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Comments and Questions on Jim Hoffman's Article Titled

"The Pentagon No-757-Crash Theory: Booby Trap for 9/11 Skeptics"

Sami Yli-Karjanmaa 23 October 2004

Jim Hoffman argues that a Boeing 757 did crash into the Pentagon on 9/11 in his article of 7 October. As he indirectly uses (among many others) my analysis of the Pentagon Building Performance Report to support his theory, I feel obliged to point out that there are weaknesses in his line of argument.

First, however, I want to emphasize that the main point of my analysis is to refute the ASCE Report mentioned, and I have in principle nothing against the idea that a Boeing 757 might have been at the Pentagon and (partially) destroyed before the impact, provided that convincing evidence can be presented. Such evidence, however, is not contained in Hoffman's analysis, nor have I encountered it anywhere else.

As regards the cable spool closest to the building, it is misleading to say without any reservations, as Hoffman does, that my analysis "states that the diameter of the spool is 6 feet 6 inches". The figure is an estimate, and uncertain as such - which I clearly state - and is derived form my assumption that the spool was about two meters high.

But the more serious problem related to the spool is Hoffman's assumption that the aircraft "was loosing one foot of altitude for every ten feet" so that the bottom of the fuselage was at five feet's elevation when the plane hit the facade. The hole in the fence bordering the contractors' trailer area was almost 120 ft from the impact point. Had the plane been coming down in the almost 6-degree angle assumed by Hoffman, it would have been at an elevation of 5 ft + 12 ft = 17 ft at 120 feet's distance. What made the hole in the fence, if the plane flew that high?!

Also, this angle means that the B-757 flew over Washington Boulevard at more than 100 feet's height and could not down any lamp posts - unless it made its dive during the last second of its flight. Given Hoffman's emphasis on eyewitnesses, can he back his assumption with accounts from witnesses that have reported such a dive?

If one wants to maintain something did hit the building, a better option would be to argue that the object flew a little higher than ASCE says thus avoiding hitting the spools. This, however necessitates assuming that neither the turbulence caused nor any possible explosion could topple the spools; neither of thes assumptions is very easily verified or falsified. But, as I have shown, raising the height of the aircraft increases some other difficulties of the B-757 theory, notably how the plane debris could end up mainly in the first floor of the building.

Why doesn't the official story invoke the dive theory but instead says the plane was flying horizontally? Maybe to create confusion as Hoffman mentions? But why would such confusion really be a better option for the perpetrators than a general unquestioning belief in the official story that Flight 77 did crash into the Pentagon?

Lastly, as I have pointed out, the shape of the damage to the right of the central impact hole, in addition to its size, cannot be explained with the impact of the right wing of a B-757. Can the theory of the destruction of the B-757 before impact explain this shape (the border between the damaged and the undamaged areas clearly descending to the right)? The test of any theory regarding what happened is its ability to explain the observed pattern of damage (including the hole in the wall of the C Ring) without resorting to speculation (like that a spool could have been stood up immediately after the crash).