View Full Version : Flight Deck Access for passengers

27th Nov 2003, 20:39
I know this has been beaten to death but.....

I am a frequent visitor to a website for airline crews to send email, check weather, look at photos etc.

It also has a very large database of aviation pictures, over 60,000 i believe. In one section, it is dedicated strictly to flightdeck photos. I am very surprised to see lots of new additions of flight deck pictures from all sorts of airlines from inside all sorts of aircraft in all sorts of phases of flight.

Most, are from asian carriers, eastern european carriers and lots from south african carriers.

Are passangers still getting unrestricted access to flight decks?

And if not passangers, who is taking all these photos from the flight deck?

You must check out these photo's for your-selfs,
right hand side of the page, half way down, type in any letters, doesn't matter and hit SHOW PHOTOS. A screen appears that says photos do not apear in your query, at the bottom click on PHOTO INDEX and then CATAGORY, then click on inside views of the flightdeck.

Now check out the dates these photos were taken. I will admit, some are taken by the crew, some are on the ground, but quite a few are in the air taken by passangers!

:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

27th Nov 2003, 20:57
So? There's a fair bit of contention about the appropriateness & effectiveness of the security paranoia.

27th Nov 2003, 21:01
In a lot of European and Asian countries flight deck visits are still allowed, this includes carriers such as Air France. I'll stay on British carriers for the time being.

In my opinion i can't think of anything more stupid than still letting passengers come freely on the flight deck without any prior security/background checks.

B Sousa
27th Nov 2003, 22:36
Back in the normal world it used to happen all the time. I sat in the cockpit more than one time for a few hours based on my ID or Business Card.....
Now that the Paranoia has set in it will be a long time before that happens again.
As to Air France, thats not abnormal, they are in Bed with most of the offending countries anyway, so its old home week for them.
Missles in Bagdhad.......supplied by France.....
Tape of the DHL shooting..........given to the French....
on and on....

27th Nov 2003, 23:32
Just because the FAA and the CAA choose to impose ridiculous knee-jerk restrictions it doesn't mean that the rest of the world has to follow. And, in fact, they don't. The answer is that YES the great majority of non British and non US companies still allow FD visits. Good for them!

Standing-by to be preached to by people such as GrantT :*

28th Nov 2003, 00:32
Seems you've misunderstood me, Avman. You have obviously failed to understand the meaning & ramifications of the word 'paranoia'.


1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

Please note that I used the term to refer to current security practices. Care to reconsider your comment about where I stand concerning security?

28th Nov 2003, 00:49
I find silly that a foreign carrier coming into a country like the UK, that has a restriction on flightdeck visit's, allows passangers into the flight deck during all phases of flight!

Where as a UK based carrier will not allow people into the flightdeck.

It makes no sense.

It should be an international law, forbidding crew to allow any person, other than a civil avition rep or cheif pilot, entry to a flightdeck during any phase of flight. End of storey. Do not pass go, do not collect 200$, go directly to jail.

Bob Upndown
28th Nov 2003, 00:50
Here's the latest rules from the DOT, effective tomorrow:

The existing policy for use of Flight Deck Jumpseats to the US will be extended to all destinations from Friday 28 November 2003. The policy is as below.

The aeroplane commander may not permit flight deck access if not in compliance with the criteria contained in this Direction. The aeroplane commander has ultimate discretion over a person’s access to the flight deck, including for otherwise “permitted persons”. Whilst the commander retains the right to refuse to allow any person into the flight crew compartment, the commander does not have the right to allow any person to enter the flight deck who is not a “permitted person”.

The following is a list of permitted persons allowed to enter the flight deck as directed to UK airlines by the Department of Transport.

Permitted Persons
(i) Any member of the operating crew including flight and cabin crew.
(ii) Flight and cabin crew employed by the airline who are off duty but either travelling to start their duty, or travelling after its close, when no seat is available in the passenger cabin.
(iii) Airline company personnel when travelling on duty, when no seat is available in the passenger cabin.
(iv) Personnel from a company in the same group of companies as the airline company, when travelling on company business, when there is an established common security screening and ID issuing process, and when no seat is available in the passenger cabin.
(v) Pilots conducting training duties.
(vi) CAA officials, AAIB officials and DfT officials, with statutory powers to enter and remain on a flight deck when on duty.
(vii) Persons who need to have access to the flight deck for reasons relating to aviation safety.
(viii) Any other category of person approved in advance by the CAA.

