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United 93 (2006)
Starring JJ Johnson, Cheyenne Jackson
based on actual events as interpreted through the screenplay by Paul Greengrass
Reel Face: Real Face:
actor JJ Johnson JJ Johnson
Captain Jason Dahl Captain
Jason Dahl

Wife, Sandy; son, Matthew, 15
Captain Dahl had adjusted his schedule to include working on 9/11, so that he could be home for his wedding anniversary.
David Alan Basche David Alan Basche
Born:
August 25, 1968
Birthplace: Hartford, CT, USA
Todd Beamer Todd Beamer
Account manager, Oracle Corp., 32, Cranbury, N.J. Wife, Lisa; sons, David, 4, Drew, 2
Traveling to California for a business meeting, he was to return to NJ that night.
actor Cheyenne Jackson Cheyenne Jackson
Mark Bingham Mark Bingham
Owner, The Bingham Group, 31, San Francisco, Calif. Mother, Alice Hoglan, father, Jerry Bingham, step-mother, Karen Bingham.
Returning home after a weekend in New York City.

"A group of us are going to do something." - Thomas E. Burnett Jr., Thoratec Corporation senior vice president and passenger on United Airlines Flight 93, cell phone call to his wife, 11 September 2001.

Questioning the Story:
  



Did the families of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 support the making of the film?
Yes. Quite remarkably, according to United 93 director Paul Greengrass, all of the family members wanted the film to be made. Before making the film, Greengrass visited with all of them to discover their feelings toward the idea. "Our loved ones continue to live within-side of us, so we continue to be their voices," says Kenny Nacke, brother of passenger Louis Nacke. "I would hope someone would walk away from hearing the feats of the passengers and crew of Flight 93 and feel empowered. That's why I chose to be involved with the film, not only for my brother, but so that all forty of those individuals are remembered." Watch: flight 93 tour video A Look Inside (united93movie.com).

What lengths did director Paul Greengrass go to in order to make the film as factual as possible?
FAA's Ben SlineyIn addition to reportedly interviewing more than 100 family members and friends, director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, 2004) hired flight attendants and commercial airline pilots to play those roles in the film, and he cast several civilian and military controllers on duty on Sept. 11, 2001, including the FAA's Ben Sliney (right), to play themselves.

"What we did on this film was to gather together an extraordinary array of people wanting to get this film right, aircrew from United Airlines, pilots, the families of the people who were onboard, who gave us a sense of what their family member might have done given the type of person he or she was in any given situation; controllers and members of the military. We had a lot of expertise that in the end allows you to get a good sense of the general shape of events," Greengrass said. -emanuellevy.com

Did the filmmakers really build the set from an old commercial airliner?
Yes. The plane interior portrayed in the film was reconstructed from a retired Boeing 757 commercial airliner that had been disassembled and shipped to suburban London's Pinewood Studios. Set designers and engineers meticulously reconstructed the airplane using a 9,600 page manual from Boeing that was specific to every last nut and bolt. (aerial view of the United 93 set) Once completed, computer-controlled motion gimbals were used to simulate the pitch and roll of the aircraft in order to give the actors and the audience an almost exact sense of what the flight was like, based on FAA records of its movements. Everything from the magazines on board to what was on the in-flight TV was recreated exactly. -united93movie.com



How many people were on board United Flight 93?
There were 37 passengers (including the hijackers) and 7 crew members, including Captain Jason Dahl (shown near page top), and his first officer, LeRoy W. Homer Jr. The passengers ranged in age from 20 to 69 and included one married couple - flight 93 tour video Crash Site Tour. Early accounts indicated that there were 38 passengers on board, apparently due to one passenger booking two seats. The aircraft was only at 20% capacity, able to seat up to 182 passengers. -wikipedia.org

How do we know that exactly four terrorists were on board United Flight 93?
hijacker Ziad Jarrah Phone calls from the passengers and DNA evidence have revealed that exactly four terrorists (shown here) were on board the airplane, seated in first class. They were Ziad Jarrah (shown at left), Ahmed Al Haznawi, Saeed Al Ghamdi, and Ahmed Al Nami (American Morning with Paula Zahn). Many believe that the suspected terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, tried in 2006, was supposed to have been on board Flight 93. Moussaoui had received flight training in Minnesota in August of 2001 (freerepublic.com). Also, given that the other three hijacked flights all had five terrorists on board, suggests that Flight 93 was missing someone.

