The WTC Impacts: 767s or "Whatzits"?

Eric Salter
esalter1@mindspring.com
5/11/04
Updated July 2005

Since September 11th, continuous and dedicated efforts by numerous independent researchers devoted to analyzing the physical evidence of what happened that day have produced some compelling arguments which contradict the official story regarding the attack on the Pentagon and the collapse of the World Trade Center. With logic and scientific discipline, these arguments have been honed to the point that they help significantly to reveal the fraudulent, hoaxed nature of the "terrorist" attacks as a pre-planned inside job. There is, however, a particular hypothesis regarding the physical evidence that cries out for critical skepticism: the idea that no 767s hit the World Trade Center.

This argument has a singularly obvious hurdle to cross: We have many pieces of hard evidence-video recordings and photographs-that clearly show a 767 crashing into the south tower of the WTC on September 11th. We also have a video recording of the first impact on the North tower, but plane in the image is not identifiable as a 767 because of it's small size in the frame. In contrast, there is no hard evidence, such as a video, photo or small plane debris, that establishes the presence of a small plane or any other object besides a 767 hitting the WTC. The proponents of the no-767 get around this by claiming that the planes in the videos we have were superimposed in real-time by the television networks using advanced graphics technology, and they proceed to identify a number of anomalies in the videos and in the physics of the impacts which they claim indicate that the 767 was not actually there. Their case is supplemented by analysis of witness testimony and some other circumstantial evidence.

The proponents of the no-767 theory discussed here are Gerard Holmgren, well-known for his analysis of the Pentagon crash and his ongoing compilation of evidence called "The Truth of Sept 11":
http://www.williambowles.info/911/911_comp.html
Webfairy:
http://thewebfairy.com/911/index.htm
and Scott Loughrey:
http://www.media-criticism.com/911_video_fakes_01_2004.html

I took an interest in this because I have been a professional video editor for 11 years. What I immediately noticed is that there are gross errors in most of the analyses of the video evidence. One of the reasons for this, in the case of the first strike, is that Holmgren and Webfairy used a poor quality mpeg movie from the internet to make their analysis. Here is that movie:
http://www.taner.net/wtc/media/First_Plane_Crash_SLOW_.mpeg
When CNN broadcast the original footage they stretched it vertically and the impact put in slo-mo. This clip was recorded off television, which in this case has reduced image quality. To create the mpeg the resolution has been reduced from 720x486 to 320x240 and the data has been compressed. The overall effect has been not only to degrade the original image, but to add new visual data called "compression artifacts". This has led to often ridiculous misinterpretations of the images. However, some of the analytical errors don't arise from the poor image quality and can only be attributed to poor judgement.

Here is a better quality version of the first impact I created from the Naudet brother's DVD "911". Bear in mind that even DVDs are compressed with the mpeg 2 codec. Additionally, to make it a reasonable file size for the web, this movie has been compressed with the Sorenson 3 codec at full quality from the file I used to do the analysis. Still, the artifacts have been minimized and it looks close enough to the original for casual observation. Note: this has a high data rate and may not play smoothly on all computers.
North tower impact (6.4MB)

Before analyzing this material, I need to explain a few things about digital video and compression. Two things usually happen to video clips to prepare them for the web: the size of the original video frame is reduced and the data is compressed.

Here is a technical discussion of compression:
http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~nd/surprise_96/journal/vol4/sab/report.html

The following comparison of frames from the two previous sources shows visually what effect shrinking and compressing a video has:

The wispy shapes around the building and plane in the still on the right are compression artifacts, called the "Gibbs effect". Compressed images can also have a blocky texture. The more you compress a movie, the more artifacts you get. There is another common video phenomenon that degrades the detail in the movie Holmgren and Webfairy used. Notice that the radio tower and edge between the sides of the building have a dark streak. This is called "ringing". It's at it's worst on edges that have a lot of contrast and tends to increase with a decreasing quality of signal.

Holmgren and Webfairy base their analysis on the fact that a 767 is not visible in the 1st strike mpeg, and therefore was not there in real life. Of course it's not visible-the reduction in resolution removed half the visual data, and compression artifacts distort the shape of the plane. Holmgren and Webfairy show a profound lack of knowledge of digital imagery by failing to consider that this movie was a highly compromised version of the original footage. And in so doing, they also show a lack of respect for their colleagues in the 9/11 Truth Movement by engaging in tenuous, risky speculation in areas where they lack the necessary expertise and discipline.

