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In Flight SECURITY

Comments are Solicited

Here's something from an old Airline Captain ...

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."

Remember the subject line from Peter Finch, who won a posthumous Oscar in the 1976 movie "Network"?

Well I'm mad as hell because the attack on America using commercial airliners was predictable and preventable. I'm an old Airline Captain who's been through the Bureaucratic BS before.

When "Skyjacking" became popular, many of us Pilots requested the option to carry a weapon, along with other safety recommendations. We were ignored because bad things might happen if Pilots were armed. In the Military, we were trusted with air-to-air cannons, missiles, rockets, bombs and personal weapons. All we want to do is protect ourselves and our crew and of course the passengers. When we Pilots arrive safely, everyone else arrives safely. We're mature individuals that have safety deeply ingrained. We're trusted with the Aircraft but not a weapon to protect it. That's crazy.

When a madman brought a gun on board a USAir plane enroute from Los Angeles to San Francisco, he shot both pilots. The aircraft crashed and killed everyone on board. We Pilots again demanded the option to carry a weapon to protect the passengers, the crew and the aircraft. "Buzz off" said the Bureaucrats.

Many of the Airlines started by carrying the US Mail. Pilots were allowed, and in many cases required, to carry weapons to protect the mail. Remember when the Stage Coaches had a driver and a "Shotgun", both armed to protect the passengers and the mail. Unfortunately the Bureaucrats are "crisis reactionaries". Maybe now something will be done to protect our Aviation Industry.

Here's what we should have done years ago. Had we done these things, there would have been NO ATTACK ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER OR THE PENTAGON! And, we wouldn't be going through this crisis of being victimized by a bunch of Crazies.

1. Deputize and arm the Pilots or give every Pilot the option to carry a weapon.
Terrorists don't hijack the Israeli El Al airliners. It's because the Pilots are armed and trained. The experts should determine the type of weapons and ammo. Give Pilots small short-barreled guns with plastic or flat-headed bullets that won't penetrate the fuselage. Or, give them stun guns or any weapon that will prevent another attack on America's Airlines. Allow them to carry their weapon or place the weapons in secure holders in the Cockpit handily available to every crewmember.
Do you think those terrorists would bring knives to a gunfight? Hell no. And, do you think that those pilots who had their throats slashed wished they'd been armed? Hell yes. I asked many Pilots if they have a weapon at home to protect their family. They all said "Hell Yes".

2. Strengthen the Cockpit door. Put a dead bolt lock on the inside along with a bullet proof/resistant one-way mirror so that the Pilots can see what's going on in the Cabin. A shade with Velcro on the inside will keep any glare out of the Cockpit under normal night operations. The current peephole is a joke. Add a "security surcharge" to all airline tickets. With normal passenger loads the costs to implement the safety changes would be paid for in less than one month.

3. The Flight Attendants should NOT have a key to the door.

4. Every Jet should have a "Hi Altitude Bypass Switch" to keep the Oxygen masks from dropping. Pilots know what I'm talking about. Depressurize the Cabin. Every Pilot must have access to Plastic Handcuffs and Leg cuffs. When a terrorist is passed out it's easy to handcuff his hands and legs. Then, repressurize the Cabin and drop the oxygen masks for the passengers.

5. Jump seat riders ought to be welcomed, not prohibited. There's safety in numbers. Every Airline should be connected to a database of legitimate Airline Pilots. When a Pilot requests the Jump Seat, their credentials should be immediately verifiable. It works for ATM machines. If a Pilot must leave the Cockpit, the Jump Seat Rider(s) must also leave it to stand guard outside the Cockpit door.

6. Passengers should sign a release that says they won't sue for injuries sustained if they don't have their seat belt fastened while seated. Sometimes the Pilots may have to put some negative and positive G's on the aircraft.

7. Flight Attendants must have a pre-briefed password with the Pilots via the intercom before the Cockpit Door is opened. They must also have a pre-briefed emergency password indicating they are in extremis and the door should NOT be opened.

8. Security, Cleaning and Catering personnel at the airport must be screened with a thorough background check.

9. Passengers should receive a briefing if a hijack attempt is imminent. "This is the Captain..."Everyone stand up and immediately throw things at the Skyjackers, pillows, books, magazines, your shoes or whatever. Grab your Carry on Bag and rush them with your bags in front of you. Overwhelm them with numbers. It'll throw them off balance and distract their attention. Wrestle them to floor and sit on them. I'm sure some passengers will probably call 911 on their Cell Phone.

10.Cabins must be inspected before the first daily flight for the possible placement of weapons by Cleaning or Catering personnel.

I have more suggestions but they will be kept confidential. I'll only share them with the proper authorities.

In the meantime, put the Sky Marshals back on board.

The thousands of people who died plus their families...and the families of all the people impacted by the attack on America wish that these security measures were in place before 11 September, 2001.

I'm sure that the multi thousands of people who are losing their jobs in the Aviation Industry might appreciate this message. Send it to them, your elected Representatives and the Media. Let's get our people and our country back to work.

God Bless America.

OLD Captain "What's his Name?"