Skip to comments.American Airlines Flight 62: A Terrorist Probe?
Posted on 03/05/2007 8:55:22 AM PST by aculeus
The following is an email I received detailing a serious probe on board American Airlines flight 62 traveling from Paris to Miami. The information comes to me second-hand from a trusted source in the field. American Airlines spokesman John Hotard confirmed the incident on flight 62 with me, stating there was a disturbance on board, it was handled by crew. I asked Mr. Hotard the status of the men who were detained by FBI. Hotard told me for security reasons, I cant comment further.
Here it is, unedited:
This is not meant to scare, but it probably will. Consider yourself informed and warned that the threat is real. This crew reported that they were not prepared that something of this nature could be happening to them.
Flt 62, Paris to MIA [Miami], a few weeks ago. 2 maybe 4 mid-eastern types causing minor disturbance from the get-go. Nothing that the FAs [flight attendants] couldnt deal with, but, in hindsight, they seemed to be pushing the envelope. Cross-cabin activity, hanging out in the forward galley, complaining about everything, etc. Mid-Atlantic, the FO [First Officer, or Co-Pilot] called to return to the cockpit after his crew-rest break. One of the perps [perpetrators] was in the forward galley, was instructed by a FA to go aft, but didnt. As the cockpit door opened, another perp suddenly appeared from around the galley, dropped his shoulder into FO while the first one got in the way of the FOs attempt to block the other here Im not certain so .wait for the movie.
FO (one of our first FFDOs [Federal Flight Deck Officers*]) was about to pull his flashlight to use as a weapon in a counter attack, but thought better of it not knowing how many more perps he might have to fight, called lockdown to the FB [secondary B First Officer], inside the cockpit, who slammed the door. As soon as the perps heard the word lockdown, they retreated to their seats.
Im not doing justice to the story, but, if not an attempt on the cockpit, this was a serious probe.
Crew considered divert, but since the threat diminished and seemed to be contained, they pressed on towards MIA. Flight was met in MIA by FBI, FAMS [Federal Air Marshal Service] (none aboard, by the way), AA [American Airlines] Security suits, etc. During the de-brief, which lasted several hours, the FAMs told the pilots that they would have dropped both of the perps with the first shove near the cockpit door. Perps claimed to not understand English, were detained for 4 days and deported, back to Paris, when they are free to attend Sunday school, tell their buddies of their Adventure and plan their next move.
Enjoying the story so far? Its good we cant carry guns on Intl [International] trips, eh?
Upsetting is that we all have to learn of this, by happenstance. Why didnt you and your last crew know of this? We took a delay yesterday while this FB detailed the entire event to my crew. Believe me, there were no disbelievers that the terrorist threat is real in my crew by the time we boarded.
Im more than upset that this is still a secret! The FB is a man Ive flown with often, trust completely and attended FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) training with a year ago January. I hope Ive presented his story accurately, but am certain that the basic details are very close.
On a separate note, American Airlines flight 63, also traveling from Paris to Miami, was the subject of a thwarted terrorist attack in December of 2001 when shoe bomber Richard Reid tried to bring down the aircraft by igniting explosives hidden in his shoes. Reid was later found guilty of terrorism charges in federal court in Massachusetts and sentenced to life in prison.
* Armed Federal Flight Deck Officers are not allowed to carry their guns while flying international routes.
They know the only time they can possibly get access to the cockpit is when some one exits or enters. Schedules are routine. Fix the schedules of rest breaks, etc../.......
It also conitues in the interior of the country at national and regional infrastructure sites.
We must let our people be armed on international flights. These two terrorists should have been dropped on this flight...but there was no one with the weapon to do so.
I believe this, that the passengers, upon learning that ME men have taken a flight, will not allow it to continue, IMHO, viza viz Flight 93 type ction.
Well it appears we have an idea where the next attack will come from.
Move along. Nothing to see. Sounds a lot like those "musicians" headed to Vegas a few years ago.
Agree. Crews may have to forego breaks outside of the cockpit, or reevaluate their procedures against being waylaid when entering or leaving the cockpit. We evidently have muslim psychopaths in final stage of training, who are hot to finish Reid's job and take down an aircraft to get to their 72 virgins.
Exactly. Despite how it was portrayed, the professionals know and have taken note and preparations accordingly.
These kinds of stories are a concern but I'm much more worried about MANPADS which have likely already been smuggled in to the US.
If they know the FO, etc. will come out at exactly 2 hours +/- a few minutes for his break, all they have to do is start some diversion in the galley over some stupid coffee or other trash, get the FA's distracted and wait for the door latch to move. The forward galleys should be OFF LIMITS to ALL passengers for a period of time when the FO's can do their business. This is a TRIAL RUN. Expect many more. I have no doubt that this was a PROBE of the defenses..........
Here's hoping no one links to this post in the next 6-18 months in profound retrospect...
Nothing could comes from the France.
Crews can't and won't forgo breaks. Their bladders are just like yours and 8 hours is a little long.
Why not use some portable potty for flight crew?
