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At 8:54, the aircraft deviated from its assigned course, turning south. Two
minutes later the transponder was turned off and even primary radar contact
with the aircraft was lost.The Indianapolis Air Traffic Control Center repeat-
edly tried and failed to contact the aircraft. American Airlines dispatchers also
tried, without success.
At 9:00, American Airlines Executive Vice President Gerard Arpey learned
that communications had been lost with American 77.This was now the sec-
ond American aircraft in trouble. He ordered all American Airlines flights in
the Northeast that had not taken off to remain on the ground. Shortly before
9:10, suspecting that American 77 had been hijacked, American headquarters
concluded that the second aircraft to hit the World Trade Center might have
been Flight 77. After learning that United Airlines was missing a plane,Amer-
ican Airlines headquarters extended the ground stop nationwide.
At 9:12, Renee May called her mother, Nancy May, in Las Vegas. She said
her flight was being hijacked by six individuals who had moved them to the
rear of the plane. She asked her mother to alert American Airlines. Nancy May
and her husband promptly did so.
At some point between 9:16 and 9:26, Barbara Olson called her husband,
Ted Olson, the solicitor general of the United States. She reported that the
flight had been hijacked, and the hijackers had knives and box cutters. She fur-
ther indicated that the hijackers were not aware of her phone call, and that they
had put all the passengers in the back of the plane. About a minute into the
conversation, the call was cut off. Solicitor General Olson tried unsuccessfully
to reach Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Shortly after the first call, Barbara Olson reached her husband again. She
reported that the pilot had announced that the flight had been hijacked, and
she asked her husband what she should tell the captain to do.Ted Olson asked
for her location and she replied that the aircraft was then flying over houses.
Another passenger told her they were traveling northeast.The Solicitor Gen-
eral then informed his wife of the two previous hijackings and crashes. She did
not display signs of panic and did not indicate any awareness of an impending
crash. At that point, the second call was cut off.
At 9:29, the autopilot on American 77 was disengaged; the aircraft was at
7,000 feet and approximately 38 miles west of the Pentagon.
At 9:32, con-
trollers at the Dulles Terminal Radar Approach Control "observed a primary
radar target tracking eastbound at a high rate of speed." This was later deter-
mined to have been Flight 77.
At 9:34,Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport advised the Secret Ser-
vice of an unknown aircraft heading in the direction of the White House.Amer-
ican 77 was then 5 miles west-southwest of the Pentagon and began a
330-degree turn. At the end of the turn, it was descending through 2,200 feet,
pointed toward the Pentagon and downtown Washington.The hijacker pilot then
advanced the throttles to maximum power and dove toward the Pentagon.
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