An225
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Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 7:04 am

I just finished reading the bios of two of the four pilots scrambled towards United"s flight 93 bound to DC.
According to Wikipedia, they were instructed to ram the 757, one hitting the tail and the other hitting the cockpit.
That info puzzled me. I wonder if it was the correct tactic since it would probably cause the loss of both pilots and F-16s.
Would't it be better to use afterburners in close proximity to down the aircraft? Although the 757 is relatively large and heavy, such a heavy blast from a full afterburner might cause it to be out of control when applying numerous close passes of 4 F-16s.

Please share your thoughts on this,

An225
 
WIederling
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 7:57 am

just fly ahead of the engine intakes. exhaust should flame out the 757 engines?

( were the scrambled fighters unarmed?)
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rlwynn
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 8:59 am

And Why would not the 757 turn?

This is all crazy.
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Dutchy
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 9:08 am

Seems bullshit to me. Why would anyone be ordered to ram a plane, if it wasn't the absolute last resort and even then?
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tommy1808
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 9:19 am

Dutchy wrote:
Seems bullshit to me. Why would anyone be ordered to ram a plane, if it wasn't the absolute last resort and even then?


:checkmark:
Once you decide to murder the innocent on board of the aircraft, a burst of 20mm into the cockpit will achieve the same result, w/o losing aircraft or their crews.

Best regards
Thomas
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dragon6172
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 10:51 am

tommy1808 wrote:

:checkmark:
Once you decide to murder the innocent on board of the aircraft, a burst of 20mm into the cockpit will achieve the same result, w/o losing aircraft or their crews.

Best regards
Thomas

Problem is the fighters weren't armed.
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seahawk
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 11:35 am

It is a last resort solution that nobody planed for nor will be considered ever again, as now the fighters will be armed.
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 12:49 pm

If I was one of the F-16 pilots I would have made an attempt to descend through one of the horizontal stabs at a level attitude. This would have given me a fighting chance at ejecting afterwards and would have certainly made the 757 unflyable.

With the 757 unaware they were being intercepted, it is unlikely they would be maneuvering and thus would have made this precision collision more likely.
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TasosANG
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 2:18 pm

All that sound really crazy.
The F16 was totally unarmed? Not even the machine gun has bullets?
And why was unarmed? They was on the air already for another reason when they ordered to go to the 757?
Was no time to send something armed?
Even if the last line of defense was those F 16, was no a better way to do it?
Need to sacrifice two planes and possible two pilots?
By using afterburner against the engines you can’t destroy them? At least without engines you give them at least a small chance to perform emergency landing and to survive. Or afterburner against the cockpit. I am pretty sure that like this you can destroy the airplane, but you loose all the people.
:P
 
dragon6172
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 4:07 pm

TasosANG wrote:
All that sound really crazy.
The F16 was totally unarmed? Not even the machine gun has bullets?
And why was unarmed? They was on the air already for another reason when they ordered to go to the 757?
Was no time to send something armed?
Even if the last line of defense was those F 16, was no a better way to do it?
Need to sacrifice two planes and possible two pilots?
By using afterburner against the engines you can’t destroy them? At least without engines you give them at least a small chance to perform emergency landing and to survive. Or afterburner against the cockpit. I am pretty sure that like this you can destroy the airplane, but you loose all the people.

The F-16s were heading out for a training mission, thus the reason they were unarmed. They were the quickest option to get into the air and try and locate the missing airliner. There were some armed aircraft that were launched, but they were too far away, a couple actually being vectored out over the ocean.

As for using afterburners, I think it very unlikely that a fighter could get into position and do something like this. Remember, as soon as the burners are lit the fighter will be accelerating away from the airliner. As for trying to impact the airliner in a way to give the fighter pilot a chance to eject, I am not sure the pilot would want to live with that sort of emotional baggage and guilt of killing whatever number of innocent passengers.
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trnswrld
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 06, 2018 4:15 pm

Wow, I never heard of this before. Crazy if it’s true. Can you imagine being a fighter pilot doing a routine training flight and being ordered to go ram a commercial airliner out of the sky on apparently what would be a suicide mission (unless you can manage to eject).
Can anyone confirm this situation?
 
tommy1808
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 4:51 am

dragon6172 wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

:checkmark:
Once you decide to murder the innocent on board of the aircraft, a burst of 20mm into the cockpit will achieve the same result, w/o losing aircraft or their crews.

