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Profile: Timothy Duffy

 
  

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Timothy Duffy actively participated in the following events:

 
  

8:34 a.m.: Boston Flight Control Attempts to Contact Air Base Directly; Result Unknown      Complete 911 Timeline

       Boston flight controllers attempt to contact the military through the FAA's Cape Cod, Massachusetts, facility. Two fighters are on twenty-four hour alert at the Otis Air National Guard Base, at Cape Cod. Boston tries reaching this base so the fighters there can scramble after Flight 11. Apparently, they do this before going through the usual NORAD channels. The 9/11 Commission is vague about the outcome of this call. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] According to another account, this call occurs “around 8:30 a.m.,” when the Boston controller tells Otis control tower that Flight 11 has lost its identification signal and appears to be headed toward Manhattan; it looks like a possible hijacking, and fighters are needed fast. The lead pilot at Otis, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Duffy, says, “It didn't happen the way it was supposed to � We were the ones who were contacted right away and knew about it before the air defense sector.” Duffy says that at “[a]bout 8:30, 8:35” he receives a phone call from one of the sergeants, informing him of the hijacking. He says: “As soon as we heard there was something about a hijacking we got moving. � I called for ‘Nasty’ (Maj. Dan Nash) and I to suit up right away.” According to Duffy, “Halfway to the jets, we got ‘battle stations, ’ and I briefed Nasty on the information I had about the American Airlines flight. About 4-5 min. later, we got the scramble order and took off.” [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp. 47-50; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02]
People and organizations involved: Federal Aviation Administration, Otis Air National Guard Base, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Boston flight control, Timothy Duffy
          

(8:40 a.m.): Fighter Pilots Unofficially Told to Get Ready to Scramble After Flight 11      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Major Daniel Nash.
Major Daniel Nash (codenamed Nasty) and Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Duffy (codenamed Duff ) are the two F-15 pilots who would scramble after Flight 11 and then Flight 175. Apparently, they get several informal calls warning to get ready. According to Nash, at this time, a colleague at the Otis Air National Guard Base tells him that a flight out of Boston has been hijacked, and that he should be on alert. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/02] NEADS senior technician Jeremy Powell (informed about the hijacking at 8:37 a.m.), says that he telephones Otis Air National Guard Base soon thereafter to tell it to upgrade its “readiness posture.” [Newhouse News Service, 1/25/02] Colonel Robert Marr, head of NEADS, also says that after being told of the hijacking at 8:37 a.m., he says, “I'll call First Air Force [at Otis] and let them know we've got a potential incident.” [BBC, 9/1/02] Boston flight control had tried calling the Otis base directly at 8:34 a.m., although the result of that call remains unclear. Duffy recalls being warned: “I was just standing up by the ops desk and I was told I had a phone call. I asked who it was and they said the [Boston] tower calling and something about a hijacking. It was Flight American 11, a 767, out of Boston going to California. At the time we ran in and got suited up.” [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/02; BBC, 9/1/02; Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Duffy says, “Halfway to the jets, we got ‘battle stations’ ... which means to get ready for action.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] The actual scramble order does not come until the pilots are already waiting in the fighters: “We went out, we hopped in the jets and we were ready to go—standby for a scramble order if we were going to get one.” [BBC, 9/1/02] Duffy continues, “I briefed Nasty on the information I had about the American Airlines Flight. About four-five minutes later, we got the scramble order and took off.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] However, the official notification to scramble these fighters does not come until 8:46 a.m. The six-minute (or more) delay between unofficial and official notification has not been explained.
People and organizations involved: Boston flight control, Otis Air National Guard Base, Robert Marr, Jeremy Powell, Daniel Nash, Timothy Duffy
          

