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Squawks & HeadlinesCaptain angered at not being informed about hijack situation.

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Captain angered at not being informed about hijack situation.

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An anonymous call prompts security to direct two planes to a remote part of the airport. Problem is, the captain was not informed what was going on. (gma.yahoo.com) More...

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WALLACE24
WALLACE24 18
I like this captain. Way to go.
KW10001
Kylan Walters 9
"You've got 60 seconds" lol... Love it.
Number1Mom
De Crockett 2
Yup.This PIC gives Eastward something to look up too!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Clint Eastward?
Number1Mom
De Crockett 1
I could stand corrected - spelling was never my thing. Don't want to open my self up to celebrity name calling aka 'Eastwood"!
Donovan16
Don Thomson 8
I absolutely agree with the Captain as the PIC, and responsible for the entire crew and passengers. He has every right and responsibility of being informed of why the emergency vehicles are surrounding his plane at the distant apron.... Sheeze !
6686L
The U.S. Senator who drafted the legislation that created this monster agency, has said it has become a bloated monster, so out of control it should immediately be de-funded and disbanded. He has not been able to get support.

Apparently, it has become so powerful now, even our own representatives are afraid of it.

THe reason we have such tight controls over law enforcement, is that we must teach, as part of their training, law enforcement officers to "take control" of any given situation. This is why the FAA, not some power hungry local cops, should handle law enforcement issues regarding aviation - without knowledge of aviation, it is only a matter of time before some real tragedy takes place.

I, for one, am trained to operate aircraft - not to evaluate a law enforcement situation or request. Being told to take my aircraft to a remote part of an airport, out of view, without very clear detailed instructions from someone knowledgable about aviation, is not acceptable. I would immediately declare an emergency, INSTRUCT Ground Control to direct me to the airport RESCUE/FIRE STATION, call for evacuation of the aircraft.

Too many situations where terrorists dress up like legit law enforcement. Until properly identified (who remembers what we were told in the service " WHO GOES THERE - ADVANCE AND BE RECOGNIZED".) by responsible aviation personell, anyone approaching my aircraft will be dealt with as a "hostile".

This is not funny - We MUST get the FAA back in the control of aviation security.

rospeunt
Agree 100%,
preacher1
preacher1 6
Actually, he was a heck of a lot nicer about it than I would have been. I wonder what was going on in the Finnish plane behind him?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 3
About 10 hot Finnish chicks was going on, enough to make a Southwest captain happy!!!
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 4
If that's what's going on who cares about a little bomb threat. Just adds more excitement.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Your Email reply is back there. It does not alert you like a comment squawk does. You just have to go in and check it.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Says there is nothing in my inbox???
preacher1
preacher1 1
That was to THRUSTT. His worked. FA says it won't work using your given name, only your USER name. They are working on it
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Guess I need to get a "handle"
preacher1
preacher1 1
Don't do it just on my account . They say they are working to change it but I dunno. Let's see what they say in a day or 2. I'll let you know.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, they just said no. I'll let you decide. If you do change, you can go into your profile(ACCOUNT PAGE), item 3 I think, and set it how you want. Let me know if you change it. wayne
cgalley
Cy Galley 5
It is a sad state of affairs that the TRA and Home Land security trust an anonymous phone call over the integrity of a captain that has just safely flown his passengers.
bn2av8r
Ryan Hales 9
You sure it wasn't that someone trying to sneak a Big Gulp into the city?
jeyrivera89
Jesus Rivera 1
Heh, That made me giggle.
rick737
richard weiss 12
We now know that the Feds could care less about captains' authority. The government is in charge of everything. If this captain had evac'ed the jet and someone got hurt, they would have hung him. If he stayed aboard and it blew up, they would have blamed him. Talk about a no win situation.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 4
How many bodies have fallen out of the wheel wells over the past two weeks? Four stowaways? I lost count, but its a surprisingly high number.

