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AA 11 Analysis

Was Flight 11 a 767?

A Critique of Eric Salter’s Fireman’s Video Analysis



By now many 911 readers will have become aware of Eric Salter's web page titled "The WTC Impacts: 767 or "Whatzits"? Salter criticize 'no-plane' advocates for believing that the WTC2 strike was a visual hoax carried out by the networks and that no 767 hit WTC2. Using his skills and knowledge as a film editor he delivers a fatal blow to the WTC2 no planers by offering a perfectly logical and plausible explanation for the perceived effects as compression artfacts and low image resolution of the media as analyses by the advocates. The author had not heard of the 'no-plane' concept until reading Salter’s essay and has not investigated the issue. It is up to the reader to make an informed decision based on the evidence presented by Salter himself and the WTC2 no-planers. This element of Salter’s argument will not be discussed hereafter.

Instead we will turn our attention to the WTC1 strike which was officially attributed to a hijacked American Airlines 767-200 being deliberately flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre at a speed quoted of approximately 450mph. Pictured below is a computer generated image of an American Airlines 767-200 and schematics for a real 767-200 to give the reader some idea of the proportions and size of the aircraft being considered in this article.




Straight off Salter performs an ambiguous analysis of one of the Fireman's Video captures by using a frame from early on in the sequence. His choice of frame for analysis is unwise as captures just prior to impact are much sharper, presumably because the cameraman was not turning quickly to the left and thereby momentarily blurring the image. The aircraft's position against the sky may also be a factor as the blue color seems to permeate into the aircraft's outline making it harder to discern and giving the impression of being dark blue as opposed to black.

(The author noticed parallax effects in the video and geometric distortion of the image which probably would have been caused by the camera operator turning and moving to the left simultaneously having heard Flight 11 and the camera lens set at a low focal length respectively. Both these factors might affect any interpretation of the film. Salter does not mention these effects on his page so either we are to assume he has over-looked then or they are of no real consequence. The author is not a film expert like Salter and considers the parallax effect to be irrelevant given Flight 11's distance from the camera and that the geometric distortion is of little consequence as it is mild and the areas of film subject to scrutiny small compared to the overall size of the frame. They also tend to be closer to the optical axis of the camera, thereby reducing or possibly canceling out the distortion effect altogether).

Far better to choose the author's so named “Perfect Frame” because it depicts the fuselage so clearly and was only one of two frames considered worthy of analysis because of its clarity. This “Perfect Frame” has been placed at the top of this page and has been subject to enhancement to reveal as much of the fuselage detail as possible and can be used as a comparison for Salter’s "blob" analysis shown below:



Salter’s inkblot analysis of the picture, like "left wing or engine", are not very specific and quite contradictory. We could infer from his interpretation of the "blob" that the left engine is mounted on the plane's wing tip, a rather unlikely scenario for a passenger jet. Perhaps the next time Salter takes a ride in a commercial jet he should look out of the window and see where the engines are positioned in real life, but we can forgive him as Flight 11 does not appear to be sporting any wing-mounted engines anyway! The choice of still and the dubious attempt to identify the airframe opens questions about Salter’s investigative skills and his knowledge of aeronautics. Enclosed below is the “Perfect Frame” with the author's annotations clearly and unambiguously identifying airframe elements.


Next is Salter’s image showing his analysis of the fuselage length in relation to the east face of WTC1, using a slightly sharper image than previously, but still significantly blurred in the areas being used to gauge lengths, thereby rendering his deductions wide open to interpretation. There is also a glitch in this image which contradicts his assertion that the aircraft was in horizontal flight. Can you see it? If not don't worry as the issue will also be addressed later on.



This 'second blob interpretation' is undeniably interesting, so the author repeated his analysis using direct captures from the Fireman’s DVD and processing them in Photoshop for proportional matching. The object of the exercise was to try and obtain a more accurate figure for the length of the fuselage using Salter’s technique by using zoomed in shots of WTC1 to act as a more accurate datum to judge horizontal distances. The result of this experiment is shown below:



Flight 11's fuselage is 14 feet short of a 767-200's fuselage length of 159 feet. Salter only measures proportions in his example and does not try to ascertain an accurate figure, which suggests he never intended to carry out a proper investigation in the first place.

