cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

American Plane in Security Scare

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,545
Thanks: 191
Registered: 12-08-2007

American Plane in Security Scare

Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from Lincolnshire this morning to accompany an American Airlines flight into Heathrow after a woman on board tried to enter the cockpit.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,587728,00.html?test=latestnews
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/02/world/main6258232.shtml
Although it appears a minor incident it's good to know they were prepared for a more major problem.
32 REPLIES
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,293
Thanks: 29
Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Quick question, what are we prepared for?  If that woman had (somehow) managed to take control of that aircraft, what would the Typhoon fighters have done?  I can't imagine any RAF pilot shooting down a jumbo jet, even under orders, although after 9/11 (why do we call it 9/11, shouldn't it be 11/9?) would the prospect of a jumbo hitting (for instance) Westminster or a populated part of London leave them no choice?
Obviously it's a worst case scenario, and would take more than the woman on her own to do that, but it did make me wonder, would the RAF shoot down a 747, or even the super jumbo, with hundreds of people if there was a risk it would force a crash into a populated area?
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,545
Thanks: 191
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

An interesting question and we don't know the answer.  I guess this incident will be analysed by the media and we might learn more.  I agree with you that it is very unlikely that a plane would be shot down over densely populated areas. 
Lurker
Grafter
Posts: 1,867
Registered: 23-10-2008

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Quote from: dgwebb
what would the Typhoon fighters have done?  I can't imagine any RAF pilot shooting down a jumbo jet, even under orders,

I think you'll find that they are a little more disciplined than you give them credit for.
If there was any doubt as to whether they were capable of carrying out orders, they would not be part of the scramble team.
Remember, it is not their call, it is simply their duty to do as instructed by their commanding officer (who is in turn answerable upward and has his own SO's)
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,545
Thanks: 191
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Have to agree with you James, they would carry out orders.
Interestingly the incident was being monitored from the Defence Ministry so decisions would have been taken at the top.
David_W
Rising Star
Posts: 2,293
Thanks: 29
Registered: 19-07-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest the RAF pilots lack discipline, they do not and are incredible professionals.  But they are only human, if you were ordered to fire a rocket at an enemy fighter, no problem, you're paid to do that and it's what you signed up to do.  Firing a rocket at a passenger place that will be full of civilians, including children?  Any soilder/sailor/pilot has the option to refuse to follow orders which are immoral, if they are (for instance) ordered to shoot an unarmed child they have the right to refuse that order.
I guess it's one of those things.  The pilot knows that if he doesn't shoot it down, it may crash (killing people on board anyhow) into a building causing a lot more casualties.  Still, I would really hate to be the pilot to fire that rocket, I have no doubt he would live the rest of his life with guilt.
Denzil
Grafter
Posts: 1,733
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Its an impossible dilemma, isn't it? Do you kill 300 people on the plane or let hundreds on the ground die instead?
Quote from: dgwebb
(why do we call it 9/11, shouldn't it be 11/9?)

Probably the same reason everyone in the UK has suddenly started calling films "movies". Smiley
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,283
Thanks: 219
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-08-2009

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Or using "alternate" when they mean "alternative".
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,283
Thanks: 219
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-08-2009

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Quote from: artmo
Two RAF Typhoon jets were scrambled from Lincolnshire this morning to accompany an American Airlines flight into Heathrow after a woman on board tried to enter the cockpit.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,587728,00.html?test=latestnews
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/02/world/main6258232.shtml
Although it appears a minor incident it's good to know they were prepared for a more major problem.

Seems to have been slightly exaggerated!
http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/awx/2010/03/02/awx_03_02_2010_p0-208527.xml...
Quote
“The jets did not ‘escort’ the airliner into Heathrow, breaking off over Oxfordshire to return to base,” the official added.

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

After 9/11, USAF interceptors were patrolling US home skies, and I guess they would have shot at anything even slightly suspect. After all American forces are rather good at "black-on-black" (friendly fire attacks) although hopefully not usually intentionally...
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Quote from: nozzer
Seems to have been slightly exaggerated!

Like most other "newsy" thing these days.
The tsunami from the Chilean earthquake was going to wipe out Hawaii causing mass evacuations. The news reports were counting down to the "impact". The countdown finished and guess what, no tsunami. So the news channels reported the deadline was being extended by half an hour (in case it was late I presume). Then the report was.......... no tsunami. Oh well it was a good story while it lasted
Strange words are not the only things we are learning from America.
Oh BTW, the woman on the plane,  they should have just knocked her out. Then we would not have to foot the bill for an necessary scramble of two fighter planes which costs a fortune  *doesn't know real figures
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

These days, flight deck doors are securely locked in very strong frames, to make unwanted entry very difficult (although probably not impossible) any wood-be attacker would need to be quite well equipped to make an entrance. Its only a guess but, this "lone" woman never got inside the cockpit. Also all international American aircraft (which this was) carry an unknown number of armed air-marshals two of whom are usually located near the flight deck...unless they've stopped that now?
If this woman (reportedly) is a crank, she might just be lucky to still be alive.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,545
Thanks: 191
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Petlew, on a recent trip to the US I heard a discussion about on-board security and one thing being considered was to put air marshals on 'all' planes so they seemed to suggest that they're not on every flight.
From memory the attempted incident at Christmas didn't involve the use of firearms either so this possibly means they are not on all flights.
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,149
Thanks: 51
Fixes: 2
Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Thank you for clarifying that artmo. However it doesn't seem to be an important enough issue for the 6 O'clock BBC News to run the story at all.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,545
Thanks: 191
Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: American Plane in Security Scare

Until hearing the discussion I thought that all US planes had air-marshals but it appears not to be the case.  I think all El Al planes do.