If they were terrorists at 35,000 -- lessee... that -54 degrees C at std conditions.... Would serve 'em right...
Number1Mom
De Crockett 4
Well Done! Professional all the way! Here's the very essence of the best of what the flying public expects from the cockpit - The PIC - In Command Cool, Calm, Committed. Thank you! You deserve recognition and a raise! There should be an investigation and someone on the ground at JFK deserves a big fat reprimand!
cdroflv
What is ridiculous is the fact that someone actually believed that terrorist hid in the wheelwell with nothing more than gas masks with planes flying 30,000+ for hours and then wouldn't consider evacuating the planes immediately! What... we need to wait for the "terrorist" to blow up the planes first (and of course they made sure that both planes were close to one another!!!)! This is proof that our Gov't has gone bonkers! Kudos to the Pilot...not sure I would have given even the 60 seconds for a explanation!
gearup328
Peter Steitz 4
Having been a Captain and having taught Security for 5 years, there is a situation where ATC may not be given the real reason for their instructions. The FBI, Homeland Security and FAA have gotten soooooooo big that they can act covertly and issue instructions without explanation. This can cause confusion in the cockpit because they don't know if the orders are really from friendly folks. Since this flight was on the ground, the Captain did the right thing. Get the passengers off and let the plane explode without them. "Go ahead, make my day". Preacher and other Captains---we know the rules and are restricted from discussing them in detail but in this case, the right decision was made. That's Captain's Authority and why they get paid big bucks.
eichmat
Tim Eichman 2
I see a new flight protocol coming:

Wheel Well Clearing Protocol: all aircraft are to extend all landing gear once reaching FL25, leaving them extended for a period of no less than 10 minutes (aka asphyxiate and freeze the terrorists). Next the aircraft will need to execute at least three "vomit comet" maneuver, climbing to FL35 then dropping to FL20 at a rate within the acceptable parameters of the aircraft (aka dumping the bodies).
Donovan16
Don Thomson 0
Hear, Hear Peter!
brianwmsn
For people who get Yahoo's famous "this video not available in your location", see it at:

http://youtu.be/T7E7JJbeal0

They have no problem running the advertising in an endless loop, however...
phataj2008
phataj2008 3
Good for him!
Donovan16
Don Thomson 3
He got compliance though!
JD345
JD345 3
Terrorists hiding in the wheel well? Good grief.
Forteaneye
John Turcotte 3
Another example of the police, Homeland Security and TSA being out of control and a joke.
slgordon3
slgordon3 2
I bet the cops just wanted to admire the winglets on that 767.
foxy1
Jeff Lee 2
It seems the captain was talking to the TOWER during this episode and giving the controller a hard time about not bening advised of the problem. Didn't he have radio comm with his company, as well as the tower? Shouldn't he have voiced his justified frustrations with his company?
mpradel
Marcus Pradel 2
Stand your ground and don't agree to sit on a suspected bomb!

Props for pushing forward to get definite info.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 2
I would love to have the caller ID of the monkey-wrench who made the original anonymous call. Track HIM down and Stuff HIM into the wheel-well for a cross-country flight at 35,000, armed with a gas-mask....

