SensitiveSecurity In format i on
Inaddition to the"n ets" described above, it wasnormalpractice for theDirector of AirT r a f f ic
Operationst o convene operational telcons connectinga l l concerneda i rt r a f f i c elements when
there was a significant developmentor accident. These telcons were part of the normal
operation of the AirT r a f f i c Control System and not intended, before9/11,a s part of a hijacking
incidentmanag emente f f o r t .
OnSeptemberl l t h
On9 /1 1 as the incidents occurred during a normal weekday, members of the aviation security
staff quickly responded to the ACC upon notification of a possible hijackinga n d began setting
Separatef r o mt h e ACC, within a few minutes of the report thata n aircraft had hit the World
Trade Center, the Director of AirT r a f f i c convenedan AirT r a f f i c operational teleconferencet o
connect the FAA AirT r a f f i c facilities concerned.
As theseconda i r c r a f t impac ted the second World Trade Center tower and other reports began
tof l o win, this telcon wasexpanded inscope toinclude all of the actual hijackings andcrashes
andvarious bogus reportsof hijackingsand crashesas well.
Some timea f t e r the AirT r a f f i c operational teleconferencew a s established, the US Air Force
liaison to the FAA joinedt h e conference. Military personnel working in the AirT r a f f i c Services
Cell of the FAA AirT r a f f i c Control System Command CenterinHerndon, VA, coordinated
actions with respectt o militarya n d other special flights which were allowed to flya f t e r the shut
downof the national airspace later in the morning.
During the AirT r a f f i c operational teleconference, the FAA shared real-time information about
theu n f o l d i n gevents, including information about loss of communication witha i r c r a f t , loss of
transponder signals, unauthorized changesi n course,a n d other actions being taken by all the
flights of interest, including AAL77. These telcons were notr ec or ded nor was a logk ept.
The initial information concerningAAL77 was the possibility that thisf lig h t was now an
aircraft accident.T h ea ir c r a f t h a d stopped sendingi t s transponder code, turnedl e f t with-
out authorization,did not communicate, lost altitude rapidlya n d shortly thereafter
disappeared entirelyf r o m radar.Priorto9/11, this sequenceofevents would leadthe
FAA tobelieve thea ir c r a f t was indistr ess and had possibly crashed, triggering Search and
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