Panama City, FL –
WASHINGTON DC (WTAJ) – Shortly before Flight 93 crashed, two fighter pilots scrambled to stop it before it crashed in Washington DC, willing to sacrifice their own lives to save countless more.
Heather Penney was one of two Air Force fighter pilots tasked with shooting down a hijacked airliner on September 11.
“I’m just your average regular American, I’m a mom, I was a member of the military, I’m a member of my community, I’m just I’m just an American,” Penney said.
At least that’s how Heather “Lucky” Penney sees herself. When Lucky, a Penney’s nickname, started her day on that crisp and chilly Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001, she could never have imagined that she would be willingly asked to bring down an airliner, which would take her away. maybe own life.
“This Tuesday morning was an absolutely ordinary morning, like every other day,” Penney said. “I mean, I got up, put on my flight suit, ate my cheerios, and went to work.”
Penney was one of two Air Force F-16 fighter pilots who rushed to find and shoot down Flight 93 before it reached its likely destination, the United States Capitol in Washington DC.
They were in a meeting when they learned that the second tower had been hit.
“So immediately we all got up from our meeting and went to our squad bar where our TV was and that’s where we saw the same footage that everyone saw that morning,” Penney said. “It was then that we realized our nation was under attack.”
“We knew immediately that we had to take off to protect and defend our country’s capital. We are a hunting unit based in Andrews Air Force Base where Air Force One departs from and here we are in the District of Columbia. So we have Congress, we have the White House, we know that we have to protect not only our civilians, our citizens, but also the leaders of our country. Penney said.
The two towers of New York and The Pentagon had already been hit when Flight 93 was already in the air. And thanks to radar, the Air Force identified United 93 as likely being hijacked.
“Anyone who saw these footage knew what to do, anyone who was in my shoes would have been willing to do the exact same thing and not think twice,” Penney said.
Flight 93 took off from Newark International bound for San Francisco. At 9:28 a.m., it is likely that the hijackers took control and turned the plane around near Cleveland, heading in a flight pattern to DC.
Penney and Marc Sasseville (Sas), his squadron commander dress under his command. There was only one problem apart from the obvious.
“We have been sent on a suicide mission,” Penney said.
In 2001, there were few F-16s fully armed with missiles. Penney’s jet was therefore completely disarmed.
Once they found Flight 93, Sas would crash into the front of the plane and Penney would exit the tail.
“Because, aerodynamically, without the tail, planes can’t stay in the air, they flip over and dive straight into the ground,” Penney said.
After flying through the air over Pennsylvania, the two fighter pilots tasked with shooting down Flight 93 before hitting Washington DC failed. They heard about his accident near Shanksville a few hours later.
“I was looking visually to see if I could detect a low-flying airliner using my radar, scrolling down to see if I could find radar contact at the bottom, but Sas and I didn’t never found anything. We were too late, the passengers had already picked up flight 93, ”Penney said.
Ultimately, this American hero by all definitions Heather “Lucky” Penney doesn’t actually consider herself a hero. She said she was just a normal person one day far from normal.
“I just watched what was happening to the passengers on Flight 93 changed the course of history because if they hadn’t chosen to retaliate they would have chosen to crash this airliner, they were would be in DC, ”Penney said.
Pilot tasked with finding Flight 93 before it made its way to DC Source link Pilot tasked with finding Flight 93 before it made its way to DC