The plane is only about 20 or 30 pixels wide (the full width of the video frame is 720 pixels). The following is an extreme closeup of the plane without smoothing (anti-aliasing) in which you can see the individual pixels:

Update, September 2005:

Besides the lack of resolution to render the image of the plane at this small size, there are two other factors inhibiting it's clarity. The first is one that I omitted from my article the first time around: the camera is out of focus, having been adjusted for the firemen standing a few paces away, and not for the distant WTC. When first reviewing the footage I noticed the camera was out of focus, but discounted it's relevance for the following reason: when a camera zooms in, increasing the magnification, the apparent amount of defocusing increases, while zooming back out the radius of defocusing will decrease. Because of this effect, the proper way to focus a camera is to zoom all the way in to a subject-defocusing is not as apparent when you're zoomed out. So at the start of the process I saw the defocusing but thought that when the camera zoomed out the defocusing would have minimal effect on the image. While this might have been true for larger details, it was not true for smaller details on which my analysis was subsequently concerned. The defocusing was still there, measuring only about a pixel or two in radius with the camera fully zoomed out, but more than enough to affect the appearance of the plane.

The second factor is this: As far as I know, it is the nature of video to blur very small details. All the video from professional cameras I've worked with over the past 11 years has had a little bit of blurring, about the width of a pixel, even on perfectly focused shots. You don't notice it at all when looking at the full frame because the details that are large enough to see span several pixels at least and therefore are still sharp. I have a feeling cameras are designed this way deliberately, because it seems that if video were perfectly sharp down to individual pixels, there would be too many Moiré type artifacts, caused by an effect called aliasing. Now, a blurring of one pixel width or less may not seem like much, but in an image in which the entire plane is only 20 pixels wide, this will have an effect on the plane's level of detail. As is clear in the image above, an object would have to occupy at least several pixels to start to register any detail, and judging by the size of the plane, the wing tips might be as little as one pixel in width. It is not surprising at all, given both the low resolution and the blurring that this plane is not immediately recognizable as a 767.

Holmgren questioned why the 767 could not be discerned on the Naudet video:

"A 160 ft plane is a "small detail" is it ? On the second video we can see such small details as the engines on the "plane" , objects about 10 ft long and 10 ft in diameter. But in the first video we somehow can't see the "small detail" of a 160 ft wingspan and similar length, because its "normal" for video not to be able to pick up such fine details. Oh the primitiveness of it all! I wonder how they pick up the flight of those cricket balls or baseballs so clearly from a distance in sports broadcasts? And why the ball doesn't look like a squirrell or frisbee?"

Here are the images of the planes from the Naudet footage and the Battery Park view of the South tower impact, taken straight from the full quality movies and put next to each other without any changes in their size:

The second plane is clear because at about 10 times (or more) the width of the first plane, there are 100 times as many pixels to define it. We will never see the first plane as a clearly recognizable 767, but as I demonstrated above, we can determine that it is the size of a 767.

Update, September 2005:

Holmgren attempts to rebut the previous analysis by offering up this page (laced with the usual name calling and boasting) of what planes "should look like" when captured by video cameras:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~holmgren/planevideos.html

What he does is take photos in which planes occupy a greater area of pixels and thus have more resolution. (And he disingenously uses the most degraded version of the Naudet video as the comparison to his photos). The planes in his photos occupy about the same amount of space-about 100 pixels wide-as the 767 in the CNN Battery Park footage. What he should have captured was an image with the plane at the same size as the plane in the Naudet video-about 20 pixels wide. Fortunately, Holmgren has provided us with an image of an airliner at a similar angle to the one in the Naudet video. By reducing it in size to the same resolution as the plane in the Naudet video, blurring it to match the Naudet video, and deinterlacing it to remove half the data as with freezes from the Naudet video, we can show what it would have looked like if it were captured in the same way as the Naudet video:

No surprise here. The plane ends up looking as it does in the Naudet video. The right wing has nearly disappeared, the right engine and inner wing has formed a blob to the right of the fuselage, and the left engine is almost undistinguishable from the fuselage. Only a change in lighting and the alignment of the plane prevents the resulting image from being identical to the Naudet video.

As I said before, the plane in the Naudet video looks exactly as a two-engine airliner should.

In arguing that the Naudet video should have shown a clear and in-focus 767, Holmgren has simply failed to or refused to understand the nature of pixel resolution, which is one of the most fundamental and easily understood aspects of video images. If he were to make this argument in front of an audience of video professionals, he would be laughed off the stage.

The comparison I provided above of the Naudet and Battery Park images should have been sufficient for even a moderately intelligent lay person to understand. It's up to the reader to judge whether Holmgren is really incapable of understanding this issue or whether this is an attempt to blow smoke and take advantage of the lack of technical expertise of the reading audience.

