View Full Version : Iberia Flight Deck Security

Max Tout
13th Feb 2003, 21:08
A relative of mine was flying on an Iberia flight today from Alicante to London Gatwick and reported that the flight deck door was open, with the cockpit visible from the cabin, throughout virtually the whole flight, including take off and landing.
I was astonished to hear this, knowing as I do the enhanced security measures that have been introduced by the FAA and UKCAA to reduce the possibility of terrorist infiltration of the flight deck.
Can anybody tell me whether the Spanish authorities have introduced similar security measures? I presume they have because otherwise why are they being allowed into UK airspace, in which case this would appear to be a blatant disregard of security regulations.

13th Feb 2003, 21:30
I think it's called "Maniana"


13th Feb 2003, 21:34
Others would call your reply "security mania"

13th Feb 2003, 21:42
Captains discretion, no ?
Had the person reporting this wanted to visit the flightdeck why didnt he ask ?
Do we have to live like prisoners ?
Safety, of course, but this is plain ridiculous...was anyone shot ?

13th Feb 2003, 21:48
The CAA have recently reminded all foreign carriers of the requirement to lock the flight deck door on entry to UK airspace.

There are obvious difficulties in enforcing such a measure but experience has shown that passengers are actually reporting airlines where there is blatant disregard.

Anne :D

13th Feb 2003, 21:57
The practice of leaving the flightdeck door open is in my experience very common in Spanish flights, and visitors are sometimes welcome.

About Max Touts comments: "otherwise why are they being allowed into UK airspace", correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I am aware, when you are aboard a spanish aircraft (or any other country for that matter) you are subject the laws of that country regarless of the airspace you are in.

Max Tout
13th Feb 2003, 22:22
This is not plain ridiculous. Do you not realise that the UK (and possibly Spain as well) is still a potential target for a repeat terrorist action along the lines of 9/11? Do you really consider that all the attention to improving flight deck security is a waste of time? Your post suggests that you don’t take this threat seriously, amigo. Please stay away from UK airspace.

13th Feb 2003, 22:23
The Spanish - Gawd Bless 'em
Life here is a little more...err... laid back, shall we say!
For this is a JAA country without even a single shred of JAA FCL provision for us helicopter drivers. The closing of a single cockpit door will never register with Aena, the Spanish authority. It can't even maintain its own website, let alone enforce a piffling regulation.
But the wine is good, and the sun shines, so I'm not knocking 'em.

13th Feb 2003, 23:12
It's no suprise that this occurs. Very few flights that I have taken over the past 12 months have had a locked cockpit door. I personally welcome this as a passenger as I feel that since 9/11 I would not be the only passenger to attack a hijacker no matter what he said he was carrying bearing in mind the likely end result of the hijack. On most of the flights I have taken,the stewardess opensthe door herself to enter the cockpit. On 1 recent flight the cockpit door was left open for around 15 mins while each pilot took turns to visit the wc and chit chat to the stewardesses. If anything this added to passenger confidence as a pilot at ease equals a passenger at ease. The only airline I have flown with since 9/11 that has clearly kept the cockpit door locked has been BA without exception. Be cautious, of course, but let the passengers feel at ease and don't let the fear of terrorism spoil the enjoyment of flight.

13th Feb 2003, 23:47
a locked flight deck door is here to stay since 9/11, any captain who risks passenger and non passenger saftey by doing otherwise is reckless . and stupid ! .For some of you who have made statements above I think you would consider otherwise if you had lost love ones both in the air and on the ground on 9/11

14th Feb 2003, 01:25

'Locked cockpit doors = safety'

Bit of an untested assumption.

The 11 Sep. hijackers were able to take command because the policy at the time was to cooperate with hijackers. It could have been a jagged piece of plastic cup and they would have gained control. All they would have had to do was grab someone & slit the victims carotid artery as a first action. Or use a cheapie disposable pen to poke a victim's eyes out. It matters not what weapons they had, just a vivid demonstration of threat & an intent to enforce the threat.

