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Aug-17-2010 19:36printcomments

142nd Fighter Wing F-15s Launch for Temporary Flight Restriction Violation

Fighter jets break sonic barrier today enroute to Washington.

Oregon Air Guard F-15
Oregon Air Guard F-15

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - At 1:38 p.m. this afternoon, within minutes of notification, two F-15C fighters from the Oregon Air National Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing scrambled in response to a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) violation in the vicinity of Seattle, Wash. The jets were under the direction of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Minutes after takeoff, they were cleared to accelerate to supersonic speed -- faster than the speed of sound. Thus, people from Longview, Wash. to the Puget Sound area heard a sonic boom.

Once within the TFR airspace, the jets remained in a holding pattern awaiting further guidance from the Western Air Defense Sector and Seattle Air Traffic Control Center. After moving their holding pattern overhead at Paine Field, Wash. they were eventually cleared back to Portland.

The F-15s returned to Portland Air National Guard Base and landed at 2:45 and 2:58. The 142nd Fighter Wing's mission continues as the F-15s are back on alert defending the skies of the Pacific Northwest.

The 142 Fighter Wing's mission is Air Defense of the Pacific Northwest from the Canadian border to California and out over the Pacific Ocean. As guardians of the Pacific Northwest, our Airman are on alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ready to respond at a moment's notice when requested.
Source: News Release from: Oregon Air National Guard

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Vic August 19, 2010 11:50 am (Pacific time)

Contrast this to 9-11....

Failures to Scramble
No plausible explanation has been provided for failing to scramble interceptors in a timely fashion from bases within easy range to protect the September 11th targets. Fighters that were dispatched were scrambled from distant bases. Early in the attack, when Flight 11 had turned directly south toward New York City, it was obvious that New York City and the World Trade Center, and Washington D.C. would be likely targets. Yet fighters were not scrambled from the bases near the targets. They were only scrambled from distant bases. Moreover there were no redundant or backup scrambles.

New York City
Flight 11 had been flying south toward New York City from about 8:30 AM. Yet no interceptors were scrambled from nearby Atlantic City, or La Guardia, or from Langley, Virginia. Numerous other bases were not ordered to scramble fighters.

Washington D.C.
No interceptors were scrambled from Andrews Air Force Base to protect the capital, at least not before the Pentagon was hit. Andrews Air Force Base had two squadrons of fighters on alert, and is only about 10 miles from the Pentagon.

Failures to Intercept
Even though the interceptors were not dispatched from the most logical bases, the ones that were scrambled still had adequate time to reach their assigned planes. Why didn't they? Because they were only flying at a small fraction of their top speed. That is the conclusion implicit in NORAD's timeline.

Otis to the WTC
The first base to finally scramble interceptors was Otis in Falmouth, Massachusetts, at 8:52, about a half-hour after Flight 11 was taken over. This was already eight minutes after Flight 11 hit the North Tower, and just 9 minutes before Flight 175 hit the South Tower.

According to NORAD, at the time of the South Tower Impact the two F-15s from Otis were still 71 miles away. Otis is 153 miles east-northeast of the WTC. That means the F-15s were flying at: (153 miles - 71 miles)/(9:03 - 8:52) = 447 mph
That is around 23.8% of their top speed of 1875 mph.
At 9:11 the F-15s finally reached the World Trade Center. Their average speed for the trip was: 153/(9:11 - 8:52) = 483 mph
That is around 25.8% of their top speed.

Langley to the Pentagon
The F-16s from Langley reached the Pentagon at 9:49. It took them 19 minutes to reach Washington D.C. from Langley AFB, which is about 130 miles to the south. That means the F-16s were flying at: 130 miles/(9:49 - 9:30) = 410.5 mph
That is around 27.4% of their top speed of 1500 mph.

Andrews to the Pentagon
Andrews Air Force Base, located on the outskirts of the capital, is just over 10 miles from the Pentagon. One would have expected interceptors to be scrambled to protect the capital within a few minutes of the 8:15 loss of contact with Flight 11. Instead, no fighters from Andrews reached the Pentagon until 9:49, several minutes after the assault.

Failures to Redeploy
Fighters that were in the air when the attack started were not redeployed to intercept the deviating planes. When fighters scrambled to protect Manhattan arrived there too late, they were not redeployed to protect the capital even though they had plenty of time to reach it before the Pentagon was hit.

Long Island to Manhattan
Two F-15s flying off the coast of Long Island were not redeployed to Manhattan until after the second tower was hit. 3

WTC to the Pentagon
By the time the two F-15s from Otis reached Manhattan, the only jetliner still flying with its IFF transponder off had just made a 180-degree turn over southern Ohio and had been headed for Washington D.C. for 12 minutes. It was still 34 minutes before the Pentagon was hit. Had the fighters been sent to protect the capital, they could have traveled the approximately 300 miles in: 300 miles/1875 mph = 9.6 minutes
They even could have made it to the capital in time to protect the Pentagon if they had continued to fly at only 500 mph.

Editor: Vic, I had the same thoughts when reading this initially, thanks for filling in the blanks.

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