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The Five Sided Fantasy Island -- an analysis of the Pentagon explosion

Rebutting "Pentagon 9/11 Getting the Facts Straight"

Eyewitnesses and the Plane-Bomb Theory

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Explicit eyewitness accounts

I witnessed the jet hit the Pentagon on September 11. From my office on the 19th floor of the USA TODAY building in Arlington, Va., I have a view of Arlington Cemetery, Crystal City, the Pentagon, National Airport and the Potomac River. ... Shortly after watching the second tragedy, I heard jet engines pass our building, which, being so close to the airport is very common. But I thought the airport was closed. I figured it was a plane coming in for landing. A few moments later, as I was looking down at my desk, the plane caught my eye. It didn't register at first. I thought to myself that I couldn't believe the pilot was flying so low. Then it dawned on me what was about to happen. I watched in horror as the plane flew at treetop level, banked slightly to the left, drug it's wing along the ground and slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon exploding into a giant orange fireball. Then black smoke. Then white smoke.
http://www.jmu.edu/alumni/tragedy%5Fresponse/read%5Fmessages.html
Anderson is a reporter for USA Today.  If the aircraft "drug its wing along the ground" there would have been more damage to the lawn and heliport area. 

Battle, an office worker at the Pentagon, was standing outside the building and just about to enter when the aircraft struck. "It was coming down head first," he said. "And when the impact hit, the cars and everything were just shaking."
http://www.abqtrib.com/archives/news01/091201_news_dcscene.shtml

To cause damage extending to the third ring of the Pentagon (without cratering into the basement) the "757" would have needed to be in level flight, rather than "coming down head first".

Gary Bauer, a former Presidential candidate, happened to be driving into Washington, D.C. that morning, to a press conference on Capitol Hill."I was in a massive traffic jam, hadn't moved more than a hundred yards in twenty minutes. ... I had just passed the closest place the Pentagon is to the exit on 395 . . . when all of a sudden I heard the roar of a jet engine.""I looked at the woman sitting in the car next to me. She had this startled look on her face. We were all thinking the same thing. We looked out the front of our windows to try to see the plane, and it wasn't until a few seconds later that we realized the jet was coming up behind us on that major highway. And it veered to the right into the Pentagon. The blast literally rocked all of our cars. It was an incredible moment.massnews.com / Amy Contrada / December 2001
http://www.massnews.com/past_issues/2001/dec%202001/1201bauer.htm

"...came from behind us and banked to the right and went into the Pentagon."Interview with Warren Smith
http://www.thecharlotteworld.com/30%20Mins%20With/gary%20bauer/garybauer.html

Republican Gary Bauer has also been linked to Sun Myung Moon (see http://www.realchange.org/bauer.htm), the Project for a New American Century (see http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Gary_Bauer).  The damage to the facade of the Pentagon indicates that the "757" was banking gently to the left, not to the right.
Sean Boger, Air Traffic Controller and Pentagon tower chief - "I just looked up and I saw the big nose and the wings of the aircraft coming right at us and I just watched it hit the building." "It exploded. I fell to the ground and covered my head. I could actually hear the metal going through the building." The crew, Boger and Spc. Jacqueline Kidd, air traffic controller and training supervisor, prepared for President George W. Bush to arrive from Florida around 12:30 p.m.
http://www.dcmilitary.com/army/pentagram/6_46/local_news/12049-1.html
As Pentagon tower chief, Boger meets our "deep insider" criteria under the hypothetical condition that a conspiracy did exist.  
Defense Protective Service officers were the first on the scene of the terrorist attack. One, Mark Bright, actually saw the plane hit the building. He had been manning the guard booth at the Mall Entrance to the building. "I saw the plane at the Navy Annex area," he said. "I knew it was going to strike the building because it was very, very low -- at the height of the street lights. It knocked a couple down." The plane would have been seconds from impact -- the annex is only a few hundred yards from the Pentagon. He said he heard the plane "power-up" just before it struck the Pentagon. "As soon as it struck the building I just called in an attack, because I knew it couldn't be accidental," Bright said. He jumped into his police cruiser and headed to the area.
http://www.dcmilitary.com/marines/hendersonhall/6_39/local_news/10797-1.html
As Mall Entrance guard, Bright also meets our "deep insider" criteria under the hypothetical condition of a conspiracy.  This is one of the very few eyewitnesses who claimed to actually see the airplane knocking down lamp poles.
He and two colleagues from Oracle software were stopped in a car near the Naval Annex, next to the Pentagon, when they saw the plane dive down and level off. "It was no more than 30 feet off the ground, and it was screaming. It was just screaming. It was nothing more than a guided missile at that point," Creed said. "I can still see the plane. I can still see it right now. It's just the most frightening thing in the world, going full speed, going full throttle, its wheels up," Creed recalls.
http://www.ahwatukee.com/afn/community/articles/020906a.html
The Oracle database was originally developed by Larry Ellison for the CIA, which has maintained a close relationship with the company ever since.  Most views from the area of the Naval Annex are blocked to the Pentagon, because the Annex is located on a hill. 