That of course is no longer the case. Now the policy is reversed & all on board seem to be encouraged to defend the a/c.

How does locking the door or excluding known safe visitors help? Not much. America already had a locked cockpit/no visitors policy. Effective wasn't it?

No door fitted to an a/c will stop a determined attack. A bullet proof security door is great once you gain access. It WILL delay an attempt to regain control. How much time do you think a person intent on crashing needs to reach the ground as rapidly as possible?

How much easier is it is for a hijacker to gain control when there are fewer people to fight in the cockpit.

Meanwhile grannies have their knitting needles taken from them but are allowed on with their fountain pens & bottles of duty free, and pilots can't bring colleagues, family & friends to the flightdeck.

Darren Fletcher
14th Feb 2003, 08:28
As a virtual pilot and AT controller, but a passenger in the real world i personally love to see the open doors it shows the people who are interested in flight just what is in there and gives the chance of asking for a look.

the last flight i went on the turkey in an A320 i went up front after the landing and the ground bus ended up waiting for me.

the pilot then said i should have come up sooner
if only i had known

oh well
been trying to get a tour type flight ever since your know the type there and back same day short haul with a chance to familerize with the aircraft.

this nowadays seems more of a hard thing to do, one day maybe

Darren Fletcher
PR Director
[email protected]

14th Feb 2003, 09:30

Individual countries control their own airspace as a soveriegn right. They can, and do, make entry into that airspace subject to sertain conditions. The US has imposed very strict rules for all aircraft - foreign or US - entering its areas.

In UK we have made it a requirement for aircraft in UK airspace to have locked flight deck doors - irrespective of the country of registration - whether they are transitting or landing in the UK.

Anne :O

Max Tout
14th Feb 2003, 09:47
Tinstall & others,

We’ve been through all the arguments about grannies and their knitting needles and the value of flight deck visits ad nauseam on this site. That was not the point of my post. Whatever you may think about the rights and wrongs, CAA ruling is now in place to prohibit entry into the flight deck by non authorised persons at all times. I personally am no longer permitted to travel off-duty on the flight deck of the aircraft I fly for my company nor can my wife occupy the JS when I am operating.
This being the case it seems remarkable to me that airlines such as Iberia can breeze into our airspace with the flight deck door wide open, showing total disdain for a regulation supposedly applying to all operators into the UK. I wonder how our American friends would feel about this.

14th Feb 2003, 10:45
Interesting debate.
I would just like to say that ofcourse I appreciate that there is a ruling for all flights entering UK airspace and UK registerd A/C to have the flightdeck door locked.
But for say on the 737 if you need to go to the dunnies you still have to get out of the flightdeck, the cabin crew brings us teas and coffees, food, etc. Untill we have a galley and toilet in the F/D we will always be vulnerable as someone pointed out earlier on, in the US they have been flying with F/D door locked for as long as I can remember which didn't stop the terrible events of 9/11.

Secret Squirrel
14th Feb 2003, 11:56
Nice one Max Tout! Why not just stand outside Finsbury Park mosque handing out circulars to all and sundry telling them what you have just told us?

I don't doubt the value of your post if you are of the opinion that you are (and I must confess to agreeing with the dissenters on the value of such draconian measures as have been taken, for the reasons given) but you should de-identify the airline in question. Your post should be a general question about the subject in hand; if you feel that strongly about it you should get your friend to write to the CAA or DoT where it would be far safer to name names.

What you have done, sitting atop your high horse, is potentially far more damaging and far outweighs any alleged benefit of the LFDD Policy. I suggest that you edit your post promptly.

14th Feb 2003, 12:03
I am amazed at the complacency in some of these replies. As a pilot for BA I can assure you that we take security and safety seriously. If I were to do what this Spanish Captain did I would be out of a job- yesterday and quite rightly too!
These fanatics will strike at any weak link in order to fulfill their objective and any airline or country ignoring that fact will probably pay for it - big time.
As for the passengers stopping them, if the flightdeck was stormed at the right time eg. on final approach, there would not be time stop them delivering the package, and then it's adios amigos!


