For those of you that have been following the various threads during the last several months regarding flight deck security and not understanding the crew's concerns and frustrations, I think you will find this article most informative.
At the end of the day, your last fail safe is the crew on-board the aircraft. It's time they were included in the security program.
Having read the article in the Dallas news I would say the crew did an excellent job in a situation for which they had not been prepared.With hindsight the shoe should not have been taken into the flightdeck but I can understand the initial misconception that it was concealing weapons.
Well done to the whole crew.I hope my response would be as good and resourceful in similar circumstances. It does seem rather unfortunate that American management tried to suppress much of the information.
Almost half the passengers aboard the Paris-to-Miami flight swarmed terror suspect Richard C. Reid in the narrow aisle of the American Airlines jetliner, creating near pandemonium, according to the chief flight attendant, who described the effort to subdue the alleged would-be bomber during a federal court hearing in Boston yesterday.
Hours after Reid was lashed to seat 29J, chief purser Carole J. Nelson testified, Reid begged her for water and then lunged at her with his teeth while she held a plastic cup to his lips, displaying almost no ill effects from two sedative shots he'd been given by a doctor on board.
Nelson described a chaotic scene aboard the Boeing 767, with nearly 100 passengers clambering toward Reid after he allegedly tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his shoes.
Nelson said she had to climb over seats to bypass passengers and get to Reid, who she said was struggling ''like a wild animal'' and had already bitten another flight attendant. Standing on the seat in front of Reid, Nelson recalled, ''I told him to keep his mouth shut. He was wild. He had wild eyes.''
In the first courtroom testimony in the case, Nelson, who has been a flight attendant for 30 years, shed light on Reid's state of mind during the Dec. 22 Paris-Miami flight that Reid allegedly tried to blow up. The plane was diverted to Logan International Airport
after Reid was restrained.
Nelson's description evoked a man who boarded the flight calmly, bent on fulfilling what he described in an e-mail to his mother as a mission in the war between ''Islam and disbelief.''
When the mission turned sour, however, the tall British passenger who had greeted Nelson politely at the airplane door morphed into a writhing captive who ''locked that attacking glare'' on everyone who came within his view, Nelson said. It was like ''Jekyll and Hyde,'' Nelson said.
Her testimony came in a pretrial hearing for Reid, who has been charged with attempted mass murder and eight other counts for allegedly trying to blow up the plane, which had 197 passengers and crew aboard.
At the hearings, which are expected to last three days, federal public defender Owen S. Walker is arguing that investigators violated Reid's rights in two interrogations immediately following his arrest.
Walker wants Reid's statements to investigators thrown out as evidence because Reid had been sedated during the flight and had not properly consented to be interviewed by federal agents.
Reid's initial statements to investigators could prove vital to the government's case, and prosecutors are opposing Walker's motion.
In a separate action yesterday, Chief US District Judge William G. Young dismissed the only one of the nine counts against Reid brought under the antiterrorist USA- Patriot Act, passed in response to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The charge - attempting to wreck a mass transportation vehicle - is not valid because an airplane is not a vehicle under the new law, Young said. His ruling leaves intact the other counts, five of which carry possible life sentences, and doesn't change the possible penalty Reid faces.
Reid, his hair now cropped short and his beard and mustache neatly trimmed, listened intently yesterday as Nelson told how passengers lashed him to his seat and held him by his then-long hair until the plane landed.
When Reid boarded the plane, Nelson said, he spoke to her politely and took his seat. Three hours into the flight, however, a flight attendant alerted Nelson by intercom that a passenger was lighting matches.
''As I approached I heard screaming and a flight attendant was yelling she had been bitten,'' Nelson said. By the time Nelson had pushed through the crowd of passengers, a group of flight attendants and passengers had subdued Reid.
One flight attendant bound Reid's feet to the seat legs with seat-belt extensions; another bound his hands with plastic handcuffs. Reid's torso was tied to the seat with belts joined together. A passenger identified only as Marco held Reid by the hair.