For one employee with Wedge One's mechanical subcontractor John J. Kirlin Inc., Rockville MD, "lucky" is an understatement. "We had one guy who was standing, looking out the window and saw the plane when it was coming in. He was in front of one of the blast-resistant windows," says Kirlin President Wayne T. Day, who believes the window structure saved the man's life. According to Matt Hahr, Kirlin's senior project manager at the Pentagon, the employee "was thrown about 80 ft down the hall through the air. As he was traveling through the air, he says the ceiling was coming down from the concussion. He got thrown into a closet, the door slammed shut and the fireball went past him," recounts Hahr. "Jet fuel was on him and it irritated his eyes, but he didn't get burned. Then the fireball blew over and the sprinklers came on, and he was able to crawl out of the closet and get out of the building through the courtyard."
http://www.designbuildmag.com/oct2001/pentagon1001.asp

This is not an eyewitness account, but rather a hearsay statement about one of Day's employees.
Michael DiPaula 41, project coordinator Pentagon Renovation Team - He left a meeting in the Pentagon just minutes before the crash, looking for an electrician who didn't show, in a construction trailer less than 75 feet away. "Suddenly, an airplane roared into view, nearly shearing the roof off the trailer before slamming into the E ring. 'It sounded like a missile,' DiPaula recalls . . . Buried in debris and covered with airplane fuel, he was briefly listed by authorities as missing, but eventually crawled from the flaming debris and the shroud of black smoke unscathed.
http://www.sunspot.net/search/bal-archive-1990.htmlstory (killtown)
Possible insider.  DiPaula emerges "unscathed" after being buried in flaming debris.
Former ammunition plant official evacuated building moments before suicide airliner collision.Col. Bruce Elliott, former commander of the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant who was reassigned to the Pentagon in July, watched in horror Tuesday as a hijacked 757 airliner crashed into the nerve center of the U.S. military command. Elliott, in a phone interview Wednesday, said he had just left the Pentagon and was about to board a shuttle van in a south parking lot when he saw the plane approach and slam into the west side of the structure. "I looked to my left and saw the plane coming in," said Elliott, who watched it for several seconds. "It was banking and garnering speed. I felt it was headed for the Pentagon." (...) "It was like a kamikaze pilot. I felt it was going to ram the Pentagon," he said. He said the craft clipped a utility pole guide wire, which may have slowed it down a bit before it crashed into the building and burst into flames. (...) Elliott said the rubble was still smoldering Wednesday morning.
http://www.thehawkeye.com/features/911/IdxThur.html
Elliott does not mention the lamp poles, instead saying that the jetliner hit a "guide wire."  But photos of the Pentagon area show that the electrical wiring for the lamp poles was underground, and there were no guide wires.

The plane approached the Pentagon about six feet off the ground, clipping a light pole, a car antenna, a construction trailer and an emergency generator before slicing into the building, said Lee Evey, the manager of the Pentagon's ongoing billion-dollar renovation. The plane penetrated three of the Pentagon's five rings, but was probably stopped from going farther by hundreds of concrete columns. The plane peeled back as it entered, leaving pieces of the front of the plane near the outside of the building and pieces from the rear of the aircraft farther inside, Evey said. The floors just above the impact remained intact for about 35 minutes after the crash, allowing many people in those offices to escape, Evey said
http://detnews.com/2001/nation/0110/06/nation-312016.htm

Internally, the Wedge One project included: complete demolition of existing facilities; significant abatement of hazardous materials (most notably, 28 million lbs. of asbestos-contaminated material was removed); installation of all new electrical, mechanical, plumbing and telecommunication systems within the existing floorplan; structural steel reinforcement; and replacement of all 1,282 windows in the section, including 386 blast-resistant units on the outermost "E Ring" and innermost "A Ring" of the building. All-new office space was created with an open space plan aimed at enhancing flexibility (...) Amazingly, the plane pushed through the outermost "E Ring", and drove deep into the interior, its nose coming to rest just inside the "C Ring."
http://www.designbuildmag.com/oct2001/pentagon1001.asp

We've learned -- this is wedge one, okay, the newly-renovated area. The path of the airplane seems to have taken it along this route, so it entered the building slightly, on this photo, slightly to the left of what we call corridor four. There are 10 radial corridors in the building that extend from A ring out through E ring, and this is the fourth of those radial corridors. So it impacted the building in an area that had been renovated, but its path was at a -- it appears to be at a diagonal, so that it entered in wedge one but passed through into areas of wedge two, an unrenovated portion of the building. And, of course, you all know it's got rings A through E, five stories tall, et cetera. QUESTION: That seems to indicate that it came to rest in ring C, the nose cone. EVEY: Let me talk to that, because you've asked a number of questions already about the extent of penetration, et cetera. This is an overhead of the building. The point of penetration was right here, and we blocked that out to show that's the area of collapse. The plane actually penetrated through the E ring, C ring -- excuse me -- E ring, D ring, C ring. This area right here is what we call A-E Drive. And unlike other rings in the building, it's actually a driveway that circles the building inside, between the B and the C ring. The nose of the plane just barely broke through the inside of the C ring, so it was extending into A-E Drive a little bit. So that's the extent of penetration of the aircraft. The rings are E, D, C, B and A. Between B and C is a driveway that goes around the Pentagon. It's called A-E Drive. The airplane traveled in a path about like this, and the nose of the aircraft broke through this innermost wall of C ring into A-E Drive. QUESTION: One thing that's confusing -- if it came in the way you described, at an angle, why then are not the wings outside? I mean, the wings would have shorn off. The tail would have shorn off. And yet there's apparently no evidence of the aircraft outside the E ring. EVEY: Actually, there's considerable evidence of the aircraft outside the E ring. It's just not very visible. When you get up close -- actually, one of my people happened to be walking on this sidewalk and was right about here as the aircraft approached. It came in. It clipped a couple of light poles on the way in. He happened to hear this terrible noise behind him, looked back, and he actually -- he's a Vietnam veteran -- jumped prone onto the ground so the aircraft would not actually -- he thinks it (would have) hit him; it was that low. On its way in, the wing clipped. Our guess is an engine clipped a generator. We had an emergency temporary generator to provide life-safety emergency electrical power, should the power go off in the building. The wing actually clipped that generator, and portions of it broke off. There are other parts of the plane that are scattered about outside the building. None of those parts are very large, however. You don't see big pieces of the airplane sitting there extending up into the air. But there are many small pieces. And the few larger pieces there look like they are veins out of the aircraft engine. They're circular. QUESTION: Would you say that the plane, since it had a lot of fuel on it at the impact, and the fact that there are very small pieces, virtually exploded in flames when it tore into the building? I mean, since there are not large pieces of the wings laying outside, did it virtually explode? EVEY: I didn't see it. My people who did see it enter the building describe it as entering the building and then there being flames coming out immediately afterwards. Whether you describe it as an explosion or not, people I talk to who were there, some called it an explosion. Others called it a large fire. I'm not sure. I wasn't there, sir. It's just a guess on my part.
http://www.patriotresource.com/wtc/federal/0915/DoD.html