Best regards
Thomas

Problem is the fighters weren't armed.


Fighter Jets ready to scramble with Pilots and ground crew being ready to go, but unarmed, even the 20mm mag empty? Very hard to believe. Got sources for that?

best regards
Thomas
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mmo
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 5:11 am

tommy1808 wrote:

Fighter Jets ready to scramble with Pilots and ground crew being ready to go, but unarmed, even the 20mm mag empty? Very hard to believe. Got sources for that?

best regards
Thomas


Where do you see the aircraft were ready to scramble? They weren't!! They were on a "routing training" mission. That means no armament. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

It is very common to see, in the US, military aircraft in that condition. Having a "live" load out is an exercise in paperwork and returning with any unused armament is a PIA. In addition, at that time, the US had very few aircraft on "alert". There was no percieved need.

Too many old movies perhaps???
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tommy1808
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 am

mmo wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

Fighter Jets ready to scramble with Pilots and ground crew being ready to go, but unarmed, even the 20mm mag empty? Very hard to believe. Got sources for that?

best regards
Thomas


Where do you see the aircraft were ready to scramble? They weren't!! They were on a "routing training" mission. That means no armament. Why is that so hard for you to understand?


It is not hard to understand, hence me asking for a source, that neither the OP nor you provide.

Too many old movies perhaps???


Na, too many crashes of fighters on training missions that still had live gun ammunition loaded. And as you can see from my initial commend i didn´t even know those where on a training mission, because the OP didn´t bother to link anything.

best regards
Thomas
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mmo
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 6:52 am

Having spent 11 years on active duty and another 10 years in the Guard, I can assure you there is no real source. However, other than when you needed a full load out, you flew with nothing. Even today, there are relatively few fighters sitting alert fully loaded waiting to get the call.

Since you want validation, I guess you don't mind if you ask for your proof of "too many crashed of fighters on training missions".....

Generally, if you go to the range for training, you will use all your ammo unless you have a feed which is jammed. So, I do question what you are actually watching.
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zanl188
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 10:13 am

F-16s that took off from Andrews AFB, to cover DC, were unarmed. They were not on alert.

F-15s that took off from Otis ANGB, to cover NYC, were armed. They had been sitting alert.
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zanl188
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 3:41 pm

dragon6172 wrote:

I thought this was a well known piece of information, especially on an aviation enthusiast forum


I thought so as well. Covered in multiple media sources over the last 16 years. In researching an earlier post on this thread I located some great sources at the national archives. If I have time later I’ll post the links.
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Amazonski
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 4:11 pm

Fighter jets are generally more robust than airliners. They could have tried to cut through 757 wingtip, or vertical stabilizer with their wings. Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907 comes to mind, where Embraer cut off 737's wing with its winglet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gol_Transportes_Aéreos_Flight_1907#Collision
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 4:24 pm

zanl188 wrote:
dragon6172 wrote:

I thought this was a well known piece of information, especially on an aviation enthusiast forum


I thought so as well. Covered in multiple media sources over the last 16 years. In researching an earlier post on this thread I located some great sources at the national archives. If I have time later I’ll post the links.

Yes, it's been widely reported for a number of years. Here's a sample of some news articles:

http://people.com/celebrity/911-f-16-pi ... e-mission/
https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-plane ... 180955222/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/f- ... 40c2aab65c
http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/new ... e-1.495516

This book is also an excellent read on the events of that morning:
Touching History - The Untold Story of the Drama That Unfolded in the Skies Over America on 9/11
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
wingman
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 4:49 pm

That's pretty wild. Her CO, Marc Sasseville, went to my high school in Madrid. I knew I recognized that name. He was well ahead of me but I remember how excited everyone was when we learned he'd made it into the fighter jet program. Now a Major General, that's some serious chops right there.

Back on topic, so now that we know the story is true do you think that really would be possible to ram and airliner going 500 mph and you eject just before you hit it or would you be able to program a collision vector and eject ahead of time? I guess if the 757 pilots were unaware of your presence or intent and they were flying a set course it could happen. But if they saw you on radar or out the window they'd probably start maneuvering enough to make survivable ramming pretty unviable. Crazy story.
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 6:58 pm

mmo wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

Fighter Jets ready to scramble with Pilots and ground crew being ready to go, but unarmed, even the 20mm mag empty? Very hard to believe. Got sources for that?

best regards
Thomas


Where do you see the aircraft were ready to scramble? They weren't!! They were on a "routing training" mission. That means no armament. Why is that so hard for you to understand?


