View Full Version : New reinforced cockpit doors

22nd May 2002, 15:12
Approved doors are now available for the Airbus 319-20-21's at US$ 23'000 a piece according to a post on Radio Cockpit. The will be standard they say for planes delivered from August.

Same coming for the A330/340's at US$ 29'000 ... soon.

Anybody know anything mor official on this ? :rolleyes:

22nd May 2002, 15:20
It's official.

JAA approved the doors already, FAA approval expected soon. Doors to be standard fit on Airbus from August.

22nd May 2002, 15:26
Click Here (http://webcenter.newssearch.netscape.com/aolns_display.adp?key=200205212028000114370_aolns.src)

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

High-Security Cockpit Doors Approved

BLAGNAC, France (AP) - New bullet-proof, high-security doors for the cockpits of Airbus jetliners have been approved by aviation authorities, the European aircraft maker said Tuesday.

The doors, designed after the Sept. 11 hijack-suicide attacks for installation on existing jets, have a bulletproof main panel and a switch that lets the crew bar access.

The doors, costing $23,000 for single-aisle planes and $29,000 for wide-body jets, were approved by the European Joint Aviation Authority, Airbus said. It said it expects approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Admininstration in the next few weeks.

"Airbus engineers have designed a solution which can be easily introduced onto our aircraft, while minimizing the burden for our customers and operators,'' Patrick Gavin, Airbus executive vice president, said in the statement.

Traditionally, cockpit doors have been designed to let pilots escape in an emergency. But the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon forced airline officials to think of ways to keep intruders out.

22nd May 2002, 15:44
From the Airbus website...


21 May 2002

Airbus has today gained certification from the Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) for its new cockpit doors that meet all recently introduced and pre-existing safety and security regulations. The first conversion kits will be available for in-service aircraft from the end of May, while all aircraft from the production line will have the doors fitted as standard from August. This certification for the Single Aisle Family paves the way for the door certification of the other members of the Airbus product range and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) within the next few weeks.

“We have certified, within a very demanding schedule, a new door that both meets the new security requirements and is fully compliant with all current regulations, including the critical rapid decompression criteria,” said Airbus Executive Vice-President Engineering Alain Garcia. “We are very proud to be the first large airliner manufacturer to have achieved this.”

The new cockpit door protects the crew from unauthorised entry while also delivering a number of safety contingencies. It features reinforced attachments, a reinforced and bullet proof main door panel, an escape panel, electrical door latching, an electronic entry pad located in the cabin, and a warning light and buzzer in the cockpit. In addition, a toggle control in the cockpit enables the crew to control access to the cockpit and secure the door in case of need.

“Airbus engineers have designed a solution which can be easily introduced onto our aircraft, while minimising the burden for our customers and operators,” said Airbus Executive Vice President Customer Services Patrick Gavin.

Conversion kits are offered to customers at a reduced price: US$ 23,000 for the single-aisle kits, and US$ 29,000 for widebodies. All certification and engineering costs have been assumed by Airbus. In addition, downtime for the retrofitting of in-service aircraft has been kept to an absolute minimum so airlines retrofitting the doors to their Airbus single-aisles can do so within 48 hours.

The new cockpit doors are just one of a series of complementary measures being made available by Airbus. These also include a stand alone video camera system allowing the cabin area outside the door to be monitored from the cockpit. The full provisions for this system will be installed as standard on all Airbus aircraft from August. Airbus has also developed two possible solutions to ensure that the transponder signal from the aircraft to air traffic control cannot be interrupted in the event of an attack. And, to further improve communication between crews in the cabin and in the cockpit, Airbus has found a way for crew in each part of the aircraft to alert other crew members should an emergency situation arise.

22nd May 2002, 15:53
I dunno..its all fair enough being bullet proof..its not the door you`ve really gotta worry about..whats holding it on..the hinges!!,4 men..weighing 10 stone each ramming it and trying to kick it down..i sure hope it can stop them too!!!

22nd May 2002, 16:15
Hopefully they have introduced a less startling noise for the interphone so that our heart rates don't rocket every time we are asked if we want a cuppa!!

