I mentioned the following to my wife, Bettie. " This aircraft, according to the USAF's own website, goes from "scramble order" to 29000 feet in 2.5 minutes." As you know, her husband, Jeff Ethell, (before he was killed 4 years ago) was a highly respected aviation writer. Foreign governments hired him to access their air capabilities, and write books about it. (He flew with the Argentine AF and wrote about what really took place in the Falkland war. His book caused an uproar in the British Parliament.) He made an assessment of the USAF, and found that because of budget cutbacks, among other things, the F15 pilots had little flight time, maybe once a month, and the pilots are fleeing from the military like rats from a sinking ship. In other words, the "2.5 minutes" scramble time is pure propaganda put out by the AF. In reality, such a thing is impossible. And when Jeff wrote that it was impossible under present conditions, he made many enemies among the "powers that be."
I was an associate pastor at Merrywoods Baptist Church, in Haugton LA, from about 1975 to 1983. The church was only about 10 miles East of Barksdalle AFB, which is located in Bossier City, just across the Red River from Shreveport LA. Barksdale had a double wing of B52s and KC135s (tankers) stationed there. We had several men faithfully attend our church who were assigned to the crews of the bombers and the tankers. Those men said it took 15 min to get a plane off the ground from a "scramble order." I held Bible Studies with the men who were on "alert" That is, they stayed on base a week at a time, and had to be within 15 min of their assigned plane at all times during that week. From my experience, "2.5" makes good propaganda, but is impossible.
Also, the airline industry was already complaining of a "slump" before this terrible event took place.
Take the following for what it is worth.
Subject: Must Read!!!!!: Naggin Questions ...
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 11:38:58 -0400
[As a matter of fact, the first thing that struck me about the details of the 9/11 tragedy was how odd it was that ALL of these flights, leaving from the East Coast at that time of day would be carrying so few passengers. ICE]
Sent: September 19, 2001 12:11
Subject: Some good questions...forwarded from a friend.
Friend of mine from US had this to say to a friend of his:
Hi John, Good stuff from Cooper, but the questions I want answered are these.
1) Flight 11 was a Boeing 757/200. This plane holds 239 passengers. There were 81 passengers and 11 crew. The 11 crew members included 2 pilots and 9 flight attendants. Is it normal that this flight would not be at capacity, based on other Flight 77's that leave Boston to LA, at the same time every day. Flights within the Airline industry operate on standardized schedule. They don't make the schedules after the passengers book the flights. The only days that they schedule deviate are Saturdays and Sundays and holidays. So, is it customary that this flight is so underbooked? (About 30% capacity)
I flew out west from Florida about three months ago, and every flight I got on was either full or overbooked.
2) Same question of all the flights. #175 had 54 passengers. The pentagon plane (#77) had 56 passengers, and the PA flight 38. All less than 25% of capacity. Why? I don't have access to the files of AA or United, but some reporter should be able to find out this information.
[Fewer people, easier to control the situation. And the less likely that something could go wrong, maybe? I'm just speculating, of course. I don't know, and I don't have access to AA or United archives and files.]
3) Four planes at once with no transponder info on the FAA
screens and Air Force screens. All of them just showing up as
blips on radar. One plane is in a "NO FLY ZONE";.. within
constantly monitored, restricted airspace. A pilot has already
remarked that when a plane deviates just a little, that the FAA
oversight will call and/or allow for course corrections.
But, we are talking about planes that were miles off course. In these instances, the FAA reports it to the Air Force. But also, in these instances, the Air Force has already locked onto these planes, because they monitor the commercial system as well as their own. That's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. They have to, so that we don't have military and commercial aircraft flying into one another, constantly.
In a circumstance like Flight 11, this plane is so far of course it is ridiculous and they are not responding normally to communications. They did a hard bank (90 degrees to the south) somewhere north of Albany, NY. The Air Force is to scramble at least a recon aircraft to monitor. Why no recon, on any of the first three flights?
Let's look at the second plane. It was 18 minutes until it hit the second building. This plane flew over NYC, pass the city and went to somewhere around Newark, NJ. At that point it did a 360 degree bank to fly back to NYC. By this time "they" know that this is no accident happening. They know that they have hijacked planes in the air. An F-15 strike eagle flies at 1850+ nmps. That is Mach 2.5+ A sidewinder with heat seeking infrared guidance, has a range of 18 miles. This aircraft, according to the USAF's own website, goes from "scramble order" to 29000 feet in 2.5 minutes. New York City is 71 miles from McGuire AFB in NJ and 147 from Westover AFB in MA. At Mach 2, this plane could travel from the ground in NJ to NYC, in under 7 minutes.
I am being generous. Mach 2 is 20+ miles per minute and Mach 2.5 is 30+ miles per minute. This is 150 to 210 seconds to cover the 71 miles. If we factor in the time for the scramble order, to being in the air; we are at 5 to 6 minutes for an F-15 to bypass flight 175, turn, and sit at the WTC to wait for the plane (175) to arrive. This is far less than 18 minutes, and this plane (175) had to fly back over the Hudson Bay to reach its target. (Remember the range of the sidewinder is over 10 miles. Is it even necessary to mention the speed of this missile?)
4) Let's apply these same standards to the Pentagon plane #77. This plane is over restricted airspace. It is 40 minutes after the second attack in NYC. At some point, here, Barbara Olsen calls her husband to let him know the plane is hijacked. Mr. Olsen calls "officials" who claim that they don't know about Flight #77 being hijacked. Barbara Olsen makes a second phone call to her husband. Other passengers were FORCED TO CALL their families to tell them that they were going to die. Why would the hijackers put out this warning? The article definitely says "forced to call". [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/metro/dc/schools/A14365-2001Sep11]
On Flight 77: 'Our Plane Is Being Hijacked' (washingtonpost.com) This plane flies over the White House, which has automatic turret style anti-defense weaponry on top of the building. NO shots are reported to be fired, no anti-aircraft missiles were fired. This plane, still in restricted airspace, does a 270 degree bank to turn around and fly toward to Pentagon. Andrews AFB is 13 miles away. This is already within the range of a sidewinder. All that is required is to put the plane in the air (maybe up to 3000 ft.), lock and fire.
Remember it is 40 minutes and they already know that these planes are being used as weapons. They have been reporting it on ABC, CBS, and NBC for 30+ minutes. They have received phone calls from passengers, telling them that the plane is hijacked. (By the way, what time were these cell-calls made? Before or after they entered the "no fly zone"?)
These planes could have been knocked out of the sky EASILY, but weren't. Why?
DP P.S. It's not that I want to believe that something stinks, here. It's just that I would like credible answers as to what was/is going on. I was in the military. As a Navy Nuclear Reactor Operator, we had to stand duty 24/7, to monitor operations. An Air Force base is constantly manned, in case of an unforeseen event or attack. They fly recon missions, every single day. Some of these recon flights may be armed, and some may not. But, there are a certain number of planes are armed at all times and the pilots do 24-hour rotating shifts so that the Air Force can respond quickly. The Air Force and Nuclear Aircraft Carriers constitute America's first line of defensive readiness. They were 13 miles from the Pentagon, with planes that can fly circles around a commercial jet. Were they on vacation or what?
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