View Full Version : JAA thwarting strengthened cockpit doors?

26th Oct 2001, 00:24
It appears that JAA is blocking measures that would allow strengthening cockpit doors on European airliners, similar to US measures that became possible after dispensation was given by the FAA. The reason being that a decompression caused by a broken flight deck window is considered to be more threatening than a hijacking performed by people who want nothing more than to crash.

Without wanting to open a debate on which airlines have actually strengthened their cockpit doors, which would be a breach of general security precautions (especially for those airlines that haven’t… ;), I’d like to ask if anyone has any useful information on this. In my company, pilots are becoming frustrated by the absence of tangible measures to counter the threats as we perceive them. If this is a European thing, it takes on very different proportions.

bugg smasher
26th Oct 2001, 04:44
There are several possibilities that come to mind when considering the insanity of such a decision; either it is shareholder pressure to keep costs down, or merely a CAA/LBA/DGAC etc inter-departmental turf war. In the case of the former, it’s certainly high time the bean counters took a seat in economy class and realized that the flying public is not likely to return to the skies in profitable numbers until such measures are fully implemented, in the case of the latter, not many surprises there I am sorry to say.

A rapid decompression in the cockpit is an extremely rare event. Should the relevant authority insist on measures to mitigate the possibility of pilot incapacitation due to same, the solution surely lies in more stringent rules regarding the use of supplemental oxygen in the cruise phase of flight. An airliner with unconscious pilots is certainly a dire circumstance. We have witnessed, however, the infinitely more destructive consequences of an airliner with suicidal terrorists in control.

Until the threat of being bombed, poisoned and otherwise terrorized back into the Stone Age is completely and mercifully extirpated, there exists a very clear and present danger. I visited Ground Zero yesterday to pay my sorrowful respects; I would rue the day that Buckingham Palace, Frankfurt Terminal One or any number of nuclear powerplant installations resembled that God-forsaken tragedy, and merely as a shockingly incompetent result of obtuse and shamefully short-sighted bureaucratic dithering. The Aces, Ace, appear to be missing from a few decks around here.

In the starkest of terms, the cockpit has been taken from us in a number of ways. Perhaps it’s high time we took it back.

26th Oct 2001, 09:38
Firstly, my condolences for the events of the past couple of months. Your nation has been exceedingly fortunate to almost entirely keep clear of attrocities like these for years while for the rest of us they are regrettably an all too common occurrance. As a result of this, most of the rest of the world took steps to improve security at source (i.e. on the ground) while America chose to allow people to wander all through their airports. Now that the worst has happened we are all expected to follow whatever the US decides is an appropriate way of acting, are we? It's funny how I have no recollection of any change in US security taking place after any UK or European terrorist attacks.

With full respect but also remembering that the world extends beyond American shores.

26th Oct 2001, 09:47
The cockpit door is designed to break open in both directions in case of a decompression. On Airbus aircraft, if a flight deck window blows out the door is designed to pop open inwards, otherwise the cockpit floor comes up and the control cables get taken out (for the rudder and THS on FBW a/c).

The Authorities are doing the right thing by trying to avoid a KJR which results in possibly greater hazards.

26th Oct 2001, 15:22
Definately a case of industry pressure.

You can have a strong door with no blow-out panels which does not cause pressure problems in a decompression - a louvred or slatted door, of the same principle as the radiator grille on armoured vehicles, made of a steel frame and Kevlar slats for weight reduction, where each slat overlaps the next to provide a projectile blocking screen. A simple curtain would keep any light from the cabin out of the flight deck at night. :mad:

27th Oct 2001, 00:34
Cockpit window blowouts do happen and the door has to accommodate this. Also it would be nice if the cabin crew can gain entry to help keep pilot x from going all the way out the window so that pilot y can get on with the job of flying the airplane.

With a strengthened door, it will be important to ensure that two crew members are always present in case of incapacitation or decompression. It won't do for the captain to have a heart attack while the co-pilot is visiting the lav and can't get back in.

27th Oct 2001, 07:22
It seems the CAA is just as buearucratic, sloth-like, and incompetant as the FAA.

