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Old 06-24-2013, 04:44 PM   #11  
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There have been plenty of captains who made decisions that cost people their lives. Did Tenerife not happen ?
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Old 06-24-2013, 05:52 PM   #12  
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There have been plenty of captains who made decisions that cost people their lives. Did Tenerife not happen ?
He didn't say that CAs had not made decisions that cost lives - he said:
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Even in cases where hijackers were in the cockpit, not one captain has ever made a decision that cost an innocent life.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:38 AM   #13  
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The way I read that, and I think a few others read it, was as a whole in addition to hijackers being in the cockpit. To clarify he was specifically referencing hijacking situations then ?
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:48 AM   #14  
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The fact that no one has made any comments on this story shows how nervous crews are in expressing concerns on major issues.
Perhaps just the fact that it was only a couple of days. Most crew members I know (myself included) have no difficulty addressing any issue, including this one, and providing personal input.

While I fully appreciate that the captain is the final authority, what do you suppose the captain might have done differently, other than acting as directed? Land and shut down. Taxi to a remote area. Fairly boilerplate. Is the captain to then storm the airplane and play hero?

The captain is the final authority as to the operation of the aircraft, and should be kept informed. The amount of information provided regarding a security issue, however, especially if that information can't be transmitted securely, is another matter.

Suppose another party were to listen to the transmission and remote detonate a device or have a means of communication with the bombers? Notifying the pilot of specifics that might have otherwise given law enforcement or agency personnel an advantage could potentially complicate the situation.

While I appreciate the problem for the federal agent on board as he responds to police entering the aircraft to take down a suspect, what could possibly have been done differently? Take time to notify the pilot, who then violates all good protocol and exits the cockpit to find and notify the federal agent? Notify the pilot who then passes the information through the insecure phone to a FA, who then notifies the federal agent?

Yes, police could have contacted the pilot via ATC, and quite possibly should have, if under the assumption or sure knowledge that the cockpit hadn't been compromised or that third parties weren't listening. Would it have made any difference or offered any particular advantage?

Its frustrating not having all the details from inside the locked cockpit. When an operation begins to take down a suspect, however, the person in charge is no longer the pilot in command. It's the incident commander. Until the flight reaches the ground and shuts down, the pilot in command still has ultimate authority for the safe operation of the flight, and for the safe outcome of the flight. Once the flight is over and the law enforcement operation is under way, the pilot(s) become part of the overall operation, but to what degree is really a tactical matter based on what's known of their security and ability to contribute to the outcome.

Did not the company fail to notify the pilots of the situation? The issue with the company failing to pass on the necessary information ought not be blamed on law enforcement.

As for pilots who have made bad decisions and cost the lives of them, and their crews...the books are full of such cases. Pilot error continues to be one of the single biggest contributors to aircraft mishaps. The most dangerous component in the aircraft continues to be...the pilot. Conversely, the single most critical factor that can and does salvage a bad situation continues to be the pilot. Both sides of the same coin.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:48 PM   #15  
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I want to address a couple of points

First I am not anti-law enforcement. I give my time, often for free, to go and lecture to law enforcement and FBI groups all over the country. You can see some of my activity on the 58November.com website under Lecture Series. I would not give my time and at times my own money to do that if I were anti-law enforcement.

Second, I do not expect the captain to charge the cockpit. I expect law enforcement to notify the captain of what they are doing, and if the captain sees a threat in those plans, law enforcement to back off and re-evaluate.

Next, in the case of the armed federal agent, who was not a FAM, if the LEO commander had communication with the captain, they would at least have the information before the raid. At that point the LEOs and Captain could at least discuss who to handle it....roll the dice or slip him a note. Either way people would have been better prepared on both sides, which is safer than doing it the way it went down.

Most of the guys flying today don't remember the procedures and regulations that were in place for almost 30 years of a captain being able to refuse armed intervention if the chose. There were signals via flaps to give notice to law enforcement in a non-verbal method, whether the captain needed help or if a "raid" would make things worse. When those policies were adhered to by law enforcement not one innocent life has ever been lost (worldwide) due to a decision a captain had made.

If a captain wants to land, park and say the hell with it, I am headed out the emergency hatch, so be it. All that shows is they were not either willing to participate further or could not. In either case it should be their call.

