Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: History — Rick Moran @ 11:40 am

A cockpit voice recording, never heard in public in its entirety, may indicate that United Flight 93 passengers actually broke through the cockpit door and battled the hijackers for control of the plane.

The dramatic recording was played during the penalty phase of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui who shouted to the crowd as he was being led out “God curse you all.”

Previously, excerpts from the cockpit recording gave no clue as to whether or not the passengers managed to storm the cockpit to try and wrest control of the plane from the hijackers. But this snippet seems to indicate that not only did the passengers make it into the cockpit, but actually injured a terrorist:

As the tape proceeded, it was clear that passengers were gaining the upper hand.

A voice of a hijacker, presumably inside the cockpit, says, “They want to get in.” The voice continues, “Hold from within.” At 10 a.m., there is a voice that says, “I am injured.”

Sounds of a struggle can be heard. At that point, the plane appears to go out of control. There are sounds of the hijackers trying to shake off the passengers. The plane pitches back and forth.

The 9/11 Commission report never mentions the passengers actually succeeding in breaking into the cockpit:

At 9:57, the passenger assault began. Several passengers had terminated phone calls with loved ones in order to join the revolt. One of the callers ended her message as follows: “Everyone’s running up to first class. I’ve got to go. Bye.”85

The cockpit voice recorder captured the sounds of the passenger assault muffled by the intervening cockpit door. Some family members who listened to the recording report that they can hear the voice of a loved one among the din. We cannot identify whose voices can be heard. But the assault was sustained.86

In response, Jarrah immediately began to roll the airplane to the left and right, attempting to knock the passengers off balance. At 9:58:57, Jarrah told another hijacker in the cockpit to block the door. Jarrah continued to roll the airplane sharply left and right, but the assault continued. At 9:59:52, Jarrah changed tactics and pitched the nose of the airplane up and down to disrupt the assault. The recorder captured the sounds of loud thumps, crashes, shouts, and breaking glasses and plates. At 10:00:03, Jarrah stabilized the airplane.87

Five seconds later, Jarrah asked, “Is that it? Shall we finish it off?” A hijacker responded, “No. Not yet. When they all come, we finish it off.” The sounds of fighting continued outside the cockpit. Again, Jarrah pitched the nose of the aircraft up and down. At 10:00:26, a passenger in the background said, “In the cockpit. If we don’t we’ll die!” Sixteen seconds later, a passenger yelled, “Roll it!” Jarrah stopped the violent maneuvers at about 10:01:00 and said, “Allah is the greatest! Allah is the greatest!” He then asked another hijacker in the cock-pit, “Is that it? I mean, shall we put it down?” to which the other replied, “Yes, put it in it, and pull it down.”88

The passengers continued their assault and at 10:02:23, a hijacker said, “Pull it down! Pull it down!” The hijackers remained at the controls but must have judged that the passengers were only seconds from overcoming them. The airplane headed down; the control wheel was turned hard to the right. The airplane rolled onto its back, and one of the hijackers began shouting “Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest.” With the sounds of the passenger counterattack continuing, the aircraft plowed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 580 miles per hour, about 20 minutes’ flying time from Washington, D.C.89

They never gave up. They never surrendered.

If you get HBO, you might want to check out The Hamburg Cell which tells the story of some of the hijackers and gives a somewhat sympathetic portrayal of Jarrah, one of the hijackers of Flight 93. One thing the movie does - perhaps unintentionally - is show how radical Islam became so attractive to upper middle class Arabs like Jarrah who felt so out of place in western Europe going to school. The movie points out that the terrorists were not “victims” in any sense of the word but rather cold blooded killers who used religion to justify their murder.


  1. It seems pretty obvious that at least two, and probably three, hijackers were injured or killed in the assault. There were probably two hijackers in the cockpit and two just outside. With boxcutters the hijackers in the cabin wouldn’t have been able to hold the passengers off for long. In all probability, the hijackers outside the cockpit were overcome and either subdued or killed. Jarrah continued to fly the plane while the third hijacker attempted to keep the cockpit door closed. When it became obvious the assault could not be stopped and the cockpit would be breached, Jarrah began rolling the plane over onto it’s back and pulled it into an unrecoverable dive. At this point, the plane was doomed no matter what happened. If the passengers had breached the cockpit earlier, then Jarrah would only have crashed the plane earlier. I don’t see any way the passengers could have been successful given the circumstances. They would have to overpower Jarrah before he was able to roll the plane on it’s back. Given the three defending hijackers and the tight quarters near the cockpit, I don’t see how it could have been possible to get to Jarrah fast enough to stop the rollover.

    As an interesting side note, there was some debate in the aviation community in the 90’s about putting restrictions on what a pilot could do with a plane like that. Basically, as an effort to reduce pilot error, “governors” were put in place on some aircraft so that a plane would not respond to a command that would put the plane in uncontrolled flight. At the time, pilots fought against it, saying that in an emergency situation, a pilot may be forced to take the plane past control limits in order to save it.

    I haven’t heard anything about it since, but I wonder how things might be different if the plane itself had not allowed Jarrah to perform the roll in the first place. Although I think Airplane security is a lot better now, and I think the liklihood of a 9/11 style takeover is very remote, this kind of technology might be another line in the defense of aircraft hijacking.

    Comment by Andrew — 4/12/2006 @ 1:31 pm

  2. I’ve been to each of the 9/11 sites. But I have to tell you that I never felt prouder to be an American than when I was at Shanksville. I tear up every time I think of those valorous passengers aboard Flight 93, and I’m no crybaby.

    We owe a great debt to those passengers on Flight 93.

    Comment by Always On Watch — 4/12/2006 @ 7:11 pm

  3. Flight 93 Tape Airs At Moussaoui Trial

    Jurors in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial listened to a recording of terrified cries in the cockpit as

    Trackback by Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator — 4/12/2006 @ 10:47 pm

  4. [...] From a post of Andy Cochran we can download the recordings. You can read a part of them at LGF and in RightWing NutHouse, where it looks like some passengers made their way into the cockpit and actually injured a terrorist. [...]

    Pingback by The Anti-Jihad Pundit » Moussaoui and 9/11 terrorist attacks: a summary — 4/15/2006 @ 2:06 pm

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