Logan International Airport

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spaceOn June 13th, 1923, a plane piloted by Lieutenant Kitchell Snow landed at Boston Airport built on 189 acres of land. Over the next 89 years, the airport would see flights by Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh along with many expansions. Logan is officially named General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport. It is currently among the top 20 busiest airports in the United States, and according to its website, is "a city within a city." Logan boasts a fire and police department, a power plant, two hotels a and chapel located on its 1,700 acre complex. The airport employs 12,000 employees, sees 26 million people pass through its gates each year and generates $7 billion per year for the local economy.

Flight Information
spaceAmerican Airlines Flight 11 was scheduled to depart Logan International Airport in Boston and fly to Los Angeles International Airport in California. At approximately 5:40am EST, Mohammad Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari boarded flight 5930, which flew from Portland, Maine to Boston, Massachusetts. Atta was held back for extra luggage scrutiny in Maine, but was eventually let through the checkpoint.
spaceWaleed al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri and Satam al-Suqami, who were staying in Boston, joined the other two hijackers when their flight arrived in Boston at approximately 6:45am EST. Both al-Shehris and al-Suqami were selected for a detailed luggage check in Boston, but were allowed to board the plane. By 7:40am EST, all five hijackers were aboard the plane.
spaceAtta was in business class seat 8D, al-Omari in 8G and al-Suqami in seat 10B. Both al-Shehris sat in first class seats: 2A and 2B. At 7:59am EST, Flight 11 left through Gate 26 following a 14- minute delay.

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In the above picture, the orange seats represent where the terrorists sat, the green seats were occupied by legitimate passengers,
while the white seats were vacant. The cockpit is on the far left.

Security (summary and changes)

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In this video(above left), terrorism expert Jeff Beatty discusses on Good Morning America some of the security changes and issues at Logan International Airport. Beatty has served in the military, FBI and CIA and reveals very important information about the items the terrorists carried on the morning of the attack.

Andrew Timko(on the left of the center picture) is detained by Logan Airport security on August 2, 2011, the first day of enhanced security measures at the airport. According to the new security measures, passengers are asked questions such as, "how long have you been here?" Any suspicious behavior such as avoiding eye contact or refusal to answer the questions results in additional scrutiny in the form of pat downs or bag checks.

A woman(above right) receives extra scrutiny in the form of a pat down aimed at increasing airport security.

Note: neither of the above security measures was in place on September 11th, 2001. Both are responses to the incident in an effort to increase security at airports.

The night before/morning of the attack
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spaceThe FBI has pieced together most of the the actions of Mohammad Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari between their September
10th, 2001 5:43pm check in time at Comfort Inn(below right) and their September 11th, 2001 6am departure on a US Airways
flight to Boston. For 15 minutes between 8 and 9am, they were seen at a Pizza Hut at 415 Mall Road, at 8:31pm EST they were
filmed at a Key Bank ATM, and at 8:41pm EST on September 10th, the pair was captured on film as al-Omari withdrew money
from a Fast Green ATM machine in Portland, Maine. Fellow hijacker Mohammad Atta can be seen in the background of the first
and last image, as al-Omari is filmed ominously laughing in one of the stills. At 9:15pm the two stopped at a gas station for directions,
then spent about 20 minutes in a Walmart at 451 Payne Road until about 9:40pm EST.

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spaceITo this day, no one knows why the two drove in a blue Nissan Altima(license plate 3335VI) from Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine on September 10th, only to return via airplane the next morning. The most accepted theory is that since they were on a connecting flight from Maine, they would undergo less scrutiny in baggage at Logan International Airport in Boston. In the above left photo, Abdulaziz al-Omari (left) and Mohammad Atta (right) walk through security at an airport in Portland, Maine on the morning of September 11th. On the flights from Portland to Boston, fellow passenger Roger Quirion told CBS news that, "they [al-Omari and Atta] struck me as business travelers. They were sitting down, talking, seems like they were going over some paperwork." The photo to the above right is the hotel the two stayed at on September 10th, 2001.

