"Mayday! Mayday!"-- What Really Happened in the Cockpit of United 93?

The official story of what happened aboard UAL93 is depicted graphically in the film, “United 93"– the pilots are attacked by knife-wielding hijackers who stab them to death and thus take over the cockpit. I’ve always been suspicious of this story, especially since one of the passengers, Tom Burnett, reported in a phone call to his wife that the hijackers had a gun. When Burnett’s wife Deena was questioned about the gun report, this is what she said:

“He told me one of the hijackers had a gun. He wouldn’t have made it up. Tom grew up around guns. He was an avid hunter and we have guns in our home. If he said there was a gun on board, there was.”

That’s pretty convincing to me. The guns would also explain why the crew on only one of the four flights (allegedly) were able to make any kind of a distress call to ATC. Finally, there is documentary evidence that Betty Ong reported a shooting aboard AAL11 in her phone call, which was subsequently covered up. (I would be happy to go into detail about this evidence for anyone who is interested.)

With the release of government evidence relating to the Moussaoui trial in 2006, however, we were presented with some chilling audiotape which, if authentic, seems to validate the government’s story of a gruesome knife fight in the cockpit of UAL93.

I invite participants in this thread to listen to this audiotape, and analyze it in conjunction with two other pieces of evidence relating to the events in the cockpit of the flight. I would politely ask, however, that those who do not believe there were any hijackings at all– that the plane landed in Cleveland, the plane was a drone, the passengers were fake, etc.– to please not participate in this thread. I would prefer to hear only from those who accept, as I do, that the planes were indeed hijacked– the main question being, by who?


Exhibit 1: United States v. Zacarias Moussaoui Prosecution Trial Exhibit


Go to this link and you can download the evidence exhibit, including audio files. One file will be labeled “Ziad Jarrah,” the alleged hijacker-pilot of UAL93.

If you are unable to download and/or listen to this audiofile, please tell me. I may be able to help. Sometimes I am a bit suspicious that this evidence has been made intentionally difficult to access for the general public.

There are four segments of audio. The first two are the ones of interest to us. Both contain emotionally gut-wrenching sounds allegedly of pilots Jason Dahl and Leroy Homer yelling “get out of here” to the hijackers while wailing “Mayday!” several times.


Exhibit 2: National Transportation Safety Board- Air Traffic Control Recording (transcript)


These are the official transcripts of the communications between UAL93 and ATC. However, they include only the transmissions to and from UAL93, not of the other aircraft on the same frequency. That ommission could be important, as we will see.

The transcript also includes this ACARS message to UAL93 five minutes and sixteen seconds before the first “Mayday” broadcast:


(Question: was this ACARS message acknowledged?)


Exhibit 3: Audiotape from Cleveland Center handling of UAL93 posted on Airdisaster.com


This is a tape of the Cleveland Center sector handling UAL93 as recorded by a private website. Unlike the transcripts released by the NTSB, this recording includes the transmissions of other aircraft on the same frequency communicating with ZOB controller John Werth. The tape does not include, however, the transmissions of screaming from the pilots. Those segments were excised out by the website, supposedly out of respect for the families of the crew.



Have you listened to and/or read all three pieces of evidence? Do they jibe with each other?

According to the official story, despite the warning of a cockpit intrusion, the hijackers were able to enter the cockpit and, after a lengthy struggle, stab the pilots to death. We have to believe, then, that Burnett’s report of a gun was an error, or that the hijackers decided not to use the gun on the pilots. One of the pilots first keyed the mike at 9:28:16 to yell Mayday, then keyed the mike again 32 seconds later to repeat much the same thing.

Do we really believe that at least 32 seconds into such a life and death struggle, the pilots are still going to be ordering the hijackers to “get outta here”?

And how about the second transmission: It seemed to me that the two “get outta here”s sounded artificial, almost like they were a recording. Am I the only one with this impression?

The account gets even more suspicious when the Moussaoui exhibit is juxtaposed with the other two pieces of evidence I am presenting here. Here the crucial segment from the NTSB transcript:


1327:25 ZOB: “United ninety three that traffic for you is one o’clock twelve miles eastbound three seven zero”

1327:30 UAL93: "negative contact we’re looking United ninety three"

1328:16 UAL93: "***(mayday)***(hey get out of here)***"

1328:48 UAL93: " ***(get out of here)***(get out of here) "

1329:14 ZOB: "United ninety three verify three five zero"


In the key in the beginning of the document, three asterisks indicates a pause, and parentheses indicates a “questionable insertion.” That means whoever made this transcript found all these “Mayday” and “get out of here” transmissions to be “questionable,” in terms of what words were actually said.

That these words were barely intelligible is also supported by the third piece of evidence we are looking at, the audio from airdisaster.com which also includes transmissions from other pilots on the frequency. In the moments after the transmissions, Cleveland controller John Werth clearly has not understood what was said by UAL93, and tries to solicit help from other pilots:


United 797: United fifteen twenty-three, did you hear the company, er, did you hear some other aircraft on a frequency a couple of minutes ago, screaming?

United 1523: Yes I did, seven ninety-seven, and, ah, we couldn’t tell what it was either.

United 797: OK.

Cleveland: United ninety-three Cleveland, if you hear the center, ident [command for United 93 to send secondary radar transponder positive identification]

American 1060: American ten-sixty, er, ditto also on the other transmission.

Cleveland: American ten-sixty, you heard that also?

American 1060: We heard it twice.

Cleveland: Roger, we heard that also. [No noise on Cleveland tape.] Thanks. We just wanted to confirm that wasn’t some interference.

Executive 956: Executive nine fifty-six.

