Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Boeing’s Anti-Hijack Autopilot


Negative terrorism hype aside, flying is still a very safe mode of transport. The only real danger is being beaten to dearth by a group of radical environmentalists for polluting the atmosphere.

Boeing, though, is taking no chances and thinks its latest autopilot is the perfect answer to anti-terrorism. Classed as a 9/11-proof system, it will stop terrorists from flying the plane into land or sea targets and can be remotely landed by ground-staff. Once activated, it cannot be deactivated.

The captain can activate the system manually or - and this is the bit I have some concern with - it can activate itself when sensors fitted to the cockpit door record excessive force – like terrorists trying to break in.

Hmm, what happens if turbulence causes someone to fall against the door, a drunk passenger needs to tell the captain something really, really important, or a rogue drinks trolley hits it? Boeing could have these in all planes with three years, according to insiders.

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