Walker Lee Evey, program manager of the Pentagon restoration project : The fire was so hot, Evey said, that it turned window glass to liquid and sent it spilling down walls into puddles on the ground. The impact cracked massive concrete columns far beyond the impact site, destabilizing a broader section of the building than contractors had originally thought. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/03/07/attack/main503257.shtml

On Sept. 11, Flight 77 sliced through the outermost three of the Pentagon's five concentric rings. Fires from the plane's 20,000 gallons of fuel melted windows into pools of liquid glass. The impact of the crash fractured concrete pillars well beyond the incisions in the three outer rings.
http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/2821782.htm

Pentagon's manager for the renovation project, therefore meets our hypothetical "deep insider" criterion.  He does not claim to be an eyewitness of the collision or explosion.  His statement that the plane "peeled back" leaving the forward portions of the fuselage towards the outside of the Pentagon makes a lot of sense -- except that it seems to contradict the idea that the "nose" of the aircraft made its way through the C ring into the A-E drive. 
Ken Ford : One eyewitness, State Department employee Ken Ford, said he watched from the 15th floor of the State Department Annex, just across the PotomacRiver from the Pentagon. We were watching the airport through binoculars, Ford said, referring to Reagan National Airport, a short distance away. The plane was a two-engine turbo prop that flew up the river from National. Then it turned back toward the Pentagon. We thought it had been waved off and then it hit the building.
http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2001/09/pdf/09112001EXTRA2.pdf
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/world/2001/0912/wor5.htm
This odd and confused account may indicate that Ford saw the C130, which is a turboprop (although not a twin.)   
Kat Gaines, heading south on Route 110, approached the parking lots, saw a low-flying jetliner strike the top of nearby telephone poles. "
http://www.fccc.org/News/valor.htm
Not telephone poles, lamp poles??  
Afework Hagos, a computer programmer, was on his way to work but stuck in a traffic jam near the Pentagon when the plane flew over. "There was a huge screaming noise and I got out of the car as the plane came over. Everybody was running away in different directions. It was tilting its wings up and down like it was trying to balance. It hit some lampposts on the way in."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0%2C1300%2C550486%2C00.html
 
Asework Hagos, 26, of Arlington, was driving on Columbia Pike on his way to work as a consultant for Nextel. He saw a plane flying very low and close to nearby buildings. "I thought something was coming down on me. I know this plane is going to crash. I've never seen a plane like this so low." He said he looked at it and saw American Airline insignia and when it made impact with the Pentagon initially he saw smoke, then flames.
If Hagos was on Columbia Pike near enough to see the lamp poles go down, the amount of time required for the "757" to go from his location to the impact site at the Pentagon would be about three seconds.  Hardly enough time for everybody to stop their cars, get out and run around in different directions.
From the view of the Navy Annex : After a few moments, Lt Gen Ron Kadish, Director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization entered the Secure Conference Room to pursue the day's activities and do real work. This office, with two nice windows and a great view of the monuments, the Capitol and the Pentagon was "good digs" by any Pentagon standard. I walked in the office and stood peering out of the window looking at the Pentagon. As I stood there, I instinctively ducked at the extremely loud roar and whine of a jet engine spooling up. Immediately, the large silver cylinder of an aircraft appeared in my window, coming over my right shoulder as I faced the Westside of the Pentagon directly towards the heliport. The aircraft, looking to be either a 757 or Airbus, seemed to come directly over the annex, as if it had been following Columbia Pike - an Arlington road leading to Pentagon. The aircraft was moving fast, at what I could only be estimate as between 250 to 300 knots. All in all, I probably only had the aircraft in my field of view for approximately 3 seconds. The aircraft was at a sharp downward angle of attack, on a direct course for the Pentagon. It was "clean", in as much as, there were no flaps applied and no apparent landing gear deployed. He was slightly left wing down as he appeared in my line of sight, as if he'd just "jinked" to avoid something. As he crossed Route 110 he appeared to level his wings, making a slight right wing slow adjustment as he impacted low on the Westside of the building to the right of the helo, tower and fire vehicle around corridor 5. What instantly followed was a large yellow fireball accompanied by an extremely bass sounding, deep thunderous boom. The yellow fireball rose quickly as black smoke engulfed the entire Westside of the Pentagon, obscuring the whole of the heliport. I could feel the concussion and felt the shockwave of the blast impact the window of the Annex, knocking me against the desk.
http://lists.travellercentral.com/pipermail/tml/2001-September/013153.html
http://www.ournetfamily.com/WarOnTerror/emails/pentagonwitness.shtml
Hemphill does not mention his title, but he is present for a meeting with the Director of the BMDO in the Secure Conference Room.   The "sharp downward angle of attack" is not consistent with the nearly level flight path of the "757".  At impact, the "757" was apparently banking slightly left, not right.  Few observers so far away as the Annex (a half mile from impact) reported a shock wave strong enough to penetrate a window and knock a human being against a desk.  He claims that the aircraft came over his right shoulder, contradicting several witnesses who claimed it was more towards Arlington Cemetery. 
Terrance Kean, 35, who lives in a 14-story building nearby, heard the loud jet engines and glanced out his window. "I saw this very, very large passenger jet," said the architect, who had been packing for a move. "It just plowed right into the side of the Pentagon. The nose penetrated into the portico. And then it sort of disappeared, and there was fire and smoke everywhere. . . . It was very sort of surreal."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A13766-2001Sep11
Appears to be a credible witness, although the account is very brief.
Sgt. William Lagasse, a pentagon police dog handler, the son of an aviation instructor, was filling up his patrol car at a gas station near the Pentagon when he noticed a jet fly in low. He watched as the plane plowed into the Pentagon. Initially, he thought the plane was about to drop on top of him -- it was that close. Lagasse knew something was wrong. The 757's flaps were not deployed and the landing gear was retracted.
http://206.181.245.163/ebird/e20011108vivid.htm
 
