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How to Hijack an Airplane in 3 Seconds

Ten years after 9/11, airline cockpits are vulnerable every time a pilot takes a bathroom break. So why isn't the FAA making secondary barriers a requirement? ( More...

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Once again, the idiots at The Atlantic trolling in the aviation world...what a bunch of A-holes...>=oI
hotdok 0
Let's start by racial profiling of all passengers first, and also taking some lessons from the Israeli security teams by reducing the risk of hijacking.
Ok l think we re forgetting something. If there will be an attack it will be unexpected, just like the 911 attacks. If something like 911 will happen again, lots of planning will go into it, I don't think we should underestimate the possibilities of how terrorists will gain control of the airplane. How about when the airplane is on the ground, and the door is way open to a group of terrorists that outnumber crew and pax on the plane? Or when the plane arrives and the pilots walk out the door? Or if someone asks to visit the pilot? Turns out he wants to do something different. I'm saying that we can prepare for an attack like this, but what if they want us to think that's how they will get into the cockpit? Terrorists are full of surprises and there's not much we can do about that.
mark tufts 0
i would give the pilots a 6 shooter an if a highjacker comes in 1 shot 2 the right spot would deter the other terriorests
indy2001 0
Since the "unexpected" has been mentioned in connection with the next attacks, how about the flight crews at the airlines, including the cargo carriers? There could be sleeper cells of pilots and other workers quietly biding their time, building up coworkers' trust. Why worry about breaking into the cockpit when you're already there?
fred groff 0
I wold install a laser beam covering the door to the flight deck and instruct the attends to stay in the main cabin until contacted by the Capt.
No coffee breaks or me.
I'm with Indy2001 on this one. I hear a lot more arabic(ish) voices on the radios these days. At least down here in Charlotte.
Scott Campbell 0
No longer will a plane load of passengers stand by and wait fro a safe hi jacking, If anything, we learned from 911 that we ALL need to take action in the future. And while regulations,security,and racial profiling ...ETC ETC can help, once in the air were on our own folks.

And by the way can still get glass in an airport and First Class, and with broken glass, you have all the blades you need to kill. Just a thought but it might be time to limit those too. Anyone touches anyone on any of my flights and I'm moving in captains on a pee break included.

LETS ROLL.....................................
Scott Campbell 0
look for better proof reading in the future :)
tim flannery 0
"i would give the pilots a 6 shooter an if a highjacker comes in 1 shot 2 the right spot would deter the other terriorests"

MARK... have you ever seen an explosive decompression at 35,000 feet. People lungs can burst, they can be sucked out of a hole the size of a volley ball, and at that altitude, if you're not on the oxygen mask in 30-45seconds, you'll suffocate.

One bullet fired in haste could take out a windshield on the plane, kill both pilots, or crew and passengers, send the plane into a spiral, or take out a needed instrument panel.

We need to take a lesson from El Al Israel Airlines, who are THE most targeted nation and airline in the world, and yet have never had a plane taken. It's about prevention, not reaction.

Since 9/11 they have made their technology and security procedures available to other carriers.... to date, although many carrier have their own (albeit ineffective soemtimes) procedures, ONLY Virgin has accepted and put El AL practices into regular use.

SAD SITUATION that only ONE carrier has taken the offer from the safest (terrorist wise) carrier on the planet.
David Sims 0

You have seen too many movies. A bullet hole will not cause an explosive decompression of a modern airliner.
preacher1 0
The hell it won't. Why do you think sky marshalls are using ceramic bulletts, so they will shatter rather than exit.
Hotdok and Tim are correct IMHO

We can learn from the Isreli's,and take note after they implemented the type of security system they use now, there has never been a take over nor a real threat in the A/C, also the FAM idea pretty much came from what they do.
That being said also it is important to note that IF TSA and the Airlines, would do a more comprehensive background check on the PAX like
El/Al does, maybe we also would not haft to go through so much BS in security to get on a damn flight. Don't get me wrong Security is important, but then again there are many other ways that are just as complete w/o all the BS TSA does> expample in point El/Al

