Home Run
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The story...

"According to British aeronautical engineer Joe Vialls, the flight control computers of all 757s and 767s have a feature that enables them to be remotely controlled, for the purpose of aborting hijackings. This was also suggested by a former German secretary of defense, Von Buelow. The technology required for such systems has existed for decades. If such systems were operative on 9-11, they should have been used to take control of and land the hijacked jets."

Others suggest an even more sinister conclusion: could this feature, "Home Run", have been used to take control of the jets and fly them into the WTC and Pentagon?

Our take...

This doesn't seem plausible, however if it's been independently verified by a former German secretary of defence then perhaps there's something in it. Although you should know that von Buelow isn’t exactly neutral on this issue (he’s written a book called “The CIA and September 11” that says the US Government were behind the attacks). Still, let’s see what he has to say. 9-11 Review have a piece on this:

"In an interview with the German newspaper Tagesspeigelon January 13, 2002, Andreas von Buelow, Minister of Technology for the united Germany in the early 1990s, a person who first worked in West Germany's Secretary of Defense 30 years ago, told about a technology by which airliners can be commanded through remote control.

The former Minister of Technology said: '"The Americans had developed a method in the 1970s, whereby they could rescue hijacked planes by intervening into the computer piloting."'

Andreas von Buelow said that this technology was named Home Run".

It's true, then? Well, no. Fortunately 9-11 Review also have a link to the full interview, and it tells a very different story.

"There is also the theory of one British flight engineer:

According to this, the steering of the planes was perhaps taken out of the pilots' hands, from outside.

The Americans had developed a method in the 1970s, whereby they could rescue hijacked planes by intervening into the computer piloting [automatic pilot system]. This theory says, this technique was abused in this case. That's a theory...."

It seems von Buelow isn't independently verifying the story at all, he's just repeating what he’s read about it, But he believes it, yes? Well, no.

"You see! I do not accept this theory, but I find it worth considering".

So von Buelow is interested, but definitively says he doesn't accept the idea -- not quite the impression given in the headlines. And that's just as well, because 757's and 767's are not fly by wire planes. The pilot can always override what they do (and that continues today, even with the fly-by-wire 77).

"On Boeing jets, the pilot can override onboard computers and their built-in soft limits.

"It's not a lack of trust in technology," said John Cashman, director of flight-crew operations for Boeing. "We certainly don't have the feeling that we do not want to rely on technology. But the pilot in control of the aircraft should have the ultimate authority.""


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