How long was Flight 93 delayed before taking off?
United 93 was scheduled to takeoff at 8:01am, but the plane did not actually depart from Newark International Airport, N.J. until 8:42am (post-gazette.com). This 41 minute delay was due to heavy plane traffic at the airport. The terrorists' original plan was to have the four hijacked aircraft hit their targets within ten minutes of each other (Crash Site Tour). The delay and the courage of the passengers made this impossible.

Did the four terrorists really have a bomb on board?
The 9/11 Commission Report concludes that the terrorists did not have a real bomb on board the plane. During cell phone calls, some of the passengers also indicated that they did not believe that the terrorists had a real bomb, even though one of the terrorists carried a red box that supposedly contained a bomb.

How did the filmmakers know that the hijackers had killed several people on the plane before it crashed?
At 9:41am, passenger Marion Britton called her friend. She told him that two people had been killed and that the plane had been turned around. At least one of the mortally wounded passengers had been stabbed. Authorities believe that this was Mark Rothenberg, the only first-class passenger not to make a phone call. This likely happened before the terrorists herded everyone to the back of the plane. Flight attendant Debra Welsh, who was the purser, may have been the other early victim of the hijackers. Some believe that she was stabbed in the cockpit for refusing to stop CPR on Mark Rothenberg. -(wikipedia.org)

Was Captain Dahl really stabbed to death in the cockpit as the film depicts?
Sandy DahlLikely not. In the film United 93, Captain Jason Dahl (shown near page top) is stabbed to death in the cockpit, and then his body is dragged into the first-class cabin by the terrorists. Due to the then forthcoming Zacarias Moussaoui trial, Jason Dahl's wife Sandy Dahl (right) was unable to tell the film's director, Paul Greengrass, what really happened regarding her husband. When Sandy Dahl attended the premiere of United 93 at the Tribeca Film Festival in April of 2006, she was shook up by what she was seeing. Although, she understood that the filmmakers hadn't known the full story regarding her husband. During the Moussaoui trial, the jury heard moans and terrorist shouts for someone (believed to be the captain) to stay on the cockpit floor. It is believed that these ongoing moans are coming from a still alive Captain Dahl.
-(azcentral.com)

Did the passengers really use pitchers of hot water against the terrorists?
We don't know if the Flight 93 passengers actually used the pitchers of hot water, but we do know that they prepared them. At 9:50am, flight attendant Sandra Bradshaw called her husband. She told him that they were in the rear galley filling pitchers with hot water to use against the hijackers.

Is it true that there was a passenger on board who may have been able to land the airplane?
Yes. Donald F. Greene, 52, of Greenwich Connecticut was the Executive Vice President of The Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, and he was also a licensed pilot of small aircraft. There is no conclusive evidence that the plan to take over the plane involved Donald Greene piloting the Boeing 757. It is suspected that Greene was the passenger who attempted to call an emergency operator after locking himself in one of the plane's bathrooms. Based on his personality, it is very probable that Greene may have subsequently played a key role in the planned takeover of the aircraft, quite possibly as its new pilot. -(nytimes.com)

Do we know if the passengers ever made it into the cockpit, as depicted in the film?
It is not known for sure if the passengers of United Flight 93 ever actually made it into the cockpit of the airplane. Black box recordings revealed that it is possible the passengers broke into the cockpit only after the pilot (hijacker) began aiming the plane down for a crash. On the recording, one of the hijackers can be heard saying "pull it down, pull it down." A desperate physical struggle would have then ensued. The plane never recovered from its descent.

How fast was the plane traveling when it crashed?
United 93 crash site When Flight 93, a Boeing 757, struck the ground on September 11 near Shanksville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, it was traveling at more than 500mph. It crashed upside-down at a forty-five degree angle (Crash Site Tour). The 128,730+ pound Boeing 757 gouged a 50-foot-deep pit in a reclaimed strip mine (wikipedia.org). The ferocious force of this impact disintegrated metal, bone and flesh. It took investigators more than three months to identify the remains of the 40 passengers and crew, and, by process of elimination, the four hijackers.
-(post-gazette.com, 12/30/01)

Is it possible that the government shot the plane down?
There is no substantial evidence to suggest that Flight 93 was shot down. When asked this question during an Entertainment Weekly interview, director Paul Greengrass responded by saying the following:

"The simple truth is that it wasn't shot down, and it's very unlikely that it could have been. I actually find the disturbing truth to be the absolute worst that that plane, given the state of confusion [on the ground], probably would have reached its target. The thing about the theories is that they tend to be quite comfortable in a funny sort of way because they reduce the world to a series of simple propositions of bad guys changing world history. Wouldn't it just be easier if conspiracies were true? But they're not. The world is actually frighteningly complex."