I saw the aircraft above my head about 80 feet above the ground, 400 miles an hour. The reason, I have some experience as a pilot and I looked at the plane. Didn't see any landing gear. Didn't see any flaps down. I realized it wasn't going to land. . . . It was close enough that I could see the windows and the blinds had been pulled down. I read American Airlines on it. . . .I got on the radio and broadcast. I said a plane is, is heading toward the heliport side of the building.
http://web.lexis-nexis.com...
http://www2.hawaii.edu/~julianr/lexisnexis/lagasse1.txt
More testimony from Lagasse was posted at APFN in response to queries from Dick Eastman.  Lagasse claimed that he was to the starboard side of the aircraft as it passed over the gas station, which (if correct) would mean that the plane needed to make a massive trajectory adjustment for the plane to have struck the lamp poles near the overpass.  He makes claims about seeing debris from the plane inside the building, which contradicts Terry Mitchell's observations.  Lagasse would have made his call stating that the plane has already hit, because by the time he could raise his phone and dial, it would be all over.
"I saw this large American Airlines passenger jet coming in fast and low," said Army Captain Lincoln Liebner. "My first thought was I've never seen one that high. Before it hit I realised what was happening."
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/08/23/1030052968648.html
 
After the second plane hit the World Trade Center, Major Lincoln Leibner jumped in his pickup truck and raced to the Pentagon. As he ran to an entrance, he heard jet engines and turned in time to see the American Airlines plane diving toward the building. "I was close enough that I could see through the windows of the airplane, and watch as it as it hit," he said. "There was no doubt in my mind what I was watching. Not for a second. It was accelerating," he said. "It was wheels up, flaps up, engines full throttle. "
http://www.theosuobserver.com/main.cfm/include/smdetail/synid/54846.html
 
Maj. Leibner drove in and made it as far as the south parking lot, where he got out on foot. "I heard the plane first," he said. "I thought it was a flyover Arlington cemetery." From his vantage point, Maj. Leibner looked up and saw the plane come in. "I was about 100 yards away," he said. "You could see through the windows of the aircraft. I saw it hit." The plane came in hard and level and was flown full throttle into the building, dead center mass, Maj. Leibner said. "The plane completely entered the building," he said. "I got a little repercussion, from the sound, the blast. I've heard artillery, and that was louder than the loudest has to offer. I started running toward the site. I jumped over a fence. I was probably the first person on the scene." A tree and the backend of a crash truck at the heliport near the crash site were on fire and the ground was scorched, Maj. Leibner recounted. "The plane went into the building like a toy into a birthday cake," he said. "The aircraft went in between the second and third floors." At that point, no one was outside. Spotting a Pentagon door that had been blown off its hinges, Maj. Leibner went in and out several times, helping rescue several people. "The very first person was right there," he said. "She could walk. I walked her out onto the grass." Maj. Leibner said a police officer pulled up onto the grass and began to help. "Everybody was hurt," Maj. Leibner said. "They were all civilian females. Everybody was burned on their hands and faces.
http://www.usmedicine.com/article.cfm?articleID=384&issueID=38
 
