The JT8D & A3 Skywarrior
Pentagon Theory
What is it and where did it come from?

By Russell Pickering
The first mention I saw of an A3 Sky Skywarrior striking the pentagon came from Karl Schwarz in a radio transcript from the John Stadtmiller radio show posted here on 12/08/04 (1).
My emails with Karl began the same week. I was intrigued with having a specific plane to consider in regards to the pentagon incident. I sent Karl photos and information over nearly 100 hours of A3 Skywarrior research including contacting retired Skywarrior squadron members. Karl indicated he would be releasing a paper called "Pop Goes the Mythology Bubble 5" which he released on 2/2/05 (2). It has been removed from the Online Journal where Karl is/was an "Online Journal Contributing Writer" (3).
I wrote a critique of "Pop Goes the Mythology Bubble 5" which is linked to in its original form at the bottom of this page (4). The header of that article is an email to Karl letting him know of my review and allowing him an opportunity to respond. I have never heard from Karl since.
Next, Jon Carlson began promoting the theory here on on 3/2/05 (5). He mostly bases his argument on a photo of a rusty piece of a construction trailer and a photo from a museum. Later he strongly promotes Karl in the rest of his articles. This article is not intended to personally criticize Jon or Karl. I will email it to both of them for an opportunity to respond. I do however have to comment on their writing and mistakes since they are the ones who have put this theory forward and promoted it.
Am I saying that an A3 Skywarrior did not hit the pentagon? NO. Am I saying that I know what hit the pentagon? NO. Nobody knows what did or did not hit the pentagon (except for those that were a part of it and those that have seen the tapes). The rest of us are all speculating on plane, no-plane or replacement aircraft theories in one form or another. The only real evidence that exists is all of the videos that the FBI admits to having but refuses to release and the physical wreckage that was whisked away from the pentagon (to understand the disposition of the pentagon evidence look at the "Evidence page" link in the reference section below (6)).
The reason I feel writing this is important is because this theory has stuck in the minds of people. Most recently the A3 theory made it into Loose Change 2nd Edition, an article on the Scholars for 9/11 Truth website and a new website posted here on, "Comprehensive 911 Photo Analysis". It is having a big impact on thousands of people.
I am going to attempt to show certain flaws in the JT8D and A3 Skywarrior theory as put forth by Karl and subsequently Jon. My goal here is to represent another perspective for people to consider in their quest for truth. I will start by emphasizing untrue statements Karl made in his article.
Karl says, "That has not been easy and we have had many working on this night and day for three years to get to the bottom of the matter."
He also says, "Our team had to take steps to go around the content blocks to get at the photos you are seeing regarding these rotor hub components."
I don't see three years of research represented in Karl's article in any way. There are no references for even the source of the images which I found in one night using Google image search. Try it by putting in "jt8d". There is nothing original there and obviously no content blocks as claimed. Karl doesn't even show part numbers or accurate diagrams that correspond to the parts shown in the photos.
Karl says again, "It was very difficult to find the exact FAA certified company that is equipped, tooled or certified to work on the jet engines that were used in the A-3 Skywarrior."
This you can again verify for yourself. Just put "jt8d repair" into Google and you will find shops certified to do JT8D work. It is true that Praxair claims to be, "the only approved source to overhaul both blades and hub assemblies". My point is it doesn't take secret research to find JT8D repair.
Karl says, "The information in this article has been hand-delivered to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer." 
Being the obnoxious investigator I am, I called Spitzer's office myself. They would only speak off the record (so you will have to trust me on this one) but I can say that the person I spoke with not so discreetly distanced Mr. Spitzer from Karl. They did say they had received information from him in the past (along with thousands of other people's she added) but no official filings of his materials had been made. At that time the only official 9/11 truth material that had been filed with them was a petition. I got the distinct impression that Karl was not being taken seriously there. Read "Pop Goes the Mythology Bubble 5" from the point-of-view of a state attorney general who would be considering prosecuting the biggest criminal case in American history. Then you might see why a couple of photos clipped from the internet loosely affiliated with an antiquated aircraft and a bunch of "top-secret" rhetoric with no part numbers might not inspire you to head to district court.
This is the photo that began Karl's speculation.
This image was taken by FEMA photographer Jocelyn Augustino on 9/13/01, 2 days after the attack. It was presumably brought out from inside the building since it was not seen in any other exterior photos prior to that. This photo is taken at the main door just north of the impact zone. (Caption is my addition)
Then Karl made the comments below followed by the photo which he clipped from the internet.
"For those of you that do not pay attention to such things, 9-11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick sits on the board of directors of United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney is now owned by United technologies. Former Bush EPA secretary Christine Todd Whitman also sits on the United Technologies board, and that is a company that is raking in big bucks due to Bush War Policy.
The front fan hub and compressor assembly of the Allison J33, J71 (now owned by Rolls Royce), and the Pratt & Whitney J57 and Pratt & Whitney JT8D as shown above are all fairly similar but they also have something else in common. There was just one conflict of interest on top of another on that 9-11 Omission Commission."