Flight Attendants/Passengers
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afafafafafafBetty OngafafafafaafafafafafaffafaBetty Ong in NY MagafafafafafafMadeline Amy Sweeney

spaceBetty Ong(above left and center) was born in San Francisco on February 5th, 1955. She grew up in the Chinatown neighborhood where her parents owned a grocery store. She became a flight attendant in 1987. She had two sisters and a brother. She was aboard Flight 11 to Los Angeles so that she could go to Hawaii with her sister. On September 11th, 2011, the Chinese American Recreation Center in San Francisco was renamed in her honor.

spaceMadeline Amy Sweeney(above right), who had recently returned from maternity leave, had been a flight attendant for 12 years. She generally worked only on weekends so she could spend time with her family during the week. On September 11th, 2001, Amy was working a weekday flight to pick up some extra hours. Along with Betty Ong, Madeline Sweeney also contacted American Airlines from the plane to relay valuable information to authorities on the ground. The final words of her call were, "we are flying low. We are flying very, very low. We are flying way too low. Oh my God, we are way too low!”

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Karen Ann Martin(above left) was born in 1961 in Danvers, Massachusetts. In the years leading up to the hijacking of Flight 11, Karen experienced a tremendous amount of personal loss. Both her parents died and her sister was diagnosed with a learning disability. Click here to go to a website named in honor of her memory. Friend Mark Farmer said about Karen, "I was telling my daughter about you last night Karen as we watched a TV program regarding the events of 9/11. I was smiling inside as I recalled your wicked intensity, funny nature, and love of life. Whenever people talk about 9/11, I always make a point of telling them of your valient fight to protect the passengers and crew on that fateful day."

Barbara Arestegui(above center)was 38, and lived with her fiancé in Marstons Mills, Massachusetts. She was born in the Los Angeles area, and had been a flight attendant for 13 years. She was not originally schedule to work Flight 11, but picked up the extra shift so she and her fiancé Wayne could take a vacation. Barbara’s death left behind a mother, siblings and a fiancé. Friend Dave Jones said about his friend, "I was thinking of you yesterday on a flight to Europe and was thinking you where flying with us in the air. I was listening to one of the flight attendants go threw the Emergency drill and it sounded so much like your voice." Click here for a guest book set up to honor her memory.

As a younger flight attendant, 24 years old, Jean Roger(above right) was rarely assigned to specific flights. She was particularly excited to work Flight 11 because it was the premier flight out of Boston that day. She and her boyfriend had celebrated his 30th birthday the night before her flight. Her friend Jillian Walulik had this to say about her friend, "Jean and I spent many a night wreaking havoc at the lake and in town. She had a wild spirit, as do I, and her love of life (and of course that smile) was infectious. She lit up any room that she entered, she laughed all of the time and made us laugh too." Click here for a guest book set up to honor her memory.

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spaceDaniel Lewin(above left) was a passenger who was directly killed by the hijackers of Flight 11. He was born in Denver, Colorado on May 14th, 1970. He graduated college in 1995, when he began studies for his doctorate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was very skilled in mathematics and computers, and was well known for founding an Internet company: Akamai Techonologies. In 1998, he received an award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT. He loved motorcycles, fast cars and skiing. He left behind a wife and two sons.

spaceAlthough he was not directly killed by the hijackers like Daniel Lewin, passenger David Angell was the highest profile person aboard Flight 11. Pictured above center with his wife Lynn, he was was 54 at the time of his death on September 11th. David was an award-winning television producer. Among the shows that helped him win 6 Emmy Awards were: Frasier(pictured above right), Cheers and Wings.

Some of the record from the terrorist attacks was based on communication between the planes and air traffic control centers.

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spaceAn air traffic control center(above left) is located on the ground, but directs airplanes that are flying near airports and major cities. Its primary role is to safely direct(above right) planes through take offs and landings.In general, planes should not be within 5 miles horizontally of each other and 1,000 feet vertically. The job is extremely difficult and stressful even under normal circumstances. Air traffic controllers keep track of each plane on a radar screen(above center) and talk with their pilots over a radio. On the morning of September 11th, many air traffic control centers had great difficulties keeping track of the hijacked flights.

