Tuesday, December 20, 2011

David Knerr, United Airlines Dispatch Manager, on ACARS

The following interview has been conducted by the FBI on 2/15/2002. I have transcribed the relevant parts. The source URL is here:


Knerr provided information related to the printout of text messages transmitted to and from UA Flight 93 on 09/11/2001 through the AIRCRAFT COMMUNICATION ADDRESSING AND REPORTING SYSTEM (ACARS). Knerr identified this system as one means of communication that is utilized between aircraft and commercial carriers, like UA, to transmit text data. Knerr related that data is either uplinked to the aircraft from fixed communication centers or downlinked from the aircraft to receiving communication centers. Knerr explained the uplink and downlink references on an ACARS message. DLBLK refers to downlink while ULBLK refers to uplink.

These references also identify that a ACARS message has been received by its sender, either ground communications or the aircraft. In the final moments, at 10:12 AM EST, of UA Flight 93's flight, ACARS messages were being sent from ground communications but were not being received. This was causing the ACARS messages to be rejected. Knerr advised that Flight 93's low altitude may have caused this dilemma or the fact that Flight 93 had already crashed at the time messages were sent.

Knerr further advised that AERONAUTICAL RADIO INCORPORATED (ARINC) serves as the network administrator for the communication data. According to Knerr, this is important to remember when reviewing data messages because uplink and downlink times may show a time delay when compared. This is caused by multiple processing of multiple ACARS messages through the ARINC network at the same time. ARINC serves a substantial portion of the commercial airline industry operating within the United States. Depending on the time of day or region the country that an aircraft may be operating over, ACARS traffic can be delayed.

Knerr advised that when an aircraft downlinks data to communication towers it does so by sending out messages over a large geographic area that it is flying. Depending on the area of the country, more than one communication tower may receive the aircraft's message. Knerr pointed this out to be the case during Flight 93's flight over New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio on 9/11/2001.

In addition, Knerr pointed out that on two separate instances during Flight 93's flight on 9/11/2001, prior to crashing in Pennsylvania, two alphanumeric messages were sent from the aircraft to ground communication. These messages were routine maintenance messages that are sent in order to identify the current state of mechanical operations onboard an aircraft during flight. It allows for specialists to view specific mechanical data onboard an aircraft while it is in operation. Knerr advised that these messages, once deciphered, may contain information that would demonstrate that the aircraft was being operated in a manner that was adversely affecting the performance of the aircraft. The analysis of these messages is forthcoming.

The ACARS report provided by Knerr will be maintained in the 1A section of this file. Moreover, this data will also be included on the Newark Investigation Summary, Flight Operations Time Line.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Cleveland Airport Shell Game: Delta 1989, Delta 1898, United 1898

This short piece is an update of my most popular article so far, "The Cleveland Airport Mystery" from 2004, prominently featured in "Crossing the Rubicon" by Michael Ruppert and "Loose Change, 2. edition" by Dylan Avery.

I examined the circumstances of the landing of Delta 1989, a Boeing 767 out of Boston, at Cleveland Hopkins Airport on 9/11. I was lucky to find so much evidence for the existence of a shadowy doppelganger flight of Delta 1989 - landing at about the same time and likewise being evacuated - that I published the results here.

Unfortunately, many people think the central thesis of the article is that United 93 was the mysterious plane that landed at Cleveland Airport. This ist not true. I never claimed that United 93 landed at Cleveland. For more background, look here.

I claimed, however, and do continue to claim that an unidentified Boeing 767 landed at Cleveland in emergency and was evacuated, with Delta 1989 serving as a cover, i. e. whoever asked for the identity of the mysterious plane afterwards reaped the answer: that was Delta 1989! and stopped asking questions.

In 2009, numerous documents of the 9/11 Commission came to light. There I found a perfect candidate for the eerie double of Delta 1989 - United 1898 - and published it here.

