In the aftermath of 9/11, I have heard many claims that a 757 could not possible have hit the Pentagon because the plane cannot fly so low to the ground at speeds of 500 mph or more. The primary reason given is that ground effect prevents this from happening. Is there any truth to this claim?
– Eric I am researching Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon. The aircraft was a Boeing 757-200 traveling 345 mph according to the flight data recorder.
Because of damage to light poles about 1500 feet from the building, the leading edge of the wing was about 15-18 feet off the ground at this location. The impact damage at the building is contained below the slab of the second floor, which is 14 feet high. Nothing hit the lawn prior to the building facade. How would ground effect have been overcome for this scenario?
– Russell Pickering
- Your article on ground effect says that it comes into play at a height equivalent to the wingspan of the aircraft, or about 125 ft for a 757. If a 757 tried to fly at low altitude at 500 mph, wouldn’t ground effect force it up to at least 125 ft? And if the pilot tried to force the nose down at that speed, wouldn’t the aircraft become unstable? I don’t think any pilot could control an aircraft like that and hit the Pentagon. No 757 could fly like that, especially the terrorist supposedly flying Flight 11 who was an unskilled amateur pilot yet magically flew with total perfection.
– S. R.
We have previously explored one of the most common questions about the attack on the Pentagon on 11 September 2001 in an article about engine wreckage photographed at the site. Another popular question raised by many who doubt the official story of what happened that day concerns the aerodynamic phenomenon known as ground effect.
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- I’ve seen pictures of engine wreckage at the Pentagon after 9/11. Your site says the engine of a 757 is over 6 feet across but this piece is way smaller than that. Does it prove that whatever hit the Pentagon was not a 757 and the government is lying about it?
– Leroy Mulligan
The page you refer to discusses the diameter of the engines used aboard the Boeing 757. What is not explicitly stated in that article is that the dimensions discussed refer only to the maximum diameter of the engine and not the widths of the various components within.
- What is Storm Shadow? Is it more effective and more accurate than the Tomahawk missile?
I assume you must be referring to the Storm Shadow cruise missile that has received some press attention during the recent Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Storm Shadow was designed to meet a British and French requirement for an air-launched long-range precision-guided cruise missile incorporating stealth characteristics and able to penetrate hardened targets. The British requirement was issued by the Royal Air Force under the name Conventionally Armed Stand Off Missile (CASOM), and the contract was awarded to Matra BAe Dynamics (MBD) in 1997. The French version, called SCALP EG, is essentially the same missile but uses a different interface to attach to the parent aircraft. Both missiles were largely based on the earlier French Apache anti-runway weapon but incorporate new guidance systems and warheads.
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