Insanity seems to be contagious.
jeyrivera89
Jesus Rivera 2
I think he did the right thing. It was pretty obvious that the crew wasn't compromised so why in the hell did they not at least tell him...?
SWEATINTHSWAMP
I thought the same thing. If his company was in the dark than he really had a right to do whatever he deemed best in the situation.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 2
Adrenaline + coffee + donuts + storm trooper attitude? The PIC absolutely should have been informed !
finnmaccool
Stuart Foster 1
The pilot deserves a medal. Good for him.
hotelgolf718
Sorry about the auto-posted un-edited iphone fill in below--but the basic opinion is there.
garykwalker
Gary Walker 1
He's the man!
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
Sigh.... Sad but apparently true...
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
Wheel well aka bomb bay
suz
suz 1
Aye' Captain.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
Hear hear! I completely agree, Peter!
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
I think Peter Hartmann hit the nail on the head.
joelwiley
joel wiley 1
As a pax, I vote for Peter Hartmann or Preacher1 as PIC for the flight I'm sitting on.
mjsracing1
Steve Shaw 1
Totally agree M. Hartmann. As a pilot myself, the company line would have been smokin' hot by the time they directed my aircraft to an alternate location other than the gate. Who knows these days who is friend or foe.........hostile or friendly. Good call.
hotelgolf718
I'm sick of the bozos whom keep vitall info from the crew. How dare security endanger the lives of the passengers and crew. The out one may have been very different if the threat was real. Precious time to evacuate the aircraft was wasted while the crew and passengers were treated like sheep and on "a need to know basis"........like with 9/11.
BlueLiner
BlueLiner 1
The assumption in this is that the “authorities” were law enforcement personnel who controlled the information flow or lack of it. As a former air traffic controller I will only say this… I have had opportunity to issue vague information to an aircraft because someone was “on the phone” being provided information from an authority that was not a LEO or a government agency but some bureaucrat who was concerned with “liability”. Dangerous? Yes. Necessary? No comment – I try to avoid armchair quarterbacking others judgment calls in areas where I do not have expertise nor was privy to all the information.

As a current LEO and pilot for my agency I say this: To employ the attitude of Mr. Hartmann - “Who goes there…” and treating anyone who approached my aircraft as “hostile” is not necessarily a wise attitude. To assume that someone without “aviation” experience/background cannot appreciate the situation and issue appropriate instruction is narrow minded and quite frankly could be dangerous.

I do agree however that the pendulum has swung too far – we panic far too easily and react far too quickly sometimes – but as I said I try to avoid sitting in judgement of other’s “calls” except to learn from what was done well or what wasn’t and at the very least improve my own personal protocols even if my profession, the aviation industry or my unit does not choose to do so. Is that not what a true professional should do?

I do not disagree that the captain in this situation has a right to be upset I would rather be “pulled over” on the ground than be “interrupted’ at FL350… but it is interesting that there is no follow up with the Captain after the incident, I would like to know what he has to say once the situation was explained to him. But that is just me.
howej011
Joseph Howes 1
well thats one way to say it, but he should've been told if it false
sckattycat
Thumbs up to this Pilot!
BlueLiner
BlueLiner 1
Evidently my lack of technological savvy has resulted in my comments being deleted and that of my fellow forum members JAMES WALLACE and preacher1. I apologize. I did not delete it to “hide” from our discourse – I “clicked” the wrong button… This is shaping up to be a multiple coffee morning. And while my memory is good I cannot recall what I had said earlier.