:) ;) :p ;) :)

22nd May 2002, 16:31
ETOPS - if you are sitting there listening to people kicking the door in you are not being very clever, I for one would be flying the aircraft in such a manner as to make it VERY hard for a hijacker to stand up, never mind try to kick in the door

Max Angle
22nd May 2002, 16:42
Reducing the volume of the cockpit call (and HF call) buzzer should be an easy job but at the moment Airbus seem unable to do it. It amazes me that it got certified like that, at the risk of playing into the Airbus haters hands it seems amazing that an aircraft is certified with the call buzzer so loud that is impossible to hear the radio over it.

As far as the doors go I believe that we are planning to fit them in the very near future to our A330's but the 320/321's will be a bit longer coming. It seems we (as pilots) have no choice in the matter and they are coming for whole industry so we had better get used to it.

My own point of view is that if I were travelling as a passenger I would rather not be on an aircraft where the rest of the crew have no access to the flightdeck unless it is unlocked from within. It is only a matter of time before a flyable aircraft crashes with an unconcious flightcrew at the controls who could have been roused with O2, helped out by a doctor or relieved by a positioning/resting crew member.

Now that I face the rest of my career locked in behind a bullet proof door and having very little contact with the rest of the crew I really wonder if I want to do the job at all anymore. How sad and lacking in fun this business has become, oh well only 25 years to go!.

22nd May 2002, 17:38
Max Angle, I agree with your sentiments, and personally think that the locked cockpit door is the biggest DETRIMENT to safety for a long time , I think the pilot associations should be working against this, also I believe that were someone to be sacked for not locking the door they would have a very good defence in claiming it as an unsafe practice - but don't expect me to be the one to put this to the test!:eek: :D

23rd May 2002, 14:03
Correct me if I am wrong, but the FAA has not changed the recommendation for flight crews to cooperate with a hijacker (certainly the company I work for has twice in the last three months reminded us if this ruling, since the airlines will usually follow FAA recommendations). Given that this is true, of what use is a locked and strengthened door if the first thing we are told by the hijacker is to open it?

23rd May 2002, 14:19
Bigger door - more surface - more dough ??

Everybody else

Thanks guys you just proved that teamwork brings much more to the table than 1 man on his own - I learnt a lot.

I do understand the crew who regret the next 25 years behind a locked door - but did we not learn from 9-11 that that is NOT where any of us want to end up - as a strawbury jam sandwich in a pile of ex building rubble. However slight the risk that are still millions of kamikase fools out there, fanatics, depressed, whatever :eek: :eek: :eek:

Wouldn't it be nice if PPRuNe had an automatic spellchecker like my e-Mail can be configured to - :cool:

Big Tudor
23rd May 2002, 14:35
I think Max Angle hits the nail on the head re pilot incapacitation. Given that most flight decks now contain 2 occupants, what is the procedure should one becoming incap? It is highly unlikely that both pilots would become incapacitated at the same time however what if one were renderred unusable due to a dodgy chicken curry? How easy is it to open the flight deck door to assistance when sitting in the seat flying the aircraft?

23rd May 2002, 15:26
You never heard of an autopilot? PUT the aircraft on the autopilot while you wrestle with the other guy, don't handfly the aircraft while wrestling with the controls. If ytou are flying an Airbus, it isn't even necesary to deal with him, just lock out his control stick, then pull the pin in the door at your leisure. Furthermore the permanent doors are supposed to have a switch from that you can reach from the controls to allow the flight attendant in, should an emergency cause you to need them. It is astounding to me that people are still foolish enough to deny the need to be able to lock out the bad guys! Does anyone really think this is over? The only thing that has changed is that it will take 10 people instead of 5 this time to take control of the aircraft.

There is no longer "the common strategy" where you cooperate with the Hijackers, and spreading that nonsense is just dangerous as it will encourage others to try it again

Wino, I've edited your paragraph above. E-mail me at [email protected] and I'll tell you why. (I would have e-mailed you, but you've got your e-mail address restricted.)