Flight attendants told Nelson that Reid had refused all food and drink, except water, during the flight. ''He was acting up; he was moving around even though he was restrained,'' Nelson said.
Under cross-examination, Nelson said she told two medical professionals on the plane, identified by an FBI agent as a doctor and a dentist, ''Just sedate him. Don't kill him.''
The doctors injected Reid in the stomach with two sedatives, less than half an hour after he had been restrained.
An hour later, with two passengers standing guard, Reid ''was rocking his head back and forth, his lips were moving like he was saying verses or a prayer,'' Nelson said.
He asked for water, and she brought him a plastic cup and held it to his lips, Nelson said. But after taking a few sips, she said, he suddenly lunged at her. Marco grabbed Reid by the hair and snapped his head back.
''I was dismayed that he didn't have any symptoms of being given two drugs,'' Nelson said. He was then given a third injection.
Reid appeared shocked and did not respond when a flight attendant spoke to him in Arabic, Nelson said. He told one flight attendant he was English, another that he was Sri Lankan, and a third that he was from Jamaica.
Despite a total of three injections, Reid walked off the plane unassisted. ''He wasn't slumping, he wasn't staggering,'' Nelson said. ''He appeared totally in control of himself.''
After his arrest, Reid spoke for several hours to FBI agents, who interrogated him again the next day. FBI agent Charles Gianturco testified yesterday that he informed Reid twice of his right to remain silent, and that Reid appeared alert, cooperative, and willing to talk to investigators.
The doctors who injected Reid, and several more federal agents, are expected to testify today as the hearings continue.
This story ran on page A1 of the Boston Globe on 6/12/2002.
It appears to be a valuable lesson to all travellers that any unususal behaviour by others bears watching. Any dubious events should be communicated to crew as soon as practical, and if the need arises, be prepared to act instead of spectate. We are all in it together.
. . . . . and bill Her Majesty's government for the rope.
Sure wish the Brits and Europeans would keep their terrorists to themselves. Our own PC Immigration and Security agencies have let in and failed to monitor enough of these Muslim extremists and sympathizers into the US themselves. We don't need anymore from Europe.
I hear now that the Germans are refusing to help with investigations because capital punishment may be imposed against these mass murders. Coming from Germans, that's rich. Maybe if a few thousand Germans or French were murdered at one fell swoop by those bastar*ds, they'd change their mind.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Why are so many lily-livered bleeding heart liberals in the US intent on trying to get creatures like this - and that other one who was recently caught in Chicago - out into society again? Will they never learn?
Your federal agencies (God knows how you guys keep track of them having so many........incompetent ) had been advised by the french and german counter terrorist units giving names of potential suspects. One of those guys throws a temper tantrum because he wants to learn how to fly a 747 and what does the mighty FBI do ???? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ !!! Only ONE person within the CIA speaks pashtoun giving no credit whatsoever to infiltration and other good old intelligence techniques. Nope mate, you don't do intelligence out of a cozy office using a joy stick to pilot satellites. But then, what would you do without your toys ???
Now if I may. Richard Reed was offloaded the previous day, how on earth wasn't the Captain told about this ?? He is the last one responsible to make the decison wether this good Gent is going to travel or not and I think you Yanks should get out of your flight decks from time to time to take the power entrusted to you by Air Law and not rely on some sort of clueless ground staff who will not have her /his ass at stake. I think it just looks like take off in the peak of a storm; everyone waiting for the first one to vacate the runway saying " no can do " because they're afraid to look like a fool. Better look like a fool in one piece than .........an idiot as a forencic piece of evidence..........if they get to find you.
WASHINGTON – The American Airlines dispatcher who helped guide the flight carrying a suspected shoe-bomber to a safe landing in December alleged in a whistle-blower complaint Wednesday that airline supervisors interfered with her during the incident and threatened her afterward.
In a complaint filed with the director of the Federal Aviation Administration's Whistleblower Protection Program, Julie Robichaux, a 12-year American employee, said she was subjected to "intimidation, threats and disciplinary action" after criticizing the airline's handling of Flight 63 on Dec. 22.
