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Re: Analysis from a JHU CS Prof

  • From: Dean Robb
  • Date: Thu Sep 13 14:15:35 2001

At 06:05 PM 9/12/2001, you wrote:

Quite more interesting is why nobody noticed that 4 airliners where hijacked
almost the same time.
Not surprising. Aircraft are "flight followed" by a series of control centers across the nation, each responsible for a given chunk of airspace. Something happening in an area controlled by Center "A", for example, wouldn't be passed on to Center "B" (which has it's own problems to work) unless it impacted Center "B". Furthermore, unless someone TELLS Center they're being hijacked, there's no way for a controller - looking at a blip - to know what's up. And any controller can tell you that pilots do some strange things sometimes; that radios fail, that airline operations tell planes to change destinations and the controllers aren't told, etc.

In these cases, most of the knowledge that a plane was hijacked came from passengers on phones, not the cockpits. And even if it was known immediately that these planes were being hijacked - what could anyone on the ground do?

Dean Robb
On-site computer services
Member, ICANN At Large