This interpretation of the image works on the official version of events stating that Flight 11 was in horizontal flight as it hit WTC1. The author speculates that Flight 11 was pitched nose down by anything between 2.5 degrees to 5 degrees at the point of impact. If Flight 11 was pitched down then Salter's analysis is incorrect and will require reworking to produce a better result.

A 767-200's basic dimensions stand at a wing span of 156 feet and a fuselage length of 159 feet. Using Salter’s methodology within the context of the fuselage length analysis he uses the following aircraft types could be contenders for the slightly sharper 'blob' pictured in the 'Second Blob Interpretation' of this article and possibly the gash that Flight 11 created during its impact against the north side of WTC1, depending on how you calculate its dimensions:


Airbus A310-300 ------- Span 144 feet - Length 153 feet
Tupolev TU-204 -------- Span 137 feet - Length 151 feet
Vickers Super VC10 ---- Span 158 feet - Length 158 feet


All have similar fuselage lengths, the Vickers Super VC10 is a pretty silly choice but using Salter’s logic there is nothing to say it wasn't. The Super VC10 is pictured below and was picked deliberately to be used later on as a reference point for Flight 11's airframe configuration. Readers are duly asked to take note of the wing sweep-back angle, wing root position on the fuselage and the rear mounted engines.



In the next set of his images Salter states he can see the shadow cast by the wings as they impact on the towers facia, but his captures have been subject to compression with the Sorenson 3 codec thereby degrading the image and introducing effects that look similar to "ringing", effects he details at the beginning of his web page. Salter accuses Webfairy of doing exactly the same and uses this argument to refute her findings. On that note we could strike Salter off in one swoop as he's made a critical error which diminishes his credibility as a video editor. He even states as much on his page:


"Bear in mind that even DVDs are compressed with the mpeg 2 codec. Additionally, to make it a reasonable file size for the web, this movie has been compressed with the Sorenson 3 codec at full quality from the file I used to do the analysis"


The author does not understand why Salter chose to degrade the image with the Sorenson 3 codec for the purpose of analysis when he could have taken a direct rip from the trans-coded MPG2 using high quality codecs. Not only this, he does not appear to have performed any post-processing of the images that would enhance the film. His pictures have suffered somewhat in the conversion to Quicktime, which manifest as a faint mosaic effect across the entire image and brown vertical smudging around the tower - a veritable feast of 'Whatzits' if you will.

Closely compare the image set below showing Salter’s and the authors captures together for comparison:



Now we come to the first of Salter’s over-confident and "plane" wrong statements concerning the Naudet film:


"From the Naudet footage we can establish the following:
-The plane made the sound of a 767.
-The plane is the length of a 767.
> -The plane casts the shadow of a 767.


Salter’s previous fumblings offer no grounds to support any of this. They are genuinely misleading to people who are not well informed of the subject material being discussed or who fall victim to his apparent de-bunking of the WTC2 'no-plane' affair and his credentials as a film professional. Salter is "flying himself apart" in an attempt to prove Flight 11 was a 767-200 in line with the official story when there is no bona fide evidence to support this claim.

He continues with a superimposed image of a 767 suspended in the gash on the north face of WTC1 using this as evidence of the 767-200 strike. The author found the gash to be a fraction too wide for a 767-200 and can see no markings for either the engines or the landing gear which was apparently down according to WTC1 witness George Sleigh. The diameter of the fuselage is also difficult to make out and looks slightly narrow for a 767-200. There is also the technical issue of wing dihedral which is the 'upward angle of the wings' to state in layman’s terms. A 767's wings look almost flat when looking at the aircraft head on, but the impression received by looking at the gash suggests to the author that the wing dihedral angle for Flight 11 was greater than that of a 767-200. The high airspeeds could have forced the wings upward at the time of impact, indeed the wings of commercial jets are designed to be flexible and can be seen to "droop" after re-fuelling when observed from the ground. The picture below should explain the concepts addressed in this section and allow readers to draw their own conclusion:



The very nature of this collision deserves a closer examination. Look at the montage below which was compiled from numerous 911 DVD captures and a United Kingdom TV transmission. By looking at these pictures we can see that the impact sequence is replete with photographic anomalies and inconsistencies when viewed with the official story in mind:



Not only has the left wing caused a curved explosion, the right wing does not seem to have had any effect at all apart from producing an isolated "bubble" at the top right hand edge of the tower, effectively orphaned from the main explosion (look closely at the shadow produced by the main explosion and the shadow produced by the 'orphan' explosion - both the explosions and their respective shadows are clearly separated by a significant distance). Had Salter looked more closely at the film he would have seen this effect. The 'orphan' appears just after the left wing seems to hit the tower, it then disappears and re-appears eventually becoming part of the main explosion. This impact is full of shadow anomalies as well as the famous 'flash' which occurs just after the nose of Flight 11 has penetrated the facia of WTC1. The WTC2 impact was totally different and is more what we would expect to see if a large aircraft flew into a skyscraper - a balanced and symmetrical explosion (compare below) with every element in synch with itself, not a badly timed zig-zag.



All of this implies the 'orphan' was some kind of an induced effect that would have made the impact look more convincing, or it was part of a bomb system that was rigged in the building prior to the event or alternatively a missile fired from the aircrafts right wing. There are other signs that suggest internal bombs in both the north and south towers that exploded simultaneously with Flight 11's impact:



It is interesting to note here that Flight 11 hit WTC1 almost head on yet, if you consider the areas highlighted with purple rectangles, there seems to be a disproportionate ejection of debris from the east face compared with the west face. The casual observer could be forgiven for missing this, but as a film professional with 11 years of experience under his belt, Salter is not doing very well and shows that his powers of observation are insufficient to be carrying out a visual investigation of one of the defining moments of the 21st Century.

Continuing with the run of statements from Salter we have 3 ill-conceived personal interpretations disguised as seemingly rational arguments.


"Holmgren agrees that what hit the north tower was dive bombing instead of moving horizontally as the official story claims. This is wrong and there are three proofs for this.

First, the path of the plane is parallel to the left edge of the tower, suggesting that it is moving horizontally.

Second, the shadow of the plane on the tower just before impact moves up and to the left at about a 30 degree angle. If the plane were "dive bombing" the shadow would be moving down the side of the building with the plane.

Third, if the plane were not flying horizontally, it wouldn't have over-flown the Naudet film crew, causing the three men in the picture to look up."


Salter’s over-simplified statements are de-mystified in the 3 following sections:


"First, the path of the plane is parallel to the left edge of the tower, suggesting that it is moving horizontally."

Salter is stating his own observation as fact without performing a detailed analysis of the Fireman’s Video. Observe the annotated pictures below showing two of the four attempts by the author to deduce the descent path of Flight 11 using various different captures from the Fireman’s Video with slightly varying methodology to increase the robustness of the work. Notice the angle of the red descent path in relation to the green horizontal reference datum derived from the top of the east side of WTC1.




The results show almost conclusively that Flight 11 was in a descent prior to striking WTC1, suggesting Salter's analysis is way off the mark. To make the situation even worse Professor A. K. Dewdney of 'Operation Pearl' fame had performed a similar analysis to the author's some time before using his own methodology and had come to a similar conclusion, only his workings from the Fireman’s Video suggested a staggering 21 degree descent angle. Although the results of the author and Dewdney are at odds here, it just goes to show the reader how horribly wrong Salter was to even present this observational hiccup as evidence for the horizontal flight theory when Dewdney had already proven it wrong prior to Salter writing the page.

But the situation gets worse. Jump back to the "second blob interpretation" image and compare the angle between the black horizontal reference line and the red line delineating the aircraft's longitudinal axis. The diagram is implying Flight 11 is pitched down by a significant angle. Assuming the aircraft is not in a high speed stall (unlikely, as it would interfere with navigation at a critical point in the mission), or under the influence of some other aerodynamic phenomenon, we can arguably assume the pitch angle will roughly match the descent angle due to the 450 mph approach speed. Very early on in Salter’s analysis he therefore inadvertently produces evidence to support the "steep dive" argument and in doing so contradicts his own assertion that Flight 11 was flying horizontal prior to impact.

Based on the 'pitch angle matching descent angle' concept addressed above we can analyses Professor Dewdney’s work and give the reader a visual idea of what Jules Naudet would have captured on the day. The image below was created using a computer generated image of a virtual Manhattan and its respective Trade Tower complex, but based on real world dimensions sourced from schematics and maps.