What would you suggest? I fly all the time and, especially on international flights...the lights are off half of the time, most people are sleeping, if you are in economy you have no idea what is going in the front section of the airplane, where most people are kicked back in recliners...it is scary easy to see how the cockpit could be breached in a flat second.
Why, in the blue blazes, would the flight crew allow the door to be opened with a passenger present who had already disobeyed the FA?!?
Thenks for posting. BTTT!
Or astronut diapers.
tererny = tyranny
This crew violated their own procedures. If they had done as they were trained it wouldn't have happened.
Are you kidding me? The day they lock us up in the cockpit like monkeys at a zoo is the day I turn in my resignation.
I'm expecting a attack from a sea-borne source. A boat or small craft laden with explosives on a cruise ship, military vessel or oil/cargo ship or drilling rig. That would send the global economy for a loop..............
I think the best way to deal with perps like this is to have it pre-arranged with the cockpit crew that upon a certain code word, the 'fasten seat belts' light comes on, the plane drops down to about 2000 feet, and the FFDOs and the FAs grab the sumb!tches, open the emergency door, and just throw their damn asses out.
If it's over land, they won't survive the fall, if it's over water, the sharks have to suck it up and eat some unappetizing food.
When boarding, all passengers are given multi-language instructions which read "Want to arrive at your destination alive? - Do NOT interfere with the operation of this aircraft, nor with the crew. Any deviation may result in your experiencing a unexpected and violent death."
Exactly. There should have been some signal for the FO's to know there were unauthorized persons in the vicinity of the doors. Are there cameras for them to use to see what's going on outside their door?..........
I might agree with you on US domestic flight, but this was an outbound from France. I'd assume that most passengers are French, not Americans returning home. I'm not so sure that the French passengers would react the same way.
The politics in France is as split as it is here. I was impressed with how many solidly conservative people there were there and how many of them wished us, and America, God's speed, despite the antics of their own government. They hope to gain ground in their next elections...just as we hope to gain back lost ground ourselves.
So, I think there may well be enough who would act given what I experienced there in December.
Perverted, twisted thinking on a societal scale amongst these fanatical Islamics. Every bit as dangerous and ruthless as the Nazis or IMperialist Japanese fanatics of World War II.
ahhh perhaps they could relieve themselves in the iced cups of the islamofascists hanging out in the forward galley...
Another good reason tofly El Al.
Yeah, I know, lock em up in the cockpit. It's been proposed by some of the imbeciles running the TSA. It didn't fly then and it certainly won't fly now. No pun intended.
Having said that, one of their obvious and clear problems, and one these people had no problem articulating about just like many of us speak out about our own similar immigration problem, is that they have a large population of muslims who are very restless.
THAT should have triggered a "lockdown" and general high security status. On a commercial passenger aircraft, there should be ZERO tolerance for passengers not complying with crew members' instructions. No English? How much English does it take to understand when a crew member is pointing aft and saying something directly to you in a stern voice?
"No English" should not be an excuse, but it would be a good idea to have all passengers required to list what languages they understand when purchasing a ticket, and print an instruction on their ticket in one of those languages and in English that if any crew member says something to you that you don't understand, you should respond by immediately returning to your own seat and sitting down in it, or to a different seat if the crew member leads you to a different one. It's a simple concept, and wouldn't be hard to make part of common knowledge, just like buckling your seat belt for take-off and landing. It would enable passengers to demonstrate that they are attempting to behave appropriately, and enable crew to quickly identify passengers who are not attempting to behave appropriately and be legally protected if they use physical force to control such a passenger.
First thing that occured to me.
Why anyone is allowed in the galley areas near the cockpit post 911 has always baffled me. I've done it, my family has done it, in the 70s and 80s.
The new rules announced recently by one airline, the use of first class rest rooms by anyone just makes a bad situation worse.
As an aside, what is the point of having rules aboard an aircraft if there's no means of enforcing them?
By definition, murderers don't do rules.
IIRC A French passenger or two were involved in the takedown of Richard Reid, the wannabe shoe bomber.
May or may not have been a probe, but I seriously doubt it was an attempt to take over the plane, unless they just wanted to destroy it alone. Mid-Atlantic is way too far out to use the plane as a weapon.
I'm not so sure about that. It's very difficult to tell who "our people" are, given that some people who have been firmly identified as terrorist operatives are US citizens with no criminal record. And even genuinely well-intentioned US citizens can be muddle-headed or paranoid. Some passenger who's terrified from the start about possible terrorist activity on his flight might be trigger-happy -- e.g. might have responded to a commotion like this one by firing at one of the Arab trouble-makers, hitting a member of the crew, even the FO or FB coming out the cockpit door.
Granted in THIS situation, nobody should have been opening the cockpit door, but I don't trust every random US citizen with no criminal record to distinguish a situation like this one, from a situation in which an Arab-looking passenger is genuinely notifying a crew member of, say, his father having symptoms of a heart attack, and understandably sounding/acting agitated. The crew might well be able to discern that this was a genuine report and act accordingly, while a passenger some rows back might rush to assume the worst and shoot.
I would, however, like to see flight attendants trained to carry and use firearms to handle situations like this, and to ensure that there are always armed crew members on board, and out among the passengers, aware of emerging problems on a real-time basis.