27th Oct 2001, 09:20
RatherBeFlying -

AA here in the USA has a new policy that when one of the two (2) flight deck crew leave the cockpit (lav visit, etc.) that one (1) of the cabin crew comes into the cockpit to be available to open the door. This frees the other flight deck officer to be able to remain "in control" of the a/c.

When I first saw this happen a couple of weeks ago I almost had a heart attack thinking that the F cabin FA was going to fly the plane. :eek: Took me a while to "wise-up". Second time I saw it happen I also noticed that it was always an FA in "pants" rather than one dressed in a skirt. I am guessing this is because they have to "climb over" the yoke??

dAAvid -

28th Oct 2001, 04:42

That would be the centre console. Can't have the ladies offering an Elmer Batters glimpse to the pilots while getting in and out of the seat. Messes up the instrument scan when hand flying and may cause vertigo.

In two crew airliners, a cabin crew member is often trained to assist with cockpit duties in case of incapacitation.

AA's SOP in this regard will likely end up as a regulation.

:eek: :eek:

The Guvnor
28th Oct 2001, 12:08
Hmmm, remember that BA BAC1-11 that lost a windscreen (and very nearly its Captain) over BHX about 15 years ago? The Captain was held by the cabin crew, who were able to gain instant access to the flight deck - any slower than that and he would have gone.

Frankly, the chances of something like this happening are infinitely higher than the chances of another September 11-style hijacking; and I think it's essential that the baby isn't thrown out with the bathwater on this issue.

28th Oct 2001, 14:36
True about the BA 111 event some time back now, but in times since then am I not right in saying that when in the F/D , the Flight crew are strapped in at all times, at least by the lap belt if nothing else?

Also, I think it's true to say that that poor Captain was involved in a highly unusual event which we have not seen the like of since.

There have been more attempted / successful
intrusions on to the Flight deck since then .

Agree with whippersnapper - in these days of hi-tech matireals and devices a door could be developed that would be effective,secure,and approved by the pilots it is designed to protect (and the other *** feet of airliner behind them)

[ 28 October 2001: Message edited by: Anti-ice ]

Human Factor
29th Oct 2001, 00:45

Luckily for the captain on the 111, the purser was already in the flight deck. However, as you say, the other cabin crew were able to get in fairly sharpish.

bugg smasher
29th Oct 2001, 03:30
Greetings Wizzy,

Admonition acknowledged, you are quite correct in pointing out the peculiar myopia that can be prevalent here when viewing events that occur beyond these shores, indeed it is a subject that appears to be one of the primary sources of the ongoing trans-Atlantic squabble you refer to. I leave that discussion, however, to those that are so inclined.

Your comments regarding European airport security are noted with some alarm, you will recall, for example, that the Lockerbie disaster occurred due to a bomb passing undetected through both Frankfurt and Heathrow airports. Securing something the size and complexity of an international airport terminal is a daunting task, and given all the variables, can never be made wholly secure I should think.

That being the case, it has been quite correctly stated that the cockpit is, in fact, the last line of defense. If you are absolutely certain that your cockpit is not at risk, what is your solution for those carriers whose flight decks are?

Your kind condolences are appreciated with thanks, but not to worry my friend, although the New Yorkers may be myopic, they are tenacious to a fault.

Warmest Regards

Max Angle
29th Oct 2001, 03:53
From reading various articles about flight deck doors over the past few weeks it would seem that the problem of decompression has been solved with the doors that are now being fitted by Jet Blue and a few other US airlines. We have to face the fact that if somebody wants to gain access to the flightdeck be it a hijacker or any other crazy the ONLY thing that will stop them is a door that is designed for the purpose. The current doors are not designed for that purpose and need to be got rid of ASAP and replaced with one that is. If the FAA can find a way round the problem the JAA should be able to as well. The thought of being attacked whilst strapped into your seat in the flightdeck is a truly awfull one and I for one would welcome something that radically decreases the chance of that happening. The UK goverment should go the same way as the US and set a date for all doors to be changed, the airlines won't do it on their own.

29th Oct 2001, 08:28
And the evidence that the JAA is indeed blocking the adoption of secure flight compartment doors is...? The designs that I've had a chance to review so far are either pretty useless at keeping unauthorised people out of the flight compartment, or are they pose significant risks to safe normal operations. Perhaps the JAA (and other) regulatory authorities are simply waiting for an effective design that does not reduce airworthiness and safety?