The Paris-to-Miami flight was diverted to Boston after a passenger attempted to ignite explosives in his shoes, authorities said.
Ms. Robichaux, 37, said in an interview that she first sought to resolve her dispute with management internally and that her decision to formally lodge the allegations against American was a difficult one. However, she said, "I felt like I had to do it to protect myself" from further retaliation.
American said the complaint is without merit.
The FAA will investigate aviation safety aspects of Ms. Robichaux's complaint, spokesman Les Dorr said, and the U.S. Department of Labor will investigate allegations that the airline discriminated against her for raising safety concerns.
The FAA could fine or take administrative action against American if it finds any violations of safety regulations, Mr. Dorr said. It also could fine the airline if the Labor Department finds evidence of discrimination.
An FAA-licensed dispatcher such as Ms. Robichaux has responsibility, along with airline captains, for preflight planning, delays and gate releases. Once a flight is in the air, the dispatcher must monitor its progress, relay safety information to the captain and, if necessary, cancel or redispatch the flight.
In the complaint, Ms. Robichaux offers a detailed account of the last 3 ½ hours of Flight 63 – and American managers' actions in the months that followed. The complaint states that Ms. Robichaux was first alerted to a "passenger misconduct situation" by the flight's captain, Hans Mantel, at about 9 a.m. Dallas time on Dec. 22. She and Mr. Mantel agreed that the flight would divert to Boston.
Ms. Robichaux said she asked Jack Helmbrecht, an international sector manager, for help and was assured she would get it "if anything should happen."
About 15 minutes later, Ms. Robichaux said, the pilot informed her that passenger Richard Reid's shoes appeared to contain "some kind of pyrotechnic device."
Ms. Robichaux said she told Mr. Helmbrecht about the shoes, but he told her not to inform authorities "because the flight would be remotely parked [in Boston] and 'it would be forever before we could get the plane out of there.' "
Ms. Robichaux said she "strongly believed that this would be inappropriate" and disregarded Mr. Helmbrecht's instructions.
American spokesman Steve Tankel responded: "It is not the job of the dispatcher to communicate with the authorities. The manager on duty notified the state police and was also in contact with other government agencies."
Ms. Robichaux said she spent the next two hours relaying information between Mr. Mantel and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, the military agency that protects U.S. airspace. But at one point, she said, Frank Bottie, a manager at American's Systems Operational Control Center in Fort Worth, disrupted the flow of information by speaking directly to the captain. Mr. Bottie later ordered her to get off the phone with NORAD, Ms. Robichaux said, emphasizing that she had other flights to monitor. At the time, she said, she was responsible for at least 23 planes in the air, with five more set to depart.
Mr. Bottie spoke to NORAD, then transferred the call to Mr. Helmbrecht, according to the complaint. Ms. Robichaux said she believed this "was not the most prudent action, as I now had to go through an intermediary party to coordinate information between Captain Mantel and NORAD.
"In fact, Captain Mantel was very concerned that the fighters under the control of NORAD could misinterpret his intentions and shoot down [Flight] 63 as it approached Boston."
Mr. Tankel said that "all security issues and events" are coordinated by the manager of the Systems Operational Control Center.
"The center manager is supposed to be the one communicating with government agencies in an event like this one, so that the dispatcher can continue to communicate with the aircraft," he said.
Flight 63 landed in Boston at about 12:30 p.m. Dallas time on Dec. 22, and Mr. Reid was arrested. The next day, Ms. Robichaux filed an internal complaint under American's Aviation Safety Action Program, alleging that managers had interfered with her during the incident.
On Jan. 3, Ms. Robichaux participated in a videotaped debriefing session organized by the American pilots' union, the Allied Pilots Association.
On Jan. 30, Ms. Robichaux said, the team that investigated her internal complaint – comprised of representatives of American, the FAA and the Transport Workers Union to which she belongs – said in a report that there was a "difference in perception" between Ms. Robichaux and her supervisors about what transpired during Flight 63.
