Hijackers Flaunt Air Superiority With Long Detours
The four planes commandeered on September 11th either flew to their targets from distant airports, or flew hundreds of miles away from their targets before turning around. There are three international airports within five minutes flying distance from the World Trade Center. Yet the hijackers selected Flights 11 and 175 originating from Boston, 40 minutes away. Flight 77 took off from Dulles, just a few miles from its alleged target, the Pentagon. Yet the hijackers waited almost until the plane reached Kentucky before taking it over. Flight 93 took off from Newark. If the hijackers had taken it over shortly after takeoff, they could have reached Washington in about 30 minutes. Instead they waited until it was near Cleveland, Ohio, before turning it around.
Anyone planning such an attack could easily find out, with just a modicum of research on the web, that standard operating procedures would lead to interception by a fighter jet within about 20 minutes of any airliner hijacked in the northeast corridor. By choosing originating airports over one hundred miles from their targets in three of four cases, and waiting for nearly a half hour in all four cases before taking over the flights, the perpetrators exposed the entire plot to certain interruption had the air defense system operated normally. The only plausible explanation is that the perpetrators were aware that the air defense system would be stood down.