This is the only example I will make of this point even though there are many others. Karl is somehow linking the make of the engine rotor with a conspiracy involving the 9/11 commission members. There are plenty of faults involving that report but I doubt this is one of them. As if they would choose a certain type of aircraft because it had a certain type of engine because the future 9/11 commission members also sit on the board of the company who made the engine. When they were theoretically choosing the A3 did they know who would be on the commission in advance? If you read "Pop Goes the Mythology Bubble 5" make note of this same strategy in other places.
Karl goes on to say, "It is not a "turbofan" component, it is in fact a "turbojet" component from an US Air Force/Navy vintage type of jet engine technology that was used on just a limited number of fighters, bombers and reconnaissance planes."
The following quote from addresses this very question (be advised they believe 9/11 conspiracies are false but in my mind that makes their debunking of this specifically on the jet engine facts even more valuable). "For some reason, many of the conspiratorial sites we have come across instead make extensive reference to the A-3 being powered by a Pratt & Whitney JT8D engine. Moreover, these same sites claim that the JT8D is a turbojet. The JT8D is actually a turbofan that was developed for use aboard commercial aircraft like the 727 and 737. We have not found any source that indicates the JT8D was ever used on the A-3 Skywarrior, so it is unclear why the originators of the A-3 theory are so infatuated with this particular powerplant. Nevertheless, we will include it in our investigation for completeness." The full article I would qualify as a MUST READ (7).
In other words, Karl did not know the difference between a turbofan and a turbojet to begin with. The article also states that the JT8D is not even used on the A3 Skywarrior. How do we confirm that for ourselves? The following website has the status of all A3's in service still (Link) . If you take a sample civil registration number, N879RS for instance, and enter it in Google, you get a page that looks like this (Link) . It tells you that it has a "P&W J57 SER". You can go through this drill on every single active A3 and there is no JT8D ever mentioned.
Does that mean that the government doesn't have unaccounted for A3's? No. Does that mean that maybe they secretly equipped one with a JT8D? Possibly, but those types of adaptations are complicated to say the least. Here is an example of Karl suggesting another radical adaptation of parts found at the pentagon to his A3 theory.
Karl says, "Another component was found at the Pentagon in the form of a wheel hub. It did not take much to confirm that the particular wheel shown below is the type made by B.F. Goodrich in their aerospace division. They also made the wheels for the 757 but a simple proportional check of width versus diameter will easily show that the below photo is not of a wheel hub from a 757, which has a much larger radius than width. This radius being about the same as the width of the wheel hub is also another clue that the 757 story is a Bush Lie."
This photo was taken in the A-E drive of the pentagon by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous on 9/12/01. It first went public in a article on 12/4/02 (8). (Caption is my addition)
Karl then says, "In fact, if one looks very closely at the diameter versus width of the tire that was found at the Pentagon, this is the type of tire used for carrier based and general rear wheels of smaller military planes, not commercial airliners. This is the type of wheel hub one would expect to find as one of the two rear wheels on an A-3 refitted with current equipment rather than equipment that is no longer being manufactured."
He has guessed at proportional widths and diameter etc., even suggesting it is a "Bush lie". I am sorry but from Bush's flying records I am guessing that he didn't come up with the A3 wheel swap idea or the mathematics related to it. The rim in the photo above does match perfectly those used on the 757 (8 slot variation). The key thing here is that Karl suggests a "refitted" wheel assembly. The following photo is an A3 rim and tire. All photos I have viewed of A3's have this same configuration.
For the sake of brevity I will spare you the technical details of what a swap from this to the wheel rim Karl uses as an example would require. Suffice to say that the attachments, struts, hydraulics, and braking systems are all integrated. It is not like changing from stock wheels to mags on your muscle car.
Karl says, "There was one credible witness found that saw "a two-engine jet airplane, the engines were under the wings." That is a visual description of a 737, 757, or 767, but it is also a description of an A-3 Skywarrior."
I didn't know that only one witness was considered "credible". The eyewitness reports were all over the map, everything from a turboprop to a commuter plane including a 737, 747, and a 757 (9). But not one described seeing a fighter jet that I am aware of. There were sounds reported like that of a missile or a fighter but no direct visuals. There was one indirect visual observation via a radar screen and one analogy used in witness reports that indicate a fighter or a missile.
A radar controller Mr. Todd Lewis commented on Dateline the maneuver of the aircraft being fighter-like, but not with direct visual contact.
BROKAW: What did you think? It was a military flight of some kind when you saw it?
Mr. LEWIS: I thought it was a military flight. I thought that Langley had scrambled some fighters and maybe one of them got up there.
BROKAW: It was really moving fast.
Mr. LEWIS: It was moving very fast, like a military aircraft might move at a low altitude. (10)
Mike Walter said, "It was like a cruise missile with wings, went right there and slammed into the Pentagon .."  I interviewed Mike and gave him an opportunity to explain that comment. He used it as an analogy only and is very upset about how it was taken out of context (11).