In summary, United 1898 is a most interesting case because Cleveland controllers reported it to a special unit of the FAA, named "AAT-200", which is dealing with accidents, emergency cases and other irregularities. However, on 9/11/2001 United Airlines operated no aircraft with flight number 1898. Together with the salient similarity of the flight number (1989/1898) this makes United 1898 a good candidate for "Flight X" and an interesting matter of investigation.

Two years later, I'm now proud to present an independent verification for the emergency landing of a Flight 1898 at Cleveland. This time it's called Delta 1898.

1009 DAL1989 on downwind at CLE

1024 DAL1989 on ground CLE

1035 Unconfirmed report - DAL1989 flaps up at CLE

1039 DAL1989 parked in secure area/no one exited a/c yet (pilot says he is not being hijacked)

1116 DAL 1898 confirmed by security HIJACK at CLE ATC - communication with pilot does not confirm

1119 DAL 1989 still not suspected hijack; taxiing to terminal


In this internal FAA timeline, there is only one entry for DAL1898. Note that this is definitely no typo because DAL1898 was a confirmed hijacking, whereas DAL1989 (= Delta 1989) was never suspected a hijack, neither earlier nor later than the security warning of Delta 1898. It should be of no big surprise by now that this so-called Delta 1898 was not the official Delta Flight 1898 who was scheduled to depart from Salt Lake City in the afternoon, but - of course - never left the ground on that day.

So United 1898 and Delta 1898 were both fake flight numbers. The identity of the numbers and the similar context (United 1898 was an emergency case; Delta 1898 was a confirmed hijacking) leads straightforwardly to the conclusion that these two planes were one and the same. The close similarity of the flight numbers 1898 and 1989 corroborates the thesis that Delta 1989 functioned as a cover-up for Flight 1898. The plane was probably evacuated as United 1898, was quickly renamed Delta 1898, and fell into oblivion due to the informational cover provided by Delta 1989.

This very much reminds a shell game, with the shells bearing fake flight numbers. And the only entity entitled to legally use fake flight numbers was the military in case of conducting a war game, i.e. an exercise. It appears that the emergency landing of Flight 1898 and its subsequent evacuation was indeed part of a military exercise. This may be the reason why it's so difficult to obtain information about the incident: military secrecy.

Combined with the information already presented in my original article, there is now ample evidence that Flight 1898 was a Boeing 767 of United Airlines coming from Boston - but it was not the regular United 1898. The number of the United Boeing 767's departing from Boston is so small that it should narrow down the search for the identity of the mysterious plane considerably. United 177 looks like a good candidate.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Was Mohamed Atta being employed by American Airlines?

Diane Graney is the second witness (besides Lynn Howland whom I presented in my last blog entry) with precise recollections of Mohamed Atta, but completely ignored by the 9/11 Commission. Graney worked at Portland Airport on 9/11. She didn't see the alleged hijackers Atta and Al-Omari, but recognized Atta's face from the photo that was published in the aftermath. She is positive that Atta, dressed in an American Airlines uniform and able to identify himself as an AA pilot, tried prior to 9/11 to achieve a jump seat on a US Airways flight.

Compare this to the particulars provided by Lynn Howland. According to her, Atta was "wearing a white pilot type or oxford shirt, no tie and blue pilot type slacks" and carried a "really cheap pilot bag". Furthermore, Atta approached her and asked if she was going to fly American 11. Apparently he wanted to jump seat the flight.

Here is a list of persons who occasionally are allowed to take a jump seat in the cockpit (from Wikipedia):
In aircraft, jump seats - which are officially termed auxiliary crew stations - can be located in cockpits or passenger cabins. In cockpits, jump seats are provided for individuals who are not operating the aircraft. These might include trainee pilots, off-duty crew members in transition to another airport (see deadheading), government officials (such as Federal Aviation Administration staff), or airline staff.

There are also witnesses in Florida confirming that Atta boasted about his status as an American Airlines pilot. Yet the 9/11 Commission has completely blacked out the accounts of Lynn Howland and Diane Graney and missed to pursue their hints that Atta presented himself on several occasions as an AA pilot in order to jump seat a certain flight.