14th Feb 2003, 12:27
Interesting post peeteechase, I have recently retired from BA and have seen the locked door from both sides.

It was rather worrying to see from the club cabin (shorthaul aircraft) the way a "comfort break" was handled by the Captain (laid down procedure). As there was no screen (curtains etc) to obscure the exit from the flight deck and entry into the toilet it would have been the perfect time to join the queue for said toilet, as a couple of passengers did, knowing in the next couple of minutes the Captain would retrace his steps bak to the flight deck.

The captain, on leaving the toilet, went through the correct procedure to have the flight deck door opened from within, but with it open, had to squeeze past the loo queue to get to the door. A perfect oppertunity for others to enter!

I am told that other airlines close the curtain during flight and make an announcement that the forward toilet is not available. Seems very sensible to me, why is it not the case in BA?

Obviously on say the 747-400 there is no need to leave the "crew module" for a comfort break as all facilities are within. Such a shame that the powers that be decided against this "standard Boeing module" at the front of later longhaul aircraft aquisitions. It would have solved so many other problems as well ... perhaps I should contlinue in the "in charge" thread.

14th Feb 2003, 13:06
If you're going to crash an a/c on final why bother getting on board & hoping to take over?

Any one of a number of weapons are perfectly capable of doing that from the ground - with the added benefit of a chance to do it from numerous locations, possibly to several aircraft &get away.

A few weapons are easy to smuggle into the country. It only takes a small boat...

14th Feb 2003, 22:22
To all those at BA How do you explian a pax travelling from Caracas stopping twice enroute and then arriving in blighty with a live grenade in his bag??????? Just as well the flight deck door was locked huh!
What great security!
Wake up!
The whole flight deck door issue is simply PR for the PAX and does absolutley nothing to improve security it simply hinders comms. and CRM between the F/D and the crew. It is done simply to give the impression that airlines are doing something how ever useless.
I think we should leave scaremungary to the journos they seem to be doing a pretty good job without our help. Come on we are supposed to be informed professionals. Look at the results of the Jump seat poll for goodness sake to see what the general consensus is!
It is this kind of paranoia that got us all locked up in our little cells at 30,00ft in the first place.

14th Feb 2003, 22:59
Secret Squirrel ,

Don't be a twit! Max Tout is right and he hasn't suggested anything that a terrorist wouldn't have already learned before the lunch break on day 1 at Bin Liner's School of Terror. I'm sure they even know more ways that we could ever think of.

14th Feb 2003, 23:36
Once upon a time folks were invited to have a look at what happens up front. Takes away the basic fear of flying. In todays world, come on, we might as well accept that no matter the safety measures, we all hang by a string...mathematical equations make it quite un-likely it could happen to me (or you) but then again, why not ?
Relax BA royalty, as Oscar Wilde said, " Liife is too serious to take too seriously."
Viva España and Peace on Earth

15th Feb 2003, 10:15

I'll have a pint of whatever you're on!

Anne :O

Elliot Moose
15th Feb 2003, 20:07
The last Iberia flight I was on (about 10mnths ago) from the USA to Madrid, the only time that the door actually got closed was about two minutes before a strong smell of cigarette smoke began to pervade the forward portion of the cabin.;) ;) Since this seemed to happen fairly frequently throughout the flight, I guess the security breach wasn't too serious overall.:yuk:

Devils Advocate
16th Feb 2003, 00:13
“I say Nigel, this locked door policy thingee is just top hole”

“Yes Timmy, I must agree. One feels so safe being locked-in behind it. That said, it’s a bit of a dry old job today isn’t it ?”

“Yes, I should cocoa”.

“Say what Timmy, rustle up a cup of something would you dear chap ?”

“No problem skipper........“

Sound of a ‘bing bong’ in the cabin… interphone starts being used…

“Hello Tracy here, did you ring oh lord and master ?”

“Yes, hello Tracey, Timmy here at the front, any chance of a cuppa ?”

“Well as it’s you Tim......... I’ll give you a call you on the interphone when it’s ready.”

