fj[jr •


Break in record. [Classification] MEMORANDUM FOR THE RECORD Event: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) New York Air Route Center Type of event: Interview Date: Tuesday, September Special Access Issues: None Prepared by: Geoffrey Brown Team Number: 8 Location: FAA New York Air Route Center, Rokonkomo, New York Participants - Non-Commission: Alfred , FAA General Consul Participants - Commission: John Azzarello, Miles Kara, Geoffrey Brown NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, the following paraphrases the response and opinion of the interviewee. Please refer to the interview transcript for a complete account. Paul Thumser. POINT 16 on tape. Extensive flight experience. Became operations supervisor. Area a, area b. was supervising area b on 9/11. Goes through operations supervisor position. Would report to the OMIC. On 9/11 Bruce Barrett was the OMIC. He reports to the deputy facility manager, air traffic manager, then mike McCormack. On 9/11 McCormack would report to acting AEA501 Rick duCharme. Now AEA500. Based on Paul's experience as a pilot, an ELT cannot be triggered by a pilot in a 767. In 767 does not believe it could have been set off by a pilot. A testing ELT at 00-05 of the hour. On a 767 impact would be the only way to trigger one. It could have come from anywhere 121.5 civilian 243.0 military. A lot of times when an ELT is received off the testing time a pilot will report that they set it off. RCC is the rescue coordination center of the air force and they are contacted for credible ELTs. Parameters for that type of airplane to be set off due to a hard turn or a hard landing aren't credible. The sensitivity setting on those ELTs are not set low. On the Egyptian air crash into the ocean there was no ELT set off. Thumser was the midnight supervisor, which is the OMIC at night. He vectored an airplane to investigate, and that plane did not pick up one. So it would have to be a serious impact to set the ELT off. , 2003

There is detection equipment when airplanes are within 5 miles or Ik or 2k feet of each other. An alarm goes off and a print out comes through at the watch area. That went off that morning. First they have to be relieved from that position. They request downstairs an NTap - a computer printout with targets, altitudes and times. Match the times and altitudes to check if someone has an error. If it is concluded that there is less than a 5 mile separation, then they check the voice tapes to see what the controller and the pilot said. Request airways facilities to check the voice tape. Puts Ivonna Dowis in charge of area b. Thumser goes to begin investigation of operational error. At about 0835edt bruce Barrett had the real, and then informed Thumser of possible hijack and Thumser goes back to area b. Handoff position sits to right of controller. Mark Merced on r56. Ivonna briefs Thumser on what was happening. Thumser takes charge of area again. Merced starts tracking AA11. Merced is having conversations with ZBW. He has a headset on so isn't hearing the ZBW side of the conversation. The last known altitude was fl290. Everyone is aware of that. Dave finds out about it. Protecting fl290. Not allowing anyone within 2k ft. aware of no radio contact with AA11 for 15 or 20 minutes. Primary target. Course deviation. AA11 was not supposed to come through area, did not know destined to lax, but AA11 flight plan was not through ZNY airspace. Last known was f!290. The people who need to know do, and are tracking the primary. R42 controller, Dave Bittiglia, started a track on AA11. In order to partially validate, Thunmser asked Merced to take an eagle936 to f!310. Vectored with a slight adjustment, the eagle went just to the left of the American. Possibly 10 to 15 miles northwest of LaGuardia. Eagle did not spot AA11. Major trouble that eagle did not see it. They had high confidence if AA11 was at f!290 eagle would have spotted it. Thumser became extremely concerned because of the high volume of traffic at all altitudes in the ZNY New York City airspace. Sense of urgency translated to area. When Thumser first got to the area had only heard of a possible hijacking, NORDO, shut off transponder, and off course. Had received no information of the threatening hijack. Telling the 68 controller, who is controlling departures coming down out of LaGuardia and Kennedy that AA11 may enter airspace. Has told 4 out 5 sectors of his area. Goes back to Merced, and primary is lost right over Manhattan. Radars are overlapping in ZNY, so think the plane has gone very low. Tells whole area lost primary target, doesn't know lat/long/alt or anything else. At that exact point Dave Bittiglia informs Thumser of the lost UAL 175. Data block was there but was no longer tracking altitude. The point went into coast after 4 hits. The first four based on history are projected by the computer. Each hit is 12 seconds. Notices UAL 175 goes to coast track. Dave calls a few seconds later and informs he is not getting UAL 175. They notice on Bittiglia's screen the limited data log on a different code. Bittiglia says it is UAL 175, but it's changed altitudes. McCormack and in area now.

