Chronology of United 93 crash & its Shootdown Order by US military
The below timeline is to understand whether US military had enough information and time having decided to shoot the commercial U 93 airliner heading towards Washington, if it did not heed to divert its path. Strangely if not for the brave passengers of U 93 with all liklihood it would have been a close call between scramblers hoverng over Washington and U93 heading towards Washington.
Date : sept 11
8.42 : Takeoff
9.24 :Flight 93 receives warning from UA about cockpit intrusion.
9.27 : Last normal routine radio communication between the pilots in U93 and Cleveland.
9.28 : Terrorists Take over (Cleveland hears some unitelligable screaming sounds and calling for Cleveland center for help, but they couldnt determine from which plane)
9.29 : Cleveland center traces it possibly came from U-93 and find the plane to hve rapidly descended 700 feet.
9.30 : Controller from Cleveland polls other aircrafts in his frequency to make sure they too heard some screaming noises from U-93 and they too confirmed.
9.32 : Third radio transmission from UA pilots cockpit, "Keep remaining seated, we have a bomb onboard" received by Cleveland.
9.34 : Cleveland confirms to FAA of possible U 93 hijack. FAA raises this with Hendron Command Center.
9.34 : Cleveland is busy tracking the trajectory path of U-93
9.35 : Cleveland reports information about a possible bomb onboard threat to Command Center. Cleveland also asks Command Center whether any specific military opration needs to be launches and whether they can contact any neary military base for help.
9.36 : flight attendant inside 93 contacts UA, UA attempts to contact cockpit
9.37 : Cleveland observes U-93 climb 40,700 feet.
9.38 : Cleveland is busy from 9.34 till now clearing all other planes of U 93 way
9.39 : Forth radio transmission from U 93 pilot cockpit . "this is the captain.Would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands [unintelligible]. Please remain quiet." received by Cleveland
9.40 : Cleveland controller responds "we understand you have a bomb, go ahead" but no response from U 93
9.41 : Transponder is turned off, this makes Cleveland lose ceffective trackng control of the aircraft but switches to alternate means to track it on primary radar and information on visual sightings of the aircraft as received from other flights.
9.42 : Hendron Command Center receives info that plane had struck the Petagon and command center orders the 4500 flights to ground in the respecive nearby airport.
Mynote:Most successful, flawless unprecedented move in the entire handling of the hijack situation, is the order to ground all the remaining 4500 flights which were airborne that moment.
9.46 : Command center informs FAA that U 93 is just 29 minutes out of Washington DC
9.49 : Command center seeks FAA for a military assistance and intervention. This is 13 minutes after Cleveland requested the command center whether they can take militar assitance.
9.53 : FAA informs about the possibility to use scrambling aircraft is being talked about.
9.54 : Command center informs FAA, Cleveland has lot UA over Pittsburgh area. Soon command center receives visual pictures of u 93 from another aircraft and is 20miles of johnstown.
9.57 : Passenger revolts inside begins
10.01 : Command center receives info from other aircraft of U 93 struggling in air. The struggle was largely caused by the passengers fighting the terrorists inside.
10.02-10.03: FAA was sending information to Secret Service that U 93 was probably heading towards Washington. Secret Service was informing Control Shelter Room where Vice President was there about a possibility of hijacked flight heading towards them. In reality the flight had just crashed.
10.03: Flight crashes in Skansville, PA
10.07 : NEADS (North East Air Defence Center , a part of NORAD eastern wing (North American Air Defence system started in 1958 to intercept cruise missiles from Russia) got information from Cleveland Center about U 93 hjacked but was never able to locate the plane in radar as the flight had already crashed.
Mynote: NEADS was given the job of Combat Air Patrol and shootdown of any plane over capitol. FAA was given the job to ensure civil aviation safety fo airborne flights on Sept 11. They were the only two authorised agencies which had control and the fate of US Air defence system on that fateful day.
10:10 : Not knowing the plane has alredy crashed, military personnel wants to rconfirm with Dick Cheney whether the combat aircraft can engage to shoot out u 93. It was reported U 93 is 80 miles outside Washington. Vice President reaffirms the order to shoot and remembers his conversations with president for the go ahead.
10.15 : The military personnel again wants reconfirmation from Vice President whether to engage for a combat. VP again says yes to go ahead. It is being reported that U 93 is now 60 miles out.
10.17 : Command center advises FAA that U 93 is no more.
10.18 : Deputy cheif of staff wants Vice President to inform that he has executed the shootdown order. Vice President calls President and one last time again reconfirms to shoot down the plane if necessary and President approves.
Now whether NEADS or NORAD could have averted U 93 from crashing to White house is a question, in case U 93 didnt crash at 10.03 in Pennsylvania.
The revised timelines may probably look like this
10.03 : U 93 still struggling and making headway towards washington. It would be 120 miles outside of washington at this time.
10.13-10:23: U 93 could have arrived in Washington ready to hit White house.
9.09 : F16 were alerted and armed, approx 24 minutes after American 11 crashed in WTC.
9.23 : NEADS expects American 11 heading towards washington , when infact it has already hit WTC at 8.46.
9.24 : Langley receives "Scramble Langley, head them towards Washington, if they are there we will run on them. These guys are smart"
9.30 : Both fighters in Langley is airborne. NEADS had two more fighters from Otis which was hovering over New York. Langley fighters mistakingly moved towards east over the ocean instead heading to Washington.
9.36 : Langley fighters were 150 miles out of Washington
10.00 : Langley fighters arrive in washington (according to radar data)
10:06 :ITS QUITE POSSIBLE FOR LANGLEY FIGHTERS TO TRACK, LOCATE, WARN U 93 it would have taken 6 or more minutes and max of 16 minutes.
10.13 : Probable time for U 93 to have reached Washington assuming it was travelling at the maximum speed , using the shortest path to hit its target.
Langley fighters could still have a 7 minute gap , assuming they were right on the target U 93 with the assumption that Langley fighters were able to track and point the missiles at U 93 within 6 minutes.