Flight 93 - Let's roll
On the morning of September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners in a strategically planned attack against the United States. These terrorists intentionally flew two jet airliners into the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in New York City and a third aircraft into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth aircraft, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into an open field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all passengers, crew members, and terrorists on board. The four aircraft strikes killed nearly 3,000 people, the deadliest attack on American soil by a foreign entity.
At about 9:28 a.m., after 46 minutes of routine flight across Pennsylvania, the terrorists on Flight 93 overtook the cockpit, turning the plane southeast on a course directed toward Washington, D.C., the nation's capital. The passengers and crew were forced to the back of the plane and told to be quiet. Using airfones, passengers and crew began making calls to report the hijacking. They soon learned the shocking news about the other hijacked planes and quickly realized that Flight 93 was part of a larger attack on America. This realization led to a vote and a collective decision to fight back.
In just over 30 minutes, this diverse group of people on Flight 93 developed a plan and put it into action. The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of their struggle: shouts, screams, calls to action, and sounds of breaking glassware. To stop the uprising, the terrorist piloting the aircraft began to roll it to the left and right, and pitch the nose up and down. In its final moments, the plane turned upside down as it passed over rural Western Pennsylvania. The terrorists remained in control of the plane and chose to crash it rather than risk the passengers and crew regaining control of the aircraft.
At 10:03 a.m., Flight 93 plowed into an empty field at a speed of 563 miles per hour. Upon impact, the 7,000 gallons of jet fuel on board the aircraft exploded, creating a ball of fire that rose higher than the trees.
Wall of Names at Flight 93 National Memorial in 2012. Source: www.markwoods.us