Knee-jerk reactions seldom result in satisfactory solutions. Why don't we just wait until Friday and lock all Mr. bin Laden's terrorist chappies into their Mosques? That would be just as sensible as most of the "Katy-bar" bodge jobs being inflicted on US registered aircraft.

Through difficulties to the cinema

bugg smasher
30th Oct 2001, 03:34
Interesting plan, Blacksheep, but what shall we do with their bicycles?

Agaricus bisporus
30th Oct 2001, 04:18
Aren't we all barking up the wrong tree?

Unless I'm much mistaken this debate is related to preventing atrocities following the style of those of Sept 11th. (On the assumption that we were well enough prepared for threats extant before Sept11)

The modus operandi of those terrs was to take physical control of the aeroplane by getting one of their number into one of the driver's seats. It is generally accepted that this is not possible by force - ie you cannot drag an uncooperative pilot fron his seat be he unwilling or dead. They thus formulated a plan that no normal human being could resist, ie the disembowelling of cabin crew that the flight deck felt they had to react to. Thus a seat was vacated.

Has anyone been advised by the British Government (or any other, for that matter) of the impotance of never vacating your seat under coercion? The Hell we have! Surely this is the ONLY advice that matters, yet NOBODY has given it. What the **** are the safety regulators playing at? They confiscate our teaspoons and Swiss Army knives, ignore our fire axes and utterly fail to advise on the most critical event of all! This is an international scandal.

Now just how does fitting Titanium doors address all this?

It does not, nor can it. EVER.

Whilst pilots need to leave the flight deck, for access or for physiological reasons then no amount of armour plating can have the least effect, can it? Add to that the need for occasional food and drink to be brought in a further breach is introduced, that of cabin crew having access. Access which can be coerced with a knife or gun. What price armoured doors?

Come on fellas, armoured doors is utterly impractical media-appeasing humbug. It will not work because it cannot.

Unless you lock and bolt the poor pilots in hours before take off and run psychological checks to ascertain just exactly who you actually have up there, force them to fly the entire route with no food, drink or toilet and only unlock them as the securicor van comes alongside at the end of the day....

"I was locked into a metal cell 5' by 5' by 5',for 12 hrs at atime, fed day old cold food and made to crap in the same bucket as my cellmate. I was virtually strip searched each end of the day and allowed no contact with my colleagues during that time. Amnesty International would raise merry hell at the UN over such barbaric torture. But I describe the proposed life of an Airline Pilot, not a political prisoner. Can you see the difference?

Perhaps we'd be better examining the causes of the problem before inventing irrational and useless fixes?

[ 30 October 2001: Message edited by: Agaricus bisporus ]

30th Oct 2001, 05:08
More manta from the Europeans and Brits that unless something is perfect, it's not worth doing at all.

What a bunch of naive, defeatist, stupid, handwringing hogwash.

Security has to be a layered. Each layer sieves out more and more. A breach resistant cockpit door is the next to the last layer. Procedures for access (curtains/intercom, etc) can provide minimum risk for being caught with the door unbolted. The final layer before command of the aircraft is lost is armed pilots. With the primary layers (profiling, physical searches) and the secondary layers (aircraft), the probability of losing command of the aircraft is very low.

Sweating nonsense like rapid D when faced with a clear and present danger like today is irresponsible. We can get better engineered doors later. Lets get breach resistant doors in place now that can at least give the pilots a plenty of warning to take appropriate, including, if they feel necessary, lethal action. It's not perfect, but it would be as good as we can do to keep flying RIGHT NOW.

bugg smasher
30th Oct 2001, 06:11
The European community, Roadtrip, also see the problem at hand and are doing their level best to address it, it does not serve anyone’s interest to further inflame the somewhat embarrassing and puerile trans-Atlantic taunting matches that characterize more than a few of the threads on this board. Highly counter-productive in my view.

