Tail Numbers and Occam's Razor
I must apologize, just a few posts back I warned everyone never to underestimate the stupidity of conspiracy theorists, and now I have done just that. A couple of months ago, when I read the "Viewer's Guide" I noticed a claim regarding the tail number of United 93, but decided it was too silly a point to merit an entire post on it. I was wrong, apparently the CTs consider it not only a valid point, but serious enough to challenge me for avoiding addressing it:
The flight path and other planes in the area opens the door to plane switching (like the plan outlined in the northwood documents), the tail number being seen later, and no recording of the flights.
hey james. do a entry about the tail numbers. I dare ya.
OK, so here goes, but first, an aside to set the stage. There is a principle known as Occam's Razor (or alternatively and more correctly, Ockham's Razor), which states that generally, the theory which requires the fewest number of assumptions is the correct one. For example:
The other day I woke up, went out front to get my copy of the Wall Street Journal and noticed a puddle on the ground.
How did that get there? Well here are two entirely possible theories:
Korey Rowe, in a fit of rage over Screw Loose Change chartered a C-130 with the proceeds from their movie, and using a new high tech glider developed for the Special Forces, performed a HALO jump to my front porch, where he dumped a bucket of water on my front steps, all to get my slippers wet when I retrieved my morning newspaper.
Or alternatively: Given I live in Seattle... it rained.
Now keeping that in mind, let's look at the claims of Loose Change, at the 1:05 mark:
It's an interesting postscript that Flight 93 was spotted on April 10th, 2003 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, by David Friedman, a United Airlines employee who records all of his flights. The tail number, N591UA was spotted on Flight 1111, a United Airlines 757.
David Friedman apparently posted this on his family blog, which is no longer up, but I will assume that their reports of him writing this are at least true. But why do we have to take Mr. Friedman's word for it? The FAA's Bureau of Transportation Statistics keeps a publicly searchable record of all flights for purposes of recording flight delays. So what happens when we look up United Flight 1111, leaving out of Chicago O'Hare on April 10th, 2003? (click to make it bigger)
The tail number is N594UA, not N591UA. Just a bit of scribbly handwriting away.
So going back to my previous example, which of the following two theories involves the fewest assumptions:
A. The conspirators hid the plane for nearly two years, without changing the tail number, then took it out of hiding for one flight, allowed an employee too see it, and then hid it from the world forever, first having gone back to forge the FAA records to cover it up, conveniently having a tail number available which was only one off.
B: Some guy accidently wrote a 1 instead of a 4.
Which is it dear readers, A or B?