11 August, 2011

August 11, 2001

Around this time, the flight instructors for Zacarias Moussaoui become suspicious and fear he may be planning to hijack a commercial flight.

In addition, it is unusual that he has no aviation background, very little experience, and no pilot’s license. All other pilots at the center, even “vanity pilots”—wealthy individuals who just want the thrill of flying a large jet—have many times more flying hours than Moussaoui and are all licensed; [US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002; STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 4/24/2005; RAKE, 5/2005]
bullet He has flown for 57 hours at flight school in Oklahoma, but not yet flown solo, which is unusual. The school’s manager of pilot training, Alan McHale, will later comment, “My worst student was a grandma, and I got her to solo after 21 hours;” [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 4/24/2005]
bullet He is not just buying a one-period joyride, but a whole course; [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 4/24/2005]
bullet He seems determined to pack a large amount of training in a short period for no apparent reason; [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/8/2002]
bullet He is “extremely” interested in the operation of the plane’s doors and control panel. [US CONGRESS, 10/17/2002] He also is very keen to learn the protocol for communicating with the flight tower, despite claiming to have no plans to become an actual pilot; [NEW YORK TIMES, 2/8/2002]
bullet He talks to some Syrian airline pilots training at the facility, and the pilots tell Nelson that Moussaoui is fluent in Arabic. Nelson, who is already worried Moussaoui might be up to no good, thinks, “One more red flag;” [STAR-TRIBUNE (MINNEAPOLIS), 4/24/2005; CNN, 3/2/2006]

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