If we assume Professor Dewdney is correct in his findings then this image rules out a 767-200 as a prime suspect for Flight 11 and in doing so opens 'Pandora's Box'. The two pictures aren't even vaguely alike. Where are Flight 11's engines? Why is the fuselage so short? The aircraft looks more like the Super VC10 mentioned earlier than a 767-200!

911 was an attack against important American targets. The weapons were aircraft so an understanding of aircraft operating procedures, navigation and aerodynamics are an essential part of the equation. If we take the official line and assume Atta and his entourage were able to hijack the aircraft, had sufficient experience on the 767-200 type and could safely navigate to New York, then they would have had to position for the Tower 1 strike and successfully execute the high-speed full-throttle dive into the tower which we see and hear in the Fireman's Video. The speed achieved for argument's sake was 450mph which at sea level is very close to the edge of a commercial jet's envelope, if not outside it altogether. During the attack run the crew would have had to keep the aircraft under control while running the risk of destroying the aircraft's engines and might have been faced with aerodynamic phenomena like shock stalls, high speed buffeting and control surface reversal. If the airframe suffered catastrophic failure at any point during the descent then the entire mission would have been a complete failure. All of these points are based on the assumption that a 767-200 is capable of achieving these high airspeeds at sea level, an idea that needs to be verified by a 767-200 test pilot or the aircraft's designers who were responsible for its aerodynamic qualities.

A 767-200 seems an unlikely candidate for the aircraft's near transonic lancing of WTC1 as depicted in the Fireman’s Video. A more suitable choice would be a performance jet with robust engine and a tough airframe that was capable of controlled flight at critical airspeeds in a dense atmosphere. This description would typically match that of a military aircraft. Alternatively 767-200s could be deployed for both towers, but in order to do the job they would need engine modifications or upgrades and airframe strengthening. This could explain why Flight 175 seems to cut through WTC2 like “butter” as the 'no-planers' claim, but does not explain the configuration of the aircraft seen in the Fireman's Video.

For Salter to overlook these important aspects of the attack is akin to a police investigator throwing half of the crime scene evidence into the bin because he has no conception of it, or is unwilling to address the issues because it's too complex for him to understand, then drawing conclusions from what remains of the evidence.


"Second, the shadow of the plane on the tower just before impact moves up and to the left at about a 30 degree angle. If the plane were "dive bombing" the shadow would be moving down the side of the building with the plane."


This subjective interpretation would have to be physically demonstrated to prove its authenticity before it could be used as evidence to support the horizontal flight concept. The author doubts that, given the sun's low and shallow angle to WTC1, the dimensions of WTC1 and Flight 11 with the quality / frame rate of the video camera that this point tells us much. Even if the plane were descending at a 5 degrees angle it's questionable that this could be detected accurately using this shadow analysis method. It's also obvious that Salter's DVD is reasonably unedited giving him the advantage over the author's "9-11 THE FILMMAKERS' COMMEMORATIVE DVD EDITION" which is missing the all important 'flash' and has had so many frames pulled from the impact sequence that the aircraft seems to lurch into the tower at the last moment.

The 'flash' is shown below and was recovered from a TV documentary about a group of WTC survivors. The image has been processed for this web page to reveal as much detail as possible and only appeared to the author on Sonic Cinepack codecs for Windows Media Player Series 9. Playback on Power DVD XP 4.0 did not reveal this detail yet playback on a domestic DVD player did. The 'flash' also looks different from other apparent 'flashes' sourced from other DVDs and is included here for comparison with the montage of impacts shown previously:



The very fact that the Fireman's Video has been censored in so many different ways across so many different media titles suggests that someone in the loop is trying to hide information from the viewer. This should encourage us to examine Flight 11 as thoroughly as possible within our available resources and limitations.

"Third, if the plane were not flying horizontally, it wouldn't have over-flown the Naudet film crew, causing the three men in the picture to look up."


