Is the Pentagon Mystery Disc from a Global Hawk?
by Christopher Bollyn
October 12, 2003
official FEMA photograph reveals a crucial piece of evidence, which if
positively identified, could prove what kind of aircraft hit the Pentagon on
Sept. 11, 2001.
photograph is one of many taken by Jocelyn Augustino, a FEMA photographer, at
the Pentagon crash site on Sept. 13, 2001. In the FEMA on-line photo library,
the best photos of the unidentified disc are numbered 4414 and 4415, archived
Several readers have suggested that the unidentified disc was a piece from the
Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) mounted in the tail section of a Boeing 757.
Honeywell makes the GTCP331-200 APU used on the 757 aircraft. No one, however,
claimed that the small disc was a piece from one of the main engines of a
contacted Honeywell’s Aerospace division in
I also contacted Pratt & Whitney and Rolls Royce, manufacturers of the 757’s turbofan jet engines to try and identify the piece. “If the aircraft that struck the Pentagon was a Boeing 757-200 owned by American Airlines, then it would have to be a Rolls Royce engine,” Mark Sullivan, spokesman for Pratt & Whitney, said.
John W. Brown, spokesman for Rolls Royce (Indianapolis), said, “It is not a part from any Rolls Royce engine that I’m familiar with, and certainly not the AE 3007H made here in Indy.” The AE 3007 engines are used in small commuter jets such as the Cessna Citation; the AE 3007H is also used in the military’s unmanned aircraft, the Global Hawk. The Global Hawk is manufactured by Northrop Grumman’s subsidiary Ryan Aeronautical, which it acquired from Teledyne, Inc. in July 1999.
the government version that an American Airlines 757-200 hit the Pentagon is
accurate, then the object in the photo should be a part of a Rolls Royce
RB211-535 turbofan engine. When I told Brown that it must be a piece of a Rolls
Royce engine, Brown balked and asked who at Pratt & Whitney had provided the
again if the disc in the photo is a piece of a Rolls Royce RB211-535, or from
the AE 3007 series, Brown said he could not answer. I asked Brown if he was
actually familiar with the parts of an AE 3007H, which is made at the
Royce produces the RB211-535 engines for American Airlines 757-200 aircraft at a
a German magazine about aviation equipment was more willing to discuss the disc.
Karl Schwarz, a technical editor at the Bonn-based publication, examined the
photo and technical drawings of the RB211-535. “I think only an engineer who is
involved in the design of the engine could identify the part,” Schwarz said.
the front fan of the RB211-535 has a 74.5-inch diameter, compression discs
inside the engine are much smaller. Schwarz said the inner discs are between 29
and 41 inches in diameter. “It could well be” an inner compression disc, Schwarz
said. The discs from the inner stages are made of titanium, he added. I asked
Schwarz if this could be a disc from a smaller engine, such as the Global Hawk’s
AE 3007H. “It could come from any jet engine,” Schwarz said.
the disc in the photo can be matched with a Rolls Royce AE 3007H engine, it
would prove something like a Global Hawk hit the Pentagon. The Global Hawk
engine is hand built at the Rolls Royce plant in
Because the disc in the photo appears very similar in size and shape to the
front fan of a Global Hawk engine, I asked Schwarz in what position is the solid
disc found behind the front fan of a turbofan engine. “Immediately,” Schwarz
unnamed former cruise missile engineer for the engine manufacturer Teledyne
Continental Motors-Turbine Engines said, “Clearly, the part in the picture is
larger than 24 inches in diameter. It also appears to have a nosepiece-like
device on its front. This probably houses bearings, front oil sump and perhaps
an alternator or starter.”
fan did not come from a cruise missile engine,” the engineer concluded.