A Jetliner -- Probably Flight 77 -- Crashed at the Pentagon
Both of the main types of public evidence of the Pentagon attack -- photographs and witness accounts -- strongly support the conclusion that a twin-engine jetliner, such as a Boeing 757, crashed there. As shown in this essay, many features of the crash look specific to a Boeing 757.
In contrast to the evidence that supports the plane being a Boeing 757, most specific evidence indicating that the crash was of Flight 77 remains unavailable to the public. That includes the identification of human remains, and the identification of part numbers from plane debris. However, the suggestion the plane was anything other than Flight 77 lacks any supporting evidence, and implies that the plane and its passengers were disappeared.
|Most eyewitnesses who attempted to identify aircraft by model named either a Boeing 757 (above) or a Boeing 737 (below). Those jetliners, and the Airbus A320 named by one witness, all share the same basic shape.|
Numerous eyewitnesses described a large silver twin-engine jetliner swooping down on the Pentagon. The accounts describe the aircraft on a collision course with the building, and variously describe it as disappearing into the building or into an explosion.
Among the accounts that attempt to name the plane's type, the most common are 757 and 737, with witness Albert Hemphill describing it as either a 757 or Airbus. The only accounts that relate sightings of a smaller jet, such as a commuter jet, were from witnesses who watched the attack from considerable distances.
757s, 737s, and the most common Airbus models all share the same basic features: two engines, one under each wing, with the wings attached to the bottom of the fuselage, and a fuselage whose diameter is about 14 feet. The fact that 737s have been in use for much longer than 757s could account for some witnesses identifying a 757 as a 737. Conversely, some witnesses could have based their identification of the plane as a 757 on news reports that they heard before their accounts were collected. The two accounts that name both 757 and Airbus 320 as candidates are suggestive of careful identification, since the A320 has a very similar shape to the 757-200. Eric Bart's witness compilation gives ample support to the idea that a large twin-engine jetliner with American Airlines markings approached the Pentagon, but is inconclusive as to the exact model of the aircraft.