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Skywest pilot allegedly commits suicide inside airplane

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Skywest pilot allegedly commits suicide inside airplane

Old 18th Jul 2012, 16:41
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps a change of perspective. If SW was more careful with a twenty five million dollar investment than what we see, theft of property moots the knee jerk reaction when terrorism is the topic?

The cop was on a beat, I assume, and that leaves holes in this a/c's care... An ignition lock needn't be on the checklist, or on the a/c. It can be an area sensor, CCTVmonitored continuously, etc.

If I left my a/c in the care of an occasional public servant, I would not be protecting my assets, my insurance carrier, or the people who live under any potential flight path the thief/kamikaze may choose.

Last edited by Lyman; 18th Jul 2012 at 16:44.
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 17:40
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Heard on the news he'd lost the privileges of his license some time before.
A pilot who is suspended or facing termination must unfortunately be viewed as a potential security threat these days. Many U.S. carriers now have a quiet policy of deadheading these crewmembers on another airline to lessen the chance of an inside job of commandeering an aircraft.

Auburn Calloway at FedEx and Gamal El-Batouti at EgyptAir were both facing termination hearings when they attempted to crash their company aircraft (El-Batouti was successful with SU990).

Chris Phatswe took up an Air Botswana ATR-42 and commited suicide with it in 1999:

1999 Air Botswana incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

If the security had worked he wouldn't have been able to get near the airplane. He was a suspended employee. Plus, even an active crew shouldn't be able to gain access to an aircraft that was supposedly secured for the night.
Some fairly simple but effective measures restrict access to an unattended aircraft where I work. A few years ago TSA 'Tiger Teams' were testing overnight aircraft security, seems like one of them was using a TAT or AOA probe as a step to gain access to an overhead hatch and damaged several RJ aircraft.

I don't know about this particular type of aircraft, but I happen to have two keys in my possession that would enable me to unlock two fairly common types of aircraft, one 'large' and one 'small.' All of the aircraft of each type share a common key, and I have the keys because sometimes I flew those types.
I don't even have access to a Boeing or Airbus ignition key after hours.

The scenario of a pilot murdering a spouse or domestic partner has played out a few times. The most infamous case in my view is the gruesome Woodchipper Murder:

Helle Crafts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 17:47
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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This kerfuffel is a no brainer. What remains very troubling is the Captain of a JetBlue flight who went bullshit and came very close to annihilating his crew and pax. Include a passive FO in the mix, instead of a savvy second in command, and maybe we see suicide by Airbus instead of some nut who was wired on energy bars...
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 18:36
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Also, I'm not sure how his tearing the wing off relates to airport security.
I'm surprised that none of the security heard the plane start up or the subsequent crash.

also, why did it take so long for someone to notice it? Don't the security guards do patrols?
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 18:54
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Also, I'm not sure how his tearing the wing off relates to airport security.

Erm...how about at the very least it saved SW from the lawsuits on the way if the a/c gets airborne? He may roll the jet into a ball on the runway, but he won't get in to a position to land on citizens, who might start looking for shysters?
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 19:23
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Originally Posted by Lyman View Post
No, the security did not work, the results speak for themselves....
The main object of airport security is to keep passengers & the public safe. Those goals were accomplished in this case as no passengers were present & the aircraft was so positioned at the gate that even a trained pilot could not get it airborne in one piece.
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 19:39
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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I don't even have access to a Boeing or Airbus ignition key after hours.
What is a "Boeing or Airbus ignition key"? I ask in a sprit of pure enquiry...

(Or more pressingly, where can I get one as I'm down to fly a 777 to China tomorrow? That is if the mag. drop is OK...)
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 20:40
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What is a "Boeing or Airbus ignition key"? I ask in a sprit of pure enquiry...
The Russian aircraft all had locks, when I used to look after TU154íS we had to wait for the engineer to come down and unlock the hold doors so we could offload the baggage. I also remember not being able to load an IL76 until the engineer turned up with the key to unlock the front door. I donít think they had ignition keys though
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 22:37
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I don't even have access to a Boeing or Airbus ignition key after hours.
I've never flown a turbine aircraft, even a King Air or a straight-wing Citation, that had an "ignition key."
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 23:01
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on the MU2 I flew, there was a key that enabled the electrical system...you didn't turn it to 'crank' the engine, or supply spark to the igniters...but it was sort of odd.
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Old 18th Jul 2012, 23:33
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This brand new airport has little if any security even though it is headquarters for Skywest Airlines. About three months ago a pilot and two pax took off in a Cessna and must have gone vertical after lift off. This was around 0100 in the mornng. No one new about the wreckage until the next morning when they found the smoldering Cessna and it's dead occupants at the end of the runway. BTW, the pilot was another regional F/O!

This kind of stuff gives the regulators so much fodder for more regulation that it's almost impossible to imagine where it might stop and the feds are already asking questions. Don't really know why this guy did not get airborne as he certainly was qualified. Imagine for one minute that this guy got airborne and flew down to LAS, less than 200 miles away and put the airplane into the side of some hotel. It would take the officials months to figure out who had committed the crime and in the mean time we would have beat the war drums to a new level.

Don't bet on the Air Force jumping to the rescue. No one would have even known that the guy got off the ground at St Georege until it was to late to have done anything to have prevented the outcome.

