View Full Version : Hijack proofing an aircraft

26th Oct 2004, 12:25
Hopfully I'm not going over old ground here, but I've had a few ideas regarding safety in the post 9-11 years.

How would you make a jet hijack-proof?

here's my suggestions...

1. Make the cockpit physically separate from the cabin. ie no door (apart from an external door obviously), separate oxygen supply, blast-proof wall, own toilet, etc...
2. In the event of a hijack situation, pump sleeping gas into the cabin. All pax fall asleep, plane lands with no further incident.
3. or if pilots become incapacitated , plane can be switched to auto-pilot and perform a computer landing (is this technically possible??)

With these ideas it would seem to be impossible to hijack a plane.

Can anyone tell me why this cant be done?
I'd be interested to know the Professional pilot's opinions on this.

Big Tudor
26th Oct 2004, 12:36
And most professional pilots would be interested to know why your asking such questions in your first post! Have a good trawl through the pprune pages (i recommend the excellent search function also) and you will find more info than you can shake a stick at.

26th Oct 2004, 12:41
I am posting such questions on my first post to try and get answers to direct questions!

Is there something wrong with that or have I broken some unwritten law on this site???

26th Oct 2004, 13:02
skydiverppl - Rumours & News isn't an appropriate forum for these questions. A moderator will likely move this post somewhere else very soon.

In the meantime, while I can't offer a professional pilot's opinions (because I'm not one) I can offer a scientist's opinion (because I am one).

Sleeping gas only really exists in the movies (e.g. Goldfinger). There really aren't any gases you can pump into a room that will instantly and safely put everyone to sleep.

26th Oct 2004, 13:08
There really aren't any gases you can pump into a room that will instantly and safely put everyone to sleep.
"Safely" is the keyword here, just remember what happened when the FSB tried that trick in that Moscow theater just 2 years ago.

mods : :ok:

Mark McG
26th Oct 2004, 13:10
To back up the point Stagger is making about there being no safe sleeping Gas, look at what happened when the Russians used it to end the Moscow Theatre Siege - a large number of the hostages died from poisoning caused by the Gas.

26th Oct 2004, 13:20
a quick search on the net shows that just such a sleeping gas is currently in development.


To back up the point Stagger is making about there being no safe sleeping Gas, look at what happened when the Russians used it to end the Moscow Theatre Siege - a large number of the hostages died from poisoning caused by the Gas.

Ok maybe a few hostages died. Thats very regretable.

But in a situation like the 9-11 attacks what would you rather have? A few dead hostages or 5000 people killled on the ground?

A plane is a flying bomb in the wrong hands.

I beleive a properly tested and developed sleeping agent would be the solution.

Postman Plod
26th Oct 2004, 13:30
Key words - in development.

IIRC, the Moscow seige deaths were mainly due to people choking on their own vomit rather than poisoning - they did not recieve access to first aid quickly enough, as the priority was to get them out of the building. Many people just died on the streets.

I would suggest that the same risk would exist with any gas pumped in to an enclosed environment - you may send them to sleep, but kill them if they vomit... How long will the effects last - all very well if its a domestic flight, or over populated areas, but what about keeping them out for several hours if mid Atlantic?

There has been a similar discussion on here in the past. I recall people mentioning that El Al have a seperate cockpit. I'd love to know your plan on "blast proofing" a cockpit door - what about the rest of the aircraft - all very well having a blast proof cockpit bulkhead when the aircraft is destroyed by the explosion its designed to protect the pilots from....

26th Oct 2004, 13:33
I broken some unwritten law on this site???
Yeah, you're possibly a non-pilot asking an aviation related question. Someone will be arranging to bomb your house as we speak.

Hmm, seems it got moved as I was replying

26th Oct 2004, 14:13
for your information eal401 I am not a "non pilot".

I am currently doing my ppl course, and spent many years in planes as a skydiver and instructor.

Anyway, regardless of who I am (and what experience I have) that should not stop me from asking a serious question!

It's not like I was shooting my mouth off and being opinionated.

26th Oct 2004, 15:03
welcome to the kindergarten skydiverppl :ok:

26th Oct 2004, 15:44
People who died in the moscow siege also died by choking on their own tounges as their heads lolled back. This is why we put people in the recovery position normally.

27th Oct 2004, 09:02
for your information eal401 I am not a "non pilot".
I stand corrected, my apologies.
It's not like I was shooting my mouth off and being opinionated.
I never said you were.

28th Oct 2004, 03:51
Firstly, nothing can be made hijack proof. There will always be a way. It's similar to making something fool-proof :p

Secondly, not every hijack is a 911 scenario. Paranoia these days tends to imply that it is, but in reality we're merely thriving on the culture of fear that terrorism aims to create.

How many serious security incidents have we had of late that involve wackos rather than coordinated terrorists? How many warnings have been issued regarding the imminent (and SPECIFIC) threat of aircraft hijacks?

Every situation is different, and the world would probably be safer if security organisations maintained a balanced view rather than make some of the apparently irrational, slingshot decisions we have seen in the last few years.

Asking for sleeping gas on board aircraft seems about as rational as asking for parachutes...

28th Oct 2004, 16:51
I disagree.