Validation of Permitted Persons
Permitted persons seeking to enter the flight deck must have a valid photographic ID. A valid photographic ID is one which satisfies the criteria in the Operations Manual and the aeroplane commander as to the bonafides of the person. All such IDs must be shown to and checked by the aeroplane commander before the flight.

Other categories of persons with an identified operational need to enter and remain on the flight deck.
Such persons should have a means of positive identification and the aeroplane commander must be informed in writing by the DFO or the CP of the carriage of such persons and at what phases of the flight they may have access to the flight deck and remain on the flight deck. This should also include information of the person’s name and exact reason for authority to occupy a supernumerary flight deck jump seat.

Such persons include:
(a) A manufacturer’s representative who has an operational need to enter and remain on the flight deck.
(b) A person who is conducting research into flight deck operational issues such as FTL, air quality etc.
(c) A person who for operational purposes needs to take photographs of the approach and landing at an aerodrome.
(d) An Air Traffic Control Officer for the purpose of familiarisation.

28th Nov 2003, 00:54
Certainly, the days when pax could walk on board and ask for the j/s for landing (or more) are long gone, on any airline, but it is heartening to know that the whole world hasn't gone into TSA/FAA/CAA-land.

Quite apart from an appreciation of the fact that there are many aspiring pilots who could benefit from such access, there is also the aspect of facilitating aviation articles and videos, which are very popular and could serve very effectively as a training aid as well as a keepsake for enthusiasts.

For my own part, I used to write "from the cockpit" articles for a US magazine and that's now almost impossible to organise - but I will be trying other other carriers now!

28th Nov 2003, 00:57
Aren´t they the rules that BA have had for nearly a year now? They´ve certainly put a few noses out of joint....

28th Nov 2003, 01:02
That's all fine and dandy for the 75% of flights in and out of an airport, say LHR, that are domestic flagged carriers or governed by the FAA or CAA.

How about the other 25% that are foreign and have no restriction's on jumpseat visitor's?

Is it not a requirement for foreign flagged carriers to comply with a set of maintenance requirements before the CAA allows them flight into UK airspace?

Why not jumpseat restrictions? I am sure it is as much of a threat, post 9/11, than faulty maintenance work always has been.

28th Nov 2003, 02:37
This does pose the question though, are people with 'undesirable' intentions actually gonna ask for a jump seat. I don't know how strong the doors are now, but surely if they wanna get in they're going to. On some a/c (read 737) it might actually prevent someone getting in the flight dec if there's an occupant in the jump seat. I used to love the jumpseats i got. Strapped in for takeoff (usually happened with a friendly irish airline) and stayed there till all the pax got off on the other side. Had an absolutely fantastic time, and the seat was more comfortable that in the back (except when i forgot the f/d roof was as low as it was and banged a couple of switches and c/b's)
(okay waiting for the beer bottles to come shooting on stage).

28th Nov 2003, 02:44
Pax haven't been permitted on the flight deck in the U.S. for nearly three decades now, it is still a novel concept in some countries...

28th Nov 2003, 02:59
Airbubba, I´ve certainly jumpseated as a pax on U.S airlines only a few years ago. I was on a U.K airline staff ticket, not in uniform and allowed on the flight deck j/s.

28th Nov 2003, 03:01
My most sincere apologies Tinstaafl . Made my posting in haste and I meant to refer to GrantT 's posting not yours. :\

Rwy in Sight
28th Nov 2003, 03:20
Banning fd visits is ridiculous because a hijacker is not going to ask permission to enter in the flight deck. He will just go regardless the crew regulation or strength of the cockpit door. Security starts and ends in the ground.

As far as I am concerned I try to avoid British or US airlines just for that reason - I like to be able to ask a cockpit visit.

Rwy in Sight

28th Nov 2003, 03:33
>>Airbubba, I´ve certainly jumpseated as a pax on U.S airlines only a few years ago. I was on a U.K airline staff ticket, not in uniform and allowed on the flight deck j/s.<<

You were admitted to the flight deck on the basis of your airline ID and pilot's license. And unlike Europe, you didn't need the staff ticket to ride the jumpseat.

