Two jumbo jets slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Another hit the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. In response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, Ben Sliney ordered a ground stop for the entire United States. It was Sliney's first day in his new position as National Operations Manager at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
About 4,200 aircraft were in the air when Sliney made the unprecedented decision, and all planes were on the ground within two hours.
More about Ben Sliney's decision:
- The 9/11 Commission later hailed the decision as a decisive moment during that morning's chaos.
- Sliney was a traffic control expert, having served as a controller, a supervisor at several major facilities, and Operations Manager and Traffic Management Officer at New York TRACON, among other positions.
- Sliney later left the FAA to practice law. He was an adviser for the 2006 film United 93 and also had a small role as an air traffic controller in the movie.