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NIST, ARA Error Speaks Volumes

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When NIST needed help with the analysis and modeling of the controversial WTC 7 “collapse,” Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) was awarded the contract. See http://wtc.nist.gov/solicitations/wtc_awardQ0186.htm and http://wtc.nist.gov/solicitations/wtc_award0539.htm for details on the relationship. NIST and ARA worked together to explain the complex mechanisms for that which had never happened before in the history of steel-framed skyscrapers — total structural collapse due to fire.

The final WTC 7 report (or reports) was released in late 2008… and was summarized in an August 21 press briefing recorded on C-SPAN. (See a rebuttal video now: WTC7 in 7 Minutes: 9/11 Explosions Not Fire, which contains snippets of the NIST briefing from CNN.)

Five years earlier, ARA had been awarded the responsibility of analyzing the aircraft impacts on the two WTC towers. The exact amount of money ARA earned is unknown. Whatever the number, it was too much.

The analyses of the aircraft impacts performed for this investigation are believed to be the highest-fidelity simulations ever performed for this impact behavior using state-of-the art analysis methodologies. Wherever possible, the models were validated against observables or supporting test data developed by the WTC Investigation.


At least one drastic error in those analyses deserves attention. This obvious mistake, explained below, begs the question: If such an oversight could be published, just how much of the WTC 7 report was wrong? If such critical data could be overlooked in order to make the model fit the end result, what real analysis was there?

2nd plane impact

It should have been easy to determine the angle at which “United Flight 175” impacted WTC 2, specifically the lateral angle. That is, at least to within 3 or 4 degrees. First look at the video still above (Michael Hezarkhani/CNN). The wingtips entered nearly at the same time. Therefore – as we shall see in much more video – the angle was nearly perpendicular, between zero and four degrees. Somehow, NIST and their associates missed by ten full degrees.

The trajectory of the aircraft was crucial in determining which core columns were impacted by what. Ten degrees would have made a substantial difference in the damage estimate.

NIST_ARA airplane impact angle
source – ARA (image is also in NIST NCSTAR 1-2B Chap 1 thru 8.pdf, p. 84 of 290, but without the arrow pointing the wrong way for North)

See also this image from NCSTAR 1 p. 40 — a more detailed WTC 2 damage analysis.

The South Tower of the World Trade Center was struck by an airplane on LIVE TV. Today we have more than 50 videos of this event. See http://www.911conspiracy.tv/2nd_hit.html for a detailed list. At publication of the NIST document in 2005, there were at least 30 from which to choose. Below is a plane impact video compilation with many camera locations pinpointed, thanks to dedicated 9/11 researcher Achimspok.

“The last 12 seconds of the alleged flight UA175 – refined.”

By using these precise camera locations and 3D mapping software, Achimspok is able to elaborate on a near-perpendicular lateral impact orientation. See the short video UA175 – The Last 12 Seconds (part one) and, crucially, part two. These videos describe the final seconds of the flight path in detail, unlike the NIST/ARA study.

NIST only shows us the [supposed] final orientation of the airplane and its “assumed” trajectory. Speed was also a factor, but not for the purposes of this essay. I don’t intend to produce a more accurate aircraft impact damage analysis. I don’t have tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars to invest in computer simulations and engineering teams. I do plan on showing that the NIST/ARA study was wrong. It’s easy!

Find the official NIST documents on the subject at their .gov website: NIST NCSTAR 1-2: Baseline Structural Performance and Aircraft Impact Damage Analysis of the World Trade Center Towers. Find the other WTC documents at http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/.

In NCSTAR 1-2B (Ch. 7, p. 172) we read the excuse for the mistake by Steven W. Kirkpatrick and Robert T. Bocchieri (with Robert A. MacNeill, Samuel Holmes, Brian D. Peterson, Robert W. Cilke, and Claudia Navarro) of the U.S. military contractor helping NIST– Applied Research Associates (ARA).

Although the lateral approach angle of UAL 175 had a nominal value of 15 degrees, additional observable information was used to define a most probable flight condition. Figure 7-13 shows the top view of WTC 2 with the engines and landing gear in their pre-impact location. Also shown is the projected trajectory of the starboard engine of UAL 175 with an initial lateral approach trajectory of 13 degrees instead of 15 degrees, assuming the engine was not significantly deflected as it passed through the building. With this lateral trajectory, the starboard engine would exit the tower at the northeast corner, consistent with the observables from video and photographic evidence.

(emphasis added)

NIST WTC 2 impact analysis

It is possible that the tower structure and/or contents deflected the engine from its initial trajectory. The global simulations described in Chapter 9 used a standard configuration for building contents similar to WTC 1. This configuration did not cause substantial deviation in the trajectory of the starboard engine. This lateral trajectory was, therefore, the most likely and was adopted for the global analyses.

They ASSUMED that “the engine was not significantly deflected as it passed through the building.” They disregarded important data, i.e. the correct entry angle, for this reason. This irresponsible act of bad science was done out of laziness. These people were paid by the government (NIST = Dept. of Commerce) and, hence, the taxpaying public.

