Dwight Watt Internet Article #74

#74 - Air safety 9/26/2001

#74 - Air safety

We have recently endured a major tragedy that occurred from the air. There are many thoughts on how to prevent a similar situation from occurring again or even hijackings that once were common. I believe we can improve the safety of the crews and passengers in the air in several fairly simple ways.

Airport safety has up to now been left up to the airlines to provide. The costs has been estimated at $1.8 billion per year. The airlines are not the best for this. Our taxes pay for the police on our roads, and this is part of the protection of the American citizens so it fits in a strict constitution sense. The federal government should take over airport security. Better trained safety officers and better paid would then be in use. This would give the airlines part of the money they want.

We should once again put air marshals in the planes as we did in the 70's . It stopped the hijackings to Cuba then. Use undercover marshals. There is a risk in this that a gun fight could occur and innocent passengers be killed, but if we don't stop the hijacking, then deaths will occur anyway.

Look to Israel to see how they secure their aircraft. Although a high risk, it has been years since they had a hijacking. One way is to put a securer door between the cabin and the cockpit. With this though comes the requirement that the pilots be trained to not leave cockpit, and two, that no matter what the crew tells them is happening in cabin, even hijackers killing crew, that the door stays shut, and they land the plane. A third option to consider is arming the pilots. However I would prefer the marshal program, as having a pilot shoot out with a passenger , puts plane at a big risk.

We should never open Regan national to commercial air traffic again. This airport is to close to major government sites and tourist sites. We almost had a catastrophe when the Air Florida plane crashed. This airport was not built for today's flights. Washington has two better airports in Dulles and BWI. Although a distance out, Congress will just have to allow a little more time to fly. The airport could continue to be used for military use. It is interesting that even the president des not use it, but the base outside Washington instead.

We also must be prepared to lose an airplane , like in Pennsylvania, to save thousands on the ground. Those with the authority to order a plane downed must be trained now to also know to do this even to a commercial plane loaded with passengers, that is off their course and that has been hijacked. It will not be an easy decision, but it was the decision the passengers on that flight over Pennsylvania made and understood. That sometimes it comes do to the lost of a few to save the many. It is not a decision I would want to have to make, but yet I know it is there.

With these changes we can improve out air safety.


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Copyright 2001.