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-   -   terrorist dry runs? (https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/525358-terrorist-dry-runs.html)

underfire 10th Oct 2013 21:04

terrorist dry runs?
The union for U.S. Airways pilots says there was an incident aboard one of its jetliners last month that could be classified as a “dry run” for a terrorist attack, and that it's not the only one.

WTSP-TV in Tampa, Fla., reports that, according to a US Airline Pilots Association memo, "there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat."

The most recent case happened on U.S. Airways Flight 1880 from Washington, D.C. to Orlando, Fla.

The memo said four men believed to be of Middle Eastern descent caused a commotion on the plane. The memo said one man ran from his seat in coach toward the cockpit door, then entered the bathroom “for a considerable length of time.”

As this was going on, the three other men were moving around in the cabin. They changed seats and were opening overhead bins. The memo suggested that the men were trying to distract the flight attendants.

WTSP spoke to a Wolf Koch, a security committee chairman for the Air Line Pilots Association International, who believes another 9/11-style attack will eventually be attempted.

Both the airline and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident. The TSA reportedly told WTSP that it takes all such reports seriously, but said the matter requires mo further investigation at this time.

Report: Memo warns of terrorist 'dry runs' on planes | KING5.com Seattle

Hotel Tango 10th Oct 2013 21:12

So why were the guys not arrested and interrogated on arrival?

con-pilot 10th Oct 2013 21:33

So why were the guys not arrested and interrogated on arrival?
From the article none of three broke any laws or regulations. I didn't see anything about them refusing the orders of a flight crew member.

But, at the least they should have been detained and questioned, under the threat of being placed on the 'no flight' list.

"Tell us what you were up to or why you did what you did or this is the last airline flight you will ever have in the US?" That sort of thing. There very well could have been a completely innocent explanation for their actions.

Piltdown Man 10th Oct 2013 22:57

...and interrogated on arrival?
No! That delight is only dished out by the USCIS to tourists and families going to Disney World!

bubbers44 10th Oct 2013 23:52

On 9/11 at least one airliner when told to return to the gate a half dozen arabs got up and were in the isles when the pilot told them the airspace was closed down and they were returning to the gate. I guess they didn't know how to take off, just how to crash into something.

MichaelKPIT 11th Oct 2013 01:07

Seen this before
This is interesting. A month or so before 9/11 I worked as a F/A for USAirways, and I'm pretty sure we had a dry run on one of our flights, or at least they were testing security to see if we took it seriously.

I was lead F/A on a trip and our first leg was PIT/MIA, although it was a through flt that had originated in EWR. (I believe two of the 9/11 flights left from EWR and at least some of the terrorists learned to fly in MIA.) Well there was a crew change at PIT - we were to take the PIT/MIA leg, but two middle eastern gentlemen had thru checked bags at EWR, got off at PIT and not reboarded. Thankfully our captain deemed this a security risk and would not take the flight unless they showed up, or all the baggage was unloaded and rescreened.

The ground staff looked further into the missing people and discovered that two of three red flags had been met. (It's twelve years ago now, and I can't remember exactly the criteria but I think they'd paid for them in cash, they were one-way tickets but they'd been bought more than three weeks ago - I think that if they'd been bought more recently then all three would have been raised, but don't quote me on that.)

Anyway this was my second year in the US - before that I'd worked on the ground for BA for twelve years, where we took security extremely seriously! These were the pre 9/11 days in America though, so there was still some discussion amongst the ground staff as to whether we should be taking the flight or not. The captain stood his ground, and the chief pilot came down to the gate to talk to him. I called my manager and explained what was going on, and was told that as long as I could back up my decision with the facts I was telling him that I'd have his backing. Because the captain was still standing his ground the chief pilot asked the flight crew to leave the aircraft and they were to get a new crew. He then asked me if I was also refusing to fly! I responded "I'm not refusing to fly, I'm following the direction of my PIC." The flight attendants were also replaced.

We went back to the crew room where we filled out reports and heard nothing more about the incident, until 9/11.

