With scant detail of what was happening and no time to do pre-flight checklists, two DC Air National Guard pilots quickly scrambled to intercept United 93 after two other planes had hit the World Trade Center.
Except there was a twist: They were unarmed.
“In the days before Sept. 11, there were no armed aircraft standing guard in Washington, D.C., ready to scramble at the first sign of trouble.”
“And with a Boeing 757 aircraft speeding in the direction of Washington, D.C., Penney and her commanding officer, Col. Marc Sasseville, couldn’t wait the dozens of minutes it was going to take to properly arm their respective jets.”
“I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.” Maj. Heather Penney.
Instead, the passengers on United 93 made the intercept unnecessary, ultimately fighting back against the hijackers and downing the aircraft into a Pennsylvania field 20 minutes outside of Washington.