The team said it reached that conclusion after listening to tapes of the communications and conversations that took place during the event. When Ms. Robichaux asked to listen to the tapes in March, she was told that they had been erased. Mr. Tankel said the airline is only required to keep tapes for 31 days.
Ms. Robichaux's complaint also alleges that American retaliated against her after she alerted flight crews to potential security threats on May 27.
That day, she said, she learned of suspicious passengers on two Zurich-bound American flights, one from Dallasand the other from New York. On the first, six passengers traveling with Indian passports "were overheard discussing the synchronization of their watches"; on the second, "a passenger traveling with a passport from Pakistan would not turn off his computer after being told to do so several times by a flight attendant."
Ms. Robichaux sent an electronic "heads up" about these developments to flight crews under her control. When Danny Burgin, a manager at the Systems Operational Control Center, learned what she had done, he convened a formal "counseling" session, she said.
Mr. Burgin informed her during the session that "security is not part of my job scope" and that her notification of the crews was inappropriate, Ms. Robichaux said.
She said she was warned that if she ever did such a thing again, a "first advisory letter" would be placed in her personnel file. This, she said, would be the first step in a disciplinary process that could lead to her termination.
Mr. Tankel responded that the center's manager "is the person to determine what security information is disseminated. The [managers] err on the side of caution and, if there is a question, will disseminate that information. That policy was reinforced on May 6, and Ms. Robichaux's actions on May 27 were in violation of this policy."
Now if I may. Richard Reed was offloaded the previous day, how on earth wasn't the Captain told about this ?? He is the last one responsible to make the decison wether this good Gent is going to travel or not and I think you Yanks should get out of your flight decks from time to time to take the power entrusted to you by Air Law and not rely on some sort of clueless ground staff who will not have her /his ass at stake.
Around 10 days prior to this the FAA alerted the airlines to the possibility of shoe weapons. The airline in question did not pass this information to its flightcrews. The chief pilot in charge said it was confidential "need to know" information. The FAA has said BS, it was an alert for all. Someone is a gutless lying weasel here, it is the chief.
I have also flown with the Captain in question. Out of about 7000 Captains, this guy would be in the top 100 in the category of "taking charge" of any situation.
You also have the problem of a certain ethnic/religous group crying like little babies for slights against them. After things have calmed down now here in the states, calm, careful analysis of any situation should be a given. The problem is we have a case like a immigrant crying about his travel problem on 9/19/01, whiling ignoring the chaos and fears of crews untrained for many situations that their companies were/are ignoring. Also in the equation is middle/upper managers who are hell bent at taking the authority from the Captains, while transferring the authority to no one. This is done by the slow but sure excretion of mindless, simple memos from headquarters that attempt to micromanage every situation, while leaving no one on the scene to be a leader.
Location: Slaving away in front of multiple LCDs, somewhere in the USA
>>>Also in the equation is middle/upper managers who are hell bent at taking the authority from the Captains...
As the article indicates, dispatchers have that problem also... When something like this occurs (more commonly regarding MX items that will cancel/delay flights) management types start hovering, with escalating degrees of pressure to keep things moving as sked.
The AA dispatcher involved is to be commended for her actions, both on the day of the event, and her subsequent efforts to keep her crews informed of the raw info, unfiltered by management desires. If people will recall, the United dispatcher working UA175 (WTC) sent ACARS messages to all his flights, including UA93 (PA), and you have to wonder if he got the same flak from his management.
As far as I'm concerned, if I get the info, *you* get the info, and we discuss it and concur on a plan of action. The only 2 signatures on the dispatch release are that of the PIC and dispatcher, not management types, and their role, IMHO, is purely advisory in nature. Neither is there any reason for dispatch management to be in direct communications with the PIC, potentially circumventing the joint-responsibility process.
If this thread turns into another US v UK slanging match, we all know who to point the finger at.... again.
Roadtrip, why is it that you can never resist making some snide or outright insulting remark about Europeans in general and Brits in particular?
It seems that some people on this forum have an axe to grind, and no matter what the subject of the thread, they manage to grind it. What on earth makes you think that your post was an appropriate contribution to this thread?