Contrary to the no-planer's claims, and despite the blurring, the components of the airplane can be discerned in the high quality movie:

The shadow of the left wing can be clearly be seen over the front of the fuselage, and the shadow of the left rear stabilizer can just barely seen right under the tail. The full extent of the wings is difficult to see, and that is causing the plane to look too small.

A better way to measure the size of the plane is to look at it's fuselage, which is more visible that the wings. Here is a comparison of the lengths of the plane fuselage and the left side of the building. Although they are not exactly in alignment, they are close enough to make a rough comparison:

The length of a 767 is 159 feet. The width of the WTC was 207 feet. The length of the plane in the video matches the proportions of a 767.

The first frame in the following sequence shows the full horizontal extent of the shadow of the plane's wings just before the plane enters the building:

The width of the shadow is clearly large enough to be a 767. On the next frame the shadow disappears as the wings penetrate the WTC, and a few frames later we can see that the width and angle of the emerging explosion closely matches that of the shadow.

This quicktime movie is a close-up of the impact at 60 frames a second. At that rate, both fields are preserved instead of one being discarded, and each field becomes an individual frame. The shadow created by the wings of the 767 is very clear. A white flash is visible at the moment the plane penetrates the building. There has been a lot of speculation on this flash, including the hypothesis that this is some sort of detonation. I find the speculation that this is a missile to be problematic: judging by the shadow, the flash occurs as the plane is penetrating the building and not before. The plane might even be penetrating the building before the flash happens. I find the flash very intriguing, but all I feel qualified to say is that the event is luminescent for no more than 1/60 of a second, it seems to leave behind what might be interpreted as a circular cloud of smoke that rapidly dissipates, and that if it did any damage to the building, it's not evident from the video. It certainly did not cause the entire extent of the hole that resulted from the impact. In my opinion, 9/11 investigators should be cautious about speculating on this, especially given how small this event is in the video image. I would like to see an image analysis by someone professionally trained in detonations and collisions before coming to any conclusions.
North tower hit close up (1.3 MB)
(use the left and right arrow keys to step through frame by frame in Quicktime player. Hold arrow key to advance in slo-mo.)
One may notice while stepping through frame by frame that the wings flicker, becoming more and less visible. This is an expected behavior due to the nature of interlacing. Because each 1/60 of a second is captured by only one half of the vertical scan lines, an object that is a horizontal line one pixel tall will disappear if it does not lie on a scan line that belongs to the field being captured at that time. Moreover, if same object only partially overlaps a scan line, the color value for those pixels will be a mix of that object and whatever lies behind it overlapping the rest of the scan line, in this case the building. Even if an object is a couple pixels in height, the alignment between it and the scan lines can affect how it appears. This effect can be observed happening on the streetlight and the windows of the building at the bottom of the frame. Step through frame by frame and notice how the windows of the building on the lower left change.

Various hypotheses on the nature of the flash.

Here is a sequence of stills from the Naudet video showing the shadow of the plane and the flash that occurs at the moment of impact:

From the Naudet footage we can establish the following:
-The plane made the sound of a jet airliner.
-The plane is roughly the length of a 767.
-The plane casts the shadow of plane the size of a 767.

Additionally, we already know that the hole in the north tower is the size of a 767. Here is a frontal diagram of a 767 superimposed in scale over the tower (WTC width = 207 ft., 767 wingspan = 156 ft.) and rotated to align with the impact hole. Quite a good fit:

Update, September 2005:

The scale of the diagram of the plane in my original graphic above is not quite accurate, due to the difficulty in aligning it to the building, which is seen from an angle, and due to the fact that the outer portion of the wings are shown at rest and not bend upwards due to aerodynamic lift. Here is a new diagram aligned over a direct perpendicular view of the tower and scaled to 75% of the width of the tower. The wings from the engine mounts to the tips are tilted up 4 degrees. (aeronautic experts would have to determine the exact expected amount, but anywhere from 3 to 5º creates a good match with the shape of the impact hole).

The alignment of a 767 with the hole is perfect.

Incidentally, the NIST report shows the same alignment:

Attempts at overlaying diagrams by no-plane advocates such as Stephan Grossman and the German Engineers are imcompetent at best, using inaccurate diagrams of 767s, aligning those diagrams incorrectly and/or using photographs from angles that show debris where the engine holes should be.

In his latest compilation of 9/11 evidence, Holmgren provides the following links that examine alleged anomalies in the physical evidence of the WTC impacts:
http://thewebfairy.com/911
http://www.media-criticism.com/911_video_fakes_01_2004.html

There are numerous problems with Webfairy's analysis.

To begin with, on her "Ghostplane" page Webfairy makes some huge errors in regards to video standards:

"This original was saved at 29.970 frames per second, and is 352x240, which is full size for NTSC standard broadcast video."

