New Type Of Plane For A New, Lamentable Era
With remembrance and reflection on
the events of September 11 a major focus this week, perhaps it
shouldn't be surprising one airplane manufacturer is exploring ways
to insure one of its planes is never used in a terror attack.
Europe's Airbus is reportedly testing the first "hijack-proof"
airliner, designed as a final method of defense against terrorists
who succeed in slipping through airport security.
Such a plane could steer itself away from tall buildings,
according to the aerospace consortium... as well as keep a close on
passenger actions and conversations, by utilizing closed circuit
television and microphones throughout the cabin.
As the final resort, biometric sensors could detect if someone
other than the pilot has their hands on the controls... and keep
the plane on its course, no matter what. Those methods go far
beyond reinforced cockpit door, and onboard undercover air marshals
"We cannot say you will reach a zero level of risk, there is no
such thing, but we think it is important that the public is
reassured we are doing everything possible to get them maximum
protection," said Daniel Gaultier, coordinator of the Security of
Aircraft in the Future European Environment program, to London's
The first tests of an aircraft so equipped were carried out last
month, using actors in planes on the ground in Bristol and Hamburg.
Initial components of the system are expected to be offered as
options to carriers in mid-2008, with a fully-equipped aircraft
available about a year after that.
A representative with BAE Systems, a partner on the project,
said future passengers on such a plane need not fear from a "Big
"We are trying to keep one step ahead of the terrorists," said
Catherine O’Neary, team leader of the on-board threat
detection system project. "We are not going to be looking at
detailed conversations, but just their stress levels."
O'Neary added any non-threatening onboard conversations would be
erased at the end of each flight.