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9.11 investigation

Pete Zalewski - 9/11 ATC, also for EgyptAir 990

Zalewski was "handling" American Airlines Flight 11 when it first changed course and its transponder was switched off; he was also responsible for United Airlines Flight 175 which hit the South Tower around 20 minutes later. He failed to follow normal procedures and treat it as an emergency for some time, delaying the possibility of NORAD fighter interception.
Pete Zalewski. [Source: NBC]
Pete Zalewski. [Source: NBC]
This German documentary alleges that two years prior to 9/11 he was the flight controller responsible for EgyptAir 990 which, after making a strange maneuver shortly after take off, crashed into the Atlantic killing more than 200 people (including over 30 Egyptian military officials) aboard.


That same airspace saw the demise of two more aircraft, TWA 800 and Swiss Air 111 around the same time (mid-late '90s - early '00s). Just a coincidence, or ... ?


Eight AM on September 11, 2001. American Flight 11, bound for Los Angeles, pushes back from the gate and is cleared for takeoff. The Boeing 767 with 81 passengers, 11 crew and 24,000 gallons of jet fuel lifts off, headed west. As the plane climbs out of Boston Logan, it's handed off from one air traffic control center to the next.

By 8:10 AM, American Flight 11 is in the hands of Boston's regional en route center, which is located 50 miles outside the city. More than 75 controllers are on duty at the time. Among them, Tom Roberts, Lino Martins, Don Geoffroy, John Hartling, Pete Zalewski, and Mike Blake. Within minutes, the 767 is climbing through 20,000 feet, and onto Pete Zalewski's radar.

8:13 a.m. and 29 seconds - the last routine communication occurred between ATC and the pilots of American Flight 11. Air traffic controller Pete Zalewski was working the flight. The pilot responded correctly, when told to turn right, but fails to respond to a command to climb. Reportedly, Zalewski tried to reach the pilot, even using the emergency frequency, but he still got no response.

Keep in mind, also: The pilot of American Flight 11 had not made any kind of distress call, i.e. report of engine problems, damage to the aircraft in these routine ATC communications with Zalewski up until 8:13 a.m.

By all indications, American Flight 11 was hijacked at this time. One air traffic controller speculated that the aircraft was hijacked over Gardner, Massachusetts, less than 50 miles to the west of Boston. By then, he'd have been "handed-off" to the en route ATC center.

Between 8:13 a.m. and 8:21 a.m. Flight 11's transponder was turned off.

The initial news reports after 9-11 suggest that the transponder was turned off around 8:13, by using such descriptions as "Shortly after trying contact on the emergency frequencies" [Christian Science Monitor, 9/13/01], "Just moments after radio contact is lost" [MSNBC, 9/15/01], or "When given permission to climb to 35,000 feet," [AP, 8/12/02].

But a year after 9-11, Pete Zalewski, the air traffic controller handling the flight, claimed that the transponder was turned off at 8:20. (see Dateline NBC / Tom Brokaw transcript linked below.)

From approximately 8:14 a.m. to 8:21 a.m., Zalewski repeatedly attempts to make radio contact with the plane. He recalls, "I even began to get more concerned." At 8:15 a.m. Zalewski says to his fellow controller Lino Martins, "He won't answer you. He's nordo [no radio] roger thanks." But not until almost 9 minutes after the contact had obviously been completely lost with the plane (and the transponder was likely not operating after 8:13) does Pete Zalewski contact his supervisor to report something he suspects is "seriously wrong."

At 8:24 a.m. via the left-to-remain-activated talkback button on board Flight 11 Pete Zalewski overhears a "foreign, Middle Eastern-sounding voice," but does not make out the specific words "we have some planes." Zalewski and his ATC supervisors spend the next half hour guessing and speculating as to the exact origin and meaning of this radio transmission, only to be resolved at 9:03 a.m. after having pulled the audio tape transcript of the transmission itself, and played it back for themselves while listening more carefully.

At 8:25 a.m. the Boston ATC center, reportedly, tells other air traffic control centers about the hijack - but not NORAD.

Read the September 11, 2002 Dateline NBC TV interview transcript linked below.


Profile: Pete Zalewski (from Cooperative Research Histoy Commons)

Who Is Pete Zalewski ?

Transcript of Zalewski's, along with other 9/11 ATCs, September 11, 2002 appearance on Dateline NBC (with Tom Brokaw):
 link to newsmine.org

USAToday 09/14/2001 - Updated 08:58 AM ET
FAA employee: Hijacked jets almost collided
 link to newsmine.org
"One air traffic controller with the help of an assistant monitored the two Boeing 767s that toppled the World Trade Center, the employee said.

The same controller handled Egypt Air Flight 990 when it crashed off the coast of Massachusetts in 1999, the employee said. The controller is "pretty disturbed" that he lost both planes, the employee said."

Many questions raised by EgyptAir Flight 990 crash

A timeline of 9/11 events:

United Airlines Flight 175 - Complete 9/11 Timeline (Cooperative Research)
 link to www.cooperativeresearch.org

American Airlines Flight 11 - Complete 9/11 Timeline (Cooperative Research)
 link to www.cooperativeresearch.org

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