28th Nov 2003, 04:23
Ah! Wholeheartedly agree with your contention, Avman. :ok:

blody tippos

28th Nov 2003, 04:23
B Sousa,
you pathetic :mad:, just learn to read (especially in that thread http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=109823 ), the Baghdad missile was Russian, the rest of your post doesn't even deserve an answer.

bagpuss lives
28th Nov 2003, 04:48
Bring back regular fam flights for ATC staff!!!!!!!!!

Mark Lewis
28th Nov 2003, 05:52
Despite the fact that airlines won't allow you in the flightdeck whilst the aircraft is in the air, once the plane is on the stand with the engine off most airlines are more than happy to allow you in the cockpit. Its not quite the same, but most of the information you can get in the air can be obtained on the ground, especially from a lowly enthusiasts point of view.

28th Nov 2003, 17:48
Notso Fantastic raises a very interesting point concerning cabin crew. It also extends beyond that particular profession too. These "exceptions" are what make the whole security argument an absolute sham.

However, his opinion about ATC visits disappoint me. I understand the frustration of not being allowed his wife or family up front. However, ATC fam flights are for good professional reasons. There's a whole new generation of controllers entering the ATC world and future pilot-controller relations will suffer with the present state of affairs, and with pilots developing Notso Fantastic 's policy. Next, ATC will say [email protected] to pilots visiting them, and the "them & us" culture will ensue. I've witnessed it more and more in the past year already.

28th Nov 2003, 19:37

Not sure if you are trying to be contentious or muddy the waters but what you have written is incorrect.

You have cut and pasted from an old, first draft, copy which has had many changes made to it after reference to the major British airlines. It is NOT effective from today. It has NOT even been published yet.

I think that when the final Direction is published very shortly a lot of the concerned professionals above will see that reasonable measures have been taken to ensure we continue to fly in a secure environment.

Anne :O

Bob Upndown
28th Nov 2003, 20:08

Firstly, let me offer apologies to you and all others that may feel I am being contentious or trying to muddy the waters - I'm not, promise!

That document is indeed cut and pasted - from the intranet of the airline I work for. It has been posted as the new policy, effective from today and I posted it here in good faith.

If it's the case that it's incorrect, I'd appreciate it if you could supply further details since if there are discrepancies then they need to be flagged.


28th Nov 2003, 21:01
Hi everyone , i am flying to Lanzarote on 7th of December from Bristol with Britannia airways on a B757 (my favorite plane) and was hoping to visit the flight deck, dose any know Britannia policy on this matter. I am a pilot myself and i have my PPL and have 158 hours on C-172 & PA28-161 . I am plane mad and i am hoping the get my CPL in a few years time when i have saved up some more money any info would be great.

Thanks Paul:D

28th Nov 2003, 21:08

Thanks for the response!

I am reliably informed that Monday may be the day!

Anne :O

P.S. ATC personnel can fly now in any UK airline with the Flt Ops Director's permission.

28th Nov 2003, 21:13
Rwy in Sight.....

I agree with the "starts on the ground" philosophy regarding security. You can put bricks and mortar between the cabin and flight deck, it ain't gonna make a lick of difference if the security stinks on the ground.

And I do believe someone wanting to do ill will would ask for a jump seat. Why not? How about having a small child do it? I have seen the pictures of little kids in head gear, waving machine guns in the name of so and so! It scares the c**p out of me. Why stop short of using them to gain access to the fightdeck with a knife?

I think a policy of keeping the doors locked from push-back to chocks should be mandatory for all carriers world wide.

28th Nov 2003, 21:55
Not AGAIN, surely???


Final 3 Greens
28th Nov 2003, 22:02

Everyone here will think that you are plane mad for asking this question and it will make them plane mad that you have ;), since it has been asked many times ... there is even another thread running currently about this.

The answer is that you will not be able to visit the flight deck whilst airborne (not just BY policy, but any UK airline), but you MAY be able to have a look in it on the ground whilst the engines are off .... hopefully someone else may advise if BY have a policy on this. Some airlines do at the capt's discretion.

