Anniversary Post: B-25 and Empire State Building

B-25 Slams into Empire State BuildingOn this day 70 years ago, a B-25 Mitchell flew into the Empire State Building. Three crew members got lost in the fog and slammed into building at roughly the 79th floor. The crew members were killed as well as 11 people in the building. It is mostly notable to me that the story of this was widely told to me as a reason to think that either the 9/11 attack was a hoax or that people had really messed up in designing the World Trade Center.

On the issue of 9/11 being a hoax, well, I don’t have a lot to say about that other than that I wish such people would spend half that effort being engaged in actual politics. On the issue of design failure, well, hindsight is a really great thing, ain’t it. Regardless, there is a big difference between a medium sized propeller airplane at the end of its flight, and a Boeing 767 just filled with jet fuel for a transcontinental flight.

But there you are. There will always be a lot of woulda, shoulda, coulda reactions to these kinds of things. Because humans don’t like the idea that they aren’t in control. But they should get used to it. Americans especially should be waking up to the fact that their economic station in life is wholly dependent upon factors beyond their control. And some times, you starve to death because of a global warming induced drought. And other times an airplane slams into your office and kills you.

Seventy years ago, that happened to a small group of people in the Empire State Building.

2 thoughts on “Anniversary Post: B-25 and Empire State Building

  1. A B-25 Mitchell had a takeoff weight of 19,480 to 35,000 pounds, and a cruse speed of around 230 mph. Probably closer to the low number for weight. A Boeing 767, depending on which series, weighs between 200 and 450 thousand pounds, and cruises at .8 Mach, or lets say a little over 600 mph. I have no idea how easy it is to steer one into a building, so they may have been going slower. And it can have 16 to 24 thousand pounds of fuel. Nobody had ever seen that (9-11) happen before, nor was it probably a well studied contingency in building design.

    • Thanks for the details! I was just going on my intuition. I’m sure that after the B-25 crash, designers looked for ways to make it less likely for planes to fly into buildings, not better construction to make them withstand crashes.

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