8:52 am (and After): Otis Fighters Scramble to New York; Conflicting Accounts of Urgency and Destination      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Route of the Otis Air National Guard fighters to New York City.
The F-15 fighters are scrambling to New York City. Later accounts concerning these fighters conflict significantly. According one account, pilot Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Duffy later recalls that they are in a hurry at this time: “we've been over the flight a thousand times in our minds and I don't know what we could have done to get there any quicker.” However, though Duffy says he's been warned Flight 11 had been hijacked and appears headed toward New York City, he does not yet realize that his flight is anything other than a routine exercise: “It's just peacetime. We're not thinking anything real bad is going to happen out there.” [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/02; BBC, 9/1/02] But, in another account, Duffy claims that fellow officer tells him before takeoff, “This looks like the real thing.” “It just seemed wrong. I just wanted to get there. I was in full-blower all the way.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Full-blower means the fighters are traveling at or near full speed. An F-15 can travel over 1,875 mph. [Air Force News, 7/30/97] A considerable amount of fuel is required to maintain such high speeds for long, but a NORAD commander notes that, coincidentally, these fighters are stocked with extra fuel. [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Duffy later says, “As we're climbing out, we go supersonic on the way, which is kind of nonstandard for us.” He says his target destination is over Kennedy airport in New York City. [ABC News, 9/11/02] Similarly, another account states that, as the F-15s are taking off, “Duffy told his wingman they would fly supersonic.” According to Duffy, “When we took off I left it in full afterburner the whole time.” [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 57] He says, “When we [take] off we [start] climbing a 280-heading, basically towards New York City. I [am] supersonic. ... We [are] to proceed to Manhattan directly and set up a combat air patrol.” [BBC, 9/1/02] There are different accounts as to just how quickly they travel. According to Major General Paul Weaver, director of the Air National Guard, “The pilots [fly] ‘like a scalded ape,’ topping 500 mph but [are] unable to catch up to the airliner.” [Dallas Morning News, 9/16/01 Sources: Paul Weaver] ABC News later says, “The fighters are hurtling toward New York at mach 1.2, nearly 900 miles per hour.” [ABC News, 9/11/02] NORAD commander Major General Larry Arnold later states that the fighters head straight for New York City at about 1,100 to 1,200 mph. [Slate, 1/16/02; MSNBC, 9/23/01 (C) Sources: Larry Arnold] “An F-15 departing from Otis can reach New York City in ten to twelve minutes, according to an Otis spokeswoman.” [Cape Cod Times, 9/16/01] At an average speed of 1,125 mph, the fighters would reach the city in ten minutes—9:02 a.m. If NORAD commander Arnold's recollection is correct, these fighters should reach Flight 175 just before it crashes. Yet according to a NORAD timeline developed just after 9/11, the fighters take about 19 minutes to reach New York City (arriving at about 9:11 a.m.), traveling below supersonic speeds at less than 600 mph. [NORAD, 9/18/01] According to a later account though, these fighters weren't even heading toward Manhattan. Contradicting his earlier recollection, pilot Timothy Duffy says, “we were supersonic going down to Long Island. � [W]e have no idea what we are going toward. We are taking off to go help somebody and we needed to get there quickly to assess the situation.” NEADS Commander Robert Marr says that after they received word of the first plane hitting the WTC, “Our jets are heading down south toward Whiskey 105 and we don't really have a mission for them at this point, because we don't have any other problems in the air.” Whiskey 105 is military training airspace southeast of Long Island. [Air War Over America, by Leslie Filson, 1/04, pp 57-59] Consistent with this account but also contradicting the earlier recollections of pilots and others involved that day, the 9/11 Commission later concludes, in direct contradiction of the recollections of the pilots and others involved that day, that the fighters are never directed toward New York City at all, but rather are ordered to head out over the Atlantic Ocean. According to the 9/11 Commission's conclusions, the fighters do not reach New York City until 9:25 a.m. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Timothy Duffy
          

(9:03 a.m.): Contradictions over Otis Fighter Mission and Whereabouts      Complete 911 Timeline

       The minute Flight 175 hits the South Tower, pilot Major Daniel Nash says that clear visibility allows him to see smoke pour out of Manhattan, even though NORAD says he is 71 miles away. [Cape Cod Times, 8/21/02] The other Otis pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Duffy, recalls, “We're 60 miles out, and I could see the smoke from the towers.” They call NORAD right then for an update, and Duffy relates, “At that point, they said the second aircraft just hit the World Trade Center. That was news to me. I thought we were still chasing American [Airlines Flight] 11.” [ABC News, 9/14/02] In another account Duffy again relates, “It was right about then when they said the second aircraft had just hit the World Trade Center, which was quite a shock to both [Nash] and I, because we both thought there was only one aircraft out there. We were probably 70 miles or so out when the second one hit. So, we were just a matter of minutes away.” [BBC, 9/1/02] He asks for clarification of their mission, but the request is met with “considerable confusion.” [Aviation Week and Space Technology, 6/3/02] Bob Varcadapane, a Newark, New Jersey, flight controller who sees the Flight 175 crash, claims, “I remember the two F-15s. They were there moments after the impact. And I was just—said to myself, ‘If only they could have gotten there a couple minutes earlier.’ They just missed it.” [MSNBC, 9/11/02 (B)] However, the 9/11 Commission appears to believe that the pilots never get near New York City at this time. According to the commission's account, from 8:46 a.m. until 8:52 a.m., NORAD personnel are unable to find Flight 11. Shortly after 8:50 a.m., and just before the fighters take off, NORAD is given word that a plane has hit the WTC (see (8:50 a.m.)). Lacking a clear target, the fighters take off toward a military controlled airspace over the ocean, off the coast of Long Island. A map released by the 9/11 Commission indicates that at 9:03 the fighters are about 100 miles away and heading southwest instead of west to New York City. [9/11 Commission Report, 6/17/04] The 9/11 Commission says that, at 9:10 a.m., Boston flight control tells the Otis fighters about the second WTC tower being struck. [9/11 Commission Final Report, 7/24/04, p. 459]
People and organizations involved: Daniel Nash, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Bob Varcadapane, World Trade Center, Timothy Duffy
          

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