29th Nov 2003, 01:24

Pax haven't been permitted on the flight deck in the U.S. for nearly three decades now, it is still a novel concept in some countries...

sadly, it didn't really matter did it? :(

29th Nov 2003, 02:32
Notso Fantastic......

If you are basing my being inept in the field of aviation, or what is going on with regards to matters of aviation strictly on my profile provided to all users of PPRUNE, then you you really need to flush out your headgear.

I know enough to contribute to these threads. I enjoy contributing and I was only bringing a point to bear based on what I have seen on another website. And I know how much of a hot topic this is.

If I don't know about somthing, I don't contribute, If I know something, I contribute.

Bus Drivers don't have a door to lock. Wonder how they manage?

Final 3 Greens
29th Nov 2003, 03:56

As a stakeholder in the process of flying (about 90/100 sectors pa) I do agree with your sentiments.

It's one of the saddest aspects of travelling in the past couple of years, that casual (and usually pleasant) contacts between the flight deck and pax seldom happen anymore.

We should all remember that US flight decks were not locked on 9/11 because of terrorist action and did not save the day when confronted by dedicated terrorists (there ought to be another word, but fanatical somehow misses the point), with a clever plan.

But we are all paying the price now - usually with 'window dressing' that is for public consumption.

Personally, the first place I would like tackled is unauthorised access to aircraft on stand or in the hangar.

Unfortunately, Apollo probably doesn't know what this means


29th Nov 2003, 04:08

I am interested to hear the 744 is the only a/c with a lavatory for flightdeck crew. I didn't know that ElAl had got rid of its 767's - some of which have no flight deck door and the flight deck is accessed from its own external door.

Anne :O

29th Nov 2003, 06:04
I find it curious that those who are against arming aircrew seem quite happy to have an F16 shoot down the airliner instead.

Flying Lawyer
29th Nov 2003, 13:07

Your original questions and others you asked later have been answered by professional pilots, but you don't seem to accept what they say.

You concluded your initial post with :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: .
Perhaps you might be able to reduce your state of confusion, to say :confused: :confused: :confused: , if you actually listened to what professionals with individually and collectively years of experience in the industry say?

29th Nov 2003, 15:40
Well, lets all roll on our backs like lapdogs !
Our 'fantastic' Govenment and CAA here in the UK are all show with no real substance.
We are authorised to carry ATC / CAA etc (latter read 'suprise,suprise !) on the jump seats, people who I have never met but i am not authorised to carry my wife and kids !!!!! or indeed another Captain working for the same airline but off duty ! Typical CAA deskjocky crap.
Most airlines landing in Heathrow are foriegn carriers and have no locked door policies whatsoever, but that dosn't matter because UK registered aircraft are safe !!!
(DTR / CAA logic for ya !)
It seems here in the UK the 'politcal correctness brigade' have the rule, every stupid policy that is thought up is adhered to without question, I 'see' the CAA are now implementing 'enhanced eye tests' ? it may interest them to know that very few opticians have the equipment cabable of carrying out these tests and my optician didn't even understand the relevance of it !!!!
Perhaps the money spent in implementing this rubbish might be better directed at forcing airports (egcc) a point in case to put proper docking stations up instead of the chalk boards they have now, perhaps then we wouldn't all need binoculars !!!
rant over !

29th Nov 2003, 15:49
>>sadly, it didn't really matter did it?

You're right, it will take years for some countries to catch up.

All these new concepts like drug and alcohol testing and keeping granny off the jumpseat have been the law in America for a decade or more.

Devils Advocate
29th Nov 2003, 17:34
We might have a 'locked flight-deck door policy' but it is as good as useless all the time that we keep opening it !

We now have the farce that every time the cabin crew need to come in to the flightdeck they pick up the interphone, give us a ‘bingbong’, and ask us to release the electronic door lock – they then open the door and enter, usually with hands full of food tray’s or a couple of cups of tea / coffee.

The exact same is true when we ‘bingbong’ the cabin wanting something from them. The cabin crew again pickup the interphone, and invariably the subsequent following action is that they make a move toward the flightdeck door ( coz we’ve unlocked it ), open it, and then come in.

At this point the flightdeck door is not shut, it is not locked, it is wide open !

You could put the doors of Fort Knox on the flightdeck if you want, but they’re no defence if they’re open.

