New York WTC (OT)

David Brodbeck DavidB at
Fri Sep 14 06:19:05 GMT 2001

> From: Joel Hammer [mailto:Joel at]
> Subject: Re: New York WTC

>On Thu, Sep 13, 2001 at 08:45:42PM -0600, Ralph Sanford wrote:
>> Not practical solution.
>> Cause the pilots are hired to fly the plane, NOT as gunfighters.  I would
>I think you are really wrong. Most pilots are ex military.

--> Most pilots are trained by civilian flight schools these days, I think.
Military aviation has gotten so specialized that it's not considered as
useful as training for airline work as it used to be.  (You can't "punch
out" of an airliner if something goes wrong, for example.)

> Anyone can fire a gun. Just the THREAT of a gun in the hands of a pilot
> prevent men with pen knives from taking over the plane.

--> Anyone can fire a gun.  But most people cannot fire one accurately
enough to take out a terrorist without hitting an innocent bystander or part
of a fragile aircraft.  And if the pilot's a bit slow in grabbing his/her
weapon, well, the terrorist is going to grab it and a bad situation has just
gotten worse.  (Even in police work, many officers are shot WITH THEIR OWN
GUN.)  I'm not saying it's a bad idea to have armed guards on aircraft, I
just don't think that we should push that responsibility on the pilots,
especially since I think few of them would want it.  The pilot's primary
job, in any emergency, is to FLY THE AIRPLANE.  Accidents happen when the
pilot's mind loses focus on that to concentrate on some other problem.
(Many accidents in small planes happen when a door pops open and the pilot
stalls the airplane while trying to close it, instead of just going around
and landing, for example.)

> Why the cockpit door is not make secure is also dumb.

--> Agreed.  But supposedly in this case the terrorists simply threatened
passengers and stewardesses until the pilots opened the door.  (Though I
doubt many pilots will make that mistake now.)  My guess is the main reason
is weight -- airplanes are made as light as possible.  I hope they look at
requiring stronger doors in future aircraft.  I'm not sure how
pressurization concerns would affect that, though.  Right now in
catastrophic depressurizations, the cockpit door invariably blows out.  If
the door were stronger, it might remain in place and be jammed shut by the
pressure differential.

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