Karl goes on to say, "The above photo is a launch of an AIM-54 Phoenix Missile, air-to-air missile. Making this launch an air-to-surface missile would not be a great feat and Hughes/Raytheon manufactures several such missiles that would blow a 16-foot diameter hole in the Pentagon with ease."
I have two problems with missile theories in general. One is that there were many motorists right on the scene that did not report a fighter jet or missile of any sort. One thing we forget is how many people were there that didn't give a report. They just drove away. There are certain types of people who make sure they get their account heard. These people for various reasons come forward and that is who we heard from. Let's remember there were firefighters on the ground, tower personnel in the helipad tower, and people in all of the fully occupied offices to the north of the renovation zone with windows looking right out onto the lawn. We probably didn't hear from the majority of them. I'll bet if a missile skimmed over the highway with a fighter jet right behind slamming into the pentagon we would have heard from a lot more people in that case. The other problem with the missile theory is what about the exit hole? How did a missile blow a near perfect 9 foot diameter hole as clean as that 310 feet into the building and then decelerate in the distance of A-E drive so as not to even chip the opposing wall (12) ?
This is the last example of one of Karl's faulty conclusions. It involves buying into theories that are pre-existing and modeling them to your own hypothesis. The following comments are from another Stadtmiller radio show 4/8/05 (13).
KS: "The A3 Skywarrior is the only smaller airplane. We're talking smaller than a 757, 767, smaller than a 737 that has twin engines hanging under the wings. We have found eyewitnesses that saw the plane. And they said it had two engines hanging under the wing, that it was much smaller than a 737. Every time you see Southwest Air 737s. That's what they fly. The only other airframe out there that is till operational is an A3 - a process of elimination. Then we went back - you remember when that picture was taken at the Pentagon of the people carrying the wing out?"
JS: Yeah 
KS: "There's a lot you can tell about the shape of that wing even though it is underneath that blue tarp. That wing is a configuration of an A3, not a 757." 
Then included with the transcript under Karl's last quote was the same photo of the guys carrying the blue object as you see below (without labels). Mine is labeled for the following photo analysis I did on the mysterious blue tarp. Keep in mind Karl is saying it was an A3 wing by its "configuration". 
1) Notice that there is no significant weight on their arms.
2) Look carefully inside to see that it is hollow.
3) They are inside the guardrail carrying it towards the pentagon grass.
4) There are only two trees on the Washington Blvd. side of the pentagon grounds. You can see one of them in the background which helps locate this shot.
5) The grass, lamp pole, guardrail and the concrete divider also provide clues to locating this shot (see photo 3).
6) Note the gray tarp being carried in the background. 
1) The tents have white tops as in photo 1.
2) The floors are gray tarps like the one being carried in photo 1.
3) The tents consist of a white layer and a blue layer as in photo 1.
1) See that the grass, tree, lamp pole, guardrail and the concrete divider are in the exact positions they would be in photo 1.
2) See that other tents are being used on the grounds.
3) The tent right next to the guardrail may be the one they are placing in photo 1.
1) This is probably the tent assembled on the highway before being carried over the guardrail and placed on the lawn.
I believe what has been portrayed to be a mystery object being removed from the pentagon is actually a service tent being carried into the pentagon grounds after being assembled on the highway. Certainly not an A3 wing as Karl suggests.
1) Karl saw FEMA's photo from the pentagon that appears to be a jet engine rotor.
2) Karl found a picture of a similar part associated with a JT8D (even though parts just like it are used on many jet engines).
3) Karl associated the JT8D with the A3 (even though not ONE active A3 is listed by the FAA to have a JT8D).
4) Jon Carlson jumped in with Karl (Jon has no website where you can scrutinize his research).
5) Jon has mistaken a rusted piece of a construction trailer and turned it into a JT8D engine to support Karl's theory.
Karl Schwarz is promoting a questionable theory with little substantiated evidence. Some of his claims can be proven wrong just by using Google. Others can be implied to be incorrect because of the contrary evidence and/or statements from aerospace professionals. I believe Karl is prone to exaggeration and name dropping (do a Google search on Karl Schwarz to see some of the controversy that is swirling around him). In the end I have gone to this trouble because I believe the JT8D and A3 Skywarrior theory as presented by Karl and promoted by Jon is distracting to 9/11 research and its goals to be truthful and accurate. I welcome a factual response from either Karl or Jon and will publicly correct myself on any points I am found to be in error on.
Russell Pickering
1. Stadtmiller radio transcript on -
Karl Schwarz website archives -
Defunct link to Online Journal
My original rebuttal to Pop Goes the Mythology Bubble 5 -
Jon Carlson's original article
Evidence page
JT8D article 
Photo release on
9. Eyewitness reports
The full transcript of the 9/11/02 interview on Dateline
Mike Walter interview 
Exit hole analysis
John Stadtmiller radio show 4/8/05 -




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