At Wayne> yes you are very correct FAM do use a ceramic type layered ball, filled with shot [little BB's like a shotgun uses>it is made to hit flesh open up so the wound is more superficial, and reduces extensively colataral damage like windows, fuselage and other people, also this type of round is designed not to even pass throug drywall> and it is known as a Safety Slug
Jeff Nielsen 0
Wayne, sorry, but no ceramic bullets. And, Tim is right about the rapid d... a bullet hole will not cause an explosive decompression. (I'm a line-flying airline pilot).
preacher1 0
Jeff: I carry an ATP myself and am typed and current thru a 767. That being said, I won't argue with you on the decomp as I have only had the pleasure of having one years ago on a 707 due to a window crack(fairly rapid but not explosive) and not a bullet hole. I guess hole size makes the difference. If so, then I guess a bullet hole might not take it to the explosive category. However, if a skin split or further enlargement came along as a result of that small hole, I can't help but think that a bad situation would go to worse pretty quick. As far as the ceramic bulletts, see more detailed explanation above in Robert's comments.
You are right I stand corrected the info I looked up was for the 80's my apologies to you and Wayne> what is used now is a .357 JHP Gold Dot [jacketed hollow point], from a Sig Sauer semi-Auto> the science was more stoping power when using lethal force using the Hollow Point to destroy more tissue
dmanuel 0
I am not buying the level of fear this writer is trying to instill in the flying public. On international flights, the flight attendants (at least on Delta) make sure no one is standing anywhere near the cockpit door. Next, they position the food cart cross-ways in the aisle (so it cannot be easily ‘pushed’ out of the way) leaving just enough room for the cockpit door to be opened, then quickly closed after the crew exits. The writer implies the crew (beyond the cited single older flight attendant) and passengers are going to watch someone rush the door – I don’t think so. Secondly, the pilot flying will rapidly override the autopilot and roll/pitch the aircraft to topple the offender. Americans know the rules have changed and will not submissively go into the great beyond. The bad guys know this and are not about to face the wrath of a mother (etc) protecting her children or the guy from New York/New Jersey skilled in applied counseling. I suspect Sky Marshalls won’t have time to draw their weapons before the offender is subdued (however, I’ve heard rumors the Marshalls use ‘Pig Fat’ filled hollow-points).
preacher1 0
@dmanuel: I agree, in that it is a whole nuther world since 9-1-1 and while a lot of those very things you mention are very subtle and maybe not even noticable to the average traveler, they are a big deal to the flight crews and also known to any potential terrorist, and the other things are probably just 2nd nature now to the flying public. What is sad, is that I remember the knee jerk reaction in 1969-70 when they started pulling active duty veteran marines and other military folks into the fledgling sky marshal service, before bringing it on out into a fulltime service.That was 30 years before 9-1-1. They didn't stop those 4 planes. Doubt they would now.
Richard Judy 0
Arm the pilots and let the other pilot "guard the Six" of the "going" pilot with his nice S&W 45 Full Auto with an extra clip...I think the passengers will accept the risk of decompression if it means they will live. And the TSA needs to hire the security director for EL AL and let that person have TOTAL and COMPLETE control of the US Security program.
Wingscrubber 0
Sounds like it's time for remotely piloted airliners? The pilots can operate from simulated cockpits in a deep underground bunker with multiple security checkpoints, including a moat with sharks and alligators in it.
amahran 0
Pilots need to be given firearms in these cases. I think 9/11 might have been preventable if the pilots did have firearms.

Can someone correct me on this?
Toby Sharp 0
@tim flannery, have you ever seen a frangible pistol bullet before?
Drag0nflamez 0
@Richard Judy: That would mean Arabs would not get onto flights, due to their racial profiling

@amahran: No. What if it goes off in the cockpit, shooting both pilots, on say, a 737... (2 people fit in the cockpit usually).

Nobody knows what's happening in the cockpit and the flight attendants etc will probably think for a long time that everything's all right with them, until they find out they haven't gone to the lavatory in a long time or if they were supposed to be descending some time ago. That could lead to fuel starvation at some point, turning the plane into a glider without control, which would crash pretty fast, I suppose.

(This is a combination of my own thoughts and Helios Airways Flight 522, except the decompression part. Might become a major motion picture some day (probably not))
amahran 0
Well if one pilot is shot, the other pilot would notice, and it's very unlikely that the gun would be perfectly aligned with both pilots and the bullet happened to be pointing in their direction, and kill them both effectively.
That situation's very unlikely, or almost impossible.
alistairm 0
What i have learnt from experience is that if someone is determined enough, they will accomplish their task/mission. What dmanuel outlined, are just obstacles. For the bad guy, it means more planning and taking more time to do what he wants to do or try and do. If the whole security issue is going to be centered around the cockpit, then lets make the cockpit self-contained. What i mean by this is, make it into a "safe room". The pilots would have their own bathroom in the cockpit and their own mini kitchen. Therefore, the pilot does not have to leave the cockpit or open the door unecessarily. As for the door itself, there are plenty of ways to make it like a brick wall. The question is, would airline manufacturers be willing to design this into their products? and would airlines be willing to pay the price? Perosnally, having guns on an airplane makes me uncomfortable - unless it is carried by a very well trained law enforcement officer.
alistairm 0
i should have done my research before psoting. I found this:

But of course, this is just one aircraft type. Anyone know of others?
preacher1 0
Alistair: in looking over the comments on the link you provided it appears it is sort of Airline choice and anticipated equipment use. There are some notes in there about some 757's and 767's configured that way. I can't speak for the Airlines. All my time was on 707/757/and now a new 767 with a private/corporate configuration which was exempted from a lot of that. Ours always had the front lav that the crew used but you came off the FD and entered from the cabin hall.
alistairm 0
Yep, your right wayne. Honestly, this is the first time that i have read about washrooms on the flightdeck of an airline - learn something new everyday.
preacher1 0
That just may something new that has quietly came around since 911 and nobody has said anything about. They made a big issue about cockpit doos and all that but there are probably other small things like this that have been done but not publicized.


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