Agoricus, I see the point you are attempting to make. You are absolutely correct in stating that a permanent solution can only involve addressing the root causes of terrorism, of fundamentalist tribalism, and of the deeply addictive and suicidal beliefs that compulsively urge the so-anointed to destroy our way of life and everything we have achieved thus far. But you speak of a process that will not likely resolve itself in our lifetimes, of a steadfastly rooted human condition so deeply complex and darkly destructive as to defy intelligent analysis and resolution any time soon. What would you have us do? We require, with terrible urgency, a defensible cockpit. Right now.

Given the choice of travel options for my wife and kids between your aircraft and Roadtrip’s, and this despite my previously voiced objections to the arming of flight crew, take us home Roadtrip. My lovely children have far, far too much to lose.

30th Oct 2001, 08:57
Europeans have been living with terrorism for decades, the Americans have just had it shoved in their faces big-time. The reason why British streets are full of litter is because there are no litter bins. The same goes for Spain. Those security cameras aimed at everyone, everywhere, on the streets of UK aren't there to spot pickpockets and shoplifters.

There is no more danger of being killed by a terrorist on the streets of Tel Aviv than there is on the streets of London or Madrid. We have grown used to living with terrorism and the Americans will soon get used to it too. In the mean time stop bleating and worrying and waving your guns in everyone's faces. Terrorists must be faced with dignity and persistance.

Mainland USA has never been bombed and American civilians have never been under fire before, that is not the case for Europeans. So, American friends, do not dare to tell us how to deal with terrorists. We have plenty of first hand experience - for once unfortunately, we are the experts.

Through difficulties to the cinema

30th Oct 2001, 18:08
Wellll… Slinging mud at each other across the Atlantic was indeed not what I had in mind when I started this topic. And frankly, I'm a little surprised that this is the outcome. Among colleagues in my company, we've had and concluded the discussion about the Sept 11th events, including historical backgrounds, psychological insights, the question if additional security measures would amount to giving in to fear or if it would actually be foolish not to implement any additional measure we can think of, pros and cons of various measures that could be taken… And while some continue to believe that we should not take hasty action, and others want guns right now, the general consensus is that a layered approach, with a strengthened cockpit door as a last line of defense, would be most suitable at this time. While longer term solutions and effects are being discussed.

When faced with this, our management replied that although all sorts of measures were being studied, strengthening doors was not an option because the JAA opposed it. And while there have been suggestions that future cockpit door designs could overcome objections about rapid decompressions, I had hoped to find out if it is actually true that JAA restrictions are at this moment the barrier between us and the last line of defense that we are asking for, and if all European carriers are facing the same opposition.

As a European, I had not expected to come across colleagues who still believe that European carriers should not follow American security measures. Although the targets have been American recently, who can guarantee that other nations will not be next? Indeed, attacks on European targets have already been foiled. And a European airliner flying out of Boston is the obvious next target for anyone wanting to repeat the Sept 11th attacks without intending to lose time with a cockpit door that won't open.

Finally, Blacksheep, with all due respect, you may have lived with terrorism for decades, but the real experts in terrorism have flown with strong cockpit doors for that same period…

bugg smasher
30th Oct 2001, 19:21
Blacksheep, even though most of the engineering staff know their offices are not likely to be commandeered by a suicidal terrorist, they are still acutely aware of the need for urgency in the matter of cockpit security. Since you appear not to share the views of your colleagues, perhaps you’d be kind enough to enlighten the ignorant with your “dignified, persistent, and expert” response to the current situation.

31st Oct 2001, 04:36
Let's face it guys, if the terrorist gets on your flight, you're all dead anyway.

It may make a difference on the ground, but terrorists have other methods for that. (Ask the IRA - funded by NORAID!)

Nothing I have seen implemented since 11th Sept would prevent the whole tragic sequence of events unfolding again.

Truth is, these cowards would never have managed to BOARD a flight on El Al.

The emphasis has to be on screening passengers. It's not as sexy as guns, and it's terribly inconvenient, but it's the only answer.

Lax security on US internal flights presented an open door those animals could not resist.

As an aside, I would wish to make two points:

1) When terrorism forces people to live in fear; They win.

2) Terrorism is NEVER defeated militarily!

Cyclic Hotline
31st Oct 2001, 05:08
I flew on a 737 with this door installed the other day. Looked pretty good to me! Instead of just debating the how's and why's, practical people just get on with the task and at least eliminate one possibility.

31st Oct 2001, 05:51

I do not accept the defeatist manta that fighting back is useless. I intend to fight and armed pilots are essential to that fight.
To accept YOUR premise IS cowardice. Please make an announcement on your flights that you do not intend to fight back, so I can get off your airplane.

These terrorists are not cowards. They are well organized, well trained, and well financed, . . . and not afraid to die. Never underestimate your enemy.

Our own incompetent security policy managers in government and industry are culpable for sticking to "old-think" and not looking ahead. There might as well have been a $5 an hour immigrant running making security policy in addition to checking bags. I take that back . . he'd probably do a better job than the FAA's Jane Garvey and the airline security managers. The typical "tombstone" policy making at its best by the FAA and industry Air Transport Associate members.

Screening will not stop a dedicated terrorist. It is not the ONLY answer, as you purport. That thinking is stupid and dangerous. You'll probably only stop 20% of them, even if you conduct a month long investigation on each suspect.

As I said before, a layered approach gives the best chance of survival.

What I get from your post is that:

1. Screening can be 100% effective.
2. They can't be stopped if they get on your airplane.
3. Don't be afraid, because then they win - just stand there and let them slice your throat.
4. Self-defense of the aircraft is useless.
5. Don't respond militarily, because it's not 100% effective.

I've got a hard time believing any aircrew would follow you with such a defeatist and cowardly attitude. I know I wouldn't.

31st Oct 2001, 09:25
To buggs and anyone else who think that those "strengthened" cockpit doors provide an increased level of safety, just try opening one with the determination of a suicidal terrorist and you'll see what I mean. To people who can take the door off a safe without any effort, no door is an obstacle, though a fixed bulkhead just might do it. The door modifications are merely an interim "fix" to provide the illusion of action while work progresses on producing a truly secure flight compartment door. Don't imagine otherwise.

As to living with terrorism, you really will soon get used to it. I'm reminded of Aden Airways' Chief Engineer who received a hand grenade tossed under his car on the way to work one morning. Walked the rest of the way to the airport and picked himself a nice BMW from the cars abandoned in the car park by the British military, when they all piled onto the "last" aircraft out of Khormaksar the previous week. He stayed until FLOSY blew up the last DC3/C47 and the airline had to cease operations. Dick's still a bit deaf in one ear though...

That's what I mean about facing up to them with dignity - the only answer - even when one's arse is winking with fear, don't let it show. The crew of USS Cole showed the way and the New York Fire Fighters took it from there. Follow the true leaders and stop bleating...

Through difficulties to the cinema

bugg smasher
31st Oct 2001, 19:03
Blacksheep, the honor and fortitude with which the people of your nation have withstood terrible onslaught are well documented, and remain, warm beer notwithstanding, defining characteristics of the British people. It is not in my place, Sir, to suggest you do your countrymen a dis-service by attempting to wave it in others’ faces.

You appear highly qualified to supply intelligent commentary regarding cockpit intrusion, which, at the risk of bleating, is the subject of this thread. You mentioned the possibility of a fixed bulkhead as a workable solution, can you elaborate?

Celtic Emerald
31st Oct 2001, 20:48
See where in reaction to the new cockpit secirity BA & Virgin are putting in aviation authorities in Britain feel that September 11 was a one off incident. Don't bet on it! There are still 11 potential hijackers, 10 of who speak English trained in Afganistan by a former Ariana captain (now in hiding by the way) lose somewhere and possibly more!.

If the terrorists have heard the comments of these so called aviation experts whoever they are it must be music to their ears. We can't afford complacancy, these fanatic do not live by societys normal moral retrains & if they see a chink in the armour I feel there more than likely to try again. See where some Southwest pax in mid flight surrendered a gun he'd forgot he had. Security. What improved security :mad:


[ 31 October 2001: Message edited by: Celtic Emerald ]

31st Oct 2001, 23:53

I appreciate, and in some ways sympathise with your position, and your words. However, having re-read my post, I stand by everything I said.

As I had strayed off the original thread, I won't make this too long, but I would like to say a couple of things;

Just because I have a different point of view to you, does that really make me a stupid coward? Is your view somehow more valid than mine?