Its still better to have a hijacked plane piloted by a crew in a blast proof cock pit with a load of pax (and hijackers) knocked out with sleeping gas in the cabin than the alternative... ie 9-11 scenario.

To me its a more humanitarian solution than hijacked planes being shot down. As could have happened on 9-11.

Can anyone really disagree with this idea?

Postman Plod
28th Oct 2004, 17:39
Yes, but Skydvrppl, its all very easy saying all that, but how do you plan on making it practical?

Sleeping gas - how do you administer it? How do you ensure flight crew are not affected? How do you ensure correct dose is administered to each person - men, women, children, babies, fat people, thin people, sick people, immune people? How do you do it without killing all the passengers through asphixiation (whether by the gas, or by swallowing of vomit / tongue), keeping them in an unconscious state for several hours without risking the hijackers waking up and then shooting up the cabin (or blowing up the cabin!). What about pilot incapacitation - no access to cockpit, therefore unable to help them. Contaminated cockpit oxygen supply if using seperate supplies - how do you deal with that?

Blast proof door - blastproof against what, and what about the rest of the pressurised aircraft? I can see it now - flight crew piloting perfectly servicable blastproof cockpit section, now detached from cabin section after blast blew up rest of plane... :rolleyes: Bullet proof door maybe, but what about the rest of the aircraft? What about the passengers - just let them get shot?

Who and what exactly is this designed to defend against?

Start thinking about those questions, and then maybe people will start taking your ideas seriously. Right now you just keep repeating the same fanciful ideas without actually describing how you're going to do it, and ignoring those who are trying to tell you why it might not work...

28th Oct 2004, 17:56
Before being shot down in flames, let me say that I think that to consider the steps suggested at the start of this thread is to open a big can of something much worse than worms.
However, solely to respond to the very true and valid point that a blastproof cockpit door/separating bulkhead would mean that the pilots might find themselves trying to fly an aeroplaneless cockpit ignores the fact that it would have thwarted a WTC situation and have denied the hijackers their aim if that were what they were after and would have cost no more lives than the F-16 solution.
Gas etc......? Well I don't know about that. They'd have to fit a coffee machine up front and find another way to provide "pilots' perks"! That might be a tricky one to solve too!

Ka8 Flyer
28th Oct 2004, 18:30
Interesting discussion. I have thought about this myself (who hasn't?!) and about the sleeping gas solution. While I don't think sleeping gas is the answer (partly due to the facts listed above - choking on your vomit/tongue, killing the passengers due to overdose etc)
What about other ideas?
I mean for a hijacker to get started, he needs to be standing.
What about activating seat belt signs and depressurizing the plane? Of course you can't get an explosive decompression, but anyone not on ox will have a problem.
Or what about violent (ie -1 G to 2.5 G) flight maneuvers to get them off their feet.
Of course both of these "ideas" aren't very practical, as what do you do when the guys have fallen down? Do you go back to 'finish him' or what....

Anyone remember the idea of having a remote controlled gun/dart thrower in the cabin to shoot the hijackers?

I'm afraid there really isn't a text book solution. At least not yet.



The African Dude
28th Oct 2004, 19:25
Every situation's different though - the ability for sound judgement, skydiverppl, is a requirement met with Air Marshalls, don't you think?

29th Oct 2004, 13:13
Postman Plod this whole thread IS a serious discussion!
And I dont expect to be criticised by some sanctimonious to$$er like you for having some perfectly valid ideas.

May I recommend that you read Rule 4 of the JB RoE skydiverppl.

So answer me this question...

What would you rather have?

1. Some people dead on a hijacked plane from speeping gas inhalation? But the plane lands safely piloted by the captain in his protected cockpit?


2. Thousands die in an event like 9-11?

You choose!!

:mad: :mad: :mad:

The African Dude
29th Oct 2004, 13:38
Ocurred to you that those are not the only two available endings to a hijack story?! :confused: :ooh:

29th Oct 2004, 13:49

But I still wish someone would answer the question.

My suggestion is the lesser of two evils. Why cant anyone see that???

Postman Plod
29th Oct 2004, 15:42
Ohh never been called a sanctimonious to$$er before :p Very personal of you.

What I would rather have is the situation brought to a controlled conclusion with the minimum number of casualties possible. Not all hijackings are going to 11 September style hijackings - nobody had ever carried out such an attack prior to then, and I would suggest anyone who tried it now would recieve a completely different reaction from the passengers and crew, who had been brought up on hijackings ending on the tarmac on an airfield, and where giving the hijackers control was the best way to survive.

As has been said, there might be other options to sleeping gas, and there are many problems with the sleeping gas idea you put forward. The technology does not yet exist, and I dont think it can be seen as a guaranteed solution to a hijacking - I've already suggested what the problems might be - can you at least acknowlege them and discuss them rather than dismiss them?

Similarly just blast-proofing a cockpit doesn't make the aircraft any safer - if you as a terrorist try to blow open a blast-proof cockpit section, you'll likely bring the aircraft down anyway. As Cameronian has said though, is that any different from an F16 bringing the aircraft down in the end? I mentioned earlier about El Al having physically seperate cockpit access - would that not be enough? What disadvantages does that bring? Arguably as an airline, they should be the ones most likely to be targetted by terrorist action, however it seems that denying them access to the cockpit and improved ground security checks have protected El Al to a certain extent. possibly one of the safer airlines in the sky?