UAL 175 starts to descend. Needs to tell sector 39 that UAL175's limited data log may be entering space. Before UAL175, 10 or 13 miles before he turns to the southeast east. Have a good fix on altitude, unlike AA11. Mode c transponder still on. At that point the area was informed (after descent, before turn) that a "small airplane" had hit the world trade center. Information had at that time was - had a hijacked airplane (AA11) that lost primary directly over Manhattan, immediately equated that it was AA11 that hit the WTC. But now was dealing with UAL 175. At this point safety and control in area b is compromised, so Thumser tells to stop all traffic in area b. UAL 175 is turning at this time. Chaos in area related to attempting to clear all traffic in UAL175's path. 20 miles southeast of Allentown, turning southeast, descending. An extremely abnormal situation. Can put in 7600, 7700 or even 7500 at that point since they knew he had the ability to broadcast. Point between j6 and J48 20 miles northeast of Pottstown VOR. Awareness of hijack begins at beginning of turn, and tells Dave LaCates to scramble McGuire. Doesn't say I think this is a hijack. McGuire doesn't have fighters, but was thinking something was going to happen, and was reaching for possibilities to get military assistance. Lacates never acknowledged or responded. Said quietly to LaCates, so didn't say loudly, didn't want to disturb area. "If had authority.. .knowing what I know.. .with the background I have.. .1 would have shot that plane down" - when working at Kennedy had worked hijacks. Used procedure to provide fighter escorts. Paine Stewarts Lear jet example. Had been done in past. Is part of that protocol ability to shoot down aircraft? Thought it would have to be directed by white house. If there wasn't the AA11 event, would not have thought hijack. Would have thought UAL 175 had a serious equipment problem and would land at Kennedy. Kennedy has a large maintenance base. In the old days would have treated like an emergency and would have told Kennedy, possibly Newark to get ready. Too many coincidences. Maybe three people with the information of area b could have put that together. About 20 miles northeast of Potsdam . UAL 175 made turn, and Thumser was thinking headed towards WTC. Not at turn towards northeast, at point of turn at southeast understood UAL 175 headed towards WTC. UAL 175 Meanwhile, Chris Tucker pointing out 3321, and speaking on r55 telling r9 a compilation of his overheard remarks. He was confusing the overheard on UAL 175 with AA11. Would have never known based on his scope. As looking at transcript it is 0853 when he states American 75 hijack. So had information that a small airplane was hit. Don't have verification that it was all that hit WTC. But tucker's spread of information was from overheard. UAL175 was in a high rate of descent, was traveling 350 or 400 knots as headed towards into the ground. After lost target soon thereafter, nearly instantaneous heard of second WTC hit. Doesn't have a visual on the towers, but has a mental understanding of what was ongoing. Thumser notes that after it was over, shut down traffic, combined sectors, got other

people to watch area B's scopes, management Robert Ott, one of the office managers, was asked to guide area b through the process. Not abnormal procedure to give statements. Robert Ott gave Thumser and area b direction not to call home or friends. Sequestered everyone in a conference room. Went to old operations room and Marty Fournier recorded statements with bob Ott. Mark Merced, Dave Bittiglia, Chris tucker, Tony Palmieri, Thumser - for whatever reason wanted these recordings. Rarely done. Gave a verbal recorded statements. Did not want to say everything because of what was in room. Never heard of possibility of a terrorist using a plane for a suicide mission. After thumper's statement is reviewed by staff, Thumser says he told LaCates to scramble McGuire after the north bound turn of UAL 175. Mike and Dave were on phones at this point. While handling the descent of UAL175, said "tell 'em he's com'n." wanted to help stop the plane. Even had a thought of running another airplane into them at that time. It was a bizarre enough to tell someone to scramble. Assumed the chief and the deputy on the phones was relaying all the information. Looking at profile and what they did it was a projection of what they did. It seemed simple to project where they were going. Notes thought UAL 175 was going to hit WTC about seven minutes before impact. Point describing 085436 based on commission staffs radar. Before he made a northeast turn. It was like driving the wrong way down the street. "What I thought it was going to do was conjecture, not fact." Pre 9/11 ATC would receive communication from pilot of hijack. Code words, transponder. Neither of those happened on 9/11. Any other way to detect the hijack suspect- not talking to ATC, and extremely off course. How to confirm without communication? No. Pre 9/11: communication - pilot reports hijack, gets info, reports to area supervisor, area supervisor reports to watch desk, OMIC follows up. Doesn't believe operation manager would have been doing that. Thinks goes beyond that. Prior and or on 9/11: NORAD and NEADS. Reasonable awareness, pre9/l 1 it would take 5 or 6 phone calls to get there. Would probably call local air force base. DynSim - not familiar with. No computer or training for hijacking. Operations supervisors do not go through them. As a controller your information for hijacking was a) get information and pass it and b) do what they ask to do. Very few hijacks pre-9/11 for a controller to respond to in the real world. Were no exercise or drills, very little emphasis and drills. No knowledge of any sponsored by FAA or military. None with multiple hijacking events.

