View Full Version : One Key Fits All Boeing Flight Decks: Lord Janner

The Guvnor
6th Oct 2001, 15:27
From today's Telegraph:

One key to all Boeing cockpits, claims peer
By Andy McSmith
(Filed: 06/10/2001)

ALL Boeing aircraft use the same standard key to lock and unlock the cockpit door, a Labour peer alleged yesterday.

Lord Janner said it was "absolute madness" that there were thousands of keys in circulation that could be used to gain access to the cockpit on any passenger aircraft made by the American firm.

The only exception was the Boeing planes used by El Al, the Israeli national airline.

The standard keys are thought to have been issued at the request of the airlines, because pilots have to fly a different plane each day.

The peer said the issue had been raised with him by a serving airline pilot.

A Boeing spokesman said the company did not comment on security but recognised that it would have to be improved following the terrorist attacks.

Lord Janner, a prominent figure in Britain's Jewish community, said: "It is grotesque that there aren't separate keys and locks for each aircraft. It is absolute madness, particularly following the events of September 11.

"The Government must order that locks on these aircraft are changed."

He has also raised the fact that airline passengers are still served wine in long-stemmed glasses, although metal knives are now banned.

"They don't seem to have thought this through. If you break the bottom off one of the glasses, you've got a lethal weapon."

Lord Janner pressed for improvement to cockpit security by installing stronger doors and walls.

A Boeing spokesman said: "All our aircraft are designed and built to meet safety requirements of airlines and regulatory authorities."

The Civil Aviation Authority said: "The locking of cockpit doors is only one part of a specific set of procedures which are constantly under review by the CAA and the Department of Transport. It's the responsibility of airlines to ensure that there is no easy access to the flight deck."

According to sources, Lord Janner is apparently also a keen PPRuNer. :D :D :D

6th Oct 2001, 15:40
Changing the locks and having numerous keys may be a solution but difficult to administer on a large fleet. How about combination locks or finger print/iris identification as well. Is a modified door lock really going to keep a determined terrorist out - i dont think so.

6th Oct 2001, 15:44
Trying to bring some cheer to the otherwise serious subject...

At least the the AA & RAC could open aviation sections for all those of us who seem to lose things or have locked the ignition key in the car.... :p

[ 06 October 2001: Message edited by: pilotwolf ]

6th Oct 2001, 16:07
Just a thought. Why not make the cockpit door of full length bullet proof glass with a one way mirror, so that the pilots could see what is going on in the cabin, but the cabin occupants could not see through into the cockpit. That way, the cockpit crew would have early warning of a problem and take appropriate action such as violent flight manoeuvres.

6th Oct 2001, 16:14
If the cockpit door can only be locked from the cockpit side, why do you need a key?

A deadbolt would do.

6th Oct 2001, 16:24
It is obvious from the above the number of non pilots that feel free to comment on a subject that they clearly know nothing about.

6th Oct 2001, 16:28

Good idea - we will still be able to read the newspaper without upsetting the pax, but it still does not resolve the issue of the locks. We need to get in and out at present. Welfare/CRM and all that. ;)

blue up
6th Oct 2001, 16:30
Discussed this on my company site last week. 757 only needs a 60-80lb pull to overide the damn lock anyhow.

Bring back big, fat, smelly flight engineers!!! Nobody gave them any crap!

Key exists in case the captain goes a little bit myocardial whilst the FO is having a "catering offload" in the little room behind the flightdeck. Remember that Beech 18 where the pilot was screwing his passenger in the cabin and the door slammed shut? How about that Aeroflot Airbus with the (unconfirmed) report of two kids at the controls?

Extra door between FD and cabin.

6th Oct 2001, 16:31
Chatham Dockyard

Enlighten us - the truth is out there

6th Oct 2001, 18:16
Tried the individual key per aircraft, and I'm here to tell you it doesn't work.
Well it does lock the door, but if nobody's got the right key it can bring up some really interesting situations and I'm only talking about a fleet of 2 dozen aircraft.
Wound up with one key fits all and how do you then control the issue of keys and copying?
Bring on electronic or key card locks.

But the answer still lies on the ground BEFORE they get on board.

Centre Command
6th Oct 2001, 22:15
You're all so worried about various methods of locking that stupid door, one way or another. It is irrelevant. Here is why.

Can anyone tell me how many attempts there have been at forcing a door open so far???

I have never heard of one. The door in every case was either not locked at all or opened by the crew themselves (obviously as a result of threats from terrorists).

So no matter how good your lock, the terrorist will convince the crew, one way or another, to open the damn door or else...

7th Oct 2001, 15:14
Chatham Dockyard
I totally agree. The amount of cr*p being spouted not only here but in the press/media is ..... :rolleyes:

Gaunty and Centre Command are right.
What matters is what happens on the ground.
Hijackers aren't going to be stopped by the CAA's daft kneejerk reaction of immediately banning flight deck visits, or locked doors.