From the link "previously determined" on the ghostplane page:

"Because video from television captured at this size has it's veritcal lines doubled, deinterlacing to remove half the fields left me with an undefiled image."

The full size of NTSC video is 720x486. In addition, she misunderstands the nature of interlacing, which is far from a "defilement". NTSC video is always interlaced, meaning that first the odd numbered horizontal lines are displayed, then the even ones. The second field captures action 1/60th of a second after the first field. Webfairy doesn't seem to understand that by deinterlacing the image, she has removed half the resolution and motion, although this is usually done in preparing movies for the web and is a necessary step to make a freeze frame of a moving object clear.

Technical info on video specs:
http://tangentsoft.net/video/glossary.html
http://www.adamwilt.com/TechDiffs/FieldsAndFrames.html

On the "Ghostplane" page, an analysis of the second strike, Webfairy again uses a mediocre quicktime movie in which she finds deformations in the plane that she claims indicate it is computer generated. The problem with this approach is that 3D animation doesn't introduce warping of the shape of an object unless you deliberately program it to do that. Moreover, the deformations she is talking about do not appear in either her movie or this higher quality version:
2nd hit movie
I've cropped the full size movie and centered the plane to reduce file size. The movie is 1.5 times normal size and the frame rate is 60 frames a second to preserve both fields.

"The deformation of the "plane" as it approaches the building can be seen clearly in the next flash. Notice the "pod" that develops between the wings, and how the tail section appears to change shape and bulge as well."

Many have noticed what looks like a pod on the underside of the 767. Webfairy assumes that this is a deformation of the 3D object because it becomes more pronounced over time. But this change is a result of an increase in the specular highlights on the plane's body from the reflected sunlight, due either to it emerging from smoke or to the change in the angles between the sun, plane and camera. Notice how the reflection on the tail increases at the same time. (At this time, I'm not sure what I think about the pod or the orange flash seen just before impact. But I think it's worth looking into and intend to do an analysis of the video recordings.)

Webfairy makes the following observation about the impact on the south tower she provides near the top of the page:

"In every air crash footage I can find, the impact explosion begins within 2 frames. In this instance, there are more than 40 frames, almost two seconds, between the beginning of the impact and the beginning of ignition of the immediate area."

There are, in fact, only 15 frames between the impact and the first appearance of the explosion on the east side of the building on the right side of the frame. Therefore the jet fuel exploded 1/2 of a second, at the most, after the nose of the airplane first touches the outer wall. It would be logical to assume the fuel ignited even earlier inside the building. Additionally, "Every air crash footage I can find" is not a scientific statistical analysis.

For her analysis of the first strike, Webfairy not only uses the fore mentioned low quality mpeg, but it appears like she's done something to further degrade the image. It looks to me like she has converted the rasterized (pixel-based) images to vector art in Flash, which would alter the image. The 767 becomes even more unrecognizable and Webfairy coins the term "whatzit" to describe whatever non-767 really hit the WTC. She goes on to recklessly identify objects which clearly aren't present in the original footage.

This shows a comparison of the video from the dvd and one of Webfairy's Flash movies:

On this page, Webfairy boasts about her newfound video skill set that has allowed her to discern the "true" culprit in the WTC1 impact-a white triangle! All she has done on this page is to see a strange object in the compression artifacts. When mainstream skeptics dismiss conspiracy theorists as crackpots who see things that aren't there, this is the kind of stuff they point to:
http://thewebfairy.com/whatzit/

Here, Webfairy claims that the "whatzit" is "dive bombing" WTC1.
http://thewebfairy.com/whatzit/index2.html
Holmgren agrees that what hit the north tower was dive bombing instead of moving horizontally as the official story claims. This is wrong and there are three proofs for this. First, the path of the plane is parallel to the left edge of the tower, suggesting that it is moving horizontally. Second, the shadow of the plane on the tower just before impact moves up and to the left at about a 30 degree angle. If the plane were "dive bombing" the shadow would be moving down the side of the building with the plane. Third, if the plane were not flying horizontally, it wouldn't have overflown the Naudet film crew, causing the three men in the picture to look up.

Here, Webfairy finds the "whatzit" lurking in the smoke clouds and declares boldly that "The Whatzit did not HIT the WTC."
http://thewebfairy.com/whatzit/lurker.htm
The "whatzit" turns out to be a bright object on the roof of the south tower which is clearly visible on the movie a couple seconds before the stills she presents. It baffles me how anyone could possibly miss this. This is incredibly sloppy and incompetent analysis.