I'd guess that Ka8's ideas are probably more practical and maybe less risky as those mentioned above

Is is possible to completely hijack-proof an aircraft - possibly not. You have given some suggestions on ways to do it, and I am putting it to you that there are some flaws with those suggestions, and it is not as simple as you (me, or anybody else)might think. Is it wrong for me to raise questions about what you've suggested, or should I just hold my tongue where I think your plan needs a bit more thought?

So, do you want to have a discussion here, or do you want to tell everyone that you are right, and not listen to the suggestions and questions being put forward (and call someone who is asking perfectly reasonable questions a sanctamonious to$$er)? I've got an open mind, do you?

Astra driver
29th Oct 2004, 18:36
Ok, we do the following,

1.) Build an entirely new fleet of aircraft with completely seperate cockpits over god knows how much time and expense. But what happens in the event of a simple runway overun and the cockpit exit is blocked and the crew burns to death.
I know, 2 deaths is better than 2,000. But which is statisticaly more likely? I wouldn't be surprised if the runway overun is a 1,000 times more likely scenario.
Result: huge cost, likely benefit; small

2.) Design some kind of automation system that lets the ground controller take over the pland and land it safely.
While this is not technically feasible right now as the autopilot and FMS takes quite a bit of programing by the pilot to redirect the aircraft to a new airport and intercept and couple the aircraft to the ILS. Not to mention the physical interaction to lower the flaps, gear etc. But, this could be accomplished (At what cost?), only now the terrorists only have to gain access to a ground control facility to take over an aircraft and crash it into a building.
Ok you say, lets build in a pilot overide system to prevent that, but now a savy terrorist in the cockpit could just hit the overide button.
Result: Huge cost, no benefit.

I could go on and on here but the bottom line is that the best way to prevent another 9/11 is to keep the bastards off the plane in the first place. The Israeli's have it right, focus on kepping the terrorist off the plane as opposed to the weapon, I know this means using politically unpopular methods such as racial profiling etc, but I can only say that we didn't start this crap.

Disguise Delimit
30th Oct 2004, 00:43
At checkin, all passengers are stripped naked and searched ..... very thoroughly. Their clothes are bundled into the hold, and they then board the aircraft naked. No weapons. Too embarrassed to stand up and start shouting about going to Cuba, because the others will point and laugh.

The hosties have the option of getting naked too, but only with the pilots.

tony draper
30th Oct 2004, 01:09
Some people can swallow half a pound of Cocaine for later recovery, how long before somebody figures out how to detonate half a pound of swallowed semtex? your nekid strip search wouldn't pick that up.

30th Oct 2004, 01:46
Issue everyone a handgun upon boarding.

Containerize all pax in ULDs (PAX 1-2-3-4's). Equipped with seats, TVs, food and a chemical toilet and!!, their bags. locked until delivery to arrival lounge roller belt.

30th Oct 2004, 01:58
"....My suggestion is the lesser of two evils. Why cant anyone see that???"

Because your suggestion is full of holes. To reverse your statement: Why cant you see that? Youare yet to address the numerous points others have raised that contraindicate your favoured 'solution'.

30th Oct 2004, 02:09
skydiverppl, as you've just joined the party, you may or may not realise this has been done a couple of time before, with the same circular arguments (although not the original name calling :p PP).

Try using the search function at the top to see what HAS been discussed before by many aviation and non-aviation professionals. I'll give you a hint, try a search on 9-11.

Lon More
30th Oct 2004, 02:24
Apart from keeping aircraft on the ground there's not a lot you can do to stop it apart from pax and flight deck being two separate pressure vessels with no direct communication possibilities - i.e. everything goes through a ground station and also all passengers would be requested to strip off and undergo full body searches prior to boarding. Luggage to be transported in a separate aircraft.

Can't see it happening though. As someone said earlier, as soon as you make it fool proof someone invents a better fool.

Lon More,

Here before Pontius was a Pilot or Mortus a Rigger

PS I remember back in the 1960s, after a USAF ground engineer nicked a C130 from "Somewhere in England"and got it airborne it was decided to clamp the a/c to prevent reoccurance. Unfortunately the aircrew kept losing the keys, so it ended up as just the chain being draped over the nose gear

Solid Rust Twotter
30th Oct 2004, 07:18
And while everyone jumps through the hoops set up by the bad guys like good little poodles they're having a good laugh. Does anyone think the next terrorist atrocity will be a repeat of 9/11? While the world's attention is on keeping suspicious looking characters away from aircraft there's a good chance the next plan is gas on a subway/runaway train/handgrenade over the walls of multiple kindergartens..... the list is endless.

The military term is "diversionary tactics".

Skydiverppl, you're new here and snapping at the lure will only get you wound up. These guys are experts.... :E :ok:

30th Oct 2004, 14:18
Experts at what?
Aviation or winding people up?

I came on this forum to hopefully start a discussion on preventing hijack situations on commercial jets. If this is going over old ground then fine, I apologise. But I wont be partonised by certain people on this forum who seem to have a superiority complex.

I visit many forums on the internet (both aviation and other) and I have never experienced such a condescending attitude as I found here.

As for the thread, I GIVE UP!! Its not worth it.

Moderator, please cancel my account.