Post 9/11: hasn't personally gone through any, and does not believe controllers have gone through any either. Only review they've gotten is what to do in case of known hijacking. Were only told a "suspected hijacking". Pilots reported communications to ATC, ATC communicated that to Thumser. "even united said everybody stay in seats blah blah blah" - Thumser. Area b was treating UAL 175 and AA11 as hijacking. Thought not confirmed hijacking. Would have said absolutely a hijack, but was not a confirmed hijacking. No one said to Thumser don't say it's a hijack until it is confirmed a hijack. AA11 rebirth: never heard any rumors of that sort. But did here within ZNY that it might not have been AA11 that hit WTC. Made the logical assumption that it was AA11. Wouldn't see a fire from the world trade center if a small aircraft hit it. Would be a small fire. But didn't hear anyone say anything about at not being AA11 hitting the center. Doesn't recall anything from outside the center of AA11 still being airborne. Nothing heard about a plane lost in pequebsi. Error that r39 had in the morning did not have anything to do with the events of 9/11. When each sector was clear of aircraft Thumser combined the sector. R5002 based out of Bradley in Hartford ct. they do routinely train with live ammunition, to his knowledge. Does not believe wrote an AA11 statement. Usually facility that has control of the airspace or the airplane that is involved in the accident does the incident. So much of AA11 happened in Boston a little surprised that they didn't ask for a statement from Thumser. Last known alt at f!290. Transponder on at that point. In hindsight, after accidents occur, any way can you get from Boston center to hit WTC without hitting ZNY airspace? Yes. Without hitting New York Tracon space? No. Told by FAA if anyone wants a statement on AA11, Sam Shelton told him the FAA would ask for it. Shelton administrator in charge of area b. Following protocol if FAA wanted a statement would go through Shelton. Verbal statement given to bob Ott Paul Thumser would not have a problem with commission staff reviewing it. Recommendations: security at gates, security at airports (ramps, cleaners, maintenance, fuelers) - that's where access to planes is. Clamp down on security in ramp area. ATC perspective very little that can be done except cooperate with the hijacker. If the situation was similar, minutes to New York, would be very difficult without already airborne combat ready pilots with authority to shoot down. Better military cooperation right now,

with NEADS/NORAD direct line. Could be hotlines distributed throughout, but not confident that every operational supervisor should be given that responsibility. Pre911 military communications very difficult. Relationship only dealt with aircraft in and out of practice bombing range. Involved in desert storm. Developed good relationship during that. Limited direct communication. Manufacturers of transponders. Believes UAL 175 might have had an updated transponder that can not be turned off. One that will always give you a transponder code and it can't get turned off. Original code 1470, then 3020, then a minute later 3021 changed it. Why turn 4 knobs when you could turn it off with one switch? - does that seem an attempt by United Airlines pilot to signal, hijackers to shut off, or c hijackers change code for confusion? If flying would have gone to the first digit, right to the side of the pilot. Probably not an office switch, and then scrambled it up. Even switching one digit would have come up a limited data block. In flight school taught early on the codes, etc? for that level to fly manually a 767 would have definitely known.

(incident #) (call sign)
PERSONNEL STATEMENT • • • FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION NEW YORK AIR ROUTE TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER ACTION: Complete in accordance with FAA Order 8020. 1 IB, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, investigation, and Reporting, paragraph 75, Personnel Statements. BACKGROUND: Much of the information concerning the circumstances surrounding this accident/incident can be retrieved via some type of recorded data source. However,, some of the facts concerning what you saw and what you did may not have been completely captured. The purpose of this statement is to provide any Era within your peoooal knowledge ttaty^ provide a more complete understanding of the circumstances sunouixling this acddentfmcioent. Therefore, speculations, hearsay opinions, conclusions, and/or other extraneous data arc not to be irxdudcd m thb statement Additkmalry, thb statement ma^ released to the public through FOIA or litigation activities including retrial discovery, deooshions, and artualcoimtestimooy. mSTOUCtlONS: This statement is to be PRINTED and signed by you. Statement times and dates shall correspond with SISO. Your signature below certifies the accuracy of mis statement It willneithcr be edited nor typed, and, once signed, will constitute your original statement . This statement concerns the acddcnt/iroadcnt C7<T Tat M (location)' (year)


i, PAUL.
(first) I am employed as an


(last) (operating initials) me FAA at tfacNew York ARTOX Roafconkbma. New Yotfc. positionfrom UTCto

I was working Ac _OSK

TEXT OF STATEMENT: (use other side if necessary)

TH£ CO?JT(lKi'Lt^ QJfllii^

-me fl.(M

ti f/CT -|T/a



u/tnr'!> At-ntytxr



t-6U6U)i>^ W 1>UCi6iM^ Op
CheckOne: 3tnhTtetU>£aiy iimwlmtoe, Qie cpcrational equipment configuration ot the time of Qie UlCMait/aCCMail WJH Vi UlUt Chod-dwgram. (^) j wlmt tin, miuuj. M-tUu.M of the npcfotio ledge and recollection, the above statement is correct



ix)fir/!£Q 1® wAn.6 Cv/U TM


U.V/DL <^c SAW





V CUM ft.'-.
' £Ati ^q 'g'TXi'fcTiL"

RAO t^<r IP

A .2(rxo-/ii
MS g




fUr \M(UfrvS

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful