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20 years ago on 9/11, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was at the epicenter of trying to explain and respond to a plane crash into the Twin Towers and the realization that passenger jets had been hijacked. Two former FAA leaders recounted their experiences on that day. Gregg Dvorak, chief commercialization officer at Airio, was director for operational support for the National Airspace System on 9/11. Terry Biggio, senior director of business development and strategic growth at SAIC, was the FAA’s operations manager at the Boston Center.

  • Dvorak said his organization was responsible for the air traffic control operating system and had to ensure the system did not play a role any time there was a crash. He said as soon as he and his colleagues saw the second plane hit, they knew it was not due to a system anomaly.
  • Biggio said he was providing air traffic control services and his team realized early that there was a hijack after American Airlines Flight 11 was unresponsive and they heard a series of transmissions from the hijacker over a ten-minute period.
  • Biggio said his team coordinated with controllers and supervisors to very quickly land about 4,500 planes that were in the air that morning.
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