Additional research into the contents of floor 81 was required. All that really meant was collaborating with the rest of the NIST team. The first clue is provided by the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory (Kevin B. McGrattan, Charles Bouldin, and Glenn P. Forney). See NCSTAR 1-5F to find a custom drawn floor plan (see image from Appendix A), which proved to be helpful. “The basic layout from the 78th floor was used for the higher floors with adjustments made to the elevators, vents and major partitions, based on recollections of floor occupants.” (p. 117, or 151 of PDF) From the acknowledgments we learn that “Wayne Schletter, a survivor of WTC 2, provided information about the layout of floors 79 through 82.” (p. xxix) According to nymag.com (and NIST below), he worked on floor 80.

Note that the abrupt change in temperature seen in the northeast corner in the temperature plots of Fig. 6-33 are due to a wall assumed in the floor plan. The coincidence of the wall and the observed window breakage for the first 30 min was merely fortuitous – the wall was put there based only on a rough sketch of the 81st floor by an occupant of the 80th.

– p. 94, or 128 of PDF

WTC2 floor 81 fire simulation

In addition to extra walls, the important revised plan for floor 81 contained a stairwell in the path of the starboard engine (NIST NCSTAR 1-5F). This was not in the original plans because it was built for the tenant Fuji Bank. Although specific records for this particular feature of custom construction are not available, some renovations are listed in the NIST report.

WTC2 tenant alterations
– NIST NCSTAR 1-1H, p. 57 (“floors affected” is obviously wrong, mixed up with WTC1 chart, not pictured)

The only details offered about renovations include the following:

WTC2 renovation floor 81

UPS and Computers

The letters stand for “uninterruptible power supply” – batteries – not United Parcel Service… which NIST actually confused – and confuses! See this letter from NIST to the Enrico Manieri:

NIST UPS confusion

OR was this “UPS” confusion the result of deception to downplay the importance of the massive collection of batteries that required the floor trusses to be strengthened. See the extended quote below that shows the batteries were without a doubt in a corner of the building– and when 2 specific corners are mentioned they are the engine-exit northeast (see fig. 13.2 above, although beside where it reads floor 80 and 1990, instead of 81 and 1991, as stated in 1-1 C, p.50 and southwest corners (the SW was where survivor/plane witness Stanley Praimnath was located).

This tells us that the computer room was on the east wall – perhaps on the south. The UPS racks extended to the northeast corner, where the engine (found at the corner of Church and Murray St) exited through the hole hidden by aluminum coating. (Read from NIST NCSTAR 1-3 p. 45 (screenshot) to learn there was no column at floor 81’s corner (see accompanying damage photo).

Next we find the article 9-11 Planes Flew Directly into Secure Computer Rooms in Both Towers. An important witness was an “IT specialist” according to an mp3 audio recording of a Chris Bollyn interview with Stanley Praimnath (at 35:15). Unfortunately, this source remains anonymous. From that article:

Then, out of the blue, a former bank employee came forward, a person who had visited the 81st floor on a weekly basis. His information explains more than he probably thought and provides us with a major clue about what really happened on 9-11. Fuji Bank had torn up the 81st floor, he said, and stripped it down to reinforce the trusses so that the floor could hold more weight. Then they had built a raised floor and filled the entire floor with server-size Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) batteries. These units were bolted to the raised floor which stood about 3 feet above the reinforced 81st floor. Beneath the raised floor ran the cables and power supply that connected the army of batteries. IT techies had to get down on all fours and crawl around beneath the raised floor to connect cables.

“The whole floor was batteries,” he said, “huge battery-looking things.” They were “all black” and “solid, very heavy” things that had been brought in during the night. They had been put in place during the summer prior to 9-11, he said.

The last couple sentences there are suspicious– specifically the part about being “brought in during the night” and “put in place during the summer prior….” The fact remains that racks of lead acid batteries were on 81. That, in addition to the staircase, certainly was enough to change the trajectory of the airplane engine in question.

What other clues do we have about the batteries’ location? Stanley Praimnath tells us the computer room was about 20 x 20 feet and the UPS battery room about 40 x 40 feet. He worked in the Fuji Bank loan department, in the southwest corner of the 81st floor. Did he really know? Wouldn’t such rooms be off limits, locked?

UPS battery room door
UPS batteries

NOTE: These pictures are not from WTC 2. They show a UPS battery room, a fire/safety hazard. All of these batteries were needed in the case of an emergency, to prevent data loss in the “computer room,” which would also be off limits, no doubt.

Where were these limits (walls) in the floor plan, though?

Below is the crucial floor plan image from NCSTAR 1-5F Appendix, with a graphic overlay of the scaled Boeing 767 entering at a more accurate angle. Thanks to Femr2, who has worked hard on this problem.

WTC 2 floor 81 with correct impact angle by Femr2

See also this image by Achimspok, demonstrating a nearly perpendicular impact:

WTC Floor 81 impact


Here we have established beyond a doubt that NIST and/or ARA has published false data, knowingly or not. This was done by twisting input data – the cause – in order to match the observed effect.

What does this say about the controversial WTC 7 collapse study? What questions does this raise? Could the cause for the “collapse” have been engineered by ignoring seemingly obvious data, like reports of explosions and a NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) report of an elevator car being blown from its shaft into the hall?


Written by Matt

July 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

One Response

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  1. […] investigation into the coincidence of secure computer rooms occupying both impact zones (and UPS batteries in the case of WTC 2). That could have easily explained the Pentagon hit also, since that was hit right at the […]

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