BTW again. As i write this the spector or some terrorist learning to fly is once again the lead story on what passes for national news here in the US. Truely pathetic but the look at our excuse for a govermemt.

Last edited by Spooky 2; 19th Jul 2012 at 01:29.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 01:09
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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It reads as if he pulled the chocks, started it up, did his own push-back
using reverse thrust, but then had things kind of unravel from that point.

Don't really know why this guy did not get airborne as he certainly was
qualified.
If you study the photographs accompanying this news story--The Associated Press: Official: Colo murder suspect tries to steal plane , it appears that he didn't actually "push back" at all. From the end of the jetway, it seems as if he only went forward, passing alongside the terminal building on his way into the parking lot in front of the terminal.

One might speculate that he damaged the wing almost immediatly, in contacting the jetway, and realized that he wasn't going to get off the ground, so he just proceeded forward to his ultimate demise, but far be it from me to speculate...
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 06:42
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Quote:

Somehow, I fail to relate the theft of a light aircraft trainer with a transport airplane at a Part 139 airport.

There is previous evidence of this type of thing.
In the 70's a US sergeant stole a C-130 from Mildenhall?, single handedly took off and crashed it in the Western Channel. Or so it was believed as no wreckage was found.

Last edited by radiosutch; 19th Jul 2012 at 06:43.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 07:36
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'Free Private Preston!'

Was what we used to see as graffiti in the Washington, D.C. area in the early '70's. He was some jerk Specialist who stole a US Army Huey and landed on the grounds of the White House to prove that he could, too, fly a helicopter after the Army had told him he was not even helicopter pilot material! After that the Army fitted, yes, ignition keys!

Ignition keys for airliners, Bubba? Whatever next?

There's no ultimate protection against this sort of thing. I just did a TSA on-line security course while renewing my FAA CFI. There were some pretty obvious holes in the cheese slices there to be seen, I have to say, but then there would be! At some point you are still going to see someone in sole charge of an aircraft, when there must be an obvious risk involved. Well, every day we share the road with numerous vehicles that go speeding past just inches away, not seeming to worry about the odd homicidal lunatic bent on causing a head-on crash. What about that, then?

At some point one simply has to trust people to behave properly. We have seen thefts of cars, of course, but also aircraft, buses, boats, the odd train or two, an M-60 tank, diggers, bulldozers... pretty much anything you can think of can be misused to commit mayhem.

Somehow you figure out a way to put a 'foolproof' ignition switch into the cockpit, ignoring the obvious risks that must bring of somehow shutting down vital systems in flight... so your maniac simply breaks into the key cabinet, say. What then?
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 07:45
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Somehow you figure out a way to put a 'foolproof' ignition switch into the cockpit, ignoring the obvious risks that must bring of somehow shutting down vital systems in flight... so your maniac simply breaks into the key cabinet, say. What then?
Installing a foolproof system will simply result in a better fool.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 08:27
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You could design a start system that requires two people to turn a switch at the same time, but the switches would have to be far apart that one person couldn't reach both at the same time, much like the launchers for a nuclear weapon. In this case, you would need two fools.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 09:41
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The airplane thief would just bring an accomplice in that case.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 10:10
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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Oh, God...

There you are at 30 thousand feet with nothing on the clock but the maker's name and your fellow crewmember out cold, when you very badly want to operate a pair of switches placed six feet apart in a four-foot wide cockpit... so, 'What now, Genius?'

I am sure we shall see some of our elected representatives all over this one, telling their voters that they shall be demanding action from the TSA to prevent such a thing ever happening again. 'How to do that?' well, never mind, it's just something that needs to be done.

Just remember that a fool can ask a question that a thousand wisemen couldn't answer. 'How can you absolutely protect me from myself?' for instance. Heck, we even had an Air Force pilot go off on his own with an A-10 Warthog with bombs hanging off its wings, although perhaps they were not fuzed. Think about that one if you want to worry about a regional airliner in the hands of a criminal.

I think the TSA will just have to tell everyone that, hey, 'The system worked as designed,' followed by 'Next question, please?' There's no way we are going to see keyed switches in airliner cockpits; the complications and risks, not to mention the expense, are too high. You simply end up at some point with someone alone in a cockpit, when you can only hope that he or she is thinking straight; that is a given in aviation. That last incident, when the Captain lost it... it was only luck that saw the FO locked in and the Captain locked out. It could very easily have gone the other way.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 12:53
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This thread is getting a tad silly.

The "lock" is the knowledge required to operate a complex aircraft.
This security is more than adequate to deter an outsider.

As many banks have discovered, no amount of external security can prevent insider crime. Any intelligent insider can find a way of bypassing any security measure which can be sensibly enforced.
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Old 19th Jul 2012, 13:12
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I don't think security was that bad. Read the Daily Mail article that states:

A police officer making routine rounds noticed the rug over the fence and moments later heard the sound of a plane's engine firing up.

He found the craft idling, boarded it and discovered Hedglin dead, a gunshot wound to his head
Brian Hedglin: Pilot who 'killed his girlfriend' tries to steal a commercial plane, crashes it and then kills himself | Mail Online

The perimeter fence around an airport is several miles in length. Every inch cannot be patrolled every second. St. Georges, Utah is not a highly populated location. It seems to me that security discovered what was happening quite quickly -- faster even than what might be expected at a more major airport at 3 am.
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