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V 1.43
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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

Approach Details

Pentagon Eyewitness Accounts Agree on Details of Jetliner Approach

The eyewitness accounts in Eric Bart's compilation that mention banking just before impact, flap positions, and lamp-posts agree on the following details, with the one exception that Gary Baur describes the plane banking to the right.

Left Wing Down

Steve Anderson -- From my office on the 19th floor of the USA TODAY building in Arlington
I watched in horror as the plane flew at treetop level, banked slightly to the left, drug it's wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon exploding into a giant orange fireball.

Micky Bell -- just left trailer in construction yard
The jet came in from the south and banked left as it entered the building, narrowly missing the Singleton Electric trailer and the on-site foreman, Mickey Bell.

David Marra -- had just turned his BMW off an I-395 exit to the highway
"The plane rolled left and then rolled right. Then he caught an edge of his wing on the ground." There is a helicopter pad right in front of the side of the Pentagon. The wing touched there ..

Mary Ann Owens -- driving along by the side of the Pentagon
Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon.

Jack Singleton -- in or near trailer in construction yard
"The plane's left wing actually came in near the ground and the right wing was tilted up in the air."

Right Wing Hits Generator

Lee Walker Evey --
On its way in, the wing clipped. Our guess is an engine clipped a generator. We had an emergency temporary generator to provide life-safety emergency electrical power, should the power go off in the building. The wing actually clipped that generator, and portions of it broke off.

Frank Probst -- on a sidewalk alongside Route 27, near the Pentagon's western face
He recalls the engine passing on one side of him, about six feet away. The plane's right wing went through a generator trailer "like butter," Probst said. The starboard engine hit a low cement wall and blew apart.

Flaps Up

Richard Benedetto -- driving on the Highway parallel to the Pentagon
I didn't see any flaps, it looked like the plane was just in normal flying mode but heading straight down. It was straight.

Albert Hemphill -- from office in Naval Annex with view toward east
It was "clean", in as much as, there were no flaps applied and no apparent landing gear deployed.

William Lagasse -- from Citgo gas station near Pentagon
The 757's flaps were not deployed and the landing gear was retracted.

Lincoln Liebner -- running toward a Pentagon entrance
"It was wheels up, flaps up, engines full throttle."

Phillip Thompson -- Sitting in traffic in I-395 HOV lane
But, strangely, the landing gear was up and the flaps weren't down.

Plane Clips Lamp-Posts

Hagos Afework -- stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon
It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in.

Lee Walker Evey --
The plane approached the Pentagon about six feet off the ground, clipping a light pole, a car antenna, a construction trailer and an emergency generator before slicing into the building, said Lee Evey, the manager of the Pentagon's ongoing billion-dollar renovation.

D.S. Khavkin -- eighth floor of building in Arlington with panoramic view
First, the plane knocked down a number of street lamp poles, then headed directly for the Pentagon and crashed on the lawn near the west side the Pentagon.

Stephen McGraw --
I had no awareness of the incoming plane until it was above our cars, having knocked over the street lamp at the edge of the road.

page last modified: 2011-09-08