An American in Thailand wants to recreate one of the jet crashes of 9/11 in order to settle the debate over whether the twin towers of the World Trade Center were brought down by the planes or by a controlled demolition. Who is this guy and can he do it?
We’re going to purchase a 747 or equivalent aircraft that’s about to go out of service, we’re going to fill it full of jet fuel, we’re going to purchase a building that’s about to be torn down in the countryside… and we’re going to crash it at 900km per hour into that building.
That’s Paul Salo, a Thailand-based American-born businessman (he sells and rents homes to ex-pats – what is it with these big-ego real estate moguls?) who is trying to raise the $1.5 million (his crowdfunding campaign called “September 11th Redux” was recently shut down at Indiegogo but is planned to start up somewhere else) he expects he’ll need to buy a decommissioned 747, equip it with a remote-control pilot and cameras, fill it with jet fuel and passenger simulations and buy a vacant skyscraper to crash it into. Contributors can get T-shirts ($125), pieces of the rubble ($1,000) or front-row seats to the event ($5,000). Here’s what Salo says they’ll see:
If there’s just a smoking hole in the building and nothing happens, you pretty much know it was a hoax, right? Cos it’s obvious, right? Sure, some people might be upset, but we deserve to find out what happened.
Once you get over the creepiness (if that’s possible) and feelings of disrespect (although Salo says “I have no desire to downplay the heroism on that fateful day.”), the obvious question is, “Will this recreation, if it can happen, actually prove anything?” Abolhassan Astaneh-Asl, a structural engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley who studied the World Trade Center collapse and testified at a 9/11 congressional hearing, says no.
What they’re proposing to do is completely meaningless from a scientific and engineering point of view. Unless you have the exact same building, the exact same plane and you hit it in the exact same place with the exact same force, it’s meaningless. Absolutely meaningless.
That kind of logic rarely stops rich people from doing whatever they want, but government agencies may end Salo’s project before it begins. The FAA has no jurisdiction over Thailand but that country’s aviation body may have something to say about a private non-Thai citizen intentionally crashing a passenger jet into one of its buildings in a metropolitan area. Then there’s emergency crews, safety crews, clean-up crews, insurance agencies … the list seems endless.
Again, that kind of logic rarely stops rich people like Salo from doing whatever they want.
If done correctly, it will either put doubts to rest for good or open Pandora’s Box.
What do you think? Should Salo be allowed to recreate or simulate the 9/11 crash? Will he be able to do it? If he does, will it settle any disputes?