Several ex-RDAF fighter pilots (of Draken, F-104 and F-16 heritage) have told me that they always went with ammunition for the guns, simply for weight and balance reasons. Caused a massive mess every time one crashed and they had to find it all again.
 
mmo
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 07, 2018 7:29 pm

That's why it's not done in the USAF or USN.
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zanl188
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 08, 2018 12:40 am

Good read from the National Archives regarding the armed Alert F-15s sent from Otis ANGB.

https://www.archives.gov/files/declassi ... -doc14.pdf

Note what the pilot says in the 2nd to last Paragraph:

"Nash noted that for training purposes pilots fly unarmed aircraft, "Line Birds"; so even when there are fighters in the air during the initial stages of events, those fighters may not be the appropriate asset to respond to the order of an air alert scramble."
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bhill
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 08, 2018 6:05 pm

I suspect they would/could have punched out at the last possible moment before the fighter hit the 757....and the wingman would have confirmed the downing or not...
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dfwjim1
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 08, 2018 7:05 pm

Wouldn't ramming the vertical stabilizer have brought the 757 down just like what happened to AA 587? It seems like a maneuver like this would give the F16 pilot a good chance of surviving. Terrible duty for the fighter pilot but the passengers and crew were doomed no matter what happened.
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Wed May 09, 2018 7:37 pm

dragon6172 wrote:
TasosANG wrote:
All that sound really crazy.
The F16 was totally unarmed? Not even the machine gun has bullets?
And why was unarmed? They was on the air already for another reason when they ordered to go to the 757?
Was no time to send something armed?
Even if the last line of defense was those F 16, was no a better way to do it?
Need to sacrifice two planes and possible two pilots?
By using afterburner against the engines you can’t destroy them? At least without engines you give them at least a small chance to perform emergency landing and to survive. Or afterburner against the cockpit. I am pretty sure that like this you can destroy the airplane, but you loose all the people.

The F-16s were heading out for a training mission, thus the reason they were unarmed. They were the quickest option to get into the air and try and locate the missing airliner. There were some armed aircraft that were launched, but they were too far away, a couple actually being vectored out over the ocean.

As for using afterburners, I think it very unlikely that a fighter could get into position and do something like this. Remember, as soon as the burners are lit the fighter will be accelerating away from the airliner. As for trying to impact the airliner in a way to give the fighter pilot a chance to eject, I am not sure the pilot would want to live with that sort of emotional baggage and guilt of killing whatever number of innocent passengers.


As I recall all the fighters that were sent up were authorized to use afterburner and go supersonic in order to intercept any rogue airliners. Once a suspect airliner were spotted, I don't think afterburners would have been useful for actually attacking the plane.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sat May 12, 2018 7:42 pm

Unarmed can mean several things—no ammunition or gun safety pin not pulled by armorers with a drum with ammunition. Once airborne with the safety pin in place, the gun cannot be fired despite any ammo on board. Having live missives loaded is yet another configuration.

Having been in a mid-air, ramming another plane would take serious nerve, ejecting safely would have a probability of 0.05. The AB could not in any way be used to disable the airliner, this ain’t the movies.

GF
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sat May 12, 2018 11:39 pm

The goal on that day was to make sure no commercial aircraft were used to hit designated targets. 100% effectiveness of downing the 757 with F-16s would have been the goal. It is a hard order to swallow but that's what the job called for that day. It is not a 9-5 job or one that does not put you in harm's way.
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 13, 2018 12:35 am

An225 wrote:
I just finished reading the bios of two of the four pilots scrambled towards United"s flight 93 bound to DC.
According to Wikipedia, they were instructed to ram the 757, one hitting the tail and the other hitting the cockpit.
That info puzzled me. I wonder if it was the correct tactic since it would probably cause the loss of both pilots and F-16s.
Would't it be better to use afterburners in close proximity to down the aircraft? Although the 757 is relatively large and heavy, such a heavy blast from a full afterburner might cause it to be out of control when applying numerous close passes of 4 F-16s.

