Monday, May 08, 2006

More On Those Cell Phones

Pat has already discussed the cell phone calls, most of which were actually Air Phones, but I wanted to discuss them further. Loose Change points to a informal study that claims that it is nearly impossible to make cellphone calls from a cruising alititude of 35,000 feet, although it is possible from lower altitudes. With a bit of sleight-of-hand worthy of David Copperfield the filmmakers than claim it is impossible for people to have made cell phone calls from United 93.

What they are omitting of course, is the fact that United 93 was not at cruising altitudes for much of its flight. The intent of the hijackers was after all, not to comply with FAA safety regulations, but to crash into a large public building. It would be much easier to do this if they started from a low altitude to begin with, rather than having to descend rapidly at the end. In fact the records from the Moussaoui trial show this.

After a few minutes of apparent calm in the cockpit, bedlam erupts at 9.57am as the passengers start a sustained assault from the rear of the plane where they had been earlier herded. There is a bang and a crash.

"Is there something?" asks a hijacker. "A fight?" "Yeah?"

The plane by now is down to 5,200ft. "Let's go guys", one of the hijackers shouts, followed by "Allah is greatest" and loud grunts of pain.
By the time the passengers try to take back the cockpit, the flight is down to a mere 5,200 feet. The filmmakers own source claims that there is a 40% chance of making a cell phone call from 4,000 feet, which isn't much worse than some office buildings I have worked in.

BTW, how do they know this? Well, from this black box shown below, from the crash that they claim never happened.

Update: Some more facts the conspiracy theorists will never tell you. Thirteen passengers made a total of 37 phone calls, all but 2 of them were from air phones. Yet, our filmmakers claim this crash was faked because it is difficult to make a cell phone call. Well yes, that is why 96% of the calls were from air phones:

In the back of the plane, 13 of the terrified passengers and crew members made 35 air phone calls and two cell phone calls to family members and airline dispatchers, a member of an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force testified Tuesday. Several learned that hijackers had already flown other planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, D.C.

The same news account of the Moussaoui trial also repeats the fact that the plane was flying at a low altitude for much of the end of the flight:

Within minutes, the West Coast-bound plane took a hard U-turn over eastern Ohio, headed south and then east and began a steady descent from an altitude of over 20,000 feet to less than 6,000 feet.


At 09 May, 2006 17:31, Blogger HopeSpringsATurtle said...

"Mous" now wants a new trial and says he didn't do it, "I was lying...." Did anyone believe he really did? He's just a wannabe terrorist that hates the west.

At 10 May, 2006 10:20, Blogger James B. said...

As the article states, there were 2 cellphone calls made. I haven't researched into who made those calls, but it might be those 2. I would be willing to bet that those calls were made later in the flight when the plane was at a lower altitude.

This is called the scientific method, which involves logic and the ability to make consistent predictions based on the data, as opposed to conspiracy theorists where you just discount any data you don't like.

At 20 January, 2007 16:02, Blogger batcave911 said...

emergency cell phone call recieved by 911 dispatchers in illinois from flight 93

the only way a 911 dispatcher can get a call directly is from a landline, or cell phone, dialing 911 from an airphone does NOT connect you to the police

This is also a bit strange since it was received in Illinois.
This is 2 states away from where the "plane" was.

also, many of the calls were said to be "cut off", while its not impossible for this to happen from an airphone, its much more likeliy from a cell.

so we have Burnette cell call #1
Cee Cee Lyles cell call # 2
(both saw caller ID)
Ed Felt cell call #3
and this one (illinois) cell call # 4

Olson and many others are in dispute, or there is no DIRECT evidence,
BUT, many of the reports did say they were cell phones.


Barb Olson (story changed 3 times from cell to airphone, but also in the bathroom, where theres no airphnes)

Hanson #6

Experts, U.S. suspect Osama bin Laden, accused architect of world's worst terrorist attacks

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the victim's father told the FBI his son made two calls, and both times the phone cut off. In the first call, the businessman said a stewardess had been stabbed. In the second call, the son said his plane was going down.
The man was identified as former Easton, Conn., resident Peter Hanson. A minister confirmed the cell phone call to his father, Lee Hanson, an official in Easton, a small town near Bridgeport." - SFGate (

Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and attorney, alerted her husband, Solicitor General Ted Olson, that the plane she was on was being hijacked Tuesday morning, Ted Olson told CNN.
A short time later the plane crashed into the Pentagon. Barbara Olson is presumed to have died in the crash.
Her husband said she called him twice on a cell phone from American Airlines Flight 77
She felt nobody was in charge and asked her husband to tell the pilot what to do.
He told CNN that his wife had originally been booked on a flight Monday, but delayed her departure because Tuesday was his birthday and she wanted to be with him in the morning.
Barbara Olson was a former federal prosecutor and served as Chief Investigative Counsel to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight during its probe into the Clinton Administration "Travelgate" scandal."

