Sunday, November 08, 2009

An MIT PhD Takes On Rob Balsamo

I confess that I can't follow the math, but I'm going to link this debunking of Balsamo's claim that the g-forces required of AA-77 given the flight path are too high for the plane to withstand for those who can.

Balsamo came up with a radius of 2085 feet, which is less than 10% of the radius I calculated for a genuinely circular arc that connects the top of the VDOT antenna to level flight at the base of the Pentagon. My calculations are correct, so Balsamo either made a mistake in his measurement, or chose a flight path whose acceleration is ten times the acceleration required for a genuinely circular arc.

After adding 1 g for earth's gravity, Balsamo gets a total of 10.14 g. As shown above, the correct value for a circular arc that passes above the VDOT antenna and ends in level flight at the base of the Pentagon is 1.9 g. Balsamo's "corrected" calculation is off by a factor of 5.

And this certainly sounds accurate:

The video amounts to an argument from authority. The self-assuredness of Balsamo's video monologue, combined with his sneering contempt for critics, is designed to convince viewers that he really does understand the physics and mathematics, while his detractors do not. In reality, Rob Balsamo is a former airline pilot with no discernible skills in mathematics or physics and a history of making outrageous mistakes in his calculations.

Hat Tip: Paul W in the comments.

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