Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
American Airlines Flight 11
American Airlines Flight 11 was an American Airlines flight aboard a Boeing 767-223ER, N334AA aircraft. Flight 11 regularly flew from Logan International Airport in East Boston, Massachusetts to Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. On September 11, 2001, the aircraft on this route was hijacked in a terrorist attack; the hijackers crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The regularly scheduled flight took off from Logan International Airport at 7:59 a.m., and the plane is believed to have been hijacked at 8:14. At around that time, when the plane stopped responding to air traffic control and the Federal Aviation Administration had thought the plane had been hijacked. By 8:25, there was no doubt.
There were five hijackers believed to have participated in the hijacking. Mohammed Atta, the ringleader and pilot, was in seat 8D. Satam al-Suqami, who had paid in cash that day, sat in seat 10B. Waleed al-Shehri sat in seat 2B, while Wail al-Shehri sat next to him in seat 2A. Abdulaziz al-Omari, who had earlier flown with Atta to Logan Airport from Portland, also was on this flight.
Some information about what had happened on board was sent by flight attendants on the plane. According to Madeline Amy Sweeney and Betty Ong, three people–two attendants and a passenger–were stabbed or had their throats slashed by the hijackers. The passenger, Daniel Lewin, a notable Internet entrepreneur, had also previously served as an officer in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the Israeli military. It is suspected that Lewin may have been killed by Satam al-Suqami after he attempted to stop the hijacking.
The first-class area had been sequestered by the surviving crew, and the rest of the passengers had been led to believe that a medical emergency was taking place in the first class area. The hijackers also used mace, pepper spray, or some other aerosol-based irritant to discourage entry into the first class area and the cockpit. Ong reported that her eyes were burning and that she was having trouble breathing. The hijackers claimed to have a bomb, although there is no evidence they actually had an explosive device.
At 8:46:40 a.m., Flight 11 was deliberately crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center between the 94th and 98th floors. This was the first crash in the attacks of the day. The plane was carrying 81 passengers (including the five hijackers) and 11 crew. All on board were killed, along with many hundreds in the building, and the tower later collapsed, killing hundreds more.
Although the impact itself caused extensive structural damage, it was the long-lasting fire, starting with burning jet fuel, which is blamed for the structural failure of the North Tower. Many have speculated that this is why the hijackers chose to use this fully fueled transcontinental flight. The centralized-support design (in the center core and exterior walls, instead of throughout) of the towers also contributed to the collapse. In a later recording, Osama bin Laden seemed to take credit for the attack, and stated that he did not expect the towers would collapse.
The flight route designation (flight number) for future flights on the same route at the same takeoff time was changed to "Flight 25," to disassociate other planes with the one used in the attack and out of respect for those who had died in the attack.
See also: American Airlines Flight 11 manifest.
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