Webfairy spots an "whatzit" on the following page:
http://thewebfairy.com/whatzit/jetcrash/index.htm
On this one I have to agree. There is some aircraft in the video which is too small to identify. But she then goes on to speculate that a piece of flaming debris is a missile or another "whatzit", even though it is moving down and away from the building at a speed far slower than a missile and is leaving a wispy black smoke trail-not the white smoke trail of a missile. It's visible from another angle in another one of Webfairy's own Flash movies on this page:
http://thewebfairy.com/whatzit/happens.htm

On a side note, another mistake on a different topic is Webfairy's "Glow" page, which attributes a "nuclear glow" to a piece of footage thats exposure level is increasing. The increase in brightness of the distant sky, far removed from any "nuclear" effect at the WTC, demonstrates that this is simply the aperture of the camera opening up and overexposing the image.

Webfairy makes the following claim in a recent post:

One fact in the official version IS clearly false: Whatever it was that
hit the South Tower was NOT United Airlines Flight 175, as is claimed
in the official version.

a Boeing 200-series 767 airliner ... are 159 ft. 2 in. long ... The South Tower was 208 ft. per side ... Thus the ratio of the dimensions of the side of the Tower to the length of UA Flt 175 ought to be in the region of ... 208/159 = 1.31 ...The ratio of the dimensions of the side of the Tower to the length of whatever-it-was that is photographed hitting the Tower are NOT 1.31. It is more like 1.6 or thereabouts. Due to fuzziness in some of the photographs, it varies between 1.5 and 1.9. But at no time does it come anywhere NEAR 1.31 !

Webfairy's analysis is fraudulent. In the CNN footage and most of the photos on the web, the fuselage is not seen directly from the side, therefore, by the rules of perspective, it is foreshortened. The same thing is happening to the right side of the WTC, which appears shorter than the side facing the camera even though in reality it was the same length. The only way to compare the sizes of two foreshortened objects without using geometry is if they are foreshortened by exactly the same amount. We do have that in the CNN footage: the wings of the 767 just before impact are reasonably parallel to the plane of the side of the building being measured, so the ratio of the wingspan to the building is the appropriate comparison to make. The formula is similar: 208ft/156ft=1.32. From the measurements off the video, I got 1.26, which is very close to 1.32. The measurement indicates that the plane in the video is the size of a 767.

Webfairy has dumped scorn and vitriol on anyone who doesn't accept her ideas. She has called many thoughtful 9/11 investigators "teletubbies":

"No Plane is not a "Hardened Fanatical Dogma" -- It's an OBSERVATION. Observation is a skill denied committed Rationalists, who are only allowed to see what's on their pre-programmed bellyscreens.

Sorry to be so harsh, and I do my best to see you folks kindly as the cognitive version of Illiterates, but splooshing around in your world without facts, I'm much more trying to throw you a lifeline than to be critical. When you need experts to tell what you should see, this is a serious blemish on your otherwise fanatical realism (which I applaud).

Given the errors outlined so far, I'll leave it to the reader to evaluate Webfairy's grasp of "observation" and "facts".

The latest spurious claim to be circulated by Webfairy and other no-plane advocates concerns another "whatzit" or alleged UFO hovering around the north tower after the first hit:
http://thewebfairy.com/911/video/rayswhatzit.mov
http://thewebfairy.com/911/slideshow/911whatzit/?title=Slide+186+of+242&framebox=175
The small dark shape coming in and out of the frame in the movie at the first link is a bit of dirt on the window of the vehicle the film crew was travelling in. This is easily proved: the movement of the "whatzit" is perfectly matched to the frame of the window which enters the picture occasionally. In the second link, frames 156-160 show the dirt illuminated by the sun as the car moves out of a buildings shadow. Hilariously, Fonebone thinks this is the UFO activating it's propulsion system. Any experienced UFO investigator could see through this garbage in a moment.

The second link provided by Holmgren in his compilation, a no-plane analysis by Scott Loughrey, also has numerous problems.
http://www.media-criticism.com/911_video_fakes_01_2004.html

Loughrey speculates that the lack of reflected sunlight (specular highlights) on the plane through part of it's progress indicates that it is a fake, computer generated object:

"Strangely, UA 175 is also not affected by the Sun ... With UA presumably hundreds of feet away from the Twin Towers there is nothing to block the eastern light."

Holmgren also feels that the fact that the 2nd plane passes through a shadow demonstrates that it was not there, as there was no possible source for the shadow. In response, I suggested that the smoke plume from WTC1 was responsible. Holmgren replied:

"As for the smoke... if its above the frame, how do you know its there? From the smoke pattern that can be seen in the rest of the video there is not a shred of evidence for this assertion. At best its baseless speculation, and it directly contradicts what one can see of the smoke pattern. You are seriously suggesting that there is a solid blanket of hundreds of yards of smoke above the "plane" ? Which somehow doesn't cast any shadows anywhere else?"