You will kill lots of people on the aircraft with your actions. Most of em in the back where the effects will be much worse than up near the cockpit door. Yanking and banking will be of limited value to save you, and the airplane isn't nearly as strong as you seam to think it is, Ask the crew of American Airlines 587. You should really study the injury patterns in various upsets before you try and shake the plane. You will turn the people in the back half of the aircraft into strawberry jam, the front half will just have a fun ride.

And furthermore, an unlocked door is far more clearly a case of negligence. Since sept 11 there have been 2 more seroius assaults on the cockpit, and in the 5 yeras before it there was a half a dozen more. BUt I guess you would prefer that some crazy person auger a 747 into the ground over Africa than you be in the slightest inconvienced.

blended winglet
23rd May 2002, 16:03
I'm not happy about being locked in, a tough problem to solve though, best shift to freight work I think !!

23rd May 2002, 22:47

Regarding the pilot incapacitation scenario - autopilot or no autopilot surely there should always be someone sat at the controls?

Remote door release would seem to be the answer - so you could let in cabin crew to attend to an incapacitated colleague without leaving your seat.

23rd May 2002, 23:37

Remote access is in the certification standards for the permanent door.

Stagger, In a perfect world yes, however your emergency authority does give you wiggle room on this one. If would be your call as to whether to open the door, But I can tell you that on the AA Katy bar doors it is 1 pin reachable in most fleets from your seat and the widebodies 1 sec away to pull the pin. It would be a judgement call as to whether or not the incapacitated person would need assistance. At the end of the day I would have no problems withsome stepping up for 1 sec to pull the safety pin, and if that bothers you, simply put a lanyard on the pin so you can pull it from your seat. How hard is that?


24th May 2002, 10:17
Wino - Yes the manouvering MAY injure a few, but do you REALLY think these hijackers are not going to do a little more than INJURE the pax to try to pursuade you to open the door!
As far as the aircraft taking the manouvers goes, you only need about a half "G" negative followed by a positive pull and I am sure there are not too many aircraft not capable of that!
As far as "inconvenience" goes, I am more frightened of being trapped in the cockpit after an accident than worried about a little inconvenience (being American how long would it take your relatives to have a lawyer suing because you died for this reason), this I would suggest is going to happen MUCH more often than attempted hijacking.
N.B. please could you get my user name right, or doyou not realise it is an aircraft type.

24th May 2002, 11:58
In the history of civil aviation the safety of passagers, crew and AC has always been a primary issue. Encapsulating the cockpit has been discussed for a long time and over all this concept was regarded to lessen the saftey of pax and AC and especially the safety of the cockpit crew.

The new aspect after 9/11 is not so much new arguments for AC safety but the nature of the parties which are involved in the discussion. It was Airline Customers, Pilot Unions and Airline Management before; now a new and very powerfull group has its say: "Non flying citizens".

This group is not so much concerned about the safety of the airplanes but about the safety of their towns or the security of the neighbourhood atomic power station. This new participant in the discussion does not mainly see the airplane as something to be protected but as something from which she or he needs to be protected from.

Given the size of the new party, big politcs has no other way but to get involved in the discussion and ecapsulated cockpits seem to enhance the protection of towns from those "guided 500mph 200t Keosin missiles".

As an airline pilot I do not embrace the idea of working in a no contact environment for the rest of my career. But as least in the moment I get the impression that the discussion is fruitless. In all the resent national and international safety and security meetings there was no other concept giving the people on the ground an comparable amount of safer feeling and their opinion has by far the strongest weight.

24th May 2002, 16:18
As a high-mileage SLF these measures are very reassuring (together with the new cabin crew/flight deck crew relationship proceedures).

However, what I'm more concerned about is current moves in the US to re-admit unticketed passengers back into the airside, and the serving of champagne in real, hefty glass bottles. Anyone care to comment?

24th May 2002, 18:58
I wholeheartedly support your rejection of the "no contact" approach. Most of the proponents of that idea, that I've ever spoken to, were completely oblivious to occassions that absolutely necessitate your being able to see and hear what you can of your aircraft.
It's incredibly irresponsible for these passenger union types to force regulation in an industry where they lack intimate experience and knowledge. I happen to think it behooves our politicians to remind those folks that if they're laboring under the misconception that the only reasons that pilots leave the cockpit are to hit the head or chat people up, then it's time to tie those tongues and educate themselves before any further consideration to proposed restrictions on pilot mobility will be granted.
But, alas, I'm the last person in the world who'd bother to hold my breath, waiting for politicians to exhibit any behaviour that would indicate the presence of a spine... So, I think it'll come down to legitimate industry opinions having to be the squeekier wheel.