Captain Lincoln Leibner says the aircraft struck a helicopter on the helipad, setting fire to a fire truck. We got one guy out of the cab," he said, adding he could hear people crying inside the wreckage. Captain Liebner, who had cuts on his hands from the debris, says he has been parking his car in the car park when the crash occurred."
http://abc.net.au/news/2001/09/item20010911230953_1.htm
With the rank of Major, Liebner met our "insider" criterion.  The damage to the Pentagon was at the first and second floors, not the second and third.  Liebner is the only testimony indicating that a helicopter was involved in a crash with the airliner, although some witnesses reported the helicopter alone.  
David Marra, 23, an information-technology specialist, had turned his BMW off an I-395 exit to the highway just west of the Pentagon when he saw an American Airlines jet swooping in, its wings wobbly, looking like it was going to slam right into the Pentagon: "It was 50 ft. off the deck when he came in. It sounded like the pilot had the throttle completely floored. The plane rolled left and then rolled right. Then he caught an edge of his wing on the ground." There is a helicopter pad right in front of the side of the Pentagon. The wing touched there, then the plane cartwheeled into the building.
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,174655-4,00.html
Marra agrees with Anderson about the wing striking the helipad, but unfortunately this disagrees with the lack of any damage visible in the photographs.  As to the plane rolling left, rolling right and then cartwheeling, we can only take this metaphorically.
Father Stephen McGraw was driving to a graveside service at Arlington National Cemetery the morning of Sept. 11, when he mistakenly took the Pentagon exit onto Washington Boulevard, putting him in a position to witness American Airlines Flight 77 crash into the Pentagon. "The traffic was very slow moving, and at one point just about at a standstill," said McGraw, a Catholic priest at St. Anthony Parish in Falls Church. "I was in the left hand lane with my windows closed. I did not hear anything at all until the plane was just right above our cars." McGraw estimates that the plane passed about 20 feet over his car, as he waited in the left hand lane of the road, on the side closest to the Pentagon. "The plane clipped the top of a light pole just before it got to us, injuring a taxi driver, whose taxi was just a few feet away from my car. "I saw it crash into the building," he said. "My only memories really were that it looked like a plane coming in for a landing. I mean in the sense that it was controlled and sort of straight. That was my impression," he said. "There was an explosion and a loud noise and I felt the impact. I remember seeing a fireball come out of two windows (of the Pentagon). I saw an explosion of fire billowing through those two windows. "He literally had the stole in one hand and a prayer book in the other and in one fluid motion crossed the guardrail," said Mark Faram, a reporter from the Navy Times who witnessed McGraw in the first moments after the crash.
http://www.dcmilitary.com/army/pentagram/6_39/local_news/10772-1.html
http://www.mdw.army.mil/news/Pentagon%5Fcrash%5Feyewitness%5Fcomforted%5Fvictims.html
  Father McGraw is an Opus Dei priest and former Justice Department attorney.  (See http://www.catholicherald.com/priests/mcgraw0607.htm ) In his "Frameup" post,  Mark Faram said that he didn't arrive at the crash scene until ten minutes after the crash.
It was so shocking, I was listening to the news on what had happened in New York, and just happened to look out the window because I heard a low flying plane and then I saw it hit the Pentagon. It happened so fast... it was in the air one moment and in the building the next... I still have a hard time believing it, but every time I look out the window, it seems to be more real than it did the time before... K.M., Pentagon City, USA
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/talking%5Fpoint/newsid%5F1537000/1537530.stm
Appears to be a credible witness, but note the lack of identification.
Terry Morin, a former USMC aviator, Program Manager for SPARTA, Inc was working as a contractor at the BMDO offices at the old Navy Annex. Having just reached the elevator in the 5th Wing of BMDO Federal Office Building (FOB) # 2. He heard "an increasingly loud rumbling" One to two seconds later the airliner came into my field of view. By that time the noise was absolutely deafening. The aircraft was essentially right over the top of me and the outer portion of the FOB (flight path parallel the outer edge of the FOB). Everything was shaking and vibrating, including the ground. I estimate that the aircraft was no more than 100 feet above me (30 to 50 feet above the FOB) in a slight nose down attitude. The plane had a silver body with red and blue stripes down the fuselage. I believed at the time that it belonged to American Airlines, but I couldn't be sure. It looked like a 737 and I so reported to authorities. Within seconds the plane cleared the 8th Wing of BMDO and was heading directly towards the Pentagon. Engines were at a steady high-pitched whine, indicating to me that the throttles were steady and full. I estimated the aircraft speed at between 350 and 400 knots. The flight path appeared to be deliberate, smooth, and controlled. As the aircraft approached the Pentagon, I saw a minor flash (later found out that the aircraft had sheared off a portion of a highway light pole down on Hwy 110). As the aircraft flew ever lower I started to lose sight of the actual airframe as a row of trees to the Northeast of the FOB blocked my view. I could now only see the tail of the aircraft. I believe I saw the tail dip slightly to the right indicating a minor turn in that direction. The tail was barely visible when I saw the flash and subsequent fireball rise approximately 200 feet above the Pentagon. There was a large explosion noise and the low frequency sound echo that comes with this type of sound. Associated with that was the increase in air pressure, momentarily, like a small gust of wind. For those formerly in the military, it sounded like a 2000lb bomb going off roughly 1/2 mile in front of you. At once there was a huge cloud of black smoke that rose several hundred feet up. Elapsed time from hearing the initial noise to when I saw the impact flash was between 12 and 15 seconds. (...) the aircraft had been flown directly into the Pentagon without hitting the ground first or skipping into the building. (...) The firemen were appreciative, as the heat inside the building generated from the 8,500 gallons of jet fuel was, in their words, "unbelievable." It was reported that at least three of the fireman had to be given IV fluids due to the extreme heat.
http://www.coping.org/911/survivor/pentagon.htm
Sparta is an elite high-tech military contracting organization, so Morin meets our "deep insider" criterion.  The statement that the throttles were full, contradicts several other witnesses who said that the engines were throttled back, and then spun up as the "757" approached the Pentagon.  However, the other witnesses may have been fooled by a Doppler effect?

 

A silver, twin-engine American Airlines jetliner gliding almost noiselessly over the Navy Annex, fast, low and straight toward the Pentagon, just hundreds of yards away. It was a nightmare coming to life. The plane, with red and blue markings, hurtled by and within moments exploded in a ground-shaking "whoomp" as it appeared to hit the side of the Pentagon. A huge flash of orange flame and black smoke poured into the sky. Smoke seemed to change from black to white, forming a billowing column in the sky.
http://www.navytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-467181.php
Munsey places the plane over the Annex, although he does not clarify whether it was closer to the cemetery, or closer to Columbia Pike.  In any case, it would be nearly impossible for a jetliner to come anywhere over the Annex and then jink its flight path so as to collide with light poles at the cloverleaf -- and Munsey does not mention the light poles.  The claim that the jetliner was "almost noiseless" contradicts several witnesses and makes no sense, and the wording that the plane "appeared to hit the side of the Pentagon" seems to allow for the possibility that this was not a reality but only an "appearance".