This seems to be implying the fire crew are ‘hard of hearing’ as they would not have heard the jet if it were a little higher. Flight 11 does not over fly the fire crew. When Flight 11 appears it is obviously in the back ground and some distance from the camera. The aircraft is abeam the fire crew at the time of acoustic recognition and not in the overhead. Nothing can be inferred about the aircrafts position, altitude and heading from the physical reaction of the fire crew in response to the sound of the jet. If Flight 11 had over flown the Fire Crew as Salter seems to be saying then it would have hit the face of WTC1 at a 14 degree angle to perpendicular. Jules Naudet would have suffered severe whip-lash trying to catch the aircraft as it passed through the over-head and he would have seen something like this through the video camera's viewfinder. The picture assumes Flight 11 was an AA767-200:



Salter did not think any of these points through from a physical or logical perspective, especially point 3 which shows an extreme lack of situational awareness and lack of thought.

Continuing with the extract below:


"As the two 767s had the exact same engines and flew at similar altitudes and speeds, they should have sounded alike"


An over confident comment (which is shown here a little out of context) that makes Salter look like an aviation guru. He implies a knowledge of turbine engines while failing to offer any information to back up the statement. It also assumes the official line is correct in saying that both aircraft were of the 767-200 ilk when no realistic evidence has been displayed as to the true identity of Flight 11 or its respective powerplant. The aircraft hitting WTC2 was supposed to be a 767-222 but is allegedly a 767-300 according to a Spanish web site that has analyzed images of the aircraft. The author's own research states that the powerplant for both the 767-200/200ER and the 767-300/300ER were two Pratt & Witney JT9D-7R4D engines. This would need to be cross checked with other sources for integrity and there is also the chance that the operator could have upgraded the engines making the aircraft sound different. DVD audio rips of the of the WTC1 and WTC2 approach sounds and impacts from numerous 911 titles do sound different from each other suggesting both aircraft had different powerplants. But there could be a host of other environmental and acoustic reasons why these two sound events are at odds, which leaves the point open to debate until a proper investigation is carried out and once again shows us that Salter has bitten off more than he can chew without even knowing it.

One of the engines of Flight 11 seems to have ended up in the centre of the gash on WTC1 (according to Leonard Spencer at and subsequently vanished in the impending collapse.



The engine that got through WTC2 to the author's knowledge has not been identified and was probably confiscated by the FBI guys who appear in the Naudet film, the other possibly vanished in the rubble of the WTC. Has anyone found any engine remains from the WTC site other than the steaming debris show in the Naudet film? Where is this engine component? Has anyone tried to identify it? Does anyone have any information at all concerning engine remains from either of the crashes?


Salter goes on to imply that the wreckage pictured in the FEMA report is evidence of a 767-200 strike:


"We have the following photos-more hard evidence-of 767 wreckage at the World Trade Centre. The windows on the piece of fuselage are the shape of 767 windows"



"Shape of 767 windows" is a pretty vague statement; practically every commercial jet manufactured since the mid 1970s has had '767 shaped windows'. The picture in the FEMA report appears to be showing a small rooftop area taken with a camera using wide angle lens. The scene depicted is more reminiscent of a scrap yard than an air crash site. The wreckage looks deliberately placed and is showing no evidence to suggest that it was shot from the inferno aloft:


Also note that the aircraft hit the core of WTC1 practically head on. There do not seem to be any corresponding exit marks on the south face of WTC1 for the wreckage. It does not seem plausible that sections of the fuselage could pass through the towers core without being significantly deformed or marked. This ‘767 windows’ argument only proves that the establishment has considerable power over the masses by reinforcing the idea that WTC1 was hit by a 767 through a suspicious photograph placed in an ‘official report’ and should be treated as circumstantial evidence and nothing more until the windows are measured and identified by professionals. The small section of fuselage pictured here could just have easily come from a Learjet as it could have come from a 767-200.

Next up is George Sleigh - Salter's witness who claims he caught a glimpse of the 767-200 just before it ploughed into WTC1 just a few feet above his office.


Sleigh's quote is posted on CNN's web site and an extract is shown below:


"The wheels were down and I could see the people in the cockpit. I thought to myself, 'Man this guy is low in the air,' but I still thought it would clear us. But then it smashed into the tower a few floors above me..."


