Stronger cockpit doors on airplanes

Thursday, September 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The President wants airlines to strengthen cockpit doors, to keep terrorists out. And the government is willing to pay for it.

News on Six reporter Emory Bryan says the President wants the airlines to install stronger doors on the cockpit, with better locks to keep the pilots and the plane safe. KOTV went aboard a Tulsa Technology Center aircraft, a 727, to get a look at the way cockpit doors are designed now.

The one on this aircraft is made of metal, but was clearly not designed to keep a terrorist out of the cockpit. It does have a lock, but it's about like the lock on a bathroom door. Mike Highland with Tulsa Technology Center: "The original intent was not to make it where it was impossible to get in, it needed to be where someone could escape should they need to this way."

The President has already expanded the use of "air marshals" which were used only for international flights. The armed and undercover agents are now on some domestic flights, and the government wants to hire many more of them. The President is directing $500-million to the airlines specifically for reinforcing the doors on the cockpit, and for new technology, such as cameras in the cabin so the pilots could see what is happening behind them.

He so far is rejecting the notion that pilots should carry firearms, a request made by the pilots union.