Also, and I realise this may be a more controversial view, but I think if security changes are so extreme that our lifestyles are dramatically changed (all our lifestyles, not just as aviators), then the terrorists have already won a major victory.
We have to accept some risk, or life will become unbearably restrictive. Two hour check-ins for domestic flights, for example, are unacceptable.
Plastic cuttlery, plastic 'glasses', where do you stop? Virtually anything can be used or adapted as a weapon by someone determined enough. Strip searches before flight? We have to keep some sense of proportion or the security restrictions will be unbearable.

I know a disgruntled/mentally deranged Fedex employee in the junpseat decided to try to get revenge on his company, but how many hijackers have asked permission to visit the flight deck?
Let's keep some sense of proportion.

7th Oct 2001, 15:26
Why not totally ban all carryon baggage? Would be one less thing to search.

The Guvnor
7th Oct 2001, 16:17
I have here in front of me a copy of the "Direction to Aircraft Operators, Aerodrome Managers, Security Approved Cargo Agents, and Catering Undertakings under the Aviation Security Act 1982 Relating to Heightened Security Measures 2001", which was issued by DTLR on the 26th September.

Without going into detail, it's clear that many airlines - and airports - are going well beyond the guidelines set down by the DTLR. There is, for example, no restriction placed on the presence of glassware or metal cutlery on board UK aircraft (though razor blades (both open bladed and safety razors) are on the list, as are darts and knitting needles).

Perhaps instead of trying to lull pax into a false sense of security with those rather pointless exercises, maybe they should be employing the 'Dunkirk Spirit' and showing that no matter what terrorists try to do, we will continue with our way of life - unbowed and unintimidated.

8th Oct 2001, 04:38
As an SLF, I just want to comment on why people do bring some things like razors on board - if you're on a late night flight into, say, STN for an early morning onward connection and then discover that (a) your bag wasn't tagged at the originating airport and (b) everything is closed at STN overnight then you start to wish you had a little bag of essentials to make an overnight at that rather chilly establishment more bearable.

This is of course a completely fictional situation :D

If loss of luggage wasn't a frequent occurrence people wouldn't want to bring most of it into the cabin - it's a pain in the ars* to lug about.

Just a thought.

8th Oct 2001, 17:06
It seems to me we all have an individual key already - our ID & PIN.Why not fit all cockpit doors with swipers,& either a fleet database or even just the crew on the day?

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: rob777 ]

8th Oct 2001, 20:04
Surely it is not an issue if there is only 1 key to fit all if there was a bolt in the cockpit to lock the door, anyway I could imagine the outcry if the flight was delayed due to previous crew accidentally taking the key home !! :)

8th Oct 2001, 21:46
i do not think you will ever be able to make the flight deck totally secure because you always have to allow for de-compression scenarios which includes some sort of blowout mech incorporated into the door structure.anyway who would try a hijack now,they would not stand a chance!!!

basil fawlty
8th Oct 2001, 22:08
I think that all this talk of locked, bulletproof, security doors has overlooked one point. What happens when the crew need to go down the back for a pee??? The hijacker need only wait serupticiously at the flightdeck door after taking control of the cabin. I believe the only aircraft with a loo directly accesible from the flightdeck is the 747-400? So then, is the mod programme for thousands of aircraft going to include an entire new toilet installation as well as the "impenetrable" door??? I believe the best solution is (unfortunately) a semi automatic pistol on the flightdeck with a Captain who is not afraid to use it. Even this has its problems, day to day security of the weapon itself, and effects on the aircraft if it was actually used.

8th Oct 2001, 23:02
here's a suggestion to all. When all matters get uncontrollable, how about we have some form of immobilizing agent that will temporarily handicap an attacker so we as aviators can ensure a safe dissolve?, i am talking about some form of tear gas that can be dispensed in the enviromental system of the cabin. We as pilots, won't suffer from such discharge as we have our own means of providing a steady uncontaminated stream of breathable air (i.e. quick donnig mask coupled with smoke goggles). Of course the entire pax and remaining crew in the rear will suffer, but just a temporary dose that can be cleared of with minor minor side effects will suffice. This will give us time to make a desicion and a safe way to resolve a situation with just minor side effects and enough time to apprehend the culprits. How many hijackers/terrorist would think or be able to sneak a PBE on board. Plus we know all f/a stations should be armed with a pbe of their own, this however should be concealed. Get some laboratories to work on such an agent. This could be used in many different situations. This is what i think, and if anybody thinks that this could be a viable option and act as a last resort, together with having our cockpit doors locked at all times, i know we will have it made. and pls. I would like to get the credit if this ever materializes. good luck to all.

FE Hoppy
9th Oct 2001, 04:10
I don’t think you have had much experience of tear gas or you would know that smoke goggles won’t work although oxygen on 100% will stop you inhaling it. My vote goes to a nine mill and a couple of days training a month. That and 1 to 4 hundred pax not willing to lose their lives should do the job.