30th Oct 2004, 15:33
or have I broken some unwritten law on this site??? Of course you have. There are lots of unspoken rules and no one knows what they are so to be safe EVERYONE jumps on anyone new if he/she senses the newby is looking shaky in front of the "old hands". It passes for sport around here. Some are quite good at it.

Example: (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=142604)

Anyway re HJ-proofing an airliner, I say you're onto something.

Gas is a good idea. Knock out everyone in the cabin and sort it out on the ground. Gas-induced spew is a problem for the cleaners and doesn't weigh up against the 9/11 style effect of an unsuccessful defense.

Hosties unconscious? Doesn't matter as the pax will ALL be out of it anyway. The gas could be dispensed from additional plumbing into the emergency O2 system. If the hosties are smart enough, they could just sit back and laugh while everyone else is on the floor twitching.

Also cameras everywhere and pilot-selected electifying of certain fixtures. Touch it and --zap--. One fried SN.

Speaking of whom, this is a little like the best defence against windshear after take-off. Sorry to the non-pilots for the aviation-terminology on this website, I will explain this jargon later. The best way to avoid WS is to not take off. Similarly, the best way to avoid terror is to not allow on-board those persons from "certain" areas. Whats wrong with that? My PC-Police sense is tingling......

The cockpit-blast-proofing is a little unwieldy although I fully support the idea of a capsule-style ejection capability for the cockpit. Sort of like the F-111 has or the B-1. The entire front section would detach and parachute gently to the ground along with the galley so we'd have plenty to eat. There could be handholds on the outside for whatever hosties were quick enough to grab ahold of it as we left.

Then the purser could finally achieve her dream of being in charge of (what was left of) the aircraft (until it "landed"). :p

Beware of pilot-envy around here, SkyDiverPPL. Right eel?

30th Oct 2004, 15:53
A couple of points not mentioned so far.

If this gas system was ever fitted into commercial aircraft, there would have to be gas masks available to the cabin crew, for use in the event of gas leaks, and if they were easily available for the crew, they would also be available to hijackers.

Also, what would happen in the event of a cabin fire.

Cabin fire causes gas leak, which knocks out all the pax. Aircraft carries out emergency landing, and all passengers then burn to death, as they are incapacitated, and unable to evacuate the burning aircraft


tony draper
30th Oct 2004, 15:58
One has been saying it since one landed here, tiz much more civilized to go by sea.

30th Oct 2004, 16:03
Aviation or winding people up

Take your pick. Hook, line and sinker.

Oh hang on, you may have left already.

30th Oct 2004, 16:04
tiz much more civilized to go by sea

Try telling that to the Captain of the Titanic!!

30th Oct 2004, 16:14
So, I've hijacked the A/C and I'm standing at the front of the cabin clutching this hand-grenade with the pin pulled demanding to be taken to wherever.....and you go and put me to sleep with a puff of gas........BANG
:zzz: :zzz: :oh:

30th Oct 2004, 16:18
If he's gone he won't read this so I won't write it.
On second thoughts, he might just peek out of curiosity, or is it pique?
Remeber in the movies when the guy held the hand grenade with the pin pulled so that if you shot him (or put him to sleep) he would drop it and, boom, all gone?
So it would be with the guy and his explosives or whatever, primed to go kaboom if he falls down. Or pssst with his poison gas canister that was up his bum. or whatever.........

we must have been writing these together, how nice!

30th Oct 2004, 21:09
911 wasn't the first instance of a plan to hijack an aircraft and use it as a weapon, it was merely the first successful attempt.

In an earlier event a disgruntled crew member bludgeoned the captain with a hammer, intending to take over the aircraft and crash it into corporate headquarters. The first officer fought the highjacker to a standstill and the severely injured captain got the aircraft safely down but was left permanently disabled.

Legitimate crew members can also have evil intent, so there is no way to make an aircraft highjack proof short of removing the wings.

30th Oct 2004, 21:16
But it's dead easy to make an aircraft hijack-proof.

Don't allow anyone to board it.

Failing that, where there's a will there's (sadly) always a way.

Solid Rust Twotter
31st Oct 2004, 00:55
Skydiverppl gone is he?

That was easy.......


1st Nov 2004, 10:47
how to detonate half a pound of swallowed semtex? your nekid strip search wouldn't pick that up.

Wouldn't they see the fuse sticking out when you bent over?

Design some kind of automation system that lets the ground controller take over the plane and land it safely.

I'd bet the pilots union would love that. And the generations of teenage hackers who would crack the system and be performing remote control aerobatics within a week of the system being implimented.

5th Nov 2004, 11:30

inspired by www.realultimatepower.net

5th Nov 2004, 15:03

Ah, you just couldn't keep away, could you. Go on, admit it. You love it here. :E

Onan the Clumsy
5th Nov 2004, 17:19
Couldn't use gas anyway. All you need is a big plastic bag, like a turkey oven bag, which you should carry with you anyway for use as a smoke hood. Whip it out, put it over your head and you can rebreath most of what you exhale. You'd probably have time to get to the evac bottle.

5th Nov 2004, 19:45
Containerize all pax in ULDs (PAX 1-2-3-4's). Equipped with seats, TVs, food and a chemical toilet and!!, their bags. locked until delivery to arrival lounge roller belt.

