Airline pilot talks about safety and security

Thursday, September 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Airline passengers will notice new security rules meant to keep weapons off planes, but one Tulsa commercial pilot says it won't help unless cockpit doors are reinforced.

News on Six reporter Emory Bryan talked with Captain Dan Carey, who flies for US Airways. He believes even now, it wouldn't be difficult for a weapon to pass through airport security. "If they X-rayed that, it would no more look like a knife than anything." He says he's seen various items, all potential weapons, pass through airport security, and believes they still could. "The X-ray is for show, parking your car, you can't pick up passengers in front of the terminal that's for show, what are you going to do, blow up the baggage carousels?"

Carey believes terrorists with even crude weapons will be able to commandeer airplanes, unless the pilots are protected with a secure door to the cockpit. “It’s very easy to take over an airliner and once you're in the cockpit, you have the device that caused last Tuesday's awakening for America."

Flying a big jet isn't easy, but pilots can practice with inexpensive flight simulator software. Here, pilot Gary Wall shows how he learned to fly a 767. He's flying over downtown Tulsa, until he crashes into a building. "This is how they did it, the tools are out there. All the tools they need are readily available."

"And until we keep them out of the cockpit, it doesn't matter." Carey has flown only once since the attack, but flies again this weekend. He's hoping the airlines will take measures to protect their pilots, which he believes is the best way to protect the passengers and people on the ground.

The Airline Pilots Association has recommended the installation of dead bolt locks on cockpit doors - and an additional mesh net on the inside to slow down a hijacker. They want pilots to be armed with "stun-guns" but the government has not issued any new guidelines for cockpit doors.