The day begins with a cloudless, bright blue sky over the mid-Atlantic states. Seven crew members assigned to Flight 93 prepare for the early morning nonstop flight from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California. Thirty-three passengers are traveling for ordinary reasons. Four other passengers plan to hijack the aircraft.
The terrorists began planning their attack as early as 1999. Still, some factors are beyond their control. Three of our hijacked planes depart on schedule;
however, Flight 93 is delayed more than 25 minutes
due to heavy morning traffic.
American Under Attack
Just four minutes after Fight 93 takes off hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the north Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 am, a second hijacked plane, United Airlines Flight 175, hits the South Tower.
After 46 minutes of routine flight, at about 9:28 am, the terrorists on board Flight 93 take over, the cockpit. Air traffic controllers in Cleveland, Ohio hear the pilot or first officer shouting, "Mayday! Get out of here!" The hijackers gain control and turn the aircraft on a course directed toward Washington, D.C.
At 9:42 am the Federal Aviation Administration orders all aircraft across the nation to land at the nearest airport. An estimated 4,500 aircraft
land without incident. This is the first time such an order is given in u.s. aviation history.