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Re: Analysis from a JHU CS Prof
From: Petr Swedock <petr () ai mit edu>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 23:47:20 -0400 (EDT)

 : Delivered-To: nanog-outgoing () trapdoor merit edu
 : Delivered-To: nanog () trapdoor merit edu
 : Delivered-To: nanog () merit edu

 : David Howe wrote:
 : > 
 : > >Also, it's worth remembering that airplanes aren't all that easy to
 : > > fly. This means that the perpetrators needed to find five adequate
 : > > pilots,
 : > Hmm. not actually sure about this - not having ever flown anything at
 : > all, but how much skill exactly does it take to keep something already
 : > pointed in more or less the right direction on target for two-three
 : > minutes until impact? ok, you couldn't expect a clean landing or even a
 : > halfway-smooth flight path from someone who has played a MS-Windows
 : > flight sim for a few months, but - if he was going from switching off
 : > autopilot to keeping the plane pointed at something the size of the
 : > WTC....... I would imagine it would all be on the yoke too, no throttles
 : > or concerns about airspeed given you are not really going to care that
 : > much what speed or acceleration you have on impact...
 : Sorry... I have to respond to this one.  I have actually flown a number
 : of
 : single engine airplanes, and I have some time in the cockpit of an
 : Airbus
 : A-319 (jumpseat, but still a good education).
 : All they really had to do was put a waypoint into the FMS (maybe they
 : had
 : the flight crew do this for them before they killed them), but if they
 : didn't,
 : that's not too hard, and I bet half the people on this mailng list could
 : figure it out.  It's more like configuring a router than flying an
 : airplane :-)  Once the waypoint was in, the only other thing they
 : needed to do was dial down the altitude preselect on the autopilot.
 : Then, sit back and enjoy the ride. If they were slightly more
 : sophisticated,
 : they could have switched the autopilot to heading mode and used the
 : heading
 : select knob to fine tune the direction of flight.  From what I saw of
 : the
 : footage for the second airplane into the tower, it flew a very straight
 : level course directly into the side of the tower.  It is not at all
 : unlikely that this was done by programming the autopilot.

I disagree. CNN.com had some video that showed the second plane in a
shallow dive with just an edge of bank. It's clear to me that the
pilot of the plane was making minor adjustments and corrections right
up until the impact.



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