Top 5 9/11 Truther Myths You Should Be Prepared to Debunk

Mary Katharine Ham has a great piece on 9/11 truthers on Townhall today. Six years later, and the conspiracy theories are still floating around. I figured the kooks would have gone away by now.

Myth No. 1: Four novice pilots with no experience could never have successfully guided those planes into three out of four targets.

Fact: The hijackers were not experienced pilots, nor had they ever piloted commercial airliners, but they also didn’t have to do any of the three most difficult flying maneuvers—flying in inclement weather, taking off, or landing. Only four of the hijackers were trained to fly—one for each flight. Three of the four had trained and earned private pilot’s licenses. The fourth, Hani Hanjour (American Airlines Flight 77) had both a private and commercial license, and experience with small commercial aircraft.

All were trained in auto-pilot and navigational systems, and would have only had to plug in GPS coordinates and point the planes in the right direction to hit their targets. The day was clear, the targets were clearer. Experts conclude their skills would have been more than sufficient to finish their missions.

Myth No. 2: The “official story” concludes that fires set off by the jet fuel and initial explosions of the aircraft entering the World Trade Center towers caused the steel structure to weaken and eventually fail. But “no large, steel-frame, fire-protected building had ever collapsed before due solely to fire,” is how the book “Debunking 9/11 Myths” restates the idea. Theorists conclude it must have been controlled demolition that led to collapse.

Fact: Each plane was carrying thousands of pounds of jet fuel, which burns at 2,190 degrees Fahrenheit, a great deal lower than the temperature required to melt steel (2,750).

Experts and investigations conclude that steel didn’t have to melt to cause collapse. Instead, the planes entering the buildings at 750 feet per second caused significant damage. They were banked at an angle that took out multiple floors upon impact and likely stripped the fireproofing from the core load-bearing structures on those floors. Jet fuel then ignited everything inside the buildings.

Steel weakens at as low as 400 degrees. At 980, it’s at only 10 percent strength, according to industry experts. As the core steel columns weakened, load-bearing was transferred to the building’s shell. As the fires continued to burn, multiple floors weakened, sagged, and pulled on the outside structure causing total collapse.

The jet fuel followed the path of least resistance, incidentally, which means some of it flowed down the elevator shafts from the top of the building, causing explosions and fireballs on lower floors, which conspiracy theorists sometimes cite as evidence of bombs.

Myth No. 3: World Trade Center 7 could not possibly have collapsed due only to collateral damage sustained from the Towers’ collapse. That was controlled demolition, too.

Fact: An early FEMA report puzzled over the collapse of WTC 7 because it appeared to have sustained little structural damage and been brought down by fire alone. Truthers latch onto the early FEMA report as proof, but further investigation has found that one face of the building had damage to 10 lower stories. That damage was obscured by smoke in most photographic evidence.

There are also a number of idiosyncrasies in the building’s design that contributed. It was built over a power substation, which meant the relatively few columns on the lower floors were designed to carry extremely large loads. Taking out just one would have caused serious problems. WTC 7 was designed to stay operational during power outages, so several fuel tanks for generators inside the building are thought to have supplied the fires with fuel for up to seven hours.

Myth No. 4: Flight 93 was shot down. The relatively little wreckage at the scene, large pieces of wreckage miles away from the crash site, and evidence of a mysterious white jet in the vicinity all confirm that the government disposed of Flight 93 with extreme prejudice.

Fact: Flight 93 flew into the ground, at a steep angle, at about 580 mph, disintegrating most of the wreckage. What did remain, notably a large piece of engine fan, the Truthers claim ended up miles away from the site, indicating the plane was breaking up before impact. In fact, the fan in question landed 300 yards from the site, and other small bits of paper and scrap metal floated a mile and a half and landed in Indian Lake. Truthers claim Indian Lake is 6 miles away from the crash site, betraying investigation skills hampered by Google Maps. The lake is 1.5 miles away as the crow flies; 6 miles driving.

There was a small corporate jet in the vicinity at the time, descending toward Johnstown, Penn. when the FAA ordered it to check out the area at Shanksville. The plane descended to 1,500 feet, found a smoking hole in the ground, marked the position with the plane’s navigational equipment, and headed to the airport.

Myth No. 5: The Pentagon was hit with a cruise missile. The hole left in the side of the building was nowhere near big enough to have been caused by an airliner.

Fact: The hole in the side of the Pentagon was approximately 90 feet wide, according to The Pentagon Building Performance Report, but it was not the exact width of the 124-foot plane.

Both wings were damaged before the plane entered the building. According to eyewitness reports from commuters on I-395 and observers in the Pentagon parking lot at the time, the right wing hit a large generator and the plane clipped three light posts on its low, barreling descent.

The Pentagon, because it’s the Pentagon, is built of extremely dense reinforced concrete columns. When the plane hit them going 530 mph, it essentially disintegrated. As one observer said, the plane seemed to “melt into the building.”

Parts of the plane that did remain intact past impact flew far into the building. The heavy landing gear created a 16-foot hole in Ring C of the Pentagon, a full 6 walls beyond the entry point, and the flight data recorder was found 300 feet inside the building. Truthers contend that the 16-foot hole had to have been made by a missile.

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4 Responses to “Top 5 9/11 Truther Myths You Should Be Prepared to Debunk”

  1. Lincoln says:

    You get extra brownies for mentioning Mary Katherine. :-D Oh man, just thinking about her makes me all goo goo eyed and yearning for snuggleness. It’s too bad she won’t acknowledge my existence. *sniff* :((

  2. casey says:

    There’s a link below her name on the Townhall page. Send her an e-mail! I dare you.

  3. Lincoln says:

    Perhaps I will. ;-)

  4. wayne says:

    This is a great site, with great facts. It’s strange how these so called “truths” keep going around and around. I work in a with a prison population on a daily basis and if you could hear some of the conspiracy theories that I hear on an almost daily basis you would be amazed. One that I will share is that the government built the inner city projects (or bricks) in almost every major US city near the largest highways so that if any kind of uprising ever took place the government could get army tanks in a lot easier to take care of business.
    Check out my site if you are interested in “flashbulb memories”. Where were you on 9/11?