Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Cessna 172 Skyhawk

Following the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001, this Skyhawk, tail number N9344L, was the only civilian aircraft authorized to fly in and around New York City on September 12, 2001.

To evaluate the damage caused by the destruction of the World Trade Center, the governor of New York and the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested aerial photography of the area. Approved by the national command authority in the White House, a crew of three Civil Air Patrol (CAP) officers took to the skies.

CAP Lieutenant Colonel Jacques Heinrich and Captains Andrew Feldman and Warren Ratis made four orbits over New York City. Feldman and Ratis, using traditional film Nikon cameras, took more than forty photos of the devastation. Following the mission, government agencies analyzed the photos.

The 172 Skyhawk is one of Cessna’s most popular aircraft. Carrying a crew of four, the fixed-wing, single engine plane first flew in 1955 and is still produced today.

The CAP flew this aircraft from 1986 to 2024. As the federally chartered civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force, one of CAP’s mission is to provide emergency services in times of local or national disasters. This Cessna arrived to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on March 13, 2024.


Video of Arrival


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