A few moments later….. sound of a ‘Bong’ on the flightdeck.

“Hello, it’s Timmy here on the flightdeck”

“Hi Tim, it’s Tracey here at 1 left, can you unlock the door to let me in with your drinks.”

“Certainly dwarling”........ ‘click’ ( sound of electric lock being released ) “come on in.”

‘Clunk’ <- sound of door being unlocked…. Immediately followed by….’crash, bang wallop, kaplomb kapow’, plus women & pax screaming,......... etc

“I say, what the bloody hell. Who the hell are yougurglegushssshshhhh” <- sound of Timmy’s throat being slit, with Nigels soon to follow – of course the flightdeck door is now securely closed, locking-in both the pilots and assassins - preventing any assistance from the cabin !

So, I’m sure that you get my point in as much that the ‘so called’ locked flightdeck door policy is really nothing more than spin for the benefit of passengers !

And precisely why do I say that ?

Well, it’s because for all manner of ‘operational’ reasons we – the pilots - continue to keep opening it, and every time that we open it we’re vulnerable !

I.e. It doesn't take too much imagination to realise that some slip of a hostie / steward will not be any match against several highly trained ruthless people intent upon murder – should they ( the terrorists ) choose to attempt to storm the flight deck at the moment of the flightdeck door being opened.

And there's the rub, i.e. unless the flightdeck door is locked ALL of the time, we are just as vulnerable as the pilots on the 911 aircraft ( whose doors were mandated, under the FAR’s, to be locked ) on every occasion that we open the door to allow entry / egress the flightdeck.

Nb. I’ll admit that there are some exceptions to flightdeck door configurations which might alleviate this ‘risk’ ( e.g. what ElAl aircraft have fitted ) but the vast majority of airliners do not have such measures in place.
And why not ?
Well, because it’ll cost a LOT of money – so it’s hardly safety at any price, is it?!

Also, and w.r.t making the flightdeck door armoured to the extent that it can withstand a ballistic assault - what a crock of **** !
I.e. If JohnnyT managed to get a gun onboard and he/she wanted to ‘waste’ the Captain, they’d simply go in the forward toilet, point their piece forwards through the bulkhead ( remembering it’s made of thin aluminium ) and pull the trigger……. where the real point is that the areas either side the ‘armoured flightdeck door’ are NOT armoured.!
The analogy would be that it’s akin to wearing less than one third of a bulletproof vest.

So who still thinks that these ‘supposedly’ well thought through Government measures are designed to positively protect the flight crew at all cost, as opposed to being spin' aimed in the direction of passengers’ need to feel safe, to say nothing of any need to make it appear that certain Government mandarins are actually dealing with the situation ?!

All in all the response and measures that we’re seeing put in place onboard our aircraft are just as useless as the light tanks parked on the ‘perimeter road’ of LHR or LGW........ all whilst Johnny Terrorist is parked ( several miles away ) in the back of an open topped lorry directly under the departure / approach paths on the M25 / M23 and sporting a sophisticated shoulder launched SAM.

One feels duty bound to say that the ‘security’ measures we’re having imposed on us are really nothing more than ill-conceived Government b’locks. (imho)

16th Feb 2003, 13:37
Its quite simple . The brits love a rule, especially a pointless one.
flying in uk is 9 parts regulation ,one part aviation.I choose to operate here at the moment so i'll follow the rules. when i'm made redundant due to the cost of insalling type two doors then i''l foxtrot off and fly in the other countries where they didnt install the doors and just night stop in this country.

dont even get me started on the jar back door that belittles our hard won qualifications. ie if one regulation cant be enforced (as above), god knows whats going on in licencing.

A bit off topic but another example of nonsense.

1,third world licence obtained. (guess how)
2, forge logbook.
3, usa atp rating
4, cheap 2 week 737 course , in states.
5, re forge logbook.
6, either get validation in "europe" or join european airline with "contacts" with validation, sit around long enuff , sympathetic ear , and finally,
7 jar member state licence.

