The Truth About Aircraft Intercepts

      The 9-11 “Truth” Movement uses the Payne Stewart intercept as evidence that the Air Force could have been able to intercept the hijacked flights on 9-11 faster.  The following quote from this site shows the “truther” point of view:

An example of how the air defense network normally responds to domestic emergencies is illustrated by the well-reported 1999 case of Payne Stewart’s Lear jet. When the golfer’s jet failed to respond to air traffic controller communications, F-16 interceptors were quickly dispatched. According to an Air Force timeline, a series of military planes provided an emergency escort to Payne’s stricken Learjet starting about 20 minutes after contact with his plane was lost.

     However, if you scroll further down that same page, you’ll see a problem with the “truthers” claim:

The loss of communication occurred at about 9:33 am EASTERN time- the intercept occurred at about 9:52 CENTRAL time, which means the intercept occurred a little over ONE HOUR after contact was lost (note the change in time zone).

     Other problems with the 9-11 “Truth” Movements claims are found here: David Ray Griffin claims that Flight 11 should have been intercepted in 10 minutes if standard procedures had been used, but, as usual, Griffin is lying.              

     Here are the problems with David Ray Griffins claims, found at this link: The air traffic controller does NOT just pick up the phone and call the nearest airbase.  They must determine that there actually is a problem first – radio silence and unexpected course changes could be due to any number of things.   The air traffic controller then must tell their supervisor and explain their concerns.

     If the supervisor agrees there’s a problem, THEY contact the FAA and ask for the hijack coordinator- and no, NORAD does not scramble the jets just yet for the reason explained in this quote, found here:

“…hijacking is a law enforcement issue as is everything that takes off from within the United States. And only law enforcement can request assistance from the military, which they did, in this particular case. The route, if you follow the book, is that they go to the duty officer of the national military command center, who in turn makes an inquiry to NORAD for the availability of fighters, who then gets permission from someone representing the Sec. of Defense. Once that’s approved, then we scramble aircraft.

     In short, the FAA hijack coordinator calls NORAD with the details, and then finds an airbase with planes available and puts them on alert (normally a 15-minute alert).  However, they still need permission to scramble from a representative of the Secretary of Defense. Until they receive that permission, THEY CAN’T SCRAMBLE THE PLANES.

     Furthermore, if you’ll go here, you’ll notice that there were only 7 bases with fighters at the 15-minute alert level on 9-11, which means that the fighters that are available may be quite some distance from their target.

     In short, the 10- minute intercept time is extremely doubtful.

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Posted February 18, 2008 by Victor Chabala in Real 9/11 Facts

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