihdhar or Hanjour may have piloted the hijacked jetliner into the Pentagon, according to investigators quoted in conflicting news accounts. Some accounts say Almihdhar was the one who gave the passengers a chilling message around 9:30 a.m.: Phone home, because you are all about to die.
The FBI has given no age for Almihdhar and Alhazmi but says they may be Saudi nationals. Alhazmi may have trained at camps Afghan camps tied to al-Qaeda, according to investigators quoted in news reports. The reports don’t say when the training occurred.
The FBI began looking for both Almihdhar and Alhazmi Aug. 23. But the FBI office in San Diego, where the two had spent so much time the year before, didn’t get the word until two days after the bombing.
Investigators say Almihdhar and Alhazmi first entered the United States through Los Angeles International Airport in late 1999 or early 2000. On immigration papers, they listed their intended address as a Sheraton hotel in LA.
Shaikh said he and the pair prayed together five times a day, but they shared little conversation because of the men’s difficulties with English. They paid rent, although he offered to let them stay for free, and didn’t express any hatred of the United States.
"They were nice, but not what you call extroverted people," Shaikh told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
The pair took a half-dozen flight classes at Sorbi’s Flying Club nearby, but chief flight instructor Rick Garza has said their poor English skills disqualified them. Garza said Almihdhar and Alhazmi started out wanting to fly Boeing jet aircraft, but he steered them to Cessnas instead.
"I told the FBI they seemed like ‘Dumb and Dumber,’ " Garza told the Union-Tribune.
In August, the pair got state identification cards from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in Springfield, southwest of Washington, D.C. So did the rest of the Flight 77 suspects, along with Abdulaziz Alomari and Ahmed Alghamdi, who rode separate planes that struck the World Trade Center, as well as Ziad Jarrah, whose hijacked flight crashed in Pennsylvania.
Federal investigators say Almihdhar and another Flight 77 suspect, Hanjour, drove to a northern Virginia convenience store and paid $100 to Luis Martinez-Flores, an illegal alien from El Salvador, to sign a document falsely certifying the men’s address. They in turn signed documents allowing some of the other terrorists to get their licenses.
On Sept. 5, Almihdhar and Moqed bought their airline tickets with cash at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. They had booked the tickets on the American Airlines web site. Almihdhar used a Daytona Beach address and a frequent-flier number he had established the day before. Almihdhar had seat 12 B, Moqed the window seat beside him.
Despite their presence on the terrorist watch list, Almihdhar and Alhazmi raised no alarms when they arrived at Dulles before the scheduled 8:10 a.m. departure Sept. 11. They and their three cohorts entered through Gate D26.
Eight days after the planes went down, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. distributed a "special alert" to its member banks asking for information about 21 "alleged suspects" in the attacks. The list said "Al-Midhar, Khalid Alive," raising the possibility that the real Almihdhar never died on the plane. But one Justice Department official called the listing a "typo." -Cox News (10/21/01) [Reprinted at:  billstclair.com]

Was Hanjour flying into the Pentagon?

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 instructordeclined 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
Age: 29.
Nationality: Saudi.
"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 badthey 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" 

Who piloted AA77 ?

According to the Final Report of the official Commission of Inquiry, the pilot of AA77 was Hani Hanjour (p. 225), not Nawaf Alhazmi.

 Hani Hanjour was described in a Newday article of 23 September 2001 as an incompetent pilot:

When Baxter and fellow [flight] instructor Ben Conner took the slender, soft-spoken Hanjour on three test runs during the second week of August [2001], 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.

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)