How a person can make out such detail on an incoming aircraft traveling at 450mph and why he thought the aircraft was going to clear the tower is a mystery in itself. There is a possibility that CNN might have accidentally misquoted Sleigh. The author has an interview with Sleigh in which he makes no reference to the figures he saw or the landing gear and comes over as being a very respectable and credible person. Assuming Sleigh is telling the truth and we've no reason to doubt he is, he does not say if he saw crash test dummies on the flight deck dressed up as Arab hijackers or real live Arab hijackers. The problem here is that it seems quite unlikely that a 767-200 would be flying around at sea level with the gear dropped. It would pose a huge problem to the pilots in terms of aircraft handling. If you deployed the gear outside the gear limiting speed you'd run the risk of losing the bay doors when they opened and at these high speeds it's conceivable that the bogey would deform and buckle, altering the aerodynamic qualities of the plane. There would even be the risk of structural damage caused by the deformation of the undercarriage. Burst hydraulic lines and a damaged airframe aren’t much use to you if you are on an attack run that requires extreme precision. What would the hijackers have to gain by dropping the gear anyway, it's that 'small gain high risk' scenario Salter talks about on his page. Given the emotional trauma Sleigh must have suffered after the incident can we really believe his recollection of events is accurate and not created in his own mind as a result of being exposed to the official story in the aftermath of the attack? 911 conspiracy theorists would argue here that the apparent identification of the gear would indicate some kind of appendage attached to the aircraft, perhaps the mechanism responsible for the 'flash'. The gash does not seem to have any corresponding marks for the gear either. If they had been down there's a good chance Sleigh might not be here to tell us his story - the bogey under the left wing passes very close to his office. Sleigh might have seem something like this out of his office window if we assume that WTC1 was actually hit by a AA767-200 as the official story tells us:



Salter believes that Holmgren's Flight 175 media hoax claim would be detrimental to 'the cause' and would only give the establishment ammunition to fire back at the 911 conspiracy theorists thereby debasing the entire movement. This is not necessarily true.

Ever since Neil Armstrong allegedly set foot on the moon in 1969 the Apollo Hoax conspiracy has raged, even more so with widespread use of the internet in the 1990s. The establishment and lunar conspiracy theorists have battled it out in whatever medium is available to them with both sensible arguments and outrageous ones. Over the years these battles have resulted in the promotion of the lunar conspiracy through productive research, books, newspaper articles, television programs, internet sites, radio, video and other media to such a point that the idea of faking the moon landings is part of our culture and is accepted, whether you choose to believe the lunar conspirators or not. In this same way outrageous claims about 911 will no doubt promote the idea of the 911 conspiracy and stimulate research. If Holmgren is proven to be right or wrong, either way it is a significant step toward the truth. If we don't question our ideas or the ideas of our peers we won't progress. Besides, 'any publicity is good publicity'.

The quote below is the final extract from Salter’s page, which gives us an insight into his peculiar logic and his state of denial regarding the facts surrounding the WTC1 impact:


"What would the planners have to gain by rolling the dice on such elaborate high-tech trickery, when crashing airliners into the WTC towers was very probably the simplest and most easily executed part of the whole operation? It would be an example of infinite risk for no gain. Moreover, since there is no substantive and compelling reason to believe that a 767 did not hit the South tower, by analogy there is also no logical reason to suspect anything different concerning the preceding North tower impact, even though it is comparatively poorly documented."


How can Salter possibly know that 'crashing airliners into the WTC towers was very probably the simplest and most easily executed part of the whole operation'? Is this man a crack pilot, is this man a military strategist, is this man a real 911 investigator? What possible logical reason could there be for a 767-200 strike at WTC1 based on the fact that there was a 767-200 strike at WTC2? Isn't this just an attempt to waive the event and use the official story to plug the gap because he can't face the facts or can't be bothered with proper analysis? Mr Spock would froth at the mouth and collapse trying to understand Salter’s logic. This article should give the reader the necessary means to judge Salter’s 'power of logic' and allow them to come to their own conclusions about 911 without being subject to this irresponsible web author who seems intent on pushing his own version of events to the community in an attempt to look clever. Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted is poor science and bad methodology. Salter is better off left in the cutting room splicing video tape than trying to be a 911 investigator. There is no direct evidence to suggest that Flight 11 was a 767 and plenty of evidence to suggest it was not.