For maximum safety all passengers should be fitted with straightjackets in the terminal, installed in ULDs and fork-lifted onto the aircraft.

By golly, I think weíve arrived at a solution :p

5th Nov 2004, 20:06
What if the forklift driver is part of the hijacker gang?

5th Nov 2004, 21:01
You guys are a great advert for commercial aviation!

So basically we're all ******?

If a terrorist want to take over/blow up a plane then he can do it some way?

Is there nothing worthwhile that can be done?

Think I'll cancel my holiday to the Canaries...

5th Nov 2004, 21:13
Well skydiverppl , do you have any ideas?

Remember to factor in some considerations such as cost, weight, structural limitations, cost, levels of pax inconvenience, business and mechanical practicalities, cost and human rights legislation.

5th Nov 2004, 21:17
The chances of there being a bomb on a plane are 1 in 1million

The chances of there being TWO bombs on a plane are 1 in a million milllion.

Next time you fly, to be safe, take a bomb.

BTW SP- read the notice on the, uh, door to JB: Stay out if you are faint-hearted

The Invisible Man
5th Nov 2004, 21:21

I have been involved in aviation for a few years, ( more than I care to mention)...

I think those that have answered are realists. No matter what precautions/ deterents that are put in place, it would take all of twenty minutes for someone who is determined to bypass any obsticle.

Ps. I'm off to the Canaries soon, it dont frighten me!

5th Nov 2004, 21:54
So basically the door is wide open for another 9-11?

Have we learnt nothing since then?

I'm trying not to descend into another silly pointless argument but surely if we at least design the cockpit as a separate compartment so no-one can enter from the cabin then we have a "relatively" cheap solution to preventing illegal entry?

Ok its not something that could easily be retrofitted but it could be part of the design in new aircraft.

5th Nov 2004, 22:19
No, I think you would find that any further attempts of that kind would result in very dead hijackers, crushed or kicked to death by a certain number of passengers who would not permit any attempt to access the flight deck. The things I can do with my thumbs and a pen are incredible.

Onan the Clumsy
5th Nov 2004, 22:22
Soutwest Airlines already have one passenger killed by other passengers. Here's the story as told by www.lasvegasweekly.com


The verdict is still out on why Las Vegan Jonathan Burton, 19, went berserk aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1763 on Aug. 11. But after being subdued on the flight from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City, Burton became the first commercial airline passenger to die at the hands of other passengers.

The story goes that Burton_by all accounts a respectful, loving young man_was taking a relatively routine flight to Salt Lake City to visit relatives. Then, somewhere in flight, he lost it, kicking a hole in the cockpit door, then ducking his head inside and screaming, "I can fly this f_king plane!"

Terrified passengers finally held Burton down and kept him under control until the plane landed. Burton, however, died an hour later in a Salt Lake City hospital. Amid stories that some of his subduers stepped on his throat and jumped on his chest, a medical examiner determined that Burton's "immediate cause of death" was "compressional or positional asphyxia." Federal authorities made no arrests, surmising that passengers were acting in self-defense.

While a toxicology report found that Burton had used cocaine and marijuana in the past, blood tests detected no coke and only a little THC, the active ingredient in pot. Burton's family has not decided yet whether or not to sue Southwest Airlines.

edited to include the text from lasvegasweekly

5th Nov 2004, 22:22
If you are worried about the 9/11 flying bomb type scenario, a simple practical and ruthless solution would be to fit a small demolition charge in each wing root. Once it became apparent that the aircraft was headed for a target, remote controlled detonation would limit the deaths to the pax and crew and any unlucky sods on the ground. That's the rationale behind fighter escorts, after all. My idea would be more certain.

5th Nov 2004, 23:30
So basically the door is wide open for another 9-11

You're persistant, I'll give you that. Calling people tossers and tearing your party skirt at people simply because their thougts don't comply with your way of thinking is always funny!

If you don't feel the discussion is up to whatever standard you're looking for TRY THE SEARCH FUNCTION. There are quite a few threads kicking around the site with various points of view on the whole thing. Have a bit of a trawl.

(And have another looks at the Jet Blast rules of engagement!)

West Coast
6th Nov 2004, 00:04
"he was just scared of flying"

And the others were just scared of dying.

"Oh look honey someones trying to break in to the cockpit"

"Nevermind him, he just afraid of flying, wants to let the skipper know in person"

6th Nov 2004, 19:49
Come on guys...

Doesnt anyone see what I'm getting at???

A separate cockpit, ie no one from the cabin can control the aircraft, no matter how bad the hostage/hijack situation!

Also, in a hostage situation you could train the pilots to sever all communications with the cabin so the hijackers couldnt even bargain with the crew.

I'm not an ATPL but surely this idea has some validity???

6th Nov 2004, 20:10
Go back to page two and read Astra Driver and Lon More's posts. The advantages of a seperate cockpit would be minimal as compared several of the points raised (evacuation issues, retro-fitting of airframes).

I've just had a quick dive through using the SEARCH function and found a bit of discussion here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=620&perpage=15&highlight=hijack&pagenumber=1) about it. Check out zerozero's comments towards the end of page one. And a very good discussion here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=673&perpage=15&highlight=hijack&pagenumber=1) . It's not that hard to find this stuff.

