View Full Version : RAF fighters scrambled in BA security alert

Pax Vobiscum
3rd Oct 2002, 11:15
See BBC News;
Fighters scrambled in BA jet alert (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2295647.stm)

3rd Oct 2002, 14:13
>>One was described as in his early 50s and dishevelled looking, the other was in his 20s with long sideburns and wearing a bead bracelet.

Another American passenger said: "If you picked the two most likely looking terrorists on the plane, you would have picked them. <<

Oh, no! They were profiled due to their appearance, how unfair...

3rd Oct 2002, 14:16
"They stood out. They weren't businessmen or women."


"The two men - both United States citizens travelling in economy class "

Damn those non-businessmen for travelling in non-business class, eh!!

4th Oct 2002, 01:43
Apparently the 'conversation' that sparked suspicion went along the lines of:

"We've been planing this for 6 months, you can't back out now".

Origionally construed by a passanger as a terrorist conversation, the captain bolted the door and quite correctly took the necessary steps. Speculation on the ground then moved to the possability that the pax were discussing a buisiness deal, but I believe the true nature of the conversation turned out to be a contraversial family reunion. Speculation aside, the machine swung into action and a well prepared plan was executed like clockwork by all concerned. The actual alarm was raised slightly earlier than the BCC state, nearer 0810 BST. RAF Fighters were alerted & launched within timescales stipulated by Parliment. A great deal was made of the distance maintained by the fighters, but the media / public should not under estimate the range & accuracy of the latest 'Fire & Forget' munitions carried by the UK air defence force.

As a mere, well informed, spectator to the action, from my perspective, the crew, air traffic controllers, air defence controllers, air defence crews, and ground side security forces involved all did a fantastic job and have convinced me of their undoubted ability to deal with a more real incident should the need arise, heaven forbid. (And I never thought I would hear myself praising the Scopies!)


Devils Advocate
4th Oct 2002, 07:53
W.r.t...... Another American passenger said: "If you picked the two most likely looking terrorists on the plane, you would have picked them. "They stood out. They weren't businessmen or women." He added: "We were terrified. We just didn't know what was going on."

Uhm, if this is representative of what a worldly-wise (?) and 'informed' American populace is thinking then is it any wonder that American foreign policy performs so poorly ?! :rolleyes:

4th Oct 2002, 08:13
Panic, panic everywhere! Where will end? God knows! But it is well and truly out of hand now.

Listening to conversations has always been a problem. There is well worn out of date one which, as it happens, fits the situation pefectly.

Brigadier "Carruthers" marshalling his troops in the war sent the following message: "Send re-inforcements we are going to advance."

The radio operator wrote it down and gave it to the "General" When he read it, it said "Send three and fourpence(oldmoney) we are going to a dance."

No doubt a joke, but it's no joke hearing about panic in the skies either. Perhaps, as DA says, we should wrorry about policy. :rolleyes:

4th Oct 2002, 09:00
Despite the 12" high dramatic headlines in some rags this morning, there wasn't much excitement about it at work yesterday. I went in at 2pm and it wasn't until around 5pm that someone just happened to mention it in passing.

However, being as I was in the middle of swotting for my check-out, I was looking through radio failure procedures and the thought struck.. Unusual conversation heard... crew does the drill and ATC gets the message.. then the a/c suffers an RT failure and starts its approach over London. What would the Tornadoes have done..... I find it somewhat scary to think about.

4th Oct 2002, 09:16

Your faith in the accuracy of the missiles is a lot greater than mine, given what measures we as civil ATCOs are told to take with regard to making arrangements to protect innocent traffic in the vicinity of the suspect aircraft!!:eek: :eek:

Can't be more specific, but those that know will know to what I am referring.;)

4th Oct 2002, 09:17
Indeed, there was no need to panic pax by aligning on the wingtips, as contact with flight deck was maintained so better to stay behind a/c at a distance. French AF Mirages have had closer encounters but that was to get flight deck's attention.

well done RAF and BA!

Grim Reaper 14
4th Oct 2002, 12:30
A 'bead bracelet' makes you look like a terrorist?!?!? I can see the headlines now,

"Sisters of Terror!

Sister Immaculata, the nun made to lie spreadeagled on the concrete at JFK, claims she was only trying to say a Hail Mary"

:D :D :D

4th Oct 2002, 12:41
> Uhm, if this is representative of what a worldly-wise (?) and 'informed' American populace is thinking then is it any wonder that American foreign policy performs so poorly ?!


Come on now, we all know that the snoopers on board were English nanny's not well informed American citizens.:)

4th Oct 2002, 13:07
Misinterpretation not exactly new.
I believe in World War One someone said "At ten to six we are going to advance" and by the time it got to the end of the trench it was interpreted as "At ten to six we are going to a dance"

You have got to ask Did the passenger actually hear this? Or did he hear something and put arms and legs on a story to justify his fears.

However that said better safe than sorry and I think all the services involved appear to have done everything correctly. Makes a nice change:)

4th Oct 2002, 14:31
What an over-the-top report in the Express, though ... they reported it as if the aircraft was seconds away from being blown out of the sky! This is not going to help anyone - if anything, it may discourage people from voicing their concerns about the activities of a fellow passenger as the risk of hijacking would be less than getting shot out of the sky!

Journos, dontcha luv em.:rolleyes:

Jump Complete
4th Oct 2002, 17:07
What do you expect from the express?:rolleyes:

Fright Level
4th Oct 2002, 17:39
McIce, even your chinese whispers heard wrong. The phrase was "send reinforcements, we're going to advance", becoming "send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance".

Is it true the Tornado's didn't descend below FL150 because the TMA was too crowded for them and they didn't have the correct separation of 25nm radius to escort the BA plane back to LHR? Bit difficult to monitor a plane 10,000 feet directly beneath you over London?

Sounds like the actions of a keen WingCo pushing a desk than a proper ATC co-ordination.

4th Oct 2002, 21:22
In response to Heathrow Directors quote: if the aircraft had suffered a radio failure, what would the Tornadoes have done. I would hope that the aircrew would squawk 7600, rather than 7500.

5th Oct 2002, 08:23

Just proves my point.

Sorry I got it wrong but you are obviously a wee bit older than me and can remember first hand.

Cheers McIce