 

 

"The plane exploded after it hit, the tail came off and it began burning immediately. Within five minutes, police and emergency vehicles began arriving," said Vin Narayanan, a reporter at USA TODAY.com, who was driving near the Pentagon when the plane hit.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/11/washscene.htm

At 9:35 a.m., I pulled alongside the Pentagon. With traffic at a standstill, my eyes wandered around the road, looking for the cause of the traffic jam. Then I looked up to my left and saw an American Airlines jet flying right at me. The jet roared over my head, clearing my car by about 25 feet. The tail of the plane clipped the overhanging exit sign above me as it headed straight at the Pentagon. The windows were dark on American Airlines Flight 77 as it streaked toward its target, only 50 yards away. The hijacked jet slammed into the Pentagon at a ferocious speed. But the Pentagon's wall held up like a champ. It barely budged as the nose of the plane curled upwards and crumpled before exploding into a massive fireball. The people who built that wall should be proud. Its ability to withstand the initial impact of the jet probably saved thousands of lives. I hopped out of my car after the jet exploded, nearly oblivious to a second jet hovering in the skies. Hands shaking, I borrowed a cell phone to call my mom and tell her I was safe. Then I called into work, to let them know what happened. But not once was I able to take my eyes off the inferno in front of me. I think I saw the bodies of passengers burning. But I'm not sure. It could have been Pentagon workers. It could have been my mind playing tricks on me. I hope it was my mind playing tricks on me. The highway was filled with shocked commuters, walking around in a daze.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/17/first-person.htm

For the tail of the plane to have clipped a sign, the plane would have needed to fly under the sign.  Narayan seems to think that the wall of the Pentagon was not breached.
Mary Ann Owens, a journalist with Gannett News Service - was driving along by the side of the Pentagon. Here, she recalls the events of that horrific day and her feelings about the tragedy 12 months on. The sound of sudden and certain death roared in my ears as I sat lodged in gridlock on Washington Boulevard, next to the Pentagon on September 11. Up to that moment I had only experienced shock by the news coming from New York City and frustration with the worse-than-normal traffic snarl ... but it wasn't until I heard the demon screaming of that engine that I expected to die. Between the Pentagon's helicopter pad, which sits next to the road, and Reagan Washington National Airport a couple of miles south, aviation noise is common along my commute to the silver office towers in Rosslyn where Gannett Co Inc. were housed last autumn. But this engine noise was different. It was too sudden, too loud, too encompassing. Looking up didn't tell me what type of plane it was because it was so close I could only see the bottom. Realising the Pentagon was its target, I didn't think the careering, full-throttled craft would get that far. Its downward angle was too sharp, its elevation of maybe 50 feet, too low. Street lights toppled as the plane barely cleared the Interstate 395 overpass. Gripping the steering wheel of my vibrating car, I involuntarily ducked as the wobbling plane thundered over my head. Once it passed, I raised slightly and grimaced as the left wing dipped and scraped the helicopter area just before the nose crashed into the southwest wall of the Pentagon. Still gripping the wheel, I could feel both the car and my heart jolt at the moment of impact. An instant inferno blazed about 125 yards from me. The plane, the wall and the victims disappeared under coal-black smoke, three-storey tall flames and intense heat. As the thudding stopped, screams of horror and hysteria rose from the line of cars (...) The full impact of actually being alive overwhelmed me. A mere 125 yards had made me a witness instead of a casualty. Survival wasn't a miracle, it was luck ... pure luck.
http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/display.var.624436.Top+Stories.0.html
 