Sorry fellows. Oy...
jkhirsch
Jeff Hirsch 1
The only thing that could have made the situation any more ridiculous is if ground responded, "We don't negotiate with terrorists," after he gave them 60 seconds.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Professional and very Alert. Well done, Captain!
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
Carl...TSA...didn't have any thing to do with this situation. Where was the FAA, the Tower...Ground...No communication! And the Captain had to initiate that communication and he was firm about what the hell was going on! No Clue! He should have been advised...A.S.A.P! "Failure" by...?
jmountz
John Mountz 1
60 seconds was being generous. Pilots are the best and Professional pilots are the best of the best. This and every PIC makes critical safty decisions in the air and on the ground every day, usually in under 60 seconds.
Doobs
Dee Lowry 1
FIN Air was right behind American. No communican from them that I know. Why?
w5pda
Paul Ahkolik 1
I would not hesitate to fly with that captain.
DaleWoodruff
Dale Woodruff 1
Sounds like oer Attny. General Holder and team Obama handled this matter, was the plane maybe from Mexico or the middleeast?
gill99
Gave up trying to watch this video, allowed to see endless adverts, then to be told this video isn't available in your area.
Saw it on YOUTUBE without the ads.
Come on FLIGHT AWARE, get your act together???????????????????????????
nickpiszczek
How did the Captain lose his cool? Really,? Thats the better question, all I heard was a strong tone and strength of message, a things considered I'd say he had every right to lose his cool.....which he did not.
nickpiszczek
Wrong.....wrong......wrong. Just wrong.Give everyone system speak and protocols all you like, blame ego if you must, taking the one person in charge, at the controls out of the loop when you have a direct link is only ego and arrogance from the other end of the chain.
rwf1001
Yeah, I'd want the captain/pilot to find out why my plane is sitting somewhere away from the terminal, and surrounded by law enforcement and EMS vehicles, and let me know so I don't freak out! He did the right thing, and the ATC Tower dropped the ball.
JD345
JD345 1
I see our comment system is now haphazardly spraying responses everywhere except where they are supposed to be.
jhakunti
video isn't available anymore. are there any words that i can read describing what happened?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 1
DAMN THIS POST IS ALL JACKED UP, COMMENTS OUT OF SEQUENCE. FA DO SOMETHING!!!
ruppstrom
He sure did. Somebody screww up and not the captain and not the captain.
wikiwiki
Thomas Soch 1
Very well said. Thanks for your service and time.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well, the mishandling here was in not telling the Captain immediately as to the situation. It is a given fact, especially once the doors are shut and he has been pushed back that he(OR SHE)is sole authority for that Airliner and liable for the pax and other crew on board. Most take that responsibilty very seriously and it doesn't matter if it's an RJ or a 380. Besides all that, pax will be demanding to know what's going on as well. He should have been told.
BlueLiner
BlueLiner 2
Preacher - the term "should have" is used too easily after the fact. The real questions we may want to explore are: Who is the one to "tell"? And who was in the position to "tell"? I see fingers being pointed at ATC, at the law enforcement community and on the company itself to name a few. Does anyone on this forum know exactly what information was relayed by the local PD to the company, to the FAA, to airport security, to the FAA control facility? What was done with the information when it was received? Did the company themselves direct how it was handled deal with it effectively? How about the airport security? I can almost guarantee the lowly PD dispatcher that received this anonymous call went WTF? And then the PD dispatch officer in charge notified/relayed it to the airport security as the first step - after that I cannot say with any degree of certainty (outside my scope of knowledge and experience) – but I’d like to know.

Ever played the game "Telephone" when you were younger? My experience with reference to communication is that as humans we suck at it and as a result despite our attempts in the aviation to create standard phraseology etc we still fail miserably to hear, understand and act on information effectively. Perhaps all parties involved are partly responsible including the pilot. The posturing he took with the controller could be interpreted as "threatening" or someone may just plain interpret it as "just another prima donna pilot...” Are they right? Are they wrong? I would say nope - it is just the way they interpreted the sound bite.

My point in all of this is this - there is far more to this than a snap shot from the whole event and its exposure to pundits and "experts” alike create more drama than effective discovery of what broke and where.
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 4
I agree with most of your points, but I disagree that the captain was out of line in any way. He was not without any information. He was told to go somewhere, and he saw emergency vehicles surround his position. Without an explanation for the information he did have, he was wise to act the way he did in a situation where time might very well have been of utmost importance. When time is critical, giving a time deadline is appropriate. I saw his actions as designed to motivate others to do something he was powerless to do himself in a timeframe that would actually make a difference.
preacher1
preacher1 2
I can agree with you. As in other comments here, by myself and others, the Captain should have been told, because as you said, he didn't know if his plane was burning from the tail forward or what. That said, we only hear the public portion(ATC being the public part). We don't hear anything from the company. Bottom line is, for whatever reason, the Captain was left in the dark and should have been the first to know.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
Considering that I ALWAYS consider what hits the line on the mainstream media is NEVER the full story, never the full details, and often what IS told is partly manufactured, you have completely valid points.