Aside - whether you’re crew member or a passenger, on your next flight, have a count how many times the flightdeck door is opened.

Now from the viewpoint of passengers ( or terrorists ) within the cabin, any idiot could work out that when there are two trays of food and drinks waiting on the galley-top beside the flightdeck door, and the senior cabin crew member is using the interphone, that it’s highly likely that the flightdeck door is about to be unlocked, and opened !

If terrorists were intent on gaining access to the flightdeck this would be their signal to act. – and let me say it again – we, the crew, have opened the door for them, and all that then typically stands between us and any terrorists is usually a slip of a girl.

And let’s not forget that any such terrorists are likely to be highly trained, tough, and suicidally determined desperado’s and a hostie with her hands full is not likely to be much of a hindrance to them.

If you want to be 100% safe then don’t open the door, ever !

But there’s the rub.

To my knowledge the ElAl system is the only creditable one that offers the level of protection and flexibility we require – but it costs bucket loads to install.

So, what price safety ?!

This whole armoured door thing is a farce designed to make it look like the governments are doing something about aviation security – however it’s been ill-conceived and done only for the sake of public appearances.

Perhaps the best bit is that, should a terrorist manage to gain entry to the flightdeck, with the door closed behind them, they will be almost impossible to remove – as they are, somewhat ironically, now being protected by the very thing which was designed to keep them out. :mad:

Max Angle
29th Nov 2003, 19:00
"Perhaps the best bit is that, should a terrorist manage to gain entry to the flightdeck, with the door closed behind them, they will be almost impossible to remove – as they are, somewhat ironically, now being protected by the very thing which was designed to keep them out"

I'm afraid this hits the nail on the head, once the nutter is in he only has to take out two untrained people who are sitting, facing the wrong way and with a seat belt on before he has complete command of the aircraft. No amount of "passenger power" is going to get him out. As said above the only safe method is the El Al double door that means there is never an open access from the cabin to the flightdeck, quite possible to do but very expensive.

The other major problem raised here is that of other carriers flying into UK airspace with far more relaxed rules than ours. Lets not delude ourselves here, the purpose of these rules is NOT to safeguard the aircraft or it's passengers but to prevent mass death and injury to those on the ground in a 9/11 style attack. The US has stipulated than any aircraft in thier airspace must comply but the British government, as ever more concerned with presentaion than substance, has not issued the same edict to carriers flying into the UK.

Where are the jornos when you need them?, come on guys forget the "I managed to work airside for 5 days with my granny's picture on my pass" type stories and expose these serious failings in the UK's attitude to security.

ILS 119.5
30th Nov 2003, 05:51
I know of one UK airline who is allowing ATC staff on the jump seats for fam flights. This is for pilot/controller integration in case of emergencies. It's no good if the Captain doesn't know what the controller wants and vice versa in such situations. Our professions are about safety and we have to have this type of intercourse to ensure future flight safety. I don't know if the DOT instructions are correct but I think that BALPA and GATCO should get together to formulate a strategy for Pilot/ATCO integration and emergency scenario training.
Also all Pilots and Controllers are security screened and if either of them wanted to cause any damage then no one can stop a pilot already in the air nor can anyone stop the controller pointing a few aircraft at each other.

bagpuss lives
30th Nov 2003, 08:27
I know that a certain Eastern UK commuter airline are indeed offering fam flight rides to ATCOs - thankfully.

As others have said here (and as I've said many many times), a fam flight is an essential part of the ATCO / flight crew relationship in my opinion - in the same way as ATC visits.

It's also my understanding that ATCO Cadets (or rather Student ATCOs) down at the college will, very shortly, have the flight training / airmanship parts of the course removed (if it's not been done already) - so no PPL training for them and possibly no fam flights either. Therefore it's entirely possible that an SATCO can pass through the college without any advanced knowledge of flying and without knowing exactly what goes on "up front" of an aircraft of any size.

I've loved every fam flight I've been on and have found talking to the pilots fascinating and very very educational. Let's hope more airlines follow the Eastern-UK based lot and open up their FD doors briefly to allow us ATC types inside :)

30th Nov 2003, 09:18
While a FAM flight is good for relations between ATC and pilots, it really does very little giving ATC an idea of what pilots need in an emergency.

