Counter Terrorism / Aviation Security
After the attacks of 9/11 and other hijackings I decided I would read the 9/11 Commission report as part of studies in Counter Terrorism and Political Violence. I read that after the events there was an upsurge in the air marshal project and procurement of secure cockpit door systems on many flights.
I saw this as both a positive and a negative due to the fact that not everyone, especially pilots and flight crews, had reservations (Understandably) about weapons being carried on board flights and doors that were locked from the inside. - As one pilot put it: "Even if you make a vault out of the door, if they have a noose around my flight attendant's neck I'm going to open the door."
I then wondered about how best to mitigate these types of risk and had this idea:
On many flights there are personnel that are often passengers with former military, police and / or security experience.
(There are also many unemployed veterans who could assist with flight security operations).
Utilising these personnel, they could be deployed on emergency basis (i.e: in the event of a hijacking or terrorist threat) to help flight crews mitigate / secure any attempted flight hijacking(s).
The following factors would need to be taken into consideration:
1. Most hijackers of the 911 flights sat forward in the aircraft, close to the cockpit in seats: 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3C, 3D
8D, 8G, 6B, 6C, 6D, 9C, 9D, 10B, 12A, 12B
2. They used mace and / or pepper-spray to incapacitate passengers making their task easier.
3. The use of firearms onboard an aircraft could do more damage that good.
To mitigate these tactics / facts I would recommend:
1. Selected security personnel are allocated seats within or just behind seats 1A to 15F
2. They have quick access to:
(a) A face mask & Sealed goggles. - Possibly stowed underneath their allocated seat or in an issued cabin bag
(b) A Taser - To incapacitate a possible perpetrator - Also less risk to other passengers than a conventional weapon
(c) Wrist ties or handcuffs
(d) Some form of communication with the Pilot or Cockpit
(e) Flight crews are informed pre-flight which seats are occupied by the selected protective personnel.
Obviously these security personnel would have to be trained in the methods of various in-flight scenarios but in the event of a flight being hijacked, the flight crew could work together with the onboard security personnel and possibly avert another potential disaster.