Please share your thoughts on this,

An225



If the aircraft was unarmed and an airliner were headed for a skyscraper, it would no doubt be a last ditch resort action and I would expect any nation to give such an order to protect vital interests at home regardless of how effective or not it would be.


Furthermore, during history there has also been something called Kamikaze pilots ...
 
An225
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 15, 2018 3:42 am

trnswrld wrote:
Wow, I never heard of this before. Crazy if it’s true. Can you imagine being a fighter pilot doing a routine training flight and being ordered to go ram a commercial airliner out of the sky on apparently what would be a suicide mission (unless you can manage to eject).
Can anyone confirm this situation?


Taken from Wikipedia
 
An225
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 15, 2018 3:47 am

Thanks everybody for your comments.
As it hard to believe such a solution was figured out in the beginning of the 21st century, it is true.
For those asking for sources for the story, go look in Wikipedia.

An225
 
An225
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 15, 2018 3:48 am

Thanks everybody for your comments.
As it hard to believe such a solution was figured out in the beginning of the 21st century, it is true.
For those asking for sources for the story, go look in Wikipedia.

An225
 
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Aesma
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Thu May 17, 2018 2:43 am

CX747 wrote:
The goal on that day was to make sure no commercial aircraft were used to hit designated targets. 100% effectiveness of downing the 757 with F-16s would have been the goal. It is a hard order to swallow but that's what the job called for that day. It is not a 9-5 job or one that does not put you in harm's way.


Still it's not really part of the job description. If they had found the plane and it managed to crash into something because the fighter pilot couldn't follow that order, I wonder what would have been the consequence.

Remember, that pilot wouldn't have seen the WTC being hit. And an airliner is not exactly an expected foe either.
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Nomadd
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Thu May 17, 2018 7:03 am

They always could have positioned right in front of the engines and snuffed them out.
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sat May 19, 2018 12:24 am

dfwjim1 wrote:
Wouldn't ramming the vertical stabilizer have brought the 757 down just like what happened to AA 587? It seems like a maneuver like this would give the F16 pilot a good chance of surviving. Terrible duty for the fighter pilot but the passengers and crew were doomed no matter what happened.

That wouldve been the point.

As for the aerial kamikaze tactic, the Germans did it on WW2, they were known as the Sonderkomando Elbe.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sat May 19, 2018 1:50 pm

Nomadd wrote:
They always could have positioned right in front of the engines and snuffed them out.


It would not work and where did you get the idea it would?

GF
 
checksixx
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 21, 2018 11:21 pm

The Otis F-15's were scrambled to NYC. They were considered to be sent down over DC, but were not.

The Langley F-16's (North Dakota ANG ADF's) were scrambled to DC (two primary jets and one back-up). The SOP for a scramble order, even with heading and distance, was to a holding area off the coast until a target was given as well.

The Andrews F-16's were never 'scrambled' in the sense of the word.

The Langley jets were still overhead of DC well before the Andrews jets got airborne.

Hope this helps...
 
jetblueguy22
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Wed May 23, 2018 3:46 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
They always could have positioned right in front of the engines and snuffed them out.


It would not work and where did you get the idea it would?

GF

Probably Top Gun



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Nomadd
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Sun May 27, 2018 8:47 am

jetblueguy22 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Nomadd wrote:
They always could have positioned right in front of the engines and snuffed them out.


It would not work and where did you get the idea it would?

GF

Probably Top Gun



RIP Goose

Yeah, because engines work just fine when you feed them exhaust.
 
DigitalSea
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Mon May 28, 2018 9:41 am

Kinda sucks when that whole contract about giving you life for your country starts kicking in.
 
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Tue May 29, 2018 7:09 pm

Nomadd wrote:
jetblueguy22 wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:

It would not work and where did you get the idea it would?

GF

Probably Top Gun



RIP Goose

Yeah, because engines work just fine when you feed them exhaust.

[[CITATION NEEDED]]
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stratclub
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Re: Was the ramming tactic chosen in 9/11 the correct one?

Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:04 am

Nomadd wrote:
They always could have positioned right in front of the engines and snuffed them out.

Wouldn't be easier to have Bruce Willis and Chuck Norris shinny down the landing gear of the fighter, jump over to the wings on the 757 and snuff the engines out with their jackets? Or, they could always kick out cockpit windows and give those mean old terrorists a big old dose of wup ass.

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