"Then the phone rang. It was Barbara calling collect. “My first reaction was, ‘Thank God, you’re OK’,” he recalled.
“What can I tell the pilot?” Then, inexplicably, she got cut off.

"Kathy Hoglan of Los Gatos, California says her nephew, Mark Bingham, 31, did not specifically mention a plan to tackle the hijackers in his cell phone call to her at 9:44 a.m. Eastern time.
Bingham managed only to tell his aunt and mother, Alice Hoglan, that the plane had been hijacked and that he loved them before the phone "went dead," Kathy Hoglan said.

“Mom, this is Mark Bingham,”
"You believe me, don't you?" he asked.

his mother, Alice Hoglan, a United Airlines flight attendant, told of how Bingham called her on his cell phone to say his plane had been hijacked."

and directly from Tom Burnettes website
"6:27 a.m.( pacific time) First cell phone call from Tom to Deena
6:34 The phone rang in on call waiting, Tom’s second cell phone call.
6:45 a.m. Third cell phone call from Tom to Deena
6:54 a.m. Fourth cell phone call to Tom to Deena" -
They've already knifed a guy. Call the authorities." Then the phone went dead.

Sandy Bradshaw
"We're all back here getting hot water together and getting ready to take over the plane," Bradshaw told her husband, Phil, in a cellular phone conversation that proved to be their last.

Nearby, many passengers were making cell phone calls, a few were plotting an uprising.

Marion Britton,
She called longtime friend Fred Fiumano, from whom she had borrowed a cell phone.
Fiumano heard a lot of yelling and screaming, and the line went dead. He tried calling back but the call didn't get through."

Edward Felt
"A passenger on United Airlines Flight 93 called on his cell phone from a locked bathroom
he called 911 on his cell phone and reached an operator in Westmoreland County.
He was crying...frightened, scared and anxious," said Shaw, who remained on the line until the signal was lost.

"CeeCee Lyles, 33, of Fort Myers, Fla., had perhaps the most unusual resume among the flight crew. She'd been a police officer and detective for six years in Fort Pierce, Fla. In late 2000, she left that job to pursue her lifetime dream: to be a flight attendant.

called her husband, Fort Myers police officer Lorne Lyles, on a cell phone from the plane shortly before it went down."

Lyles interview with Larry king.

KING: Tell me what she said.

LYLES: When I -- you know, when I look at the caller
ID, I always answer the phone by saying, "Hello, babe,

how are you doing?" So when I said, "Hello, babe, how
are you doing," she said, "Babe," she said, "my plane
has been hijacked,"

Honor Elizabeth Wainio
"NEWSWEEK has learned, may come from yet another phone call made by a passenger. Elizabeth Wainio, 27, was speaking to her stepmother in Maryland. Another passenger, she explains, had loaned her a cell phone and told her to call her family. “


an RF engineers take on 9/11 cell phone calls

At 12 November, 2009 01:12, Blogger TDLM said...

Just to be clear - I am an average citizen just looking at facts from a logical standpoint, trying to weigh the evidence. I agree, most of the facts presented in the Loose Change film can be debunked but as far as I can tell, some things still stand out as questionable.

My issue with the cell phone calls is that height isn't the only factor in establishing and maintaining a cell phone connection. Speed plays a huge role as well.

A plane cruising at 35,000 feet at around ~530mph would have slowed its speed significantly by the time it'd reached 4,000 feet.

However, the black box on the flight 93 plane clearly showed the plane was going over 560mph at the time of impact (United Flight 93 Crash):

"The National Transportation Safety Board reported that the flight impacted at 563 miles per hour (906 km/h) at a 40 degree nose-down, inverted attitude."

If, at 4,000 feet, the plane had been traveling more than 500 miles per hour, a cell phone conversation isn't technically possible according to a number of sources -- including this one:

"But, when you use your phone on an airplane, thousands of feet above the cell towers and moving 500 miles per hour, the phone and the network, essentially, get confused. Too many cell towers and too many channels are available to a single phone at a given time."

At a decreased altitude, the number of cell towers within range would decrease, yes but the speed would ensure a failure to maintain connection to any single tower.

Even if the handshake took under a second (which it does not), there wouldn't be enough time for the technology to maintain any sort of audible conversation -- let alone maintain a connection at all -- and as we've heard, the conversations sound relatively clear.

For me, that doesn't add up.


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