F-15 Pilot Recounts 9/11 Flight - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

F-15 Pilot Recounts 9/11 Flight

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On the morning of 9/11, F-15 pilot Colonel Tim Duffy was preparing for a training flight when he got a call about a hijacking. He and his wingman scrambled and flew for New York. On his flight, the recently retired pilot would have a unique vantage point to one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

Duffy took part in a memorial program at City College on Wednesday afternoon. In a conversation with us prior to the event, he described flying over New York City on that morning twelve years ago. Duffy says that after the attacks, the skies over New York had to be cleared, so they escorted planes to a safe landing at nearby airports. While he was escorting one plane, he saw movement in his peripheral vision and noticed the first tower appeared to have fallen. He had that confirmed when he radioed it in. He returned to the area and made a pass over the second tower. Duffy rolled the fighter sideways to look down on the building, and didn't see the building twisting or leaning.

"I was just getting ready to call on the radio that I think you can save the building," Duffy recalled, "and as I was looking at the square of the roof, all of a sudden the square started getting smaller, and it didn't really make any sense to me because I didn't have any frame of reference, and for a second or two, as I was watching it, it didn't mean anything to me until I started to see a plume come out of the bottom, and then I realized it was falling away from me." Duffy said it was "the most horrific thing" he had to see that day.

Duffy's flight is featured in an historical print unveiled during the ceremony at City College.