spaceAt 8:13am EST, Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center instructed the Flight 11 pilots to turn, "20 degrees right" and ascend to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. This transmission was acknowledged, and became the last communication to which the flight responded. At 8:21am EST, the plane’s transponder was turned off. Without a transponder, identifying a plane on radar and avoiding collisions is very difficult. The controller at the air traffic center informed his supervisor who instructed him to follow normal procedure for a no radio aircraft. The controller contacted American Airlines to see if they could establish contact. When the plane began deviating from its assigned path, the controller began moving planes out of its way to avoid a mid-air collision.

spaceAt 8:24am EST, air traffic control received their first transmission from the Flight 11 terrorists. Mohammad Atta, thinking he was talking to the passengers, hit the wrong button and made an announcement that went to air traffic control instead of those on the plane:(above left) "We have some planes. Just stay quiet, and you'll be O.K. We are returning to the airport." At the time, the controller did not hear the words, "we have some planes."

spaceThe initial communication was followed up by a second transmission from the terrorists,(above center) "Nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet." The controller notified the chain of command at his center that American Airlines Flight 11 had been hijacked. The chain of command included the following steps: 8:28am EST FAA Boston Center notified FAA command center in Herndon, Virginia that the plane had been hijacked and was heading towards New York airspace, 8:32am EST a teleconference was created between FAA centers in: Boston, Cleveland, Herndon and New York. At 8:34am EST, Boston Center received their third transmission from the hijackers stating,(above right) "nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves." Boston air traffic control then contacted the military group NEADS(Northeast Air Defense Sector) (below)
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spaceNEADS then directed two F-15 alert aircraft to fly(file photo above right) from Otis Air Force Base to New York City, a total of 153 miles. At 8:46am EST, Major General Larry Arnold called NORAD (North American Air Defense Command) headquarters to report, "I don't know where I'm scrambling these guys to. I need a direction, a destination." Since the hijackers had turned off the plane's transponder, NEADS personnel were forced to spend time searching their radar for Flight 11. 40 seconds after the F-15 planes took off, Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The initial call of the hijacking came 9 minutes before the actual crash. Sadly, this was the most notice the American military would receive on any of the hijacked flights on September 11th, 2001.

spaceIf it were not for the heroic acts of flight attendant Betty Ong, the only information we would have about the hijacking would be the brief and scratchy communications from the terrorists above. Due to her heroic act, we have an 8-minute conversation excerpted in the recording below. According to Betty, the hijackers had stabbed flight attendants Karen Martin and Barbara Arestegui, and slashed the throat of passenger Daniel Lewin. Betty then called an American Airlines operations center for help. She stayed on the phone for 25 minutes relaying vital information from the place that would have never been communicated without her heroic act.(below left)

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spaceAfter speaking with Betty Ong, American Airlines Operations called(below) American Airlines Emergency for additional help. During this time, at 8:43am EST, Mohammad Atta had changed the direction of the plane towards Manhattan and the north tower of the World Trade Center.
spaceNotice how at 8:46am EST, Betty Ong stopped communicating with American Airlines Operations. It is believed that that was the moment when Flight 11 struck the north tower of the World Trade Center.

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spaceBetty Ong’s brother(right) and sister(left) are overcome with emotion as they listen to Betty’s taped conversation from the morning of September 11th, 2001. The tape was played at the US government’s 9/11 Commission hearings. Panel chairmen Thomas Kean made Betty’s tape public because, “we have to remind ourselves of exactly what it was like that day…(it) wasn’t just a tragedy, but a triumph…of heroes.”

Mohammad Atta

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sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss(Huffmann Aviation)
spaceMohammad Atta(above left) is widely recognized as the ringleader of the September 11th terrorist attacks. He was in control of the first plane to strike the World Trade Center in New York City.
spaceAtta was born at Kafr el-Sheikh in the Nile Delta region of Egypt in 1968. He then moved to Cairo to study architecture. He traveled to Hamburg, Germany in 1992, and sometime over the next seven years, he met Islamic extremists. Between 1999 and 2000, Atta traveled between Germany and Afghanistan to prove himself and train for terrorist attacks. In the summer of 2000, Atta arrived in the US with other terrorists to enroll at Huffman Aviation in Florida(above center). The above right picture is from Atta's university days.