[Edited to add - There's a Tech-log link in there as well, but it doesn't seem to work.]

6th Nov 2004, 22:14
Sorry I'm late. If I'd known our new chum was going to get so wound up so quickly I'd have been here sooner;)

Gas probably isn't an option just yet, but what about the microwave and acoustic frequencies which will knock a person out? At least one of the martial arts employs a "fighting cry" which resonates in a person's skull, causes blood vessels to dilate, and renders them almost instantly unconscious through the resulting drop in blood pressure. And no, I don't know how it doesn't affect the person emitting it.

6th Nov 2004, 22:31
Sound played at a certain frequency will cuase a mega case of the uncontrollable runs.

6th Nov 2004, 22:41
Now I saw that in a South Park episode:

Here's a description of the episode (http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/GuidePageServlet/showid-344/epid-2464)

7th Nov 2004, 21:25
Skydiverppl, you're going to be arguing to an unreceptive audience until you address the numerous points others have made, in this thread and others, that cause your idea to fail. Repeating yourself isn't sufficient and neither is taking the idea as an article of faith. You must show why your idea(s) are reasonable, cost efficient, do not themselves impose unacceptable problems and are effective, while also demonstrating in your argument that the arguments against it do not affect the situation.

And to address an earlier question of yours...

No, we haven't failed to learn anything. We've learned that passively acquiescing to hijackers - as was the received wisdom up to the WTC attack - is no longer likely to be the best solution. Immediate, aggressive & populous counter-attack by as many of the aircraft occupants as are able appears to be a better way. I'd also argue that additional friendly bodies in the cockpit occupying the jumpseat(s) makes it difficult for the hijacker(s) to reach the flight crew and is also a good idea.

I also support arming the flight crew to make it even more difficult for an aggressor to take over the flight deck.

8th Nov 2004, 09:14
Good, finally we're getting somewhere.

Tinstaafl I totally agree with your ideas.

I suppose all I'm looking for is some reassurance that there HAS been a change in attitude since 911. But also a change in procedures and onboard equipement that can actively prevent another hijacking like 911.

Now that I've heard you guys thoughts on sleeping gas, I accept that It's probably not the best solution.

But things like...

1. Air marshalls
2. Separate cockpit
3. Armed flight crew

all would make me feel better about flying AND they are relatively cost effective.

8th Nov 2004, 15:28
skydiverppl, we were getting somewhere when people responded at the start of this thread. You just didn't like the answers.

re#2: I think you'll find the separate cockpit idea imposes more problems than it solves. Perhaps not in the future but certainly right now. Read the previous posts again as well as the links that have been given. You've only repeated your conclusion without yet addressing the arguments against it.

BTW, making you (or anyone else) feel better is not a rational reason for adopting a proposal - although it may well be a happy side effect.

WRT armed crew you won't be reassured to know that most jurisdictions are against the idea. Even where there is a process to allow it (USA) it was made difficult by bureaucrats opposed to the idea.

Similarly, having sufficient air marshal types on board requires a HUGE investment if you want to ensure all, or even most, flights are covered. Still easily defeated by those with nefarious intent: Plan to use a larger gang since it's unlikely that there's more than a couple of marshals present, have a 'sacrificial ne'er-do-well' to draw out those on board then have the still-hidden guys take out the good guys, do that for multiple flights since the odds are there's none on all or most flights etc etc. What will you do next? Have 2/3 ofthe seats filled with security bods to ensure superior numbers?

No good at all if the nasties take over the sealed cockpit prior to departure...

And that's the problem: For every proposal there will be some form of counter. At some point it becomes unfeasable & unreasonable to implement yet another 'thing' hence the only true 'security' is not to have aircraft at all.

But then some smart arse will develop a steerable balloon packed with semtex, or hijack a supertanker filled with oil, or semi trailer & load it with diesel & fertiliser.

A reasoned assesment of the actual risk - and not an emotional perception - vs the the various proposals & costs is needed.

8th Nov 2004, 16:18
skydiverppl, we were getting somewhere when people responded at the start of this thread. You just didn't like the answers.

Tinstaafl its not that I didnt like the answers. I was the condescending response from certain people on this forum that pi$$ed me off.

BTW, making you (or anyone else) feel better is not a rational reason for adopting a proposal

You're wrong! Its the general public/businesses that pay the salaries of the ATPL's on this forum. If you cant reassure them then they wont use your Airline!

At this time, where terrorism is a real worry for a lot of people, YOU guys need to reassure the population that Commercial flying is safe.

What will you do next? Have 2/3 ofthe seats filled with security bods to ensure superior numbers?

Of course not. :hmm:

But then some smart arse will develop a steerable balloon packed with semtex, or hijack a supertanker filled with oil, or semi trailer & load it with diesel & fertiliser.

There's aways going to be way to commit crime. But this thread is about preventing or dealing with a hijack inside the aircraft.

8th Nov 2004, 16:35
skydiver, have you actually looked at those links?


Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 16:39
You're wrong! Its the general public/businesses that pay the salaries of the ATPL's on this forum. If you cant reassure them then they wont use your Airline! Actually airlines generally lose money on passengers and make money on freight, hedging, subsidies, tankering fuel, currency trading, alternate businesses like Sabre etc etc.