For those of you that are concerned about that, you should do as I do and invite ATC to sit in on your checkrides in the SIM. That gives them a MUCH better idea of what the work load is like during a problem, and gives them a much better idea of how you can be distracted and how ATC can hurt you or save the day (Think EAL 401 in the everglades). If you have time left over, let them provide the vectors and what not during an engine failure circuit. Its very interesting when their procedures are done and then they get to see inside the cockpit at the same time.

Fam flights are great for relations but usually send the WRONG message as far as workload and task saturation goes....

Don't get me wrong, I loved fam flights... But think about what you are actually doing...


30th Nov 2003, 15:13
Yes, but my point is that the CAA /DTR are not thinking things through, ATC fam flights are very usefull, but occur once in a blue moon. I am prevented from taking my family / friends on jump seat rides by some nut at a desk !
I see the same nutter(s) - (dtr) has now thought up a ridiculous system that anyone entering the flight deck has to be visually checked by one of the flight crew - meaning he gets out of his seat and looks through the spy hole !!!

It's about time we as proffesional pilots could take a stand against this type of nonsense, it has got to the point that the DTR are so obsessed with granny off to Spain gaining access to the flight deck that they themselves are compromising flight saftey ! every time I go to work there is a new directive from the DTR on how to get a cup of tea ! :mad:

Anyone who works in the industry knows what a pile of s**t this really is, again all show, like removing overcoats to walk through the scanner's ??? - I have a shiney steel axe in the flight deck for god's sake !

Sorry to rant but I really feel that the DTR deskjockey's are meddling to justify their sallery !!:mad: :mad:

1st Dec 2003, 18:24

If you thought it through you would realise that ATC fam flights take place "once a blue moon" because the requirement for them is minimal. Incidentally, the rules have allowed for ATCO's to have fam flights for at least 18 months and they have happening quietly - all it required was the Flight Ops director's permission.. You will see from today''s DfT direction that they are amongst the approved persons - so that ends that debate.

As to having your wife/ children / parents / partner / mate / latest conquest etc on the jump seat, I would like to know where you would draw the line and how it could be monitored. Remember that pre-9/11 the US were supposed to only allow license holders with a valid ID but that system degenerated into anyone who wanted access. I suggest that this defeats the object of having a secure flight deck.

Your comments about spyholes is only relevant to aircraft that are not fitted with cameras ; cameras are the DfT (and the CAA's ) preferred solution. The idea of secret knocks and coded messages is much less secure. Sadly this is the Boeing solution which is being pushed by airlines which are loathe to spend the money fitting cameras.

Quote ([your spelling )
It's about time we as proffesional pilots could take a stand against this type of nonsense, it has got to the point that the DTR are so obsessed with granny off to Spain gaining access to the flight deck that they themselves are compromising flight saftey
Given this weekend's terrorist enquiries in the Midlands with on-going investigations, I am surprised at any professional pilot's resistance to the current attempts to keep British aviation safe.

Anne :O

Flying Lawyer
2nd Dec 2003, 01:34
As you can tell by my username, I'm not a professional pilot but I'm interested in the discussion and hope you don't mind my asking you to help me understand some of the points in your latest post.

"Remember that pre-9/11 the US were supposed ... etc"
How would the FAA rule, even if strictly applied, have prevented 9/11?
How will the new CAA rule prohibiting pilots from permitting their families/friends to sit in the jumpseat prevent, or reduce the chances of, such an incident occurring again?

"Where you would draw the line .... etc?"
I assume from your question you don't think it's safe to leave such matters to the judgment of the Captain. If I've understood correctly, what would you say if the line was drawn at family members (or family and friends, depending upon the airline) named on a pilot's concession list?

"I am surpised at any professional pilot's resistance to the current attempts to keep British aviation safe."
As I understand it, all that pilots who disagree with your view are saying is that tighter security is needed on the ground and the new cockpit rule is no more than window-dressing which causes inconvenience to law-abiding people and adds nothing to aviation safety. Have I misunderstood?

BLW Skylark 4
2nd Dec 2003, 02:10

As one who pre 9/11 enjoyed one or two flight deck visits thanks to my Pilots Licence (albeit gliders), there is an obvious point that seems to have been missed in this discussion.