But that attitude has largely come about because the crews know they are going to be at the mercy of whatever well planned, or half ass planned raid that is coming...and they know they are not going to be listened to in any case.

However, if the crew is still locked up in their bullet proof cocoon law enforcement has lost the best intel source they could ever get.

One of the problems with law enforcement today is they do not view the captain as a trained resource, they view them as just a victim who was made to drive the plane.

At one of my lectures last year a FBI Agent told me "It is ludicrous to think a captain should have any command authority during a crisis."

That statement to me goes right to the issue of why captains are not being fully informed about the status of their craft and threats on board.

It's one thing to say a captain should not be the one to make the decision on how the craft is raided. But many cases have shown that if a captain says stay away and law enforcement does not, people get hurt or killed that did not have to die.

Like the first few comments of people not understanding that someone in a wheel well would be a block of ice after flying from SFO to JFK and would have been dropped like a bomb around the middle marker, there are serious gaps of communication between law enforcement and the crews. When it took so many people to figure that one comment out it shows some communication issues. (and yes I phrased the original comment the way I did to see who would catch on)

In US1267 the type of Airbus that was on that flight had its emergency shoots disabled because the door was opened from the outside. if a "Blue on Blue" firefight had broken out, getting passengers off the plane would not have been possible. So now you have in the cabin children screaming, *****s praying, nuns laying and priests drinking while the rest go crazy trapped inside the plane.

These are the esoteric things that law enforcement are not being trained to understand when dealing with aircraft. They mostly think of it in their preparation as raiding a house or traffic stop. Anyone knows in the business there are many more factors involved.

Last edited by 58November; 06-26-2013 at 12:59 PM. Reason: messed up acronym
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:14 PM   #16  
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I also think Sullivan was given his due praise in the article for having the sagacity in educating his officers. Many LEOs never admit mistakes and do not change protocols unless they are absolutely forced to do so.

In our current environment, and in my opinion, corporate security should be taken out of the loop between law enforcement and the crews.

A real problem that has to be addressed in some fashion is the crews don't trust law enforcement and law enforcement does not trust the crews. That is a situation that will ultimately be exploited for ill if not fixed.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:21 PM   #17  
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At one of my lectures last year a FBI Agent told me "It is ludicrous to think a captain should have any command authority during a crisis."
Once the aircraft is on the ground and shut down, he's quite correct.

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If a captain wants to land, park and say the hell with it, I am headed out the emergency hatch, so be it. All that shows is they were not either willing to participate further or could not. In either case it should be their call.
No, it shows they're following procedure, and further discussion on that point should not have had on an open forum.

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One of the problems with law enforcement today is they do not view the captain as a trained resource, they view them as just a victim who was made to drive the plane.
In most all cases, the captain isn't a trained resource (beyond FFDO's, who have basic, minimal training regarding the use of their firearm, and only then in the cockpit under narrowly defined circumstances).

The captain is trained to make command decisions regarding operation of the aircraft in flight. The captain is not trained to make tactical defensive decisions. Once on the ground and shut down, the captain is a prisoner in the cockpit, and in most cases, is best removed from the aircraft to prevent its further use. You should know that.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:31 PM   #18  
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The way I read that, and I think a few others read it, was as a whole in addition to hijackers being in the cockpit. To clarify he was specifically referencing hijacking situations then ?
Thats what he stated
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Old 06-27-2013, 05:15 AM   #19  
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58November,

I won’t take the time to rebut many of your comments and views. You hammer back pretty hard when a pilot answers back with an answer that you do not want to hear. You might want to listen closely when you get a response from someone on the flight deck.

The main theme running through your article seems to indicate that you have a major bias against law enforcement in these incidents and in general, I would guess. Going out and lecturing to FBI groups around the country does not get you off the hook on this. Have you ever wondered how those same groups view you after your presentations? If your presentations are slanted and biased against law enforcement as your article indicates, they are tuning you out within about 10 minutes or less! Does not seem like a good way to approach a group of these folks, get your concerns across, and leave a favorable lasting impression.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:10 AM   #20  
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They keep inviting me back. So perhaps something is going well in their minds
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