24th May 2002, 19:41
Actually it is my view that there should not even be a door between the cabin and the cockpit.

All future airliners should have a seperate bulkhead, and outside access only between the two areas. That way it doesn't matter what rude thing you do to the pax, there can be NO access to the cockpit and hijacking is forever ended at that point. Would it be pleasant? Not particularly, basically there would be no difference from the crews point of view if they were flying freight or they were flying passengers.

However, I know of no frieghters that have been lost because of incapacitation in a two man crew and there are plenty of those freighters out there. I do know of dozens of aircraft that have been hijacked however, and this would end that problem once and for all.


24th May 2002, 19:48
Separate bulkhead--yes! That's the winner.

Excuse my "Ah Ha!" moment--but that idea is definitely the safest for crew and aircraft (by proxy--cabin crew and passengers too).
There's still opportunitistic attack to worry about--but the hijacking issue is resolved.
Now all we need to do is address flight characteristics if we bullet proof the interior and flooring with plexi or coating*--if everything seems doable from there we can put an armed marshall on the a/c to protect the cabin crew and passengers, and we've wrapped this one up as well as can reasonably be expected, I'd say.

* There's a coating that the DOD is using to prevent the pentagon structure from crumbling if it sustains another impact... I can't think of the manufacturer, right this minute, but (depending on corrosiveness and chemical volitility) it just might have applicability here.

24th May 2002, 21:50
Wino -- "Right On" with the no-door approach. Whether Bulkhead (future) or Bamboo (now) - a no-passage partition.

Adds some cost in future design space for fancier structure, lavs, room for a nap and seats or whatever for a couple of reserves on long haul, plus arrangements for food and drink. Maybe a new job definition for someone in the main cabin who trains extra as the 'aft engineer' (puns may commence at the count of three). Savings in Insurance, relative to 'the old way', could soon offset any capital/ops cost increase several times over. The big "I" is right next to fuel as an enabler/disabler of flight ops - and flight jobs.

It is truly impressive to note how many folks just don't 'get it' in regard to changed circumstances: there's no way to fit the f****'n genie back in the bottle.

25th May 2002, 02:33
What's already on the drawing boards at the large airplane manufacturers is a "self contained cockpit" that includes crew lav and mini galley (microwave) to preclude the necessity of ever having to open the armored crew access door inflight.

And ETOPS 773 who said: "...4 men..weighing 10 stone each ramming it and trying to kick it down..i sure hope it can stop them too!!!"

Sir, if you are at least semi literate you would know that after "9-11" passengers would no longer sit idle while prospective hijackers are pounding on the cockpit door. Eh?

:eek: :rolleyes:

dallas dude
25th May 2002, 03:30

You're spot on.

Sadly we both know that marketing has the final say at our airline and they'll resist any "reminder" of 9/11 being on view to the pax.

Our airplanes should have a secure no-go zone now.

Bullet proof doors are great but the fwd lav's mirror isn't going to stop a bullet hitting the Captain in the back of the head!

We even had a Captain "councelled" this week because during his p.a. he asked pax not to congregate in the fwd galley area. Two nitwit managers on board objected and had a chief admonish him!

The pax would thank us for the additional security (like they do the legroom).

Enjoy the holiday,

25th May 2002, 08:57
MAXRPM has it right. THE REINFORCED COCKPIT DOOR IS TO PROTECT PEOPLE ON THE GROUND, NOT PEOPLE IN THE AIR. Personally, when I sign for an aircraft I sign for the passengers and the crew on that aircraft not the city of New York or the White House. Give me an effective way to protect my own aircraft and you will not need to think of ways to protect people on the ground, it will follow automatically.