In fact, I bet if they could do away with pax altogether, they'd be more than happy.

Mr Chips
8th Nov 2004, 18:02

Airmarshalls - can be overpowered and their weapons taken
Seperate cockpits - danger of pilot incapication, unable to communicate with crew in emergencies etc
Armed crew - see note on airmarshalls
Tell pilots not to communicate with crew in hijack situation - how would you feel listening to your friend being murdered?

Just to show that there is no straight solution.....

Onan the Clumsy
8th Nov 2004, 19:09
Just to show that there is no straight solution..... What about sleeping gas pumped into the cabin?

8th Nov 2004, 19:13
Hell Onan I wish they would do that anytime I'm riding as a passsenger on the airlines. On every flight.:)

The gas thing that is.

8th Nov 2004, 19:31
Skydiver The problem is that Air marshals are not the solution. They are a visible sop by the politicians to the uninformed electorate. It merely allows them to say they are doing something.

My job is to fly my passengers from A to B safely. Exposing them to a gunfight at FL390 is in no way safe. Sky marshals are human and have made mistakes. Who pays when an unlucky passenger sues for compensation when our intrepid hero shoots a passenger by accident sitting in first class? Who is in command of the Aircraft? Since we donít have legions of armed marshals that means that they will have to be targeted to a particular flight deemed at risk or where good intel dictates. I have done my bit for Queen and Country. Iíve been in several firefights and I speak from experience. However since Iíve left the armed services why should my colleagues and I put our selves slap bang in the middle of a firefight for our companyís commercial gain. Bottom lineÖif a sky marshal gets on my aeroplane then I get off and so will the rest of the crew. To my knowledge that is the position of every pilot in the company. My contract prevents my company taking action against any pilot who refuses to operate in such circumstances. The association also supports it. Bottom line againÖIíd rather be unemployed than dead. If you want to play hero be my guest but I youíll be very lonely trying to fly that aircraft on your own.

Separate cockpit, why? As has already been pointed out we donít fly the cockpit. The rest of the airplane is just as important. The new armoured doors make life pretty impossible for someone to burst in. Shooting at it is pointless tooÖ it only serves to get our attention, thatís if we havenít spotted you on the low light CCTVís and started the diversion already. If you get really persistent I would consider depressurising the aircraft and you will be unconscious within seconds. The cabin O2 only lasts for twelve minutes and my opo and me have got a huge supply that would last until you are long dead. Before that happened and the rest of our passengers expired, any unconscious would be hi-jacker would suffer an unfortunate encounter with a fire axe. Donít think Iím joking, if a hi-jacker takes control of an aircraft and heads for any city etc, bet on an F16 or similar in your 6 using you for gunnery practice. With my background Iím no pacifist and extraordinary situations call for extraordinary solutions.

Armed flight crew? I have used weapons all my adult life, both professionally and for sport. I still do. A handgun takes a good deal of training and practice to reach what I would consider a proficient and safe standard to conduct CQB ops in an enclosed environment with non combatants mixed in. Indeed it was only when a US police instructor trained me while living in the US that I could hit the body T every time while in a combat situation. As pilots we donít have the time to put in the hours to reach that standard. FYI I used to fire around 1200 rounds a week practicing. I would be prepared to do it again but Iím pretty sure my company wouldnít release me for range sessions to maintain the necessary skill with a deadly weapon. Our US cousins were raised shooting and tend to be more conversant with firearms and marksmanship. They are usually better shots in the main because of this fact. They also seem more willing to accept ďcollateralĒ damage as an unavoidable riskÖmaybe. I believe that on the whole its better to keep all firearms off the aircraft.

The sad fact is that profiling is probably the single most effective tool for aviation security Öbut thatís not politically correct so we donít do it. Until the public has the bottle to tell the PC brigade where to go, real security will continue to be hobbled.

9th Nov 2004, 00:04
max_cont , good post.
I agree with a lot of what you are saying.

The PC brigade are indeed a major downfall in this issue.

Onan the Clumsy ,

Actually airlines generally lose money on passengers and make money on freight, hedging, subsidies, tankering fuel, currency trading, alternate businesses like Sabre etc etc.

If airlines dont make money from PAX... eh.... why do they bother having them??

I run a business and if there was any element of the business that was not profitable I would stop doing it!

Can you explain the above quote?

Onan the Clumsy
9th Nov 2004, 00:26
If airlines dont make money from PAX... eh.... why do they bother having them?? Simple because they need a reason to exist. You start with a reason, but you actually do something else.

You can't necessarily stop running an unprofitable part of your business either. For instance, how were ther first airlines funded? By carrying the US mail. Maybe the government said we have a responsibility to the people, so we won't let you carry our mail unless you also carry people.

If you want an example, look at American. Even with Sabre, they still lose hundreds of millions a quarter. Without Sabre, they'd probably be long gone now. Then they have Orbitz and their tie in with Travelocity.

Take American again. They have workers in the UK. How do they pay them? Dollars or Pounds? It makes a BIG difference as the exchange rate fluctuates. What do they do with the ticket charges? UK tickets are bought in pounds, US ones in Dollars. Got a few billion lying around? Maybe you should invest it overnight, or even change currency for a couple of days. What's fuel going to do in the next few months? Hedging is one of the reasons Southwest is still alive.

