this stuff is gonna keep on going, we need to take those fighters, put
'em over Manhattan.That's best thing, that's the best play right now.
So coordinate with the FAA.Tell 'em if there's more out there, which
we don't know, let's get 'em over Manhattan.At least we got some kind
The FAA cleared the airspace. Radar data show that at 9:13, when the Otis
fighters were about 115 miles away from the city, the fighters exited their hold-
ing pattern and set a course direct for Manhattan. They arrived at 9:25 and
established a combat air patrol (CAP) over the city.
Because the Otis fighters had expended a great deal of fuel in flying first to
military airspace and then to New York, the battle commanders were con-
cerned about refueling. NEADS considered scrambling alert fighters from Lan-
gley Air Force Base in Virginia to New York, to provide backup.The Langley
fighters were placed on battle stations at 9:09.
NORAD had no indication
that any other plane had been hijacked.
American Airlines Flight 77
American 77 began deviating from its flight plan at 8:54,
with a slight turn toward the south.Two minutes later, it disappeared completely
from radar at Indianapolis Center, which was controlling the flight.
The controller tracking American 77 told us he noticed the aircraft turn-
ing to the southwest, and then saw the data disappear. The controller looked
for primary radar returns. He searched along the plane's projected flight path
and the airspace to the southwest where it had started to turn. No primary tar-
gets appeared. He tried the radios, first calling the aircraft directly, then the air-
line.Again there was nothing.At this point, the Indianapolis controller had no
knowledge of the situation in New York. He did not know that other aircraft
had been hijacked. He believed American 77 had experienced serious electri-
cal or mechanical failure, or both, and was gone.
Shortly after 9:00, Indianapolis Center started notifying other agencies that
American 77 was missing and had possibly crashed.At 9:08, Indianapolis Cen-
ter asked Air Force Search and Rescue at Langley Air Force Base to look for a
downed aircraft.The center also contacted the West Virginia State Police and
asked whether any reports of a downed aircraft had been received. At 9:09, it
reported the loss of contact to the FAA regional center, which passed this infor-
mation to FAA headquarters at 9:24.
By 9:20, Indianapolis Center learned that there were other hijacked aircraft,
and began to doubt its initial assumption that American 77 had crashed.A dis-
cussion of this concern between the manager at Indianapolis and the Com-
mand Center in Herndon prompted it to notify some FAA field facilities that
American 77 was lost. By 9:21, the Command Center, some FAA field facili-
ties, and American Airlines had started to search for American 77.They feared
THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT
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