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Who Had The 1st Metal Detectors In Airports?  
User currently offlineSampa737 From Brazil, joined May 2005, 637 posts, RR: 1
Posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 10643 times:

In what year did US airports begin installing metal detectors? Was there ever a time you could just walk to your plane without any type of security? Was there a specific highjacking or other event that made the government stop and think about safety? Did all US airports install the machines at the same time? Was it voluntary?

18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineUnited787 From United States of America, joined May 2005, 2685 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10586 times:

Quoting Sampa737 (Thread starter):
In what year did US airports begin installing metal detectors? Was there ever a time you could just walk to your plane without any type of security? Was there a specific highjacking or other event that made the government stop and think about safety? Did all US airports install the machines at the same time? Was it voluntary?

Good question. A little off topic...

When I was in Australia in 1993, there was no security check for domestic flights; I was amazed! I couldn't fathom that in the US. Does anyone know when Australia installed security for domestic flights?

I was in Greece in 1991, I flew from the old Athens airport, HEW-FCO. Although they had a security check point at HEW, there was no one there to man the check point so everyone just walked right around and no one seemed to care. No surprising considering the security reputation there!


User currently offlineSmokeyrosco From Ireland, joined Dec 2005, 2112 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 10564 times:

I know DUB had metal dectetors very early on, but soley for BA flights.


John Hancock
User currently offlineNWADC9 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4896 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10519 times:

Quoting Sampa737 (Thread starter):
Was there a specific highjacking or other event that made the government stop and think about safety?

More like a string of hijackings

Quoting Sampa737 (Thread starter):
In what year did US airports begin installing metal detectors? Was there ever a time you could just walk to your plane without any type of security?

I think it was 1970 or so. I know it was some time in the 70's.



Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
User currently offlinePROSA From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 5628 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10514 times:

From Wikipedia:

Sky marshals were introduced in 1970 but there were insufficient numbers to protect every flight and hijackings continued to take place. Consequently in late 1972, the FAA required that all airlines begin screening passengers and their carry-on baggage by January 5, 1973.



"Let me think about it" = the coward's way of saying "no"
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4312 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10461 times:

Quoting Sampa737 (Thread starter):
In what year did US airports begin installing metal detectors? Was there ever a time you could just walk to your plane without any type of security? Was there a specific highjacking or other event that made the government stop and think about safety? Did all US airports install the machines at the same time? Was it voluntary?

I remember in 1971, when we took my mom to JFK to board a Pan Am flight to the UK, some gentlemen in sport coats set up a metal detector at the gate just prior to everyone boarding. They weren't doing this on other flights and I recall everyone in the waiting area was fascinated by it and asking all kinds of questions. When the passengers began boarding they didn't have to do anything in particular, such as walk through without purses or bags; they just walked through with everything they had. Obviously, the sensitivity of the detector was such that it would pick up only large metal objects. It was quite the novelty to have a metal detector at the gate back in the summer of 1971.

As for what precipitated gate security back then, there was a spate of hijackings both internationally as well as domestically beginning around 1968. I remember for a while there it appeared a lot of hijackers had a yearning to go live in the tropical paradise of Castro's Cuba. (I remember the island being such a popular destination for hijackers at one point that there was a guy who even hijacked a Greyhound bus somewhere in Alabama and demanded to be taken to Cuba!)



I'm not a racist...I hate Biden, too.
User currently offlineBcoz From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 367 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10437 times:

I'm a little off topic here, but it does have to do with airport security....

This past weekend I was sitting around the house with not much to do and was trying to think of something that might be enjoyable. I thought, "Boy...wouldn't it be cool to head out to ORD or MDW and roam the concourses watching operations there?" Then, of course, I realized what time period I was living in and decided to sit back in my recliner and enjoy a movie instead.

How I really miss that....

bcoz


User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10424 times:

Quoting Bcoz (Reply 6):
This past weekend I was sitting around the house with not much to do and was trying to think of something that might be enjoyable. I thought, "Boy...wouldn't it be cool to head out to ORD or MDW and roam the concourses watching operations there?" Then, of course, I realized what time period I was living in and decided to sit back in my recliner and enjoy a movie instead.

I took a class once from the architect who designed Austin's airport, and he mentioned how he wanted the airport to be an accessible public space even for people who weren't flying -- so he was working toward the goal making the airport a place where someone not traveling could come into the terminal and eat at one of the (actually pretty good) restaurants. I think I took this class in the fall of 2000, so that didn't last much longer from that point.

I'd love it if they reopened the secure area to non-passengers, but I can't come up with a compelling justification as to why this should be done.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10409 times:

IIRC the D.B. Cooper incident was one of the final straws in the decision to put metal detectors in airports. But as others have said, it was a busy time for hijackers.

User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10406 times:

Quoting Futurecaptain (Reply 8):
IIRC the D.B. Cooper incident was one of the final straws in the decision to put metal detectors in airports. But as others have said, it was a busy time for hijackers.

I recall reading this as well. But yeah, it's odd to read about how hijackings used to be literally weekly occurrences. Hard to imagine that these days.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21471 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10385 times:

Quoting N844AA (Reply 9):
I recall reading this as well. But yeah, it's odd to read about how hijackings used to be literally weekly occurrences. Hard to imagine that these days.

Crashes and hijackings and bombings were far more common with far fewer flights, yet we hear people, even on a.net, talking about how "unsafe" certain airlines are and how security is "a joke."

