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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

"Home Run" System

Hijacking Recovery Systems Alleged on 757s and 767s

One theory of the electronic takeover of the jetliners on 9/11/01 alleges that 757s and 767s were equipped with a flight termination system, by which a plane's control would be transferred from the cockpit controls to a remote control station or pre-programmed flight plan.

According to Joe Vialls, who describes himself as a British aeronautical engineer, the flight control computers of all 757s and 767s have a feature that enables them to be remotely controlled, for the purpose of aborting hijackings. Former German secretary of defense, Von Buelow, mentioned this theory in passing in a January, 2002 interview. The technology required for such systems has existed for decades. If such systems were operative on 9-11, they should have been used to take control of and land the hijacked jets.

The following was added to the Vialls web site, January 20, 2002:

Former German Minister Von Buelow Already Knew About Remote Control. In his interview with the German daily "Tagesspiegel" on January 13th, former German Secretary of Defence Andreas Von Buelow made the following statement:

"There is also the theory of one British flight engineer: according to this, the steering of the planes was perhaps taken out of the pilots' hands, from outside. The Americans had developed a method in the 1970s, whereby they could rescue hijacked planes by intervening into the computer piloting [automatic pilot system]. This theory says, this technique was abused in this case..."

Not quite so much a theory as might first appear. When I released the above report about "Home Run" remote control in October 2001, I mentioned that one European flag carrier was aware of the technology, though at that precise point in time I thought it prudent not to name the actual airline:

"As long ago as the early nineties, a major European flag carrier acquired the information and was seriously alarmed that one of its own aircraft might be "rescued" by the Americans without its authority. Accordingly, this flag carrier completely stripped the American flight control computers out of its entire fleet, and replaced them with a home grown version. These aircraft are now effectively impregnable to penetration by Home Run, but that is more than can be said for the American aircraft fleet..."

The European flag carrier which completely stripped the American flight computers out of its aircraft was Lufthansa, the German national airline. Bearing in mind his former posts as Secretary of Defence and Minister of Science and Technology, Herr Von Buelow would have known all about this mammoth but secretive task.

How very clever (and discreet) of Von Buelow to sort of "drop the information" into the middle of an interview about the 9/11 attacks! 1  

An english translation of the Von Buelow interview is available here. Vialls quotes himself stating that Lufthansa de-installed the "home run" system from its Boeings, and then notes that von Buelow referred to his theory. Vialls cites no other source for his theory than Von Beulow, who goes on to state in the interview: "You see! I do not accept this theory, but I find it worth considering."

Without any verifiable evidence to support it, the "home-run" theory seems unlikely. It supposes that all 757s an 767s come with a special system contradicted by Boeing's published specifications. It also fails to explain how the pilots were silenced without the help of another theory, since any flight recovery system would not block communications, and calls might be made using cell phones. The theory that upgrades to the FMCS were used to program them to fly to their targets is simpler and more plausible.

Incidentally, Vialls' description of Von Buelow may be inaccurate, a reader noting:

This title [German Secretary of Defense] assigned to Herr von Buelow, however, can be misleading: he was a "Staatssekretar" (i.e. a senior official) at the German ministry of Defence (then headed by Herr Hans Apel) from 1978-1980.

In 1980, however, Herr von Buelow became the Minister of scientific research and technology, until his resignation in 1982.

Having ultimately left the Bundestag (the German parliament) in 1994, he has been a freelance writer since then.

Boeing has a patent pending for a system that will automatically fly and land airliners if the crew is disabled. 2  


1. 'Home Run' Electronically Hijacking the World Trade Center Attack Aircraft,
2. High-tech systems aspire to render airliners 'hijack-proof', [cached]

page last modified: 2007-01-22