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Profile: Palm Beach Flight Training

Palm Beach Flight Training was a participant or observer in the following events:

Palm Beach Flight Training.Palm Beach Flight Training. [Source: Sarah Dussault / Sun Sentinel]On August 16, 2001, 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta arrives at Palm Beach Flight Training, located at an airport in the town of Lantana, southeast Florida. According to Marian Smith, the flight school’s owner, Atta says he wants to get in 100 hours in the air. (de Vise, Morgan, and Garcia 9/13/2001) He already accumulated about 300 hours of flying time during his earlier training. (Williams, Dahlburg, and Reza 9/27/2001; Cloud 9/30/2001) Smith describes him as being “well-spoken, well-dressed,” and says, “He seemed normal to me.” (Local 10 News (Miami) 9/13/2001; de Vise, Morgan, and Garcia 9/13/2001) Atta rents a single-engine Piper Archer. He makes his first flight accompanied by an instructor. Having demonstrated his competence, he returns the following day and again two days later. Each time he has a different companion who flies with him. The identities of these men are unknown, but Smith will later recollect that none of them was among the men identified as 9/11 hijackers. (de Vise, Morgan, and Garcia 9/13/2001; Bendavid 9/14/2001; Goldstein and Finn 9/14/2001) On his final day at the school, Atta is heard speaking in Arabic over the plane’s radio. An instructor who speaks Arabic himself hears him happily exclaim, “God is great!” (Ferguson 12/23/2001) Workers at the school suspect nothing criminal about Atta, though. (Goldstein and Finn 9/14/2001)


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