Was American Airlines aware about Atta's activities? And why has the 9/11 Commission failed to follow this important trace?

Here is Diane Graney's account (
date: 9/22/01):

Diane Graney, date of birth ........... employed as a Customer Service Agent CSA and Ground Security Coordinator GSC, U.S. Airways USAIR, Portland International Jetport, 1001 Westbrook Street, Portand, Maine, telephone number 207775-5210, was interviewed at her place of employment. After being advised of the identity of the interviewing agent and the nature of the interview, she provided the following information:

Graney has been employed with USAIR for approximately twelve years. As a CSA for USAIR, Graney's duties include conducting passenger check-ins, checking baggage, making seat assignments, and issuing tickets. She performs her duties at either the USAIR Ticket Counter or at the individual airport gates. As a GSC, she deals with aircraft, airport, and general security issues.

On September 11, 2001, from 5:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Graney was working at the USAIR ticket counter. At some point in her shift she heard of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and that one of the flights was American Airlines Flight 11 out of Logan Airport in Boston. As a GSC, she went and pulled the passenger lists for the US AIR flights to Logan to see if any USAIR passengers had a connection to thje flight. Graney saw that there were two passengers on USAIR Flight 5930 to Logan that had a connection to American Airlines Flight 11. The two names were Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari. She also noticed the two were to sit in First Class on American Airlines Flight 11. Graney thought it was suspicious that these two passengers could have taken a better, more direct flight then what they had scheduled.

Graney observed that Atta and Alomari had checked two bags in at the US AIR Ticket Counter, and that Michael Tuohey was the CSA who checked them in. She spoke to Tuohey about the two passengers, and he advised her of what he had observed. She then contacted Chuck Severance, US AIR Station Manager, and informed him of what happened and what she had discovered.

Graney advised that later when she saw Atta's picture on the news, she believed she had seen him before. She thought he may have tried to jump seat once with USAIR, and he was in uniform using an American Airlines pilot identification. She believed that this happened within the last six months. She advised she searched the USAIR jump seat peaperwork to see who had gone through for June 2001, July 2001, and August 2001, but was unable to find Atta's name. She advised the jump seat forms are only kept for 90 days. She became more concerned about this when she heard on the news that some American Airlines uniforms were stolen in Italy.

Graney was then requested to review a photograph array containing twelve pictures of twelve of the alleged hijackers. Graney identified the picture of Mohamed Atta as the person she remembered seeing prior to September 11, 2001 attempting to jump seat a USAIR flight. She also identified the picture of Marwan Alshehhi as someone she had seen sometime at the airport ticket counter. She identified the picture of Waleed Alshehri as someone who looks familiar. Both Graney and the interviewing agent dated and initialed the pictures she identified.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A pilot's strange encounter with Atta at Boston Airport

The following is the official paraphrased statement of an American Airlines pilot, interviewed by the FBI on October 13th, 2001. The witness describes how she was shortly approached by Mohammed Atta inside the AA terminal at Logan Airport. Her account is detailed, credible, and intriguing.

Lynn Marie Florence Howland, First Officer, American Airlines, AA, was interviewed near her home at a Starbucks Café in ................... She was advised of the identity of the interviewing agent and nature of the interview. For identification, she advised that she lives and .............................. and has been with American Airlines for eleven years.

Howland explained to the interviewing agent that she has been out of state for several days flying in her job. To assist her recollection she prepared a type written one page chronology of the events regarding the encounter with a person she thought was the suspected hijacker of AA Flight 11 on the morning of September 11, 2001. She advised that she was extremely tired after her flight. She left her home at approximately 10:00 a.m. all times local on the morning of September 10th, flew down to San Francisco to then fly as first officer for the AA red-eye flight from San Francisco to Boston. Checking a dispatch schedule, she indicated she flew AA flight 198 from San Francisco, California to Boston, Massachusetts. She indicated the flight had a 9:50 p.m. departure, with arrival at Logan Airport, Boston at approximately 6:50 a.m. on the morning of September 11th. The equipment was a Boeing 767. She advised that the captain was Douglas Balmain. She was sure that the arrival gate for her flight 198 was Bravo 33. Subsequently she checked with AA dispatch and was told her flight AA 198 became the hijacked AA flight 11.