The present attitude says I am to lock myself behind a door, to the extent of having the aircraft destroyed behind me, so that people (politicians?) on the ground will be safe. If by any chance my best efforts are ineffective an F16 will act as the tie-breaker.

Yes, we need a reinforced door but the reinforced door with no means of fighting back against even unarmed terrorists is a pathetic, self serving political ploy. We all know that six trained terrorists can secure the forward galley area against a hundred passengers. Then the aircraft is going down.

By the way, did you see that the Federal Air Marshal training requirements have been reduced so that their numbers can be increased more quickly? Specifically deleted is the requirement for advanced weapon training. Their skills are probably no better now than the average cop on the beat. About the same as can be attained by the average pilot. Feel safer now?

25th May 2002, 09:28
Regarding the separate bulkhead idea - how is that going to make you feel when the guy to your left is clutching his chest, gasping for breath, and sweating profusely in the middle of the Atlantic? Meanwhile all you can do is listen over the intercom to the 2 or 3 physicians who happen to be traveling as pax telling you what they could do with the defibrillator installed in the back if they could only get up front. Or perhaps all he needs is a lie down – but how are the cabin crew going to be able to help you look after him?

And what about if your colleague exhibits signs of mental instability or criminal intent (e.g. EgyptAir). Who is going to help you restrain him?

Separate bulkhead & two crew operation does not seem like a sensible idea. Minimum of 3 up front would seem to be prudent under these circumstances + food provision + rest area + lav + medical supplies including automated defibrillator.

25th May 2002, 15:53

The atlantic is by and large a 3 man operation with very few exceptions. so you already get your wish. THe 757PF is configured already like you are asking for. Just put seats and windows in it.

Where it is not a 3 man operation, how can it be acceptable for feighters and not for you? If you are so concerned about the defib, it can be added to the cockpit, I can put it on the guy seated next to me without leaving the controls. Its a very minor expense.

And tell me, what did free and easy access do for Egypt Air or Silk Air? What it actually did was let the crew get further away from the bad guy, INCREASING the risk not reducing it. By keeping the captain in close quarters with the rogue F/O maybe he wouldn't have been able to push over, the captain would have been there quicker before the situation was unrecoverable.


25th May 2002, 16:14
Wino The atlantic is by and large a 3 man operation with very few exceptions Really? During the past eight years of buzzing backwards and forwards as SLF (mainly on 767s and A330s) I've only rarely seen anything other than 2 man ops. Where it is not a 3 man operation, how can it be acceptable for feighters and not for you? Errr...because I consider myself, along with the rest of the SLF to be slightly more valuable than a load of parcels and documents. And this is not meant to imply that 2 crew ops is inherently unsuitable for pax flights - just that 2 crew behind a sealed bulkhead with no possibility of assistance for one should the other fall ill does not seem sensible when several hundred lives are at stake.And tell me, what did free and easy access do for Egypt Air or Silk Air? Point well taken - in those specific instances it didn't help. In fact I suppose that, if implemented, a sealed flight deck would mean that it would be impossible for a single crew member to lock the other guy out. However, I still think given the considerations I've mentioned - 3 crew should be the minimum for a sealed flight deck.

25th May 2002, 17:23
Dallas Dude: Your airline's SOPs have a big security hole if people are allowed to congregate in the forward galley, especially when the single "secure" cockpit door is open. Once that door is open, it only takes one husky guy to shove aside the crew member in the doorway and lock the door behind.

Now you're F16 target practice:(

25th May 2002, 19:50
The more I thought about this no access configuration, the more it troubled me. Chalk it up to an unusually amenable disposition, induced by seeing snow on the ground yesterday--Denver weather, gotta love it.

I'm hanging on these issues specifically:

1) If there's any way for the cabin to communicate with the flightcrew (and there should be) then it's for naught. We've physically insulated you--but mentally and philosophically, we've put you in a terrible, wretched position.
Let's assume the worst here, and say these terrorist teams gain lethal control over the cabin crew and passengers (and they'd damned well better not--but if they did) what are you going to be made to listen to while you're not assisting their objective? I shudder to think of it....
I don't know, it must be the bloodthirsty American in me that knows, on the one hand, that if the cockpit is accessible, your chances of survival are very slim--but, on the other hand, I'd like to make it at least physically possible for you to leave that cockpit and commence to beating the hell out of somebody for putting you, your crew and these passengers in this position.