The following mpeg movie shows very clearly the position of the smoke cloud from various angles, and how it was directly in-between the sun and the path of the 767:
http://www.plaguepuppy.net/public_html/video%20archive/2ndplanevarious_a.mpg
The huge smoke plume from the north tower was moving in a southeasterly direction. Given the angle of the sun in the early morning flight 175 passed directly through the shadow, given it's approach from the southwest.

Neither Loughrey nor Holmgren explain why the CG artist would have added a shadow that would have made their animation less realistic.

A photo from the New Jersey riverfront by Kathy Cacicedo which shows the smoke cloud between the sun and the 767.

Loughrey speculates that because several of the videos of the 2nd impact contain zoom outs just before the impact, this indicates the videographers were professional agents, and not amateurs:

"Why did all of these amateur videographers risk losing their subject zoom-out just as UA 175 arrives? Didn't they feel that the subject matter was already of intense interest to them? Surely this scene didn't need dramatic embellishment added."

Loughrey here shows both a lack of knowledge of camera technique and a lack of analytical skills. Zooming out increases the angle of view, increasing the chance of capturing action! After the first hit, anyone could figure out that a plane headed for the south tower was probably going to hit it, and even an amateur could be expected to zoom out get all of the south tower in frame. And in one of the clips, the plane flies behind a building, adding further impetus for the camera operator to zoom out. Of course, this whole line of argument is no more than a very tenuous speculation.

And even if they are professionals, what does that prove? Are we to believe that all of the videographers in one of the media capitols of the world were all in on the crime? And this does't even address the photos and videos without zooms.

Loughrey also speculates that the sound of the impact is missing from the pieces of footage, assuming that the sound of the impact would be distinct from the explosion. He offers no scientific analysis to back this up. Neither does he offer an example of a similar crash where the sound of impact was distinct from the explosion.

The following is probably the worst of the worst. Loughrey and Webfairy speculate that because the sounds of the 767s on the Naudet video and the CNN clip are so similar, there must be some hanky panky like overdubbing going on:
http://www.911hoax.com/ShowPage.asp?Page=MOSImpact2*55.asp&PageNum=55
As the two 767s had the exact same engines and flew at similar altitudes and speeds, they should have sounded alike.

Maybe this is even worse. Loughrey completely misunderstands how lenses work:
http://www.911hoax.com/ShowPage.asp?Page=BuildingSizes1*18&PageNum=18

"...it is worth remembering that longer lenses compresses horizontal distances and enlarges vertical ones."

No, a change in the focal length of a lens changes the angle of view. Even a lens that distorts the image, like a fish-eye lens, retains the relative distances between objects horizontally and vertically. The only way to change the distances between objects is to change the point of view. This is really basic stuff. The relative locations of the plane and the buildings depend on the rules of perspective. Here, Loughrey fails to apply these rules in citing what he claims are anomalies in the relative positions of the plane and the Trump building:
http://www.911hoax.com/ShowPage.asp?Page=BuildingSizes2*20&PageNum=20
Applying the rules of perspective, an object in the distance can either be higher or lower in the frame than a foreground object of identical height, depending on the point of view. Loughrey's argument here is absurd.

Scott Loughrey stood by, and continues to stand by this ridiculous re-invention of the nature of lenses.

Here is yet another example of misinterpreting Webfairy's degraded images of the first strike:
http://www.911hoax.com/ShowPage.asp?Page=NaudetWTC1_2*26&PageNum=26

Here's another false claim that simply demonstrates technical incompetence: Loughrey and Holmgren claim that the banking of the aircraft was unnatural and that the plane should have been turning left, which they claim was not. Bizarre, because the plane was in fact turning left, making a long high-speed turn to the north to be able to hit the WTC instead of passing East of it. In all the videos the alignment of the plane is clearly aligned with the path of this long left turn, with a small exception: the nose was slightly pulled up, at least at the very end. Planes can slip through the air sideways to a small degree, like a car skidding around a corner. In fact it's easier for a plane to do this than a car because air is so thin. Because air is thin, a plane needs to bank sharply to the side or pull the nose up a little on a fast turn in order to let the surface of the wings help push against the air. Another example of a plane doing this is that of a plane landing: even though it is moving downwards, the rear wheels, not the nose, hits the runway first. This is basic to any pilot and is the reason why the hundreds of thousands of pilots around the world have not complained about the WTC footage: the motion of the plane in that footage is totally natural and unremarkable. Not only do Loughrey and Holmgren fail to grasp aerodynamics (of course), but they are also seem remarkably clueless about the effect of perspective. They seem to have a problem with the fact that the plane in the Park Foreman footage is moving to the right. But this is because of the angle of view of the camera. If you look at a forward moving object directly from the side, it will appear to be moving either to your left or right. And though the plane is turning to the left you can't see that in the Park Foreman footage because left to right motion is not visible if you're viewing the object directly from the side! But what you can see in that footage is the change of alignment of the plane from the beginning to the end of that video, which clearly shows a steady left turn has been happening.