How does Ryan Air let me fly to the South of France and back for two quid? I KNOW they're not making any money on that.

GE is the same. Forget cars, they lose money on cars, they make it on financing and now they do mortgages too.

In fact, cars of the future will be a zero gain product, the money will be made from the monthly services like On Star and GPS updates and satelite radio.

Passengers are a pain in the ass, they complain, take up lots of room, need toilets and meals, they need security and checkin facilities and if anything should happen, they'll cost you millions in a lawsuit. You'd better believe airlines would do without them...if they could.

West Coast
9th Nov 2004, 03:52
"The gas thing that is"

I have gas when I fly on the airlines, does that count?

The cheesy grins and beads of sweat give it away I think.

9th Nov 2004, 04:30
Onan I love your whacky theories on airlines losing money by carrying passengers... HAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!

Very amusing....... ;)






10th Nov 2004, 02:45
The gas 'solution's' cons have already been mentioned earlier, in this thread and others. Presuming the hijacker(s) haven't already been overpowered by those on board (remember, passive acquiescence is no longer considered the best response), and that the hijacker(s) really are intent on becoming a bomb:

First showstopper: How to *guarantee* the gas doesn't affect the flight crew ie completely & utterly separate cabin & cockpit air supplies AND still have the necessary redundancy? There's only so many air sources.

Even then, what's to stop hijackers using the emergency O2 or even some pre-prepared altered & 02 refilled asthma inhalers?

They could break a window, causing a depressurisation, simultaneously venting the gas & forcing a descent to breathable altitudes. Flight deck O2 only lasts for so long.

A separate pressure vessel for the flight deck? One tiny drill bit will soon remove that slight obstacle.

All the gas will have achieved is removing all resistance, giving them an unopposed chance at breaching the flight deck. Oh, and a few dead pax.

10th Nov 2004, 03:05
Perhaps the skydiverppl person is totally right. None of us have a clue how to keep him safe from the baddies. Oh well.:zzz:

10th Nov 2004, 03:21
So, let's revert to statistics.

You stand a greater chance of being struck by lightning, being run over by a bus or having a fatal car accident than being hijacked, especially on a flight to the Canaries.

Seize the day.

10th Nov 2004, 04:29
We could have psychic monks check out the passenger list for every flight prior to departure. An overabundance of people with bad karma would then be cause for closer inspection.

But seriously....there is probably never going to be a 100% solution to this problem. The inherent difficulty is that the airline/passenger business is a human situation, and humans are prone to being both very clever and highly unpredictable. (Apart from when we're being very dumb and very predictable.)

Adequate screening of passengers and freight prior to loading, as well as adequate screening of airline and airport staff, may be the best partial solution available to us. It will cost money and take time and get up a lot of folks noses, but in the long run there may not be a better answer.

10th Nov 2004, 04:40
Skydiverppl seems to be asking for certanties & guarantees. There are none, not in aviation, and not in life. The best that can be hoped for is a *reasoned* assessment of the risk vs costs (of both the unwanted outcome and the deterrents) and not a fear driven reaction.

As long as there are aircraft then someone will eventually figure a way to achieve a hijacking.

10th Nov 2004, 09:02
Well ok, I accept that flying is basically an excercise in risk management.

I just hoped that there had been some concrete actions taken since 911 to prevent it happening again. Screening pax is one thing but it still doesnt stop someone getting on board with a razor sharp plastic or ceramic knife.

Moving on from that...

If you were on board (as a pax or crew) and there was an ongoing situation where a group of hijackers (say two or three) were attempting to take over the aircraft what would be the best course of action?

Any available weapons on board? fire axes? cutlery? heavy objects?

max_cont maybe you have some ideas on this issue?

10th Nov 2004, 13:40
Ding Ding!

Round 2

10th Nov 2004, 16:07

Persistant little bugger ain't ya!

10th Nov 2004, 16:13
Cheeky little bugger arent you?

10th Nov 2004, 16:15
You're not wrong there!

But seriously, these are all issues that have been trawled through so many times before. Are you alergic to the search function or something?

10th Nov 2004, 16:28
If you dont like this thread then go back to Winnipeg!

There's plenty of other people who may wish to contribute, rather than disrupt this discussion.

10th Nov 2004, 16:50
What's being done?

here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14746)

and here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=147922)

oh, and here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=146181&highlight=hijacking)

and here's another (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=145580&highlight=hijacking)

look, here's another one (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=140394&highlight=hijacking)

wait, another (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=141228&highlight=hijacking)

this one is even has "September 11" in the title (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=138572&highlight=hijacking)
and here (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=126741&highlight=hijacking)

here's a really big one (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=113475&highlight=hijacking)

I'll be happy to find some more for you if you need the help. :rolleyes:

Whiskey Kilo Wanderer
10th Nov 2004, 21:28
Hi skydiverppl,

If you have a look in your local WHS Lending Library at the October issue of Flying Magazine thereís a review of a book titled Never Again. This is in Les Abendís column Jumpseat. The book is written by an current airline pilot and a couple of law enforcement officers. From the review it seems to cover a lot of the questions you are asking. I might even look out for a copy myself.

Safe Flying.

11th Nov 2004, 00:25
Yeah Jerricho , get me another 20.

In fact make it 30, I'm needing some night time reading.