Gannett News Service employee Mary Ann Owens was stopped in traffic on the road that runs past the Pentagon, listening on the radio to the news of the World Trade Center attacks, when she heard a loud roar overhead and looked up as the plane barely cleared the highway. "Instantly I knew what was happening, and I involuntarily ducked as the plane passed perhaps 50 to 75 feet above the roof of my car at great speed," Owens said. "The plane slammed into the west wall of the Pentagon. The impact was deafening. The fuselage hit the ground and blew up."
http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/local/2001/09/12terrorspreadsto.html
Another witness claiming that the left wing scraped the helipad.  We wonder why none of these folks noticed anything about the electrical trailer and the concrete vent, that actually were struck according to the Official Story?  Owens also mentions a "sharp downward angle."  Owens is a journalist with Gannett, the parent company of USA Today.
Steve Patterson, who lives in Pentagon City, said it appeared to him that a commuter jet swooped over Arlington National Cemetery and headed for the Pentagon "at a frightening rate ... just slicing into that building." Steve Patterson, 43, said he was watching television reports of the World Trade Center being hit when he saw a silver commuter jet fly past the window of his 14th-floor apartment in Pentagon City. The plane was about 150 yards away, approaching from the west about 20 feet off the ground, Patterson said. He said the plane, which sounded like the high-pitched squeal of a fighter jet, flew over Arlington cemetary so low that he thought it was going to land on I-395. He said it was flying so fast that he couldn't read any writing on the side. The plane, which appeared to hold about eight to 12 people, headed straight for the Pentagon but was flying as if coming in for a landing on a nonexistent runway, Patterson said. "At first I thought 'Oh my God, there's a plane truly misrouted from National,'" Patterson said. "Then this thing just became part of the Pentagon ... I was watching the World Trade Center go and then this. It was like Oh my God, what's next?" He said the plane, which approached the Pentagon below treetop level, seemed to be flying normally for a plane coming in for a landing other than going very fast for being so low. Then, he said, he saw the Pentagon "envelope" the plane and bright orange flames shoot out the back of the building. "It looked like a normal landing, as if someone knew exactly what they were doing," said Patterson, a graphics artist who works at home. "This looked intentional.".
Barbara Vobejda - Washington Post Staff Writer - Sept. 11, 4:59 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/daily/sep01/attack.html
Patterson is one of the most widely cited eyewitnesses for the "small plane" theory.  Joel Skousen in his "World Affairs Brief", March 8, 2002, reported that he was unable to find a Steve Patterson in Pentagon City, and that no graphics design firms in the area had ever heard of him. 
October 18, 2001 - Christine Peterson, '73 found herself in the thick of last month's terrorist tragedy, and submitted this report. It offers a personal perspective on the events in Washington, D.C., which have perhaps been overshadowed in the media by the scope of the horrors in New York. It was 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11th, and traffic was terrible. For all of my twenty-eight years living in the Washington, D.C. area, terrible traffic was a constant. I'd been in Boston the day before and gotten home late. That morning I repacked my suitcase because I was heading out to San Francisco on the 3:20 p.m. flight. I just needed a few hours in the office first, and now I was officially late for work. I was at a complete stop on the road in front of the helipad at the Pentagon; what I had thought would be a shortcut was as slow as the other routes I had taken that morning. I looked idly out my window to the left -- and saw a plane flying so low I said, "holy cow, that plane is going to hit my car" (not my actual words). The car shook as the plane flew over. It was so close that I could read the numbers under the wing. And then the plane crashed. My mind could not comprehend what had happened. Where did the plane go? For some reason I expected it to bounce off the Pentagon wall in pieces. But there was no plane visible, only huge billows of smoke and torrents of fire. (...) A few minutes later a second, much smaller explosion got the attention of the police arriving on the scene.
http://www.naualumni.com/News/News.cfm?ID=613&c=4
Peterson looked to the left to see the airplane approach, so she must have been going northbound on Washington Blvd, caught in slow traffic.  If she was near the helipad, then any plane in position to hit the lampposts would have been far behind her, rather than overhead.  Steve Riskus (whose testimony is not included in the Bart-Hoffman collection) similarly indicated that the 757 approached on a path far to the north of the lamp pole damage.
Frank Probst : a Pentagon renovation worker and retired Army officer, he was inspecting newly installed telecommunications wiring inside the five-story, 6.5-million-square-foot building.The tall, soft-spoken Probst had a 10 a.m. meeting. About 9:25 a.m., he stopped by the renovation workers' trailer just south of the Pentagon heliport. Someone had a television turned on in the trailer's break room that showed smoke pouring out of the twin towers in New York. "The Pentagon would make a pretty good target," someone in the break room commented. The thought stuck with Probst as he picked up his notebook and walked to the North Parking Lot to attend his meeting. Probst took a sidewalk alongside Route 27, which runs near the Pentagon's western face. Traffic was at a standstill because of a road accident. Then, at about 9:35 a.m., he saw the airliner in the cloudless September sky. American Airlines Flight 77 approached from the west, coming in low over the nearby five-story Navy Annex on a hill overlooking the Pentagon. He has lights off, wheels up, nose down," Probst recalled. The plane seemed to be accelerating directly toward him. He froze. "I knew I was dead," he said later. "The only thing I thought was, 'Damn, my wife has to go to another funeral, and I'm not going to see my two boys again.'" He dove to his right. He recalls the engine passing on one side of him, about six feet away. The plane's right wing went through a generator trailer "like butter," Probst said. The starboard engine hit a low cement wall and blew apart. He still can't remember the sound of the explosion. Sometimes the memory starts to come back when he hears a particularly low-flying airliner heading into nearby Reagan National Airport, or when military jets fly over a burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Most of the time, though, his memory is silent. "It was pretty horrible," he said of the noiseless images he carries inside him, of the jet vanishing in a cloud of smoke and dust, and bits of metal and concrete drifting down like confetti. On either side of him, three streetlights had been sheared in half by the airliner's wings at 12 to 15 feet above the ground. An engine had clipped the antenna off a Jeep Grand Cherokee stalled in traffic not far away.
http://www.militarycity.com/sept11/fortress1.html
 
"I was standing on the sidewalk (parallel to the site of impact)...and I saw this plane coming right at me at what seemed like 300 miles an hour. I dove towards the ground and watched this great big engine from this beautiful airplane just vaporize," said Frank Probst, a member of the Pentagon renovations crew commented. "It looked like a huge fireball, pieces were flying out everywhere."
http://www.dcmilitary.com/army/pentagram/6_55/local_news/10660-1.html
We comment more extensively on Probst elsewhere on our website.
James S Robbins a national-security analyst & 'nationalreviewonline' contributor: "I was standing, looking out my large office window, which faces west and from six stories up has a commanding view of the Potomac and the Virginia heights." "The Pentagon is about a mile and half distant in the center of the tableau. I was looking directly at it when the aircraft struck. The sight of the 757 diving in at an unrecoverable angle is frozen in my memory, but at the time. " I did not immediately comprehend what I was witnessing. There was a silvery flash, an explosion, and a dark, mushroom shaped cloud rose over the building. I froze, gaping for a second until the sound of the detonation, a sharp pop at that distance, shook me out of it. "
http://www.nationalreview.com/robbins/robbins040902.asp
"Diving in at an unrecoverable angle" seems to describe an entirely different approach path from the one reported by most witnesses of the 757.  Robbins is also a Senior Fellow of the American Foreign Policy Council.  
Noel Sepulveda, a Master Sgt. received the awards during a special ceremony at the Pentagon April 15. He left Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., for a meeting at the Pentagon, only to be told it was cancelled. Walking back to his motorcycle he saw a commercial airliner coming from the direction of Henderson Hall the Marine Corps headquarters.. It "flew above a nearby hotel and drop its landing gear. The plane's right wheel struck a light pole, causing it to fly at a 45-degree angle", he said. The plane tried to recover, but hit a second light pole and continued flying at an angle. "You could hear the engines being revved up even higher," The plane dipped its nose and crashed into the southwest side of the Pentagon. "The right engine hit high, the left engine hit low. For a brief moment, you could see the body of the plane sticking out from the side of the building. Then a ball of fire came from behind it." An explosion followed, sending Sepulveda flying against a light pole. "if the airliner had not hit the light poles, it would have slammed into the Pentagon's 9th and 10th corridor "A" ring, and the loss of life would have been greater."
http://www.jimroche.com/pentagon_hero.htm
http://www.af.mil/news/Apr2002/n20020415_0585.shtml
 