Secondly - Anyone who hides away, sneaking around in the shadows, before emerging, to attack vulnerable targets, planning maximum loss of innocent civilian life, will ALWAYS be a coward in my book. (It doesn't take a brave man to die. He only has to be twisted!!)

But I guess one man's cowardly terrorist, is another man's brave freedom fighter. I hate to harp on, but a few people in the US don't need to look much further than NORAID to see that.

Finally, some time from now, you will probably learn - as has the rest of the World, that indeed, terrorism is NEVER defeated militarily (For the avoidance of doubt, there is no such thing as a 99% defeat! That is precisely the problem.)

1st Nov 2001, 09:04

To elaborate - a door is only as strong as its hinges and lock. A fixed bulkhead cannot be opened. But do we really want to seperate the flight crew from the cargo? We know that pilots (navigators and AEOs too!) can fly for fifteen hours or so locked into a small sealed flight compartment, with no lavatory or relief crew and nothing but a packed lunch to eat. They can even refuel in flight, deal with hostile defences and drop bombs with some degree of accuracy half way through the trip. So, we know that it can be done if necessary. But there are any number of reasons why the crew of a civil airliner ought not to be seperated from the cabin.

The 11 September suicide hijackers boarded the aircraft unhindered by any pretence of security on the ground. The flight deck doors were most likely locked in the usual manner - but the crew were not aware that this was a new kind of highjacking, so they opened them. No door that is capable of being opened will stop a group of determined suicidal terrorists gaining access to the flight deck - if they can learn to fly they can easily learn how to circumvent the locks. I've got a set of design drawings in my in-tray right now for goodness sake! They won't waste time firing machine guns at the bullet proof door like that chap demonstrating his design on CNN last night, nor attack it with an axe. (BTW, how would they get a machine gun onto the aircraft? Oh of course! Accomplices on the ground! How stupid of me not to notice all those chaps in dirty overalls)

Keeping terrorists off the aircraft is the proper solution.

Through difficulties to the cinema

1st Nov 2001, 09:29
Blacksheep- How do you propose to keep several seemingly unrelated terrorists with no known association with terrorist organizations by INTERPOL, or intelligence organizations, and with seeminly legitimate reasons for travelling, off the airplane? Do you think that it would be impossible for a terrorist organization to execute such a plan? Or maybe a hastily hatched plan by some of Allah's marytr wannabees up in that big radical fundamentalist mosque in Luton. I would suggest you remove the cockpit doors altogether, since you don't think they are useful at all. The quick-fix reinforcement done at our airline is very strong and will seriously slow down and probably stop a determined attacker. Authorizing armed pilots would virtually ensure a lethal greeting to anyone eventually breaching even part of the door.

Go back to BA's tickets and tours policy inflight since you want to put all your eggs in the screening process. Good luck.

[ 01 November 2001: Message edited by: Roadtrip ]

2nd Nov 2001, 09:49

You're so right about terrorists being indistinguishable from ordinary people. Without their weapons they ARE just ordinary people. The method of keeping terrorists off aeroplanes - or anywhere else for that matter - is to seperate them from their weapons. They are then just ordinary folks like the rest of us.

The problem is that the process of seperating terrorists from their weapons violates the civil rights of the majority. To protect ourselves against terrorists it is futile to try locking the doors or even as has been suggested, installing "Goalkeeper" turrets on the roofs of tower blocks. Instead we must be prepared to surrender some of our civil rights. As I said previously - The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Through difficulties to the cinema

2nd Nov 2001, 10:10
Since physical barriers are useless, what civil rights do we need to relinquish in order to stop criminals and terrorists. When I get home after this trip, I'm going to take your advice and remove all the locks from my house, and leave the keys in my car.

Again, what rights would you have us relinquish?

Devils Advocate
2nd Nov 2001, 10:56
Can I ask any so inclined, to go and stand at the graves and memorials for those children, women, and men who were murderd on the 11th, and then you can start talking of rights !

These terrorist scumbags are going to try and KILL YOU, if you give them half a chance - and I hate to say it but a few strengthend doors are not really going to cut the mustard, e.g. one fundamental weakness is that occasionally you'll need to come out to take a leak, that or the hostie will want to come into the flightdeck for some reason.
In any event, I'll bet that even now, they're perfecting their murderous art in how to beat an armoured door, and how to rush one that's open.