(substitute all of the above with the following<

1 agree to close/install doors as per joint regulation
2 dont do it
3 erm thats it

this route exists so as long as we cant audit our partners its all a bunch of b.s. whether licencing or security. personnal choice to stay or go, but if you stay do it properly.

I must get out more

Max Tout
16th Feb 2003, 14:02
Thanks for that, Devils Advocate. Actually I believe your user name is inappropriate here. Just about everybody agrees with you. (Standby for flood of protest!)
It sums up, in a somewhat humorous way, the way many of us (in UK) view the whole subject. The problem is that we heed our petty minded bureaucrats whilst others just shrug their shoulders and get on with the job.

Secret Squirrel
16th Feb 2003, 20:35
Oh no Avman, I beg to differ! You see Bin Liner just tells them to read Pprune now, it's easier. There are so many idiots on it that they're actually doing his work for him. You see, why spend valuable time and money travelling the world's airlines to discover chinks in their armour when you have people who employ simple-minded logic like yours and give you all the information for free? And guess what? it also means that the thing doesn't really have to be planned because some have-a-go idiot hoping to ingratiate himself before the New Religious Nazi Party will probably do it anyway.

Great reasoning there, Avman: did you go to University to learn to be so ignorant? because you certainly demonstrate degree level. Are you seriously suggesting that it's OK to give specific details, with names, about security issues (or more to the point, lack thereof) on a public forum, citing the reasoning that it's only info they could gather anyway? If you can, just stop and think about how crass that is.

By the same token you could begin a thread about places to hide devices on different types of aircraft. Why not? We'd get to be more vigilant about our own aircraft and it doesn't really matter that a potential terrorist sees it because he or she could always have found out anyway.

Streuth, Avman, I didn't say that Max was wrong, I just said that publicising a particular airline's shortfalls in security on a public forum was not a very good idea. RTF Post!

17th Feb 2003, 03:56
There's all sorts of hacked computer systems out there relying on Security by Obscurity that provide free practice to the script kiddies.

But given that bin Liner & Co showed enough brain cells to pull off 9/11 (locked cockpit door policy and all), it is safer to assume they can figure out the same holes we can.

If we keep these holes quiet, then one day some unlucky crew and pax will find out the hard way.

Jumping air crew on the way back in and locking yourself behind a "secure" door doesn't take much in the way of imagination.

What frightens me is the apparent willful blindness of the security establishment to this obvious scenario.

It's gotta be a double door, preferably before the live demonstration:(

17th Feb 2003, 17:57
maxtout has certainlychanged his attitude since original posting on 13 feb.

Max Tout
17th Feb 2003, 19:14
Perhaps you’re confusing my attitude to the regulations with my attitude to those who blatantly disregard them.

19th Feb 2003, 17:58
No dispute with you MaxTout...but let´s not lose focus on the real problem at stake...Bush-Blair-Aznar, hungry hawks after fuel...locked doors ? Laughable...:yuk:

20th Feb 2003, 07:06
Oh, so now I'm expecting a bullet in the back of my head through the bog wall, how am I expected to sleep!

16mths now post 911 with many airlines just in the process of fitting new 'secure' doors....it only took weeks to announce redundancies. Thankfully they were sharp enough to take away our nail files and steel cutlery, leaving us our butane lighters.

But something surely has to be done. However unlikely, the bin bast**ds only have to be lucky once so why give them better odds. The door is flawed, but it must be better than the ones that sprung open on take off allowing the sandwiches, papers & water bottles to escape down the ailse?

All airlines are vunerable, not just the ones mentioned. In the twisted mind of bin whoeverhemaybe, the plane is the tool to get the target and a hit is a hit regardless of the tail paint.

Agreed, the new doors do present new CRM issues which have to be addressed. Just saying 'your not coming in, go away..I've got a phone and I know how to use it', probably won't help much.

Maybe the door is ill conceive and just a PR ex, but it could be made a more effective deterent if we try and make it work. It's probably all we'll get, you can forget getting our own galley and bogs..................