Here's yet another example of a failure to grasp the basics of perspective that even a child could understand: Loughrey takes two pictures of the smoke cloud taken from different angles and claims there must be something fishy going on because one points straight left and the other up towards the top of the frame. Hilarous stuff. I honestly hope I don't have to explain to anyone why this is such an idiotic argument.

Loughrey also speculates that the penetration of the plane through the wall of the south tower should have shorn more debris off the airplane that would have fallen outside the building, but he offers no scientific analysis to back this up. He offers this unreferenced claim, which probably refers to objects driven into a solid concrete wall:

"Previous experiments on land with heavy objects (e.g., cars, rockets) striking walls at high speed all show large amounts of metallic confetti produced at the juncture of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object."

Evidently, Loughrey considers the outer wall of the WTC to be comparable to an immovable object. The heavy load-bearing columns of the WTC were on the inside core. The outer wall was a lattice of tubular steel columns designed to resist deformations caused by wind, and was covered by insulation and thin aluminum plating:
http://www.serendipity.li/wot/wtc_demolition.htm
Neither Holmgren nor Loughrey offer an analysis using physics and material science to explain why the plane shouldn't have been able to penetrate the outer wall as we saw on the videos. According to the above link, the thickness of the beams at any single point is a mystery because the architectural plans have not been released. However, we have this diagram which shows a cross section of the wall. The right 2 images represent the minimum and maximum dimensions of the steel column. The columns became thinner towards the top of the building. The average thickness of the pieces of columns measured in the House report was less than half an inch thick. We can assume the columns closer to the top to be somewhat below the average. Hardly an "immovable object" it would seem.

The numbers in the figure denote:
• 36 - the steel column
• 38 and 39 - fire resistant plaster
• 40 - aluminum facade
• 42 - window glass
• 43 - the window frame.

The estimates for flight 175's speed in the NIST report range from 503 to 590 miles per hour. We know from Sandia Labs testing that a plane will be ripped into small pieces in a collision of that speed with a concrete wall. If the 767 didn't penetrate the wall of the WTC it too would have been shredded into small confetti-like pieces. Therefore, the appearance of a "melting plane" which is seen in the videos is exactly how the impact should look whether or not there was penetration of the facade of the WTC.

Trying to prove a positive from a negative, Holmgren claims the lack of wreckage indicates there were no 767s involved:

"Find another example of any plane which just vanishes - vapourizes in a massive fireball on impact. Its never happened - except on Sept 11.
 So, even ignoring all the other evidence that its a cartoon  plane, and assuming that its a real plane - the only possible explantion for it vanishing instantly in a fireball like that is if it was loaded with massively powerful explosives. The kind of explosive power necessary to turn a 70 ton plane to dust is almost unimaginable. Not scatter  the wreckage - vapourize it!"

We have the following photos-more hard evidence-of 767 wreckage at the World Trade Center. The windows on the piece of fuselage are the shape of 767 windows:

The Naudet video shows parts of a jet engine on the street. Visible in the video but not in these freeze frames are wisps of smoke coming off of the debris, still hot from the impact:

Here are some photos of parts recovered from the wreckage of the WTC:
http://americanhistory.si.edu/september11/collection/record.asp?ID=45
The wreckage must have de-vaporized itself! One would presume that the no-planers believe the photos and video to be faked. If so, they haven't laid out a proof for it. Holmgren does not back up his claims about the lack of wreckage with anything resembling materials science or physics.

Here are more debris pictures

Holmgren claims that the eyewitness testimony he has gathered overwhelmingly supports the theory of a small plane impact, and that no one reported a 767 sized plane hitting the towers. I asked Holmgren to provide me with the complete list of these eyewitness reports and he refused. He did, however, provide these samples, both of which happen to work against his arguments:

"Here's one of your treasured witness reports.
http://www.likeanorb.com/wtc/index.php?Number=5
"Until the second explosion happened. We couldn't see that there'd
been a plane, and figured some debris from the first tower had set off a
gas line in the second.""