Hyperbole always trumps reality...  Wink



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineN844AA From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1352 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 10368 times:

Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 10):
Hyperbole always trumps reality...

No doubt. You could have an interesting discussion about the inevitably of accidents in a complex system made up of other complex systems, and I suspect it would be appropriate to maintain that air travel can never be "perfectly" safe. That said, it's damn close at this point, and it's interesting and illuminating to read accident reports from the '60s and '70s that discuss system failures that would literally be impossible today. The refinement of aviation safety is a pretty remarkable story; I wonder if there are any books that discuss it in-depth. I should check.

As to aviation security, I think there's a pretty strong res ipsa loquitur-type indication that they must be doing something right. Of course I'm no expert, but I think the system as it's currently implemented is pretty good. The main beefs I have with it are: a.) too many measures in place that have little or no useful effect and substantially decrease efficiency, and b.) too much emphasis on "fighting the last war." Other than that, it seems to work well.



New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
User currently offlineAlessandro From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10328 times:

My guess would be either Israel or France during the last year in Algeria. Seen pics where metaldetectors by FFL been used on ladies in full islamic dress whom are checked before they enter an restricted area in Algers.

User currently offlineSampa737 From Brazil, joined May 2005, 637 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10303 times:

It often takes some disaster to get security issues addressed. I kind of figured it had to be highjackings or something. I was curious as to when this all began. Look how far we've had to go since then. And thus, unfortunately look how sofisticated those that what to harm the public has become.

I'm 43 but I do not remember airports in the US being like present day bus stations. What I mean is, little security and everyone can get as close as they want.

I lived in northeast Brasil for 7 years, in the capital city of Aracaju. They had a metal detector but I have a picture of me holding the plug! The security guard didn't think that was funny. I did. I now live in Sao Paulo and it's been just recently that they've had more than just one x-ray machine for passengers leaving the country.


User currently offlineJcavinato From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 10222 times:

The U.S. Department of Transportation was the agency that took charge in this area. A former (or perhaps still in service) military general (Benjamin O. Davis) was the first point person in this area. His group hired a lot of psychologists to stand in airports and use profiles to pick out suspicious people who might hijack a plane. Over several days they identified other psychologists. He gave a funny speech in transportation circles at the time about it. He then said they would go to a screening process of some kind. This was all September 1971.

User currently offlineSampa737 From Brazil, joined May 2005, 637 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10157 times:

Wow! That's amazing. Thanks for that info. I guess in 1971 you could get away with profiling.

When my son was just months old, just after 9/11, they called his name out to be searched. We adopted him from Brasil. They profiled many, if not all, who had foreign passports. I told the gate agent that the person they called was my son. I looked at the lady and said, "Well I was just about to change his diaper so now's a good a time as any." She burst out laughing telling me she needed something to laugh about that day.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24783 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10126 times:

The following September 1970 incident had a lot to do with introduction or strengthening of security checks worldwide. There are videos of the BOAC VC-10, TWA 707 and Swissair DC-8 being blown up in Jordan. And the same day a Pan Am 747 was blown up at CAI as part of the same terrorist operation. That was the first 747 hull loss

Following excerpt is from this article:
http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/col/...003/04/18/askthepilot37/index.html

Another infamous incident, though hardly remembered today, was the Black September hijackings of 1970. In the space of three days in September of that year, five jetliners were seized over Europe and the Middle East by a radical faction called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Two of the planes were American -- the property of Pan Am and TWA. The others belonged to Swissair, BOAC (precursor to British Airways), and Israel's El Al.

Although all the passengers were eventually released, four of the five airplanes were destroyed. Only the Israeli 707 survived. After its hijackers were overcome by passengers and onboard El Al security guards, the flight diverted safely to London.

The Pan Am jet was flown to Cairo and blown up, while the remaining three were routed to Dawson's Field, an old RAF military base in the Jordanian desert, which the militants renamed "Revolution Airport" for the occasion. After nearly a week of negotiations, those planes too were strapped with explosives and blown up.

The 1970s and 1980s were an era rife with hijackings and bombings of civilian airliners -- something we've forgotten in light of more recent, more destructive examples. But Black September was a spectacle of audacity not to be outdone for more than 30 years.


Time magazine and Wikipedia articles on those events:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,942267,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawson's_Field_hijackings

[Edited 2007-08-01 23:39:03]

User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21471 posts, RR: 60
Reply 17, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 10034 times:

Quoting Sampa737 (Reply 15):
I looked at the lady and said, "Well I was just about to change his diaper so now's a good a time as any." She burst out laughing telling me she needed something to laugh about that day.

ROFL.

What's not funny is that CSA's are told specifically to ignore no-fly list hits for children, but they still will deny boarding based on complete lack of knowledge of their job. Then of course a news article is written blaming the TSA, and Homeland Security has to once again explain that there is NO policy in place that prevents children from flying no matter what list their name comes up on. But for newspapers, hyperbole trumps reality...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6069 posts, RR: 29
Reply 18, posted (6 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 9969 times:
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Quoting Ikramerica (Reply 10):
Crashes and hijackings and bombings were far more common with far fewer flights, yet we hear people, even on a.net, talking about how "unsafe" certain airlines are and how security is "a joke."

People always talk about the "good old days" in regards to just about everything. People always remember the good stuff, but never remember the bad stuff.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
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