Nevertheless, commenting on what WAS reported and what information was given, the PIC being left out of the loop (and who actually knows how many up the line were similarly out of the loop i.e. ATC et al, as you point out) is a glaring out-point.
finnmaccool
Stuart Foster 1
Forgot to say that threatening to evacuate was brilliant!
preacher1
preacher1 1
FA programmers were doing something over the weekend. Here is their respnse sent yesterday:

"Our software development team was processing a site update last night and they are still finishing a few more today. These updates can affect some of our web pages and services while the update is taking place. Everything should be completed this evening and the site should be back to 100% by then. Thank you for your patience during this time."
preacher1
preacher1 1
Not sure what your screen is showing but all your comments are still here on mine, just a ways down
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I have no idea of the protocols involved, but I do think the captains point is well taken in that the plane is on the ground so if there's a problem, getting the pax and crew off is paramount.
Donovan16
Don Thomson 1
Now THAT's a flight I'd feel comfortable taking. <chuckle>
panolte
Paul Nolte 1
talk like a pirate day?
preacher1
preacher1 1
Jayden:video is still there. There is a 15 second ad that runs in front of it but it is still up.
JD345
JD345 1
It's equally as narrow-minded and dangerous to assume someone without relevant knowledge and experience CAN appreciate the situation and issue approprate instructions.

You're being ambivalent about it which is the right move at the end of the day. There's always going to be BS and it's best to just deal with it and move on. Aviation security is more about hysteria than the reality out in the field these days and unless something changes, I'm afraid one day we're all going to pay for having people who know nothing about aviation and nothing about security making crucial decisions regarding aviation security.
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 2
I don't understand the sorting algorithm used here.
JD345
JD345 1
Why do these responses end up in the wrong spot so often?