Another huge mistake by Holmgren. The testimony above refers to a photo, taken by the witness, of WTC from the north. At this angle the witness would not have been able to see the second plane, which approached from the south. (Also clearly visible is the smoke plume mentioned earlier).

"Evan Fairbank, one of the videographers of the second hit is quoted as saying "It looked like a cheap minature model. It disappeared into the building like a bad special effect""

Wait a minute. Holmgren's argument is that the ease with which the second plane penetrates the tower is evidence that it is a computer generated image superimposed over a smaller plane, which presumably would have had a more "realistic" impact. Yet this eyewitness is saying that what he saw in real life looked like a bad special effect. This testimony would indicate that what we all saw on TV, a 767 sliding easily through the wall of the WTC, is what actually happened. Holmgren claims that there is no witness testimony that verifies the 767 impact, yet here he has provided one.

After this embarrassment, Loughrey still claims that they have witnesses but now they have to keep them secret to "protect their identity." Yeah, right....

The reports of a small plane hitting the WTC could be the result of a perceptual problem. The human mind often calculates the size of objects based on relationships. This is why optical illusions work. For example, this is a room at San Francisco's Exploratorium:

The WTC towers were massive and could make a 767 appear smaller than a witness would expect, so Holmgren's "small plane" witnesses are far from compelling. Regardless, witness testimony does not count as hard evidence. With the multiple videotapes and photographs of the 2nd impact, I don't think reasonable people have felt it necessary to collect eyewitness testimony to support the official story of 767 impacts. That doesn't mean that those witnesses don't exist.

In this article Holmgren reports that flights 11 and 77 were not registered in an online database of flights:
http://sydney.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=36354&group=webcast
Although interesting, this is circumstantial evidence, and does nothing to deny the physical presence of 767s at the WTC. The planes that hit the WTC might have been 767s other than flights 11 and 175.

Holmgren suggests that this is the technology used to superimpose the 767:
http://www.nodeception.com/articles/pixel.jsp
Existence of a technology does not prove that it was used. And we have to assume that every videographer and photographer who captured the 767 is an agent. The no-planers offer no research into their backgrounds to demonstrate that they weren't who they say they were.

To recap the no-767 case: There is no direct evidence that 767s did not hit the WTC, no evidence produced that proves the videos were faked, laughably mistaken analysis of poor quality video, misunderstandings of the nature of digital video, failure to understand the most basic aspects of perspective, uninformed amateur speculation on the physics of the impacts, and two of Holmgren's star witnesses either didn't help or worked against his theory.

Even setting all the technical issues aside, the no-plane analysis simply defies common sense. There were thousands of people on the ground and on rooftops, and none after the fact have complained that what is replayed on TV is not what they saw. In the age of the internet, we should have heard volumes about this if the planes on TV were not the planes in real life. It would be very simple for an ordinary person to write an email to a 9/11 investigator saying "that's not what I saw," or even to write their own online articles about it. New York produced half a million anti-war marchers, including many 9/11 Truth activists, but we're supposed to believe that after more than two years, NONE of the eyewitnesses would have taken the opportunity to speak out over this? The whole of New York must be in on the conspiracy!

Are we also to believe that the planners of 9/11 would fly an incongruous small plane into a city whose attention was riveted on the WTC, and which is always swarming with camera-toting tourists to begin with? One good image would have brought the official story down and the 'War on Terror' with it. What would the planners have to gain by rolling the dice on such elaborate high-tech trickery, when crashing airliners into the WTC towers was very probably the simplest and most easily executed part of the whole operation? It would be an example of infinite risk for no gain. Moreover, since there is no substantive and compelling reason to believe that a 767 did not hit the South tower, by analogy there is also no logical reason to suspect anything different concerning the preceding North tower impact, even though it is comparatively poorly documented.

I'm alarmed at the current situation. Many of the most important 9/11 sites rely on Holmgren's analysis of the Pentagon anomalies. If he persists in pushing this baseless theory, large portions of the 9/11 truth movement stand to be tainted through this association. The debunkers would approach it like this: "Within the community of 9/11 conspiracy theorists, broad support is given to a man that believes that no 767s hit the World Trade Center." Guilt by association may not be an honorable debating tactic, but the other side is anything but honorable. The anti-conspiracy article in the May 2004 issue of Vanity Fair ("Welcome to the Conspiracy") uses Paul Joseph Watson's analysis of the first hit at the WTC to illustrate how absurd 9/11 conspiracy theories are. Though Watson doesn't go as far as the no-planers, his claims about multiple missile firings and the different sizes of the plane and the hole are erroneous enough to give the debunkers plenty of ammunition. It goes to show how risky this kind of speculation can be. The WTC no-plane theories are a danger to the 9/11 truth movement and should be vigorously rejected.