Mack Number
9th Oct 2001, 05:11
Well his Lordship will be shocked to discover that not only does one key open the door on all Boeings,
the same key also fits Airbus and Lockheed aircraft!
A flight attendant gave me my key in 1987, and it has opened the flight deck doors on the L-1011/B767/B747/A340. (I can only presume it will work on the B757 and the rest of the Airbus series).
The door lock maker must have a monopoly supplying to the aircraft manufacturers!

fen boy
9th Oct 2001, 12:07
Nice of the good Lord and Mack Number to tell all the millions of people who didn't already know this.

Alpine Flyer
9th Oct 2001, 13:32
BTW, why are pax still allowed to bring belts, silk scarves, shoelaces and other mundane stuff that can be used as a deadly weapon........

Transporting pax dressed like prison inmates will not be a viable long-term solution to the problem.

Enforcing carry-on limits might be a good idea but banning carry-on will simply reduce the appeal flying now has even if airlines finally manage to improve on the overall travel experience. Right now you feel that you're done with when coming to the baggage claim area which - at least on all the airports I have seen from the pax point of view - usually fails to look as inviting or friendly as the departure area. Baggage claims areas and lost luggage offices (sorry, that's "after landing services" now) counters often look like thirld world train stations, something rarely encountered in the "before flight" section of the airport.
Pax would not insist on carrying everything on the a/c if airlines would try to consistently improve baggage handling.

(I am a pilot and am still amazed at the way airlines ignore this problem because it would require an industry-wide effort.)

9th Oct 2001, 15:14
Iris scanners, pin numbers, swipe cards. deadlock bolts..You guys that made these suggestions need to visit the real world...

Have you never heard of pilot incapacitation,

The window has blown out because wrong bolts were fitted, co-pilot flies aircraft calls for cabin crew to hold on to the pilot.

Co-pilot has siezure causing full rudder input to be locked on a 747, Captain maintains control of aircraft, cabin crew remove co-pilot from controls there by saving aircraft.

"Excuse me Captain can you just/ remove the deadlock so I can help you/ remind of my pin number/ensure the scanner is working, it doesn't seem to recognise my iris.

If you seriously are making these suggestions you will need three crew on all aircraft and a loo + galley for the flight deck. Oh and don't forget pilots suffer from DVT as well so I need an excercise area.

Now about the price of these tickets.....

9th Oct 2001, 15:28
Ppruners should not get too excited by the rantings of the so-called Lord Janner. Anyone who has watched the British Parliament debates on television will remember Greville Janner MP as a pompous ignoramus, who loves the sound of his own voice. It is apparent to Parliament watchers, that Janners voice and brain are not inter-connected. He particularly loved the limelight on the Select Committee which he chaired and seemed totally uninterested in listening to any facts, which contradicted his opinions.
He is not a real Lord, by the way. He is one of Tony's cronies.

10th Oct 2001, 07:53
With regards to pax bringing on possibly dangerous metal items picked up in the "sterile" areas, how about another metal detector just before entering the departure gate? They did this in many airports in the world before Sept.11, maybe a few more should consider it?
Doubles the chances of picking anything "suss" up.

blue up
10th Oct 2001, 12:15
re the knockout gas.

I drive a 757. Just above the FO's head are 4 CBs that operate the pax ox system. Pull them, wind the cabin alt control to manual and turn the outflow valve round. No CBs, no rubber jungle, no oxygen, no terrorists running down the aisle.
Give em 5 minutes and either descend to, say, 16000 or drop the jungle manually. Enough ox to survive but not enough to get physical with the door.

Been discussed as a serious option.

Comments please (no lawyers) :confused:

11th Oct 2001, 23:03
This letter is in The Times (London) Thursday 11th.


Sir, The Prime Minister?s statement to the House of Commons that ?every reasonable measure of internal security is being undertaken? in the wake of September 11 (report, October 5) is heartening to those of us who travel by air frequently, and in tune with his reference to the need for ?vigilance? under an increased threat of terrorist attack on British soil.

Mr Blair may have felt less confident of air security had he been on the flight that I took as a passenger on September 27 from Edinburgh to Amsterdam. After inquiring at check-in about increased security, I was advised that, with the exception of some restriction on hand-baggage, security measures are now back to ?normal?. This was evident both on the ground and in the air where, astonishingly, the cockpit door was left open for most of the flight.

It seems this particular airline will not take heed of the Prime Minister?s words unless forced to do so by regulation. Are we so naive as to believe that what happened in the US could not happen here? Is it pedagogic to suggest that ?strengthening? of air security procedures in the UK should be based on the assumption that every aircraft using British airspace is a potential missile? Assiduity is the word ? yet how quickly many in this beleaguered industry seem to forget.

Yours faithfully,
(747 pilot),