More needs to be done to stop them getting on in the first place, and generally a lot more needs to be done w.r.t. overall intelligence to keep tabs on these folks - and if that requires that the majority give up some 'civil rights' then so be it - I'd rather that, than the alternative.

2nd Nov 2001, 20:05
Again, what rights would you have us relinquish?

And BTW, if you think that secure cockpit doors and procedural entry/exit safeguards don't add a significant amount (not total) of security to the cockpit, you're an idiot. With that strain of impaired thinking, you might as well take the cockpit doors off altogether.

Again, what rights would you have us relinquish?

Again, what rights would you have us relinquish?

Do I need to ask the question again, or do I get a "Hollywood/Rock-Star" level of thought answer again.

2nd Nov 2001, 20:07
Lots of talk but why not the EL AL way?

2nd Nov 2001, 20:10
I think the answer is because secure cockpits with strict access requirements would prevent these aviation groupies from getting into the jumpseat during flight.

2nd Nov 2001, 21:30
Roadtrip Guv et al. It's not my style to post on this forum but here goes.
The terrible events of recnt history leave us all in a "new situation" regarding security.The terrorists were well aware of the proceedures regarding unlawfull interference under the "old situation" and hense achieved some success in thier sick operation with a few men and very little weaponry.
In response we must box clever,there is no point swinging wildly at were our opponent last stood lest we leave ourselves open for another punch.(Excuse the analogy)
The problem with a door impregnable when bolted from within is when the unthinkable happens and a terrorist(s)end up on the wrong side of it and it dosn't take the brains of an archbishop to come up with a few thoughts on the subject. Be it a rush or some more subtle form of infiltration and incapacitation(how well do you know your crew? how does your coffee taste? etc )These people have been in our countries for a long time.Its no good calling for help, any brave sole calling "lets role" is on the wrong side of the door even if he is a deadheading pilot.Net result one practically unarmed terrorist is in controll of a big weapon and importantly has time to use it.
Sounds far fetched granted but so did alot of things in August.Dont missunderstand me I am not against restricting access as part of a package but the bad guys need to be out thought not presented with a well intensioned opportuniy.

3rd Nov 2001, 00:15
Locking the cockpit door is a load of b**lox until it actually achieves something tangible in terms of improving security. If and when the manufacturers supply a door and frame that's capable of withstanding a serious onslaught, then it'll make some sense. Until then it's nothing more than a sop to the politicos who want to have their names up in lights. let's do something practical like stopping the problem before it gets to the aircraft. Pilot incapacitation and pressurisation failures are far more common than hijackings so be sensible. No point in locking the door until it actually means something. After all, the 4 aircraft that were hit all had locked doors.

Devils Advocate
3rd Nov 2001, 06:20
Ok then Roadtrip how about this.....

Let’s say that there’s a system that records every single passenger movement in great detail, e.g. it includes ticket number, all your passport info (including pictures), check-in time, gate number, real-time facial imagery, etc.

This info is then run through a ‘profiling’ system, as well as passed on to all the ‘security services’ for them to trawl against their databases.

Well, just how do you feel about relinquishing your ‘right’ to freedom of movement / travel, albeit in the name of safety and anti-terrorism because, after all, if you’ve nothing to hide then you’ve nothing to worry about, have you ?!

Ps. I’m sure an armoured door’s just fine – as a final barrier – but, imho, right now some other much more vulnerable areas need considerable more work, e.g. reservations & check-in.

3rd Nov 2001, 11:07

What rights? Run through the following and see if you can spot any. I'm sure that the 'spook' community could add a few steps into the plan but you can get the general idea.

In a future secure world, security begins as soon as you make your reservation. Your personal details are taken and your identity documents checked. With or without your knowledge, the details are run through computer screening to see if you are perhaps using false I.D. Automatic software checks your travel itinary and any trips you have made recently using the same I.D. The software is looking for specific patterns. Working back from your I.D., more software investigates your banking record and checks your recent transactions for specific patterns.

You arrive at the airport for your flight and are seperated from any relatives before being admitted to the check-in area. Your baggage is opened and inspected thoroughly. You join the check-in queue and are subjected to close questioning by a trained interrogator using a specially designed process. When you check in you are carefully matched with your I.D. and booking information and may be questioned further if necessary.