Cleveland: Executive nine fifty-six, go.

Executive 956: Just answering your call. We could year that, er, yelling too.

Cleveland: OK, thank you, we’re just trying to figure out what’s going on.

[emphasis added]


It seems obvious from this audio that not only Werth but the other pilots on the frequency have not been able to make out what was actually said from UAL93, other than that it was “screaming.” This would seem to be consistent with the “questionable” nature of the sounds heard by the person who did the NTSB transcripts, who decided to nonetheless insert the words “Mayday” and “get out of here,” and label them clearly as "questionable."

And yet, when we listen to the audio from the Moussaoui exhibit, there is nothing ambiguous or “questionable” about the transmissions at all! The words “Mayday” and “get out of here” ring through clear as a bell on both segments! How can this be explained? How could the NTSB have thought these words were “questionable” at all? How could not only controller Werth but several other pilots not been able to make out the word Mayday repeated several times on two separate transmissions? The word Mayday is certainly part of every airman’s vocabulary!

This glaring inconsistency entitles us to question whether the “Mayday/get out of here” audio released with the Moussaoui exhibit is authentic, or whether it was “enhanced” while in the possession of the government– and perhaps not only enhanced, but completely fabricated.

Remember the recording of the Cockpit Voice Recorder from UAL93? You know, the one of “Allah Akbar!” fame? We can view the transcripts of that alleged recording, but the government has never released the recording. Apparently, some of the family members who were allowed to listen to it were suspicious of its authenticity. Is it possible that the “Mayday!” audio was cooked up in the same sound studio that gave us the dubious CVR?

With such an idea in mind, we should revisit the possibilities of voice morphing technology. Some people think the phone calls from the flights were voice-morphed. I’m pretty skeptical of that, since it would be awfully difficult to successfully fake several phone conversations with a loved one, such as Deena Burnett. Then there’s the actual recordings we can listen to on the internet of Betty Ong from AAL11 and of Cee Cee Lyles leaving a message to her family from AAL77. It would take a mighty talented voice morpher to pull those calls off without suspicion.

However, the few seconds of audio from UAL93 would have been a different story. Only a few words needed to be disguised as sounding like the voices of pilots Dahl and Homer. More importantly, a potential voice morphing technician would have been greatly aided by the recordings of the other, normal, transmissions made by the two men earlier in the flight on the same recording. Samples of their voices could have been used to greatly enhance the quality of the phony segments. The extreme duress of the situation would explain differences in pitch and timber of the voices, and allay any potential suspicions of those who knew the two men.

Alternate Theory:

If the “Mayday/get out of here” audio was indeed faked while in the government’s possession, consider this alternate theory of what really happened. The pilots were killed by hijackers– not by knives, as per the official story, but quickly, using the gun reported by Tom Burnett. With the pilots dead, it is the hijacker himself who keys the mike and makes the broadcasts over the frequency. Wanting to feign a knife fight, but not wanting to reveal himself, the hijacker holds the mike away from his body and makes some muffled shouting noises– the “screaming” heard by the controller and other pilots on the same frequency.

The same hijacker a few minutes later keys the mike again and broadcasts the familiar “here is the captain....keep remaining sitting... we have a bomb on board...” This transmission-- thought to be meant for the passengers and only accidentally broadcast over the frequency-- is in fact intentional and again designed to further the false impression of unsophisticated Arab hijackers.

On the day of 9/11, law enforcement immediately seizes all recordings from air traffic control facilities. Years later, a few seconds from those recordings are released that are not only emotionally riveting, but that also affirm the government’s story of a knife fight in the cockpit. The original report of guns in the possession of the hijackers– so devastating to the official story of unsophisticated Arab hijackers– is further discredited.

This scenario works perfectly for the conspirators and for the government’s official story, but only if those few seconds or audio are authentic. The question is, are they?

This article is a 9/11

This article is a 9/11 classic, by a true crusader for truth and justice. Definetely a tour de force of astute reasoning and sound judgement.

"The number of people that can reason well is much smaller than those that can reason badly.

If reasoning were like hauling rocks, then several reasoners might be better than one.

But reasoning isn't like hauling rocks, it's like, it's like racing,

One interesting thing that most of the Flight 93 victims

at least the ones who became famous, have in common. Almost all of the them are evangelical christians.

I don't buy that many "cell phone" calls

were made on those planes, that alone smells like bullshit and if that was a lie then so was the rest of it as far as I am concerned.

I thought everyone in the truth movement was well past the idea

that 19 Arab flunkies were boxcutting/knifing/shooting pilots & then flying airliners for hundreds of miles. Why are you still promoting this ridiculous nonsense from the "official story."?

Consider mass emailing truth messages. More info here: http://www.911blogger.com/node/13321

I agree with you that the

I agree with you that the planes were not hijacked and flown by 19 Arabs. That is implicit in my essay.

The planes were, however, hijacked by somebody. The question is, who?

Drew; The best part of your

Drew; The best part of your article is where you show that "mayday" and "hey get out of here" are faked on the tape.

You should post the article somewhere else, where maybe you can get some more intelligent responses, somewhere not infested with no planers. Try the Loose Change blog and Alex Jones.

Thanks, R. All I wanted to

Thanks, R.

All I wanted to do was to get people to listen to the audio from the Moussaoui exhibit, and cross-reference it with the NTSB transcript and the Airdisaster.com audio-- and tell me if they noted the same contradictions that I did.

I guess I shouldn't have thrown in the part about Burnett's call and the gun at the beginning of the blog. Some people see that, and think, "wait a minute, those phone calls were faked....." and they don't even consider the remainder of your argument.