On my first trip back after 9/11 there were obviously a lot of "people in authority" around offering assistance to F/A's. I told one of them about what had happened, and he asked me to speak to an FBI officer, and relay the story to him.

He said that this was the second time he'd heard of something like this happening - the other time was almost identical, and had involved a flight into Houston, which of course was the other place where some of them learned to fly.

deadcut 11th Oct 2013 01:12

So whats the problem? The cockpit doors are still locked.

smiling monkey 11th Oct 2013 01:34

People can't even go to the toilet to take a dump without being accused of being terrorists these days. Hardly news worthy of a thread on pprune :ugh:

nitpicker330 11th Oct 2013 02:39

Really? You don't find their activities suspicious? I do.

It's only a matter of time before they find a way.

I just hope it's not on one of my flights.

mickjoebill 11th Oct 2013 02:51

People can't even go to the toilet to take a dump without being accused of being terrorists these days. Hardly news worthy of a thread on PPRuNe
You are not wrong, on a LA to Oz flight a few days ago a passenger was ordered by flight attendants to vacate the toilet as he had been in there some time.

The instructions were shouted to him by cabin crew and as a result many passengers became very interested.

The "suspect" passenger was a dodery 90 something year old deaf geezer.

casablanca 11th Oct 2013 04:28

Just curious as this originated from Washington there was a very hi chance of Fams on board...course you may not know that until after the first shot

A and C 11th Oct 2013 08:17

European inccident
I had what I think may have been a dry run on a Gatwick bound flight, the UK police took the whole thing very seriously. I won't go into the details of the inccident for reasons you will no doubt understand.

The police who deal with this sort of thing are extreamly professional.

Just a spotter 11th Oct 2013 08:22

The coverage of the same story from WTSP in Florida

The Air Marshal, whose identity we are not revealing because agency rules prohibit him from talking to the media, says the TSA doesn't want the flying public to be aware of the problems with terrorist probes. The Air Marshal and others we have spoken to say several flights they have worked were targets of dry-runs and that most of his colleagues believe no matter what the TSA says, the incident aboard Flight 1880 is serious.
10 News Investigators find memo warning about terrorist "dry-runs" on airplanes | wtsp.com

etrang 11th Oct 2013 08:46

You don't find their activities suspicious? I do.
One guy goes to the bathroom, others open overhead lockers and move around the cabin and talk to each other.

You guys would be scared of your own shadows.

G-F0RC3 11th Oct 2013 08:59

Well it would seem that none of them tried to access the flight deck, so they wouldn't have known whether or not it was actually locked, which I'd imagine would have been one of their main objectives if it were a "dry run". Since the only other realistic way of bringing the aircraft down would probably have to involve a bomb of some kind, why all the nonsense? This doesn't quite all add up to me.

I'm not saying it wasn't part of some kind of terror prep, but it seems more likely that there is an innocent explanation for their strange behaviour. Perhaps the guy simply needed the toilet in a hurry? Perhaps the others thought it was okay to get out of their seats and whatnot? Let's not jump to conclusions.

nitpicker330 11th Oct 2013 09:25

Well it is what it is.

Home grown are a threat too but generally they still come from families from that particular region.

Profiling? You bet ya ass.

Eric Janson 11th Oct 2013 10:30

"Middle Eastern appearance"?

Seems to apply to any dark skinned person in the US these days. :ugh::ugh:

Fear and Paranoia are alive and well I see. :sad:

Dont Hang Up 11th Oct 2013 10:37

The sad thing is that they only ever need to do "dry runs" now. So deep is the general paranoia that terrorism can now be carried out ad-infinitum with no need to resort to the inconvenience of real guns and bombs.

fmgc 11th Oct 2013 12:12

Without wishing to suggest that people shouldn't be observant and vigilant, I wonder if the actions of these passengers would have drawn the same interpretations if they hadn't been of "Middle Eastern appearance".
But the chances are that a major terrorist event is going to be committed by persons of "Middle Eastern appearance". Without infinite resources you have to play your best odds to avoid another attack.

I am, however, in 2 minds as to whether the terrorist threat is as bad as it is made out to be or if the terror industry are playing it up to line their own pockets.

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