Remember the cinematic, wild, 9/11 story of rookie fighter pilot Major Heather “Lucky” Penney, who was charged with flying an ammo-less F-16 into the highjacked United 93 should it have neared the White House? Well, the story gets crazier per Penney’s mother, who e-mailed the Washington Post with an additional detail about the “kamikaze” mission:
“We were thankful that Heather was able to put her emotions aside and not even consider that her father might have been flying on United 93,” Stephanie Penney said as an aside in her e-mail.
“Yes, John [Penney] was a captain for United Airlines at that time,” she elaborated later by phone. “He flew 757s and had been flying trips into and out of the East Coast the month before. Heather would not have known for sure that her dad wasn’t the captain on United 93.”
Asked about the possibility, Lucky didn’t even blink. “This sounds cold-hearted; I mean that was my daddy,” she said. “But, frankly, there was no way for me to know, and it would not have changed what I needed to do at all.” The pilot of the plane, which Penney never did have to engage, turned out to be a close friend of her father’s.