You can add the most impregnable door in the world to the flight deck and you can introduce whatever procedure you like for food / toilet visits but there is one integral weakness.

If a stewardess or a passenger is being held at knifepoint outside the door with the threat that they will have their throat slit or whatever unless the door is opened, how many crew would be mentally prepared to deal with the consequences of not complying with their request? Who can honestly say that the frantic screams and pleadings of a hostage could be ignored, especially if it is a child? How many deaths would it take before that door is unlocked?

Personally I feel that the emphasis should be placed on screening before the passengers board the aircraft, not the door to the cockpit.


2nd Dec 2003, 02:55
Flying Lawyer

I am pleased to debate the subject but I notice already your professional approach whereby you are selective in your quotation taking :D

I was making the point that those who occupied the jump seat before 9/11 where supposed to be airline employees / crew but it had degenerated to allcomers. I, too, used to enjoy the company of those who joined me in the flight deck on the long sectors. It was great to see wonderment in the childrens' faces.

However, 9/11 banished that for ever as far as I am concerned. I prefer to have no-one other than essential persons in the flight deck rather than risk my aircraft being used as a missile.

The DfT does not just ban pilots' families from the flight deck - it bans ALL non-essential people from the flight deck. Furthermore it expressly stops Commanders allowing anyone other than "permitted persons" on the flight deck. Some commanders see this as an errosion of their authority.

....you don't think it's safe to leave such matters to the judgment of the Captain. If I've understood correctly, what would you say if the line was drawn at family members (or family and friends, depending upon the airline) named on a pilot's concession list?

You are correct. I don't think it is safe because we don't have (and nor IMHO should we have) the whole picture. If the threat to OK aviation is at the same threat level as Saudi Arabia and Afganistan do you really think it is wise for each individual to do their own thing?

However you suggest the pilot might be allowed his family. Why should a pilot be allowed and not the cabin crew? To be extreme, how does CRM cope with a pilot's same sex partner on the jumpseat whilst the cabin crew's spouse is not allowed and is bumped because the aircraft is full? You could expand that to include foreign, locally recruited cabin crew whose brothers / sisters are completely unkown to the Captain; is a Captain going to excercise his judgment and say "no" when there is no other reason to refuse?

If you are au fait with the concession list system you will know that it can be, depending on airline, any six friends who do not even have to be related to the employee. I have two people on my list who are just friends I have know for just aver a year. You will therefore see that it is very difficult to draw a finite line.

For the reasons above I think it is safer and more secure to minimise the people who have access to the flight deck.

.....all that pilots who disagree with your view are saying is that tighter security is needed on the ground and the new cockpit rule is no more than window-dressing which causes inconvenience to law-abiding people and adds nothing to aviation safety. Have I misunderstood?

Yes, you have misunderstood totally. I am not sure how you deduced that from what was a very simple statement. I would be surprised if any pilots wanted to deliberately disobey the rules that are designed to make our flying more secure. Pilots usually respect the rules that govern our profession without question - they don't break decision heights or bust flight levels for fun, duck medicals nor exceed speed points (too often!). They are normally responsible, self-disciplined, mature people. That is why I would be surprised - and I fly with them daily.

We now have a secure flight deck if we follow the rules and guidance which allow for refreshment, meals and physiological breaks. It is only one layer in a multi-layer defence but an important one nonetheless.

Anne :O

PS I am away on a trip for the next three days so no quick replies

2nd Dec 2003, 15:41
Anne, i don't know which airline you work for but all the airlines I know have banned anyone on the jump seat, except as you rightly point out those people on 'the list', no family / friends etc are allowed on that list, it's for training / check rides / atc etc.

Do you have a list of 'screened frinds' ?

Further, my point is to draw attention to the ridiculous situation we have in the UK where security guards (under dtr directives) ask us to remove overcoats etc when I have an axe in the flight deck ! / where passengers are now being charged a ' enhanced security tax' but security staff have been cut !

Since you like it so much -

Quote ([your English])

"Given this weekend's terrorist enquiries in the Midlands with on-going investigations, I am surprised at any professional pilot's resistance to the current attempts to keep British aviation safe".