The Crash
spaceAt 8:46am EST, Flight 11, traveling at 466 miles per hour, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Everyone on board, which included 76 passengers, 11 crew members and 5 hijackers, was killed. The plane struck the tower between the 93rd and 99th floors, and like Flight 175, Flight 11 carried about 10,000 gallons of jet fuel. After the crash, all stairwells from the 92nd floor up were rendered unuseable, trapping about 1,300 people.
spaceSome of the jet fuel burned and fell down the open elevator shafts, exploding on the 77th and 22nd floors. Those who were not killed instantly died from smoke inhalation, intense heat, jumping out the window, or the final and most horrific method of death discussed later.

spaceThe only pictures of the crash are actually still frames(below) from the only clear video that exists of the crash. On the morning of September 11th, filmmaker Jules Naudet and his brother Gedeon were making a documentary about New York City firefighters. At the moment of impact, they were filming trainee Antonios Benetatos as he inspected a possible gas leak under a New York City street. Since the plane flew over the camera crew at a much lower altitude than usual, the sound of the plane caught their attention. They then moved the camera up to capture the crash.

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Pavel Hlava
spacePavel Hlava is a Czechoslovakian who was touring the United States in 2001. He was filming the Twin Towers from a distance as the car he was riding in entered the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel on the Brooklyn side. As his car emerged on the Manhattan side, Pavel captured Flight 175 hitting the South Tower. The film does not show a clear shot of the crash into the north tower, and because Pavel was watching through a tiny viewfinder, he did not even realize what he had taped until afterwards.
spacePavel kept the video a secret for two years. Its existence was made public, however, when a family friend traded a copy of the crash to pay a bar tab in Ridgewood, NY. Eventually, the New York Times learned of the film, and it was aired in 2003.

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The Tower Burns

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spaceElevators, the safest form of mechanical travel as annually only an average of 12 people die per year out of 200 billion elevator trips. On September 11th, however, the world class elevator system of the World Trade Center failed its residents. Safety locks installed in 1996 to comply with federal regulations made it impossible for victims trapped inside to open the doors from the inside, and impossible for firefighters to open from the outside. Over 200 people died in the elevators of the burning trade center which made it the largest elevator catastrophe in world history. Some died as cables were broken by the planes crashing into the elevator shaft, others were trapped when the building collapsed, and some were burned as fireballs and smoke shot through the open elevator shafts. The USA Today could not find one instance in which a successful rescue attempt was made to free people stuck inside an elevator, although many brave fire fighters died trying. The elevators did, however, successfully assist evacuate of the South Tower before it was hit by Flight 175. The elevator problem was an exception to a mostly successful evacuation for those who were working on floors below the impact zone; 99% survived.
spaceAmong the companies that had offices in the North Tower were: Cartoon Network, CNN, United States Postal Service, and Cantor Fitzgerald, LP, an investment bank, which lost a staggering 658 employees.

The Collapse

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Firefighter Mike Kehoe goes the opposite direction of everyone else as he climbs the stairwell of the North Tower. He made it out alive and came to represent the brave rescue workers who went against the natural instance of humans; self-preservation. Mike's father Robert(on the left of the above right photo), joined the New York Fire Department in 1963.

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space(above left)Some among the group lucky enough to evacuate before collapse. Although the north tower was the first to be hit, it was the second to collapse. At 10:20am EST, New York City firefighters noticed, “the top of the tower might be leaning.” At 10:28am EST, after burning for 102 minutes, the north tower collapsed.
spaceThe New York City Fire Department issued many orders to evacuate the north tower, but radio communication was very difficult. As a result, most of the firefighters that entered the north tower to rescue people were killed when it collapsed.


Flight 11 Discussion Questions
1. According to the reporter, why did Logan airport not do anything wrong in security?
2. Do you feel the new security measures would have stopped the 9/11 hijackers? Why or why not?
3. Why would the hijacker drive to Portland, Maine the night before the attack?
4. Discuss some of the innocent people involved in Flight 11.
5. Why is there so much miscommunication between Betty Ong and the airline?
6. Why does Betty Ong initially give the wrong flight number?
7. Why is there so much silence during Betty Ong’s phone call to the airline?
8. Why does Mohammad Atta bother talking to the passengers of Flight 11?
9. Explain the circumstances surrounding the first crash.