Recognition of Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda : (...) on September 11, 2001, Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda was on assignment at the Pentagon as a Medic. He was standing in the parking lot at the Pentagon when he noticed a jetliner lower its landing gear as if to make a landing an then he realized that the airplane was actually heading towards the southwest wall of the Pentagon; and he was standing only 150 feet from the point of impact and for a brief moment he could see the body of the plane sticking out from the side of the building, followed by an explosion; and the blast of the impact was so tremendous, that from his vantage point, it threw him backward over 100 feet slamming into a light pole causing him internal injuries; and despite his internal injuries, Master Sergeant Noel Sepulveda remained on his duty station at the Pentagon for seven days after this attack while manning a triage station to assist the other victims of the attack
http://www.lulac.org/Issues/Resolve/2002/30%20Sepulveda.html
Sepulveda's account is one of the few that acknowledges the tremendous forces involved in the alleged aircraft impact, stating that he was thrown 100 feet and slammed into a light pole by the impact -- yet was able to get right back into action.  However, no other witness saw the plane drop its landing gear, or tilt at a 45-degree angle.  The commentary that the plane came from Henderson Hall collaborates the idea that it was towards the north side of the Navy Annex, close to Arlington Cemetery.
"Where the plane came in was really at the construction entrance," says Jack Singleton, president of Singleton Electric Co. Inc., Gaithersburg MD, the Wedge One electrical subcontractor. "The plane's left wing actually came in near the ground and the right wing was tilted up in the air. That right wing went directly over our trailer, so if that wing had not tilted up, it would have hit the trailer. My foreman, Mickey Bell, had just walked out of the trailer and was walking toward the construction entrance."
http://www.designbuildmag.com/oct2001/pentagon1001.asp
Singleton is not an eyewitness.
A pilot who saw the impact, Tim Timmerman, said it had been an American Airways 757. "It added power on its way in," he said. "The nose hit, and the wings came forward and it went up in a fireball." Smoke and flames poured out of a large hole punched into the side of the Pentagon. Emergency crews rushed fire engines to the scene and ambulancemen ran towards the flames holding wooden pallets to carry bodies out. A few of the lightly injured, bleeding and covered in dust, were recovering on the lawn outside, some in civilian clothes, some in uniform. A piece of twisted aircraft fuselage lay nearby. No one knew how many people had been killed, but rescue workers were finding it nearly impossible to get to people trapped inside, beaten back by the flames and falling debris.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/wtccrash/story/0,1300,550486,00.html
 
Tim Timmerman : Pilot. I was looking out the window; I live on the 16th floor, overlooking the Pentagon, in a corner apartment, so I have quite a panorama. And being next to National Airport, I hear jets all the time, but this jet engine was way too loud. I looked out to the southwest, and it came right down 395, right over Colombia Pike, and as is went by the Sheraton Hotel, the pilot added power to the engines. I heard it pull up a little bit more, and then I lost it behind a building. And then it came out, and I saw it hit right in front of -- it didn't appear to crash into the building; most of the energy was dissipated in hitting the ground, but I saw the nose break up, I saw the wings fly forward, and then the conflagration engulfed everything in flames. It was horrible. It was a Boeing 757, American Airlines, no question. It was so close to me it was like looking out my window and looking at a helicopter. It was just right there. (We were told that it was flying so low that it clipped off a couple of light poles as it was coming in) That might have happened behind the apartments that occluded my view. And when it reappeared, it was right before impact, and like I said, it was right before impact, and I saw the airplane just disintegrate and blow up into a huge ball of flames. And the building shook, and it was quite a tremendous explosion. I noticed the fire trucks and the responses was just wonderful. Fire trucks were there quickly. I saw the area; the building didn't look very damaged initially, but I do see now, looking out my window, there's quite a chunk in it. But I think the blessing here might have been that the airplane hit before it hit the building, it hit the ground, and a lot of energy might have gone that way. That's what it appeared like.
http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/11/bn.32.html
 
Donald "Tim" Timmerman, watched from across Interstate 395: I was looking out the window; I live on the 16th floor, overlooking the Pentagon, in a corner apartment, so I have quite a panorama. And being next to National Airport, I hear jets all the time, but this jet engine was way too loud. I looked out to the southwest, and it came right down 395, right over Colombia Pike, and as it went by the Sheraton Hotel, the pilot added power to the engines. I heard it pull up a little bit more, and then I lost it behind a building. And then it came out, and I saw it hit right in front of -- it didn't appear to crash into the building; most of the energy was dissipated in hitting the ground, but I saw the nose break up, I saw the wings fly forward, and then the conflagration engulfed everything in flames. It was horrible. What can you tell us about the plane itself? It was a Boeing 757, American Airlines, no question.You say that it was a Boeing, and you say it was a 757 or 767? 7-5-7.757, which, of course..American Airlines.American Airlines, one of the new generation of jets. Right. It was so close to me it was like looking out my window and looking at a helicopter. It was just right there. . .cnn.com TRANSCRIPT
http://commemoratewtc.com/transcripts/tr-13-46.php
Gerard Holmgren raises questions about the credibility of Timmerman's testimony, at: http://members.iinet.net.au/~holmgren/witness3.html .  My search in the Yellow Pages and People Finder did not turn up any matches for Timmerman in the Pentagon area.  

If the plane had hit on the ground in front of the Pentagon, it would have left a crater.