This one is for BlueLiner's post.
BlueLiner
BlueLiner 1
JAMES - I agree with that line of thought wholeheartedly as I indicated I am not by any stretch faulting the pilot. he did not know whether his aircraft was burning from the tail forward or what... no argument.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You guys give will give me the big head this early in morning.lol. That said, last I heard the Captain had sole authority and somebody needed to talk to him. That said, somebody else here questioned why there was no company contact. They may have been and they may not have known either. Commounication here is withing the public domain. The Airline communication was private Richarard Weiss also made the comment about the Pilot catching it from either direction and hung either way. Common sense dictates this to happen though, but I forgot, the gummint don't know what dat dere is.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
I'm with you. I can't figure out what the big secret was. Bomb threat=get the hell off the plane. Besides, it would be fun to go down the slide!!
bentwing60
bentwing60 0
I think that if you haven't been in aviation for a while you might want to reconsider that approach. First and foremost, the FAA is not a security organization. Their charter is to promote and regulate the interests of aviation in the USA. An oxymoron at the outset. Their success rate with Next Gen., ADS-B, new controller hiring/training et.al. would not encourage me to put a gun in their hands, and there is a strong possibility that that AA captain was armed as part of the gun totin pilot program. The captain was the sole authority in command till that airplane hit the gate, and as such, he should have been the first to be informed, or if not the first, at least in the loop. Now days politics seems to top security {embassies burning, no Marines} So you might withhold some of the comments till this shakes out. As Samuel Clemens once said "If you don't read the paper, you are uninformed, if you read the paper, you are misinformed". As I say "If you think the government can do it better, you are not a taxpayer"!
bn2av8r
Ryan Hales 0
You sure it wasn't that someone trying to sneak a Big Gulp into the city?
sheka
mark tufts 1
inapproperate comment for flight aware
msongy
msongy -4
Did the Captain ever stop to think that there may be a reason that he wasn't being told about the situation? i.e. The radio frequency may be monitored and ATC was warned by the bad guys that they would detonate a device if the plane was warned? Maybe stop the chance of mass panic if someone on the aircraft got wind of it? There may be many reasons why the Captain wasn't given all the information. In this case there wasn't, but it's not up to him to decide what information is safe to transmit. Maybe he should have just followed the instructions of ATC like a good little boy until the time came that appropriate authorities decided it was safe.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 3
If I'm on the plane I want off. I'll go with the captain over the others.
preacher1
preacher1 3
I guess maybe what you are saying could be true, BUT, there is no more appropriate authority. I'm like him, in 60 seconds (or less), I would have popped the chutes and said SLIDE.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
I know from expierence that aircraft structure doesn't provide much protection from bombs and bullets. Distance is your friend.
msongy
msongy -6
You are correct with "Distance is your friend," but that is also true of a transmitter if that is being used as a detonating device. (I know! I know! I've been reading too many Clancy novels!) But stranger things have happened, and the Captain DIDN'T know the situation and shouldn't have bullied someone into giving them information that MAY be detrimental to the safety of the aircraft. He should have followed instructions until more information was given to him...when the time was right!
pkeeter
pkeeter 1
Obviously, you're not a pilot. He wasn't being told that his aircraft wasn't on fire either. That's usually my first thought when I see emergency vehicle lights near the runway.
msongy
msongy 0
On the con
trary, I AM a pilot and have been working in the aiport industry for many years, so I do know that if an aircraft is suspected of having an incindiary device on it, I DO NOT want it parked at the terminal! There's reasons things are done in the industry and if you don't understand it or agree with it, I'm sorry. Some things are "need to know" information, so I have to ask this question. Was the Captain going to handle the situation differently because he knew why there were emergency vehicles approaching his aircraft, or was he going to do exactly what they said for him to do anyway? I feel he got his tail feathers ruffled because he was the pilot in command of an aircraft with a potential incident taking place, and he wasn't in the loop. Ego overshadowed judgement.
preacher1
preacher1 1
As one said above, we are only hearing one side here, the ATC from the media. Nothing heard from the Fin Air right behind them, nor from AA control. NEED TO KNOW is well and good and it works fine when there is one central figure that knows what's going on. Too many times, there is not. In this case or in others like it, it is only good sense to move the AC away from a terminal area. That said, a good Captain will follow the towers direction as this one did. That said, as a retired Captain, I really don't give a Tinker's Damn about anything else; the Captain should have at least been in the loop as to what was going on. They must have eventually told him or I truly feel that in 60 seconds people would have been sliding. They would have been if it were me and if the folks on the ground didn't like it they could kiss old Hitler.
ExCalbr
Victor Engel 1
I'm not a pilot, but I've done a fair amount of reading and watching shows relating to aircraft incidents. Tragic incidents all seem to have something in common, that there are multiple causes, chief among them being lack of communication or miscommunication. I can't imagine a scenario matching this situation where withholding communication with the captain is a plus. Perhaps you can share one?
captainjman
Jason Feldman 0
I doubt you're a pro pilot - sorry. Not only are you not using proper terminology, but if you were a pilot you would understand the need to know. You've been in the "airport industry for many years"? what exactly is the airport industry? Did you mean aviation perhaps? As far as the need to know - let me put it to you like this - the way to defend against suicide terrorists is to shoot the plane down - the pilot, as well as the passengers would be dead. It is in the pilots best interests to take care of the situation himself rather than get shot down- and the pilots, especially the captain must know about the safety of the aircraft of all times. And he is absolutely right - he needs to know what was going on.. if there was an explosive he needs to evacuate the aircraft. I don't care of a jet bridge is destroyed - I care about the souls on board first and foremost, followed by the aircraft. The fact that you don't seem to care very much about the crew, the plane or the passengers tells me you are more interested in the airport building - for which I could care less about! Don't pretend to be someone you are not. And if god forbid you are a pro-pilot - I pray I am never on your flight! - PETER's comment toward the bottom of this page is absolutely right