After getting your boarding card you are admitted to the departure area. This is carefully arranged to seperate incoming from outgoing passengers. You are checked for weapons by first passing through a magnetic screen and then ALL passengers are subjected to a "pat-down" check by a security person of the same sex. Any hand carried items are opened for thorough physical check in addition to x-ray examination. The same process is repeated at the gate immediately prior to boarding.

Meanwhile, airport workers entering the airport are subjected to the same rigorous checks. The checks are repeated upon passing from zone to zone so as to tighten security the closer staff get to the aircraft. After aircraft servicing is complete, security staff run a sweep of the aircraft using sniffer dogs as necessary. Once security clear the aircraft for boarding, the crew carry out a deep search of the cabin for concealed items. This search is to a pre-planned procedure, taught in training and regularly re-checked.

The whole process is monitored closely by CCTV with operators trained to look for abnormal or unusual behaviour patterns. People who are identified as suspicious, or who are uncooperative at any stage of the security checks, are removed - forcibly if necessary - to secure interrogation areas for futher questioning and/or examination.

If the above scenario were enforced, as it could be using existing equipment, and provided properly motivated and trained security staff are employed, then there would be no need for armour plated cockpit doors. Since an armed man could not get aboard there would be no terrorists to hijack the aircraft. A normal cockpit door with a slightly modified lock would suffice for flight deck security. If absolutely necessary armed "sky-marshals" could be carried but this leaves the danger that if a group of previously unarmed potential terrorists maange to overpower the sky marshals then they become real terrorists. Nevertheless, if they are needed, then by all means we'll keep the sky-marshals.

Now I am personally prepared, in the interests of security, to submit to all of the above. As I enter the airport everyday, my sandwiches are already regularly x-rayed and my bag searched. But I suspect that if such a regime were imposed universally there would be plenty of complaints about human rights violations.

As to practicality, much of what I outline above IS (or was anyway) used by the Royal Air Force on certain communication flights from one particular station without causing any disruption to services. Certainly, such measures would provide real security instead of the illusion of security arising from bullet proof cockpit doors, arming the crew with stun-guns and training the cabin crew in tae kwan do. (ala SFAR 92-1)

Perhaps if I put the design drawings and instructions on 'how to remove the cockpit door using non-magnetic tools that don't trigger the alarm at security points' up on a web site that might put an end to the door nonsense? :rolleyes:

Through difficulties to the cinema

5th Nov 2001, 09:22
onewayvalve -
I don't think you understand the function and structure of standard cockpit doors and locks.

Doors modified with lock bars are very strong and would take a long time to breach. I am very satisfied with the lock bars on our aircraft as a short term risk mitigation. The proper engineered solution is a door with more functionality, remote locking, or perhaps double doors like El Al. This combined with armed flightdeck crew makes commandeering an aircraft, not impossible, but almost so. There is no perfect solution, just a series of imperfect ones that combine to make the probability as small as practical.

Defense is best when it's layered. Screening will eventually fail. Now it's down to air marshals, a breach resistant cockpit door, and finally the last ditch defense, armed pilots. Besides, how are you better off without breach resistant doors and a defensible cockpit? Rapid D's are not a problem.

Iron Clog-
Jumpseat imposters are something that the pilots' unions have been fighting for a long time. ALPA has been pushing our sloth-like FAA for an electronically verifiable system of ID since the late 80s. Action from the FAA? NADA. Just like everything else.

Blacksheep -
I don't see any "rights" being trampled there. I see your procedures as a "condition of carraige." If you don't want to comply, then you don't ride. Nobody has a "right" to fly on an airliner. I think the depth and scope of you ideas might be impractical both in terms of do-ability and cost. At some point the market dries up and flying becomes only for the very wealthy. All are risk-reward tradeoffs. At what point on that scale we place ourselves is the debate.

With so many different countries with so many varying degrees of corruption, data access, automation, and ID integrity, it'd be hard to trust, unless say you'd be willing to exclude virtually all Africans, Pakistanis, Indians, etc, etc.

Dagger Dirk
5th Nov 2001, 23:27


in due course.