Was Flight 93's black box ever found?
Flight 93 black boxThe black box containing the flight data and cockpit voice recorders was recovered by investigators two days after the crash on September 13, 2001. The black box was found in the main crater at the crash site, located near Shanksville, Pa (post-gazette.com, 9/13/01). The plane's fuselage burrowed straight into the earth with such force that one of the "black boxes" was recovered at a depth of 25 feet under the ground. -(biblenetworknews.com)

Were any pieces of the plane ever found?
Flight 93 plane wreckageIn addition to the flight recorders, several recognizable pieces of the Boeing 757 were recovered in Shanksville, Somerset County, Pa. On an April 28, 2006 episode of Larry King Live, Pa State Police Sgt. Anthony Deluca said that when he arrived on the scene of the crash on September 11, he saw plane tires burning and he found three plane seats not far from nearby houses. He pulled out a card from the back of one of the seats, which identified the plane as a Boeing 757 commercial airplane.
See Flight 93 Debris Photos: Wreckage #1 | Wreckage #2 | Wreckage #3

Were any items that belonged to the people on board ever found?
Yes. Personal items, miscellaneous debris and human remains were found as far away as six miles from the crash site. Nearby residents and businesses outside Shanksville, Somerset County, reported finding books, clothing, papers and what appeared to be human remains. Several residents said that they collected bags-full of items that they turned over to investigators. Marina workers at Indian Lake (6 miles from the impact crater) said that they saw a cloud of confetti-like debris descend over the lake after hearing the 10:06am impact explosion (post-gazette.com, 9/13/2001).

CeeCee Lyles personal effects Numerous other items were found amongst the debris. Two Bibles were recovered, a white one and a black Bible of unknown origin. The black Bible belonged to a twenty-year-old Japanese man, Toshiya Kuge (Crash Site Tour). At the 2006 trial of terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, several items belonging to the passengers were presented. They included personal effects of flight attendant CeeCee Lyles, which were found at the scene in Somerset County (shown above).

flight 93 terrorist red bandana At the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the exhibits presented was a red bandana (shown at left) recovered from the United Flight 93 crash site. Evidence from passenger cell phone calls suggests that the bandana was worn by one of the terrorists on board the plane. Other exhibits included John Talignani's driver's license (shown here). Talignani, 74, from Staten Island, N.Y., was on his way to California to claim the body of his stepson, Alan Zykofsky, who had died in a car crash.


Watch The Heroes of Flight 93 Video:
Hear transmissions between the hijackers and air traffic controllers, then watch an informative presentation put on by Mary Alice Mankamyer, a volunteer Ambassador at the Flight 93 memorial and crash site near Shanksville, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

heroes video The Heroes of Flight 93 (crash site talk) - Google Video, 33:18

air traffic controller audio United Flight 93 Air Traffic Controller Audio - 4:31


Link-to-Learn More:
United 93 / Roger Ebert Movie Review
9-11 Flight Map and Timeline
Flight 93 Cockpit Recorder Transcript
Moussaoui Trial Exhibits and Documents (Includes Photos)
Online Thank You Card to the Flight 93 Victims
United 93 Director Paul Greengrass Interview On Rush Limbaugh
Photo Assemblage of 9/11 Victims
Flight 93 Memorial Fund at honorflight93.org
Official United 93 Universal Pictures Web Site
Online Movie Forums - Moviegoers Discuss the Film


Watch the United 93 Movie Preview:
United 93 movie trailer


EXPLORE
THE STORY
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Let's Roll
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Hero of Flight 93 : Mark Bingham

Hero of Flight 93 : Mark Bingham

United 93 Movie

United 93 Movie (DVD / Blu-ray / Download)



 
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