As PROFESSIONALS anything to make the industry safer is welcolmed by all, I seek merely to point out the window dressing.
Oh and excuse me for a spelling mistake ! Maybe you should have been an English teacher ?
Next time i'll PRUNE over my text - the world hates a smarta**

Flying Lawyer
2nd Dec 2003, 16:29
Anne (To await collection)

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
Professional approach? I 'selected' the parts I didn't understand. ;)

Re the concession list: I said "family members, or family and friends, depending upon the airline" to include the different policies of (for example) BA and Virgin. I'm on a Virgin list.

"Why should a pilot be allowed and not the cabin crew?"
Because it's the flight deck not the cabin.
Because a pilot can personally vouch for the person. I didn't suggest it should be expanded in any of the ways you mention.

I don't think anyone suggested deliberately disobeying the rules or, if they did, I missed it. That would obviously be wrong.

Thanks again for your time.

ILS 119.5
2nd Dec 2003, 17:21
My opinion on flight deck/jump seat occupation for the flight is that it should be limited to:- aircrew, DOT/CAA representatives (on business), licensed engineers (on business), licensed controllers (for flight deck familiarasion). All these should have security passes, licenses and passports whilst travelling. As I said previously, any of these professional people could cause a major disaster without access to the flight deck. I cannot understand why we are discriminating against our fellow professionals when we should encourage more of this type of interaction to understand what each of our jobs consist of, and what anomolies may arise which are not discussed. By the time any crew/jump seat passenger and paying passenger reaches the aircraft they should have been security checked to the highest standard, maybe the security companies who screen people for access to airside should pay more than "peanuts". We all know what you get when you pay "peanuts".

3rd Dec 2003, 08:35
Here in the US it is amazing how many passengers are literally afraid to come anywhere near the cockpit on the ground during boarding or deplaning. I make it a habit of allowing passengers access to "my office". I am always taken aback when they will say " I didn't know we could come up here". So let's open another can of worms...........

If you do a search, you'll find that 'can of worms' has been discussed several times. By all means find one of the threads and bring it back to the top by adding a comment, but it's not the issues under discussion here.


3rd Dec 2003, 21:36
Anne.Nonymous, your argument seems to be based on the (mis?)apprehension that access to the flightdeck by known people increases the ability of nefarious people to get up to mischief.

There's a very good argument that having an additional friendly body on the flightdeck impedes ingress to those who are not welcome. Many types have a very much restricted access when a body is occupying the space where the door is. There's also the ability of the additional person to assist the crew with dealing with an aggressor either passively by simply obstructing & delaying the attacker until others can come forward to help, or by actively resisting.

Of course flight deck access still has to overcome the perception that accessing the cockpit was a contributor to an aggressor taking control. This certainly wasn't a factor in the US 11 Sep. events. They had a locked door/no visitor policy that had been in use for many years. Made no difference. Since it seems to be irrelevent, why persist with it? Besides, any locked door can be penetrated eventually - either through force, guile or opportunism.

IMO, the main factor was that for 30 years the received wisdom has been to acquiesce to a hijackers demands INSTEAD OF actively & aggressively resisting. Had that been the policy then I believe the outcome would have been rather different. Especially if there happened to be a friendly visitor able to help.

Removing supposed 'weapons' from crew (and passengers) is also misquided. The US perpetrators used boxcutters. Big deal. They could have had equal effect with a sharp pencil, broken bottle or any number of items that are deemed acceptable even under today's 'enhanced' security. How about a shoelace? They make excellent garrots. Under the previous cooperation policy attackers need only demonstrate ruthless force against a couple of victims for the entire a/c to be pacified.

Given that policy has now - sensibly - shifted to one of active resistance it becomes awkward to explain the reasoning behind removing potential defensive weapons from the crew & pax. Unless you believe that the majority of occupants (including crew!) are all intent on hijacking the plane? All disarming the occupants has done is ensure that **when** hijackers eventually get some sort of weapon (or even a believable threat of a weapon) on board then they'll not have to worry about the rest of the occupants having some means of defense/retaliation.

Meanwhile the authority's solution is to deny that on board armament is an allowable option. They want to move straight to scrambling armed fighters. This offers no defence other than shooting down the airliner. No different from a ground hostage situation where you 'win' by destroying the premises and all occupants, including the innocent hostages.