After almost everyone had deplaned, she went up the jetway ahead of Captain Balmain. She stated as she was standing near the entrance to the jetway, in the passenger lounge, a male individual comes up to her suddenly and asks if she is going to take this plane out, referring to the flight she just brought in. She said no and he abruptly turned and went and sat down. She thought that was extremely rude. Her first impression was that he was a pilot going to fly in the jump seat. While he wasn't in uniform, he may have been wearing a pilot type shirt, open collar. She thought he may have had a rolling pilot flight kit or bag with him, which she described as black vinyl, round top, and incredibly cheap. Again she could not recall anything else, only at that time wanting to get to the hotel and sleep. She said she was so tired, when she got to her hotel room she crashed in bed, in her uniform. She woke up about one p.m. and then found out about the terrorist attacks. She said for the longest time she wasn't even sure that she was dreaming it all, until she saw photographs of the hijackers in the news, she was instantly sure that the indivdual she saw that morning was the suspected hijacker, Mohammed Atta. She added that when she first saw the pictures of the hijackers in the new media, it was like an electric shock when she saw the picture of Atta.

She described the individual she saw that morning as having dark hair, dark eyes and being approximately five feet, eight inches in height. Because she was so tired and just wanted to get to the hotel, she could not recall much, other than he may have had that cheap pilot flight bag. She could not recall anything else and stated that time she had no reason to notice. She did not think that Captain Balmain would have noticed him. As she explained in her notes, the recollection .... (??? - missing text) She was shown a photo spread of six males and instantly chose number 5, which is the terrorist described as Mohammed Atta. She then signed and dated the photo spread under photograph number five. She said that her selection was based totally on her recollection of the morning of September 11th and not from any subsequent photographs she may have seen in the news.

The following are Howland's notes, prepared prior to the interview and scanned directly into this FD-302 and corrected only for scanning errors:

"Flew flight 198 SF-BOS
Departed September 10
Arrived September 11
On the ground approximately 0650 EST
In gate probably at 0700 EST
I left the cockpit first and waited for the captain at the top of the jetbridge in the boarding area.
He was slower maybe 5-7 minutes behind me.

We went to the hotel. I went to sleep called my parents at 1300 EST and they told me what happened.
Later that day I realized it was the aircraft that I had brought in.
That is what I remembered until I saw the photos on TV.
I was instantly sure I have seen Mohammed Atta before could not remember where.

Two days later I was driving my car in at night in the rain and my thoughts were drifting to the horrible loss. I suddenly had a memory of a man approaching me and asking me if I was taking the flight out. I was stunned. Did this really happen? I thought about it some more and remembered Mohammed Atta approaching me and asking me if I was taking flight 11 out. I said "No, I just brought the aircraft in." He turned his back and abruptly walked away and I was a little annoyed with his rudeness but as it was 0400 body clock time I let it go and told myself that people are rude everyday.

This would have been between 0700 and 0720 EST. I think he was wearing a white pilot type or oxford shirt, no tie and blue pilot type slacks. I am unsure about the shirt but perhaps that was what the man he sat down next to was wearing. I also remember him having a really cheap pilot bag. The vinyl one with a rounded top with black plastic squares at the corners.

I spent 2 days trying to decide of this was a true memory and decided it was. I have decided to share this because I felt it was my civic duty."

This statement creates a huge problem for the official Atta story: According to the BTS database and other sources, it was about 6:00 a.m. EDT when Flight 198 arrived at the gate, not 7:00 EST. (This is a minor mistake of West Coast resident Lynn Howland and in no way damages the accuracy of her other recollections.) Just at this time, a man identifying himself as Mohammed Atta boarded a Colgan Air flight in Portland, Maine, going to Boston. He did not arrive there before 6:45 EDT.