With 411A, it's his griping about pilots, and with Roadtrip it's Europeans. Give it a rest guys. It's really not all that interesting and it wastes everyone's time.
In my outfit, which like any other is not perfect but we strive, the Captain would have been told about Reed having been offloaded the previous day and my bet is he would have been offloaded there to,being passed on like a hot potatoe. Again, your colleague should have been told about this by the check in staff. Yes the dispacher deserves to be commanded for her action but how many of that kind do you have ???? Not questioning their proffessional ability here but more their resistance to management pressure in a rather knocked down industry.....If you get my drift. As to minorities, well .......tough. I personally had a couple of fellows thoroughly searched and checked a couple of weeks after Spt 11 th. I did this in the most respectfull way but still they was no way going around it. This ended up with letters to head office and I got full support, not because I've got blue eyes and I'm handsome but because I did it by the book. I even got verbally abused by some of our ethnic ground staff and still........tough. What happened there is one hell of a reason why " dispachers " will never cut it here. Lucky AA,that Lady was a tough one. She did exactly what needed to be done. What is AA pilots association going to do about this ?? The fact we have our ass up there grants us a lot of rights and one of them is to be FULLY informed.
On Moussaoui, the alleged 20th hijacker, it was the French who provided the FBI field office in Minnesota with information that he was known to them as having associated with terrorist groups. Unfortunately, the FBI counterterrorism office in Washington discounted the French information and no court order authorizing a search of Moussaoui's laptop computer was sought (until after September 11).
As it was, apparently nothing was found on the laptop that would directly support the allegation that he was the 20th hijacker. He wanted to fly 747's, not 757 or 767's. The laptop did contain a good bit of information about crop spraying, and Atta, it turns out, unsuccessfully sought a U.S. government loan to buy a cropdspraying plane supposedly intending to fill every available space with tanks. One can assume that if the US government possessed prima facie evidence that Moussaoui had lived with or even met with any of the 19 hijackers while in the United States, they would not seem so dependent on European records to show his terrorist group associations.
Reid, the shoe bomber, is not a capital case, and there has been no suggesstion that European authorities are not fully cooperating with his prosecution, with the French very recently arresting several suspects who may have helped him.
The American Airlines dispatcher who was monitoring a transatlantic flight when the captain reported that a passenger, Richard Reid, had a shoe bomb said that her supervisor tried to stop her notifying the authorities.
In a complaint filed with the Federal Aviation Administration, the dispatcher, Julie Robichaux, said her supervisor told her to "hold off informing the authorities because the flight would be remotely parked, and `it would be forever before we could get the plane out of there'."
"I strongly believed that this would be inappropriate," she wrote in her complaint. "As such, I did not comply with his instructions."
After a clash with management about how to handle security information, the airline had taken preliminary steps to sack her, she said.
She is seeking whistleblower status to protect her from "further discrimination". The agency said it was investigating her complaint.
American Airlines said the initial report from the aircraft was of an unruly passenger, and a supervisor might have made such a comment at that point.
A tape of air-to-ground communications would have clarified the situation but it was mistakenly erased after the airline's standard 31-day holding period, it said.
Under the FAA's rules, aircraft in flight are followed by a dispatcher, an aviation professional licensed by the agency, who provides weather updates and handles problems.
Reid faces charges of attempted murder, attempted homicide and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for allegedly trying to blow up flight 63 from Paris to Miami with bombs in his shoes last December.
After he was overpowered by flight attendants and passengers, doctors on board gave him three drug injections to sedate him.
This week a doctor testified that side-effects of one of the drugs - diazepam, commonly known as Valium - may have caused Reid to forget his legal right to remain silent after he was arrested. Dr Mark Dershwitz, an expert on anaesthetics, said this raised doubts about the validity of Reid's alleged confession.
His defence lawyer, Owen Walker, is trying to keep incriminating statements Reid allegedly made to FBI agents after his arrest from being used as evidence at his trial, which is due to start in November.