In my April report, “Al Qaeda’s Top Gun“, I outlined how the 9/11 Commission systematically distorted the evidence to lead the public to accept the government’s official theory that Hani Hanjour was a skilled pilot capable of having performed the “fighter jet maneuver” that United Airlines Flight 77 pulled off just before crashing into the Pentagon.
A reader, John Ackerman, brought two additional pieces of evidence to my attention. One is a Jet Tech International evaluation of Hanjour entered as evidence into the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui. Jet Tech, as detailed in the article, was the flight school that actually notified the FAA about Hanjour because they were skeptical that his commercial pilot’s certificate was even real, since he had neither the English language nor the flight skills required to have obtained that license.
The handwritten evaluation states:
Student made numerous errors during performance problem including a lack of understanding of some basic concepts. The same was true during review of systems knowledge. The root cause is most likely due to the student’s lack of experience. Some of the concepts involved in large jet systems cannot be fully comprehended by someone with only small prop plane experience. The lack of progress is not a question of knowledge as much as experience. Hani absorbed a great deal of information and is very intelligent, but to move beyond the comprehension level (or rote level on some cases) Hani needs more experience to reach the application level. I doubt his ability to pass an FAA oral at this time or in the near future.
An addendum to the evaluation dated March 9, 2001 states:
He has a rudimentary level of ability based on his limited flying time. He seemed unsure of procedures in some cases and failed to properly identify and correct a Hot Start. Basic aircraft control was marginal. He will need much more experience flying smaller A/C [aircraft] before he is ready to master large jets.
The second document brought to my attention comes from the 9/11 Commission document archives and consists of information about the hijacked flights obtained from the airlines. It states that according to the people from United Airlines:
The cockpits of the B757 and B767 are virtually interchangeable in their essential elements. Both are “easy” to fly and both respond to slight touches and corrections. Entering changes to the auto pilot is something that terrorist pilots probably would not have been trained or able to do. Even the United senior pilot, who instructs on how to do that, said that he always has to pause before he makes such corrections to make sure to remembered [sic] how to enter the change.
The autopilot was of course used on Flight 77 (as also discussed in the article). Again, no matter from which particular angle one looks at it, the theory that it was Hanjour in control of that aircraft strains credulity. This raises obvious questions for which I don’t pretend to have any answers, and for which I offer no theories.
But whatever one believes in that regard, there remains the further point that the 9/11 Commission incontrovertibly attempted to deceive the public about Hanjour’s role. So one of those questions is: Why did they think it necessary to distort the record and exaggerate his skill if someone of Hanjour’s very meager capabilities really could have pulled it off?
The most obvious answer to that would be: Because they knew the public would never buy it if they knew the truth about Hanjour. But it remains just another unanswered question about 9/11.