Conclusion: the "Mohammed Atta" whose face was presented on the news in the days after 9/11 and the "Mohammed Atta" in the blue shirt recorded by a security camera at Portland Airport are not the same person. This confirms the outstanding research of John Doe II who has collected plenty of evidence for the existence of - at least - one double of Atta:


Monday, March 07, 2011

Was Flight 11 a "real world exercise" ?

Source: Newhouse News

In an old Democratic Underground posting the esteemed colleague Shoestring expressed doubts about the customary interpretation of the term "real world" which pops up on the NEADS tapes a couple of times. Here's his quote in its entirety:

The quote of Major James Fox saying, "I've never seen so much real-world stuff happen during an exercise" is really suspicious. I wonder if the staff at NEADS understood "real-world" to mean a live-fly field training exercise, as opposed to a purely simulated command post exercise?
So when Sgt. Jeremy Powell asked Boston flight control center "Is this real-world or exercise?" he could have been asking if the exercise was live-fly or not. And when Boston replied "this is not an exercise, not a test," he took it to mean that it was indeed a live-fly exercise, involving a plane under the control of the military pretending to be hijacked.

This would certainly explain the bizarre conversation between the NEADS "ID techs —Stacia Rountree, Shelley Watson, and Maureen Dooley—when they heard of the reported hijacking:

WATSON: What was that?
ROUNTREE: Is that real-world?
DOOLEY: Real-world hijack.

I find it hard to believe Shelley Watson would have responded, "Cool!" if she thought "Real-world hijack" did really mean a genuine hijacking. Might she instead have believed it to have meant a "live-fly," with a real plane pretending to be hijacked, for which they could launch fighers in response?
Shoestring surmises that the term "real world" indicates a "live-fly exercise" with real airborne planes as opposed to a "command post exercise" which is only played on the desks and screens of the participating military units. I agree with him that this interpretation is far more plausible than the official version (that "real world" meant an actual, genuine hijacking).

A statement of Lt. Col. Dawne Deskins of NEADS shows that Shoestring is right with his conjecture:

Deskins noted that NEADS had a hijack checklist and a variety of exercises depending on higher authority involvement and direction prior to 9/11. Some of those exercises involved NORAD coordination. She does not recall ever personally designing an exercise in which a decision would be made to shoot down the hij acked aircraft. A typical design would include course deviation in which the hijacker forces the pilot to fly to a designated landing point. They would not do these hijacks exercises real world. They had a cell that would play the FAA in the exercise. Deskins noted that there really were not the assets to do a large scale real world exercise to practice hijack response. The scenarios for the exercises are created by exercise designers in the exercise shop. Sgt. Mark Stanford and Sgt. Mike Quigley, both retired, designed the exercises when she was the head of the shop. NEADS' hijack shop would not design exercises for other sectors.

Exercises that are designed on the NORAD level are created at planning conferences. NORAD planning exercises are mostly held at Peterson, or at CONR at Tindle. There is intelligence representation at the conferences, but the sector shops are more concerned with the individual exercise of the sector floor and Battle Cab. She does not personally recall the design of a hijack with multiple hijacks or terrorist take over.

For the first time, the term "real-world exercise" emerges here in the context of the 9/11 wargames, and according to Deskins, it means a voluminous large-scale exercise with the need to involve the FAA. In smaller (not "real-world" exercises) the FAA was not needed because NEADS had its own cell playing their role. A corollary of Deskins' statement is that real-world exercises were not designed by NEADS itself, but one level above, at NORAD planning conferences.

The reader can easily verify Shoestring's interpretation by searching for "real world exercise", maybe narrowed down with "air force" or "military". The output will quickly convince him that "real world exercise" is a common concept in the military world.

So whenever the term "real world" is used, it indicates that NEADS personnel are believing they are confronted with a large-scale, live-fly exercise with participation of the FAA. NEADS was prepared for these exercises, but not actual, genuine hijackings. It is not known how the air defense used to label such (very rare) genuine hijackings, but it was certainly not "real world" lest to confound it with the ongoing real world exercises.

Flight 11 was apparently viewed as a real-world exercise.