It's my own perspective, I know, but there's no sense in keeping you alive if you're just going to commit suicide later, because this flight jacked your head up so bad that nobody can put it back together again. Pilots are a tough breed, but still... So what? So we've spared your body--but we've discompassionately emperiled your minds in ways that I don't even have the capacity to articulate. No; I can't sign off on that.

2) I'm still not wild about your not being to get a beat on the aircraft, if something goes wrong. The argument about freighter crews not being able to do it is compelling--but not completely convincing. Between PAX flightcrews and freighter crews, if something goes wrong with their respective aircrafts... Theoretically, your odds are about even, until you factor in the pressure of knowing that you've got 200 plus people along for the ride.
In terms of beneficiaries of this advantage, Dennis Fitch on Flt232 comes immediately to mind, so I know it can be helpful. Come to think of it, you could use this same example as an argument against the no access cockpit too....

I think we can come up with a better idea all the way 'round, than this.

25th May 2002, 20:04
The reasons that favor partitioning off the flying crew are clear enough - keep them alive and independent so as to FLY the aircraft to a successful conclusion of every flight. Prospect of no success discourages new-style hijack attempts, and all the grief that goes with them.

(For clarity, the following ignores solvable technical and mechanical issues regarding conversion of existing aircraft.)

Arguments against flight crew physical segregation from the pax, etc, seem to fall onto a short list of categories:

1) Flight crew (being especially skilled and in charge) may need to enter cabin to quell riots, deliver babies, check to see which side of horizontal tail has fallen off, etc.

2) Flight crew may require inflight rescue by pax or cabin crew due to
a) medical problems,
b) bad attitude,
c) bad food

3) Separating flight crew from the rest of the aircraft
a) changes inflight ops management concepts
b) creates various minor overheads and functional changes in the aircraft
c) ensures that f.o. has NO escape from Captain from Hell, & vv
d) takes some of the 'fun' out of it for flight crew:
--- 1) reduces inflight human contact generally,
--- 2) eliminates the opportunity to strut down the center aisle in full uniform to the admiring gaze of the pax,
--- 3) undermines any inflight social life that might otherwise be possible for flight crew - thereby impacting post-flight prospects ( for the single pilots)

What is missing from this list?

25th May 2002, 20:14
Just watched Dicovery channel " fear of flying", at least TWO of these incidents were saved in part at least by having access to the F.D., one the Sioux city DC10, the other the B.A. 1-11 that lost a window, non were impeded by this access, I can think of others where lack of crew communication has hindered an incident, ie the Midland 737. Shutting off the F.D. only makes communication harder.
Basically we are making a solution for Hijacking that then ignors ALL other aviation safety considerations.

26th May 2002, 08:36
I don't think that any modification to the aircraft can address the single greatest problem. Locked door or no, can the FD crew sit there while somebody is slicing bits off the cabin crew, or, possibly, one of the pilot's family? The 11 September crews made their decision, and we are now better informed about what can happen. But until it happens to you, nobody can know how crew will react to the appalling reality.

I am profoundly grateful that it will never be a decision I have to face.

26th May 2002, 13:53
Here's a description of the latest doors that I heard of recently that takes into account incapacitation.

Door has remote lock and video monitors to show what's going on in the forward galley area. Via interphone button/call bell/button/CIDs etc you can request the door to be opened. The flight deck door is set to an auto mode that will then unlock the door automatically after a pre-set time period (each operator can specify there own time). This is unless the FD crew either immediately open the door/cancel the auto-unlock or over-ride the auto unlock and set the door to a permanent lock.

Hope I've explanined it well enough but it allows for outside access should there be a double incapacitation (or single if the other guy/girl has gone to drain the bodily hydraulics).

You've got to believe the odds of having an attempted hijack AND incapacitated flight crew are very remote and under all normal circumstances the FD crew can keep the flightdeck secure (well as secure as a locked door can be).

Finally means I can go to the bog without the whole crew knowing about it.