Anthony Cotsifas Photograph - "Here's One I Made Earlier"

At a first glance the viewer of this FEMA photo (Anthony Cotsifas) could easily be forgiven for thinking that the UA175 aircraft was real life Boeing 767-200:

A close comparison between the Flight Simulator model and the original FEMA photograph reveals the known clever 98% similarities between the forward blade antenna, starboard wing, the entire tail fin section, cockpit windows, aircraft livery, and the United Airlines logos. Any discrepancies between the two images could quite easily be attributed to small errors in the POSKY model or human error in the pre-production of the image pair.

Once again, the differences start to come into focus when we pinpoint the port wing and its engine nacelle. The wing has a greater sweep back angle than it should have. This is another tell-tale example of the 'Port Wing Anomaly' that so many photos prove beyond doubt; and the engine is accordingly misplaced (The CG Boeing 767-200 has not accounted for the shadow cast by the WTC1 smoke cloud and therefore the nose-tip is incorrectly illuminated, a know technical limitation of the Fs 2004 software).

Please note that the UA175 aircraft in this image has no flap runners on the port wing (the two protrusions on the underside of the wing which house the mechanisms which deploy the flaps). These structures are quite obvious on the CG model and also appear in other UA175 images discussed in this article.

But the real problem with this aircraft is the extent of the port wing root deformation. It is so massively deformed and bloated that it rises up to the line where the passenger windows would be and continues down in a curve to a point beyond the port engine pylon. It's a miracle that this aircraft ever got of the ground let alone maintained straight and level flight with this wing defect. If UA175 were real the pilot would have to have his foot pressed hard on the right rudder and have the ailerons hard right to counter the left yaw generated by the drag from this severely deformed aerofoil.

When we consider these handling issues being dealt with by an inexperienced crew who are trying to navigate their cumbersome aircraft with pinpoint precision at least 100 knots over its operational airspeed limit directly into WTC2, it suddenly becomes obvious that the aircraft shown in this picture can not possibly be a real Boeing 767-200 piloted by Arab hijackers.

In case the reader is concerned about perspective issues in the Fs 2004 simulation take a look at the image below which shows the comparison between the original Anthony Cotsifas image and the Fs2004 rendition of the same photograph. The WTC towers were custom made for the purposes of this investigation and they were created and positioned using plans of the WTC complex by an independent Flight Simulator scenery designer.

Having used Flight Simulator since the Fs 98 version I've always been amazed at how well the program renders images with such precision, especially the way in which the program accurately emulates the virtual camera which allows the user to move inside the virtual word viewing the aircraft from many different angles.

Some critics have suggested that the excessive port wing deformation seen in this Anthony Cotsifas image was an aerodynamic consequence of the recovery from high speed dive (around 550mph) while the aircraft was either banked to the left or in the process of banking to the left.

In order for an aircraft to turn to the left the pilot typically turns the control yoke to the left. This causes a control surface or combination of control surfaces (there is no evidence of any control surface deflection in the photograph, although this could be down to the relatively low resolution of the image) on the starboard wing to physically modify the aerofoil to such an extent that the lift coefficient of the wing is altered causing it to generate more lift than it would in a straight and level flight scenario. The right wing would be aerodynamically forced upward and the left wing would fall correspondingly. This change in airframe attitude would allow the pilot to initiate a stable and balanced turn to the left.

So, in the case of this image the starboard wing should have been more deformed than the port wing because it had to be generating more lift than the port wing because it was in the process of banking to the left. If the port wing was generating a disproportionate amount of lift in comparison to the starboard wing at that point in time, then in the instant after the photograph was taken, the port wing would rise up sharply and without correction by the pilot would push the aircraft into a right bank attitude which would ultimately alter the heading of the aircraft, perhaps causing it to fly into the right hand side of the tower or miss it altogether. We see no sign of this scenario in any of the UA175 photographs or video's.

One of the other shortcomings of this 'high speed dive recovery' argument is that ignores the port tail fin (not to mention basic aerodynamics) which is equally as distorted as the port wing. The control surfaces on the tail fin of an aircraft normally work evenly across both the starboard and port sections so there is no aerodynamic reason why the port side seems to be experiencing so much deformation when the starboard side is not. Personally I find it highly unlikely that the tail fin section would have remained attached to the fuselage with this much flexing, especially when most of the deformation seems to be occurring at the root of the aerofoil.

Even if this supposed 'real' aircraft was pulling out of a high speed dive as is seen in some of the video's of the UA175 aircrafts approach then both wings would have been creating the same amount of additional lift to recover from the dive. i.e. both wings should have exhibited the same amount of flexing. The fact that the UA175 aircraft was in a left bank throughout the dive recovery is irrelevant because the increased port wing dihedral angle seen in the photograph should have been equal across both wings and even if it was in the process of banking to the left the right wing should have been experiencing more upward flexing because it was creating proportionally more lift to create the left bank attitude seen in the photograph.

The only situation when the wings of a commercial jet could be seen flexing by a viewer on the ground would be when the jet was fully fueled and flying in turbulance.

A demonstration of this 'wing flexing' is the comparative United Airlines Boeing 767-200 image in the 'Computer Simulation' section at the beginning of this article. The real Boeing 767-200 aircraft is taking off and presumably has a substantial fuel load for the journey ahead. In this take-off phase of flight the wings will be heavy due to the fuel load and aerodynamically stressed due to the creation of additional lift that is needed for the aircraft to rise off the ground and to climb to altitude.

If you look closely at the real Boeing 767-200 in the image you will see some curvature of both wings in comparison to the CG model. This mild and evenly distributed wing flexing is quite different to what we see in the Anthony Cotsifas photograph and it gives the reader a real example of what 'wing flexing' looks like in reality.

The 'high speed dive recovery' argument or 'upward wing flexing' argument used by some is not based on the 'Principles of Flight' or any commercial flying experience and quickly falls apart when we consider the front view of the UA175 aircraft as filmed by 'Ronald Pordy'.

Next - Ronald Pordy Video - "Another CNN Gem"