Monday, March 17, 2008

No Plane in the Wide Shot

No Plane in the Wide Shot

FOX 5 anchor Jim Ryan says, “As you look at the picture from our chopper now arriving at the scene . . .” But what is he talking about? The helicopter is over New Jersey, about 4 miles from the World Trade Center. It begins to hover, drifting slowly to the left. One trade tower is burning and smoking. Why would the pilot not be hurrying toward what is already the news story of the year?

While we ponder that, ponder this: There is no plane in the wide shot, and it ought to be there. We can determine where the plane should be at the beginning of Chopper 5 by noting where it is later on. I’ve numbered the frames and stabilized the end of the video to eliminate camera motion. The nose of the plane is about to touch the edge of the tower in frame 423. From frame 407 to frame 423, a time span of 16 frames, the plane covers the indicated distance.

16 x 26 = 416, so we know that over 416 frames, the plane would cover 26 times the distance that it did in 16 frames. 416 frames earlier than frame 423 is frame 7. I’ve matched up the scale and marked off 26 times the distance. So in frame 7, the plane should be in the circle, and it is not.

I have intentionally over-estimated the distance traveled by the plane during 416 frames. When matching the scale of the towers between the zoomed-out and zoomed-in versions, I left the zoomed-in version (with the plane) a little too large, if anything. Could the plane still be just beyond the edge of the picture? If we let the video play forward from frame 7, 163 frames (more than 5 seconds) go by before the camera begins to zoom in. That corresponds to about 10 of the line segments. Here is frame 170. The plane should be here, and it isn’t. The plane isn’t anywhere.

Could the plane could be hiding in the smoke plume from the burning North Tower? No. The alleged flight path of this plane, “UA175”, was from the southwest. The smoke was blowing decidedly toward the southeast. Viewed from the north, as in the above shot, we can clearly see that the alleged flight path was nowhere near the drifting smoke.

We can use a different method to corroborate the estimate of where the plane should be in the wide shot. We know that the actual distance from the northeast corner of the North Tower to the southwest corner of the South Tower is about 526 feet. Flight 175 was alleged to be traveling 542 mph according to the official government NIST report. That’s 795 feet per second. 416 frames of video is 13.9 seconds. So the plane would go 13.9 x 795 feet or 11,035 feet between frame 7 and frame 423. 11,035 ft./526 ft. = 20.97, call it 21. So, during the time span in question, the plane would travel 21 times the distance across the towers. The towers measure 18 pixels across. 18 pixels x 21 = 378 pixels.

Measuring 378 pixels to the right places the airplane almost exactly where the other method did - inside the the picture, right from the beginning. There is no plane.

The number one reason why Chopper 5 was not replayed is that there is no plane in the wide shot. This alone is proof positive that Chopper 5 is a composite. If it was a real plane, it most likely would have been present at frame one, well within the picture, and certainly would have appeared by frame 170. Although the plane would have been small, about 4 pixels in length, it would have clearly been visible.

Here are a series of frames from a video I made under very similar (but slightly worse) conditions. It was early in the morning, 5 miles from Los Angeles airport, shooting toward the sun, as was the case with Chopper 5. It was a clear day, as was 9/11, and the haze made the background almost white, just like 9/11. The plane is small, but you can see it in every single frame, without exception. It’s an unmistakable gray silhouette.

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