Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
ATC Taking Control Over Hijacked Aircraft  
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1995 times:

I just read an article about a system that has been patented to allow ATC and other ground based personel to view what is going on in a plane, take control of it and land it. Every comment in the article said it was a great idea, I however think this could be one of the worst ideas ever to hit commercial airlines.

- A terrorist attack like what happened on 9/11 simply cannot be succesfully carried out again. Passengers won't let it happen.

- I can see it being easy for those in the know to take over the aircraft and do whatever they want. Now the terrorists don't even have to be in the plane. All without the consent of the pilot.

- Sooner or later managers are going to think to themselves "hey, if an autopilot can fly the plane and someone on the ground can take over if something goes wrong, why do we even need pilots in the planes at all?"

- Its a kneejerk reaction that will cost us taxpayers and airline ticket buyers quite an enormus amount of money in the long run with no real gain at all.

I can't really see this ever getting past the drawing board, but if it does, I know that I'll do everything I can to fight it. What do all of you think?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6210 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1882 times:

Yea, this is an unnecessary step.

Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineFrequentFlyKid From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1206 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1836 times:

Great, now the all the terrorist has to do is take over the ATC facility and they have control of all the planes instead of just one.

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1782 times:

There's another reason this is a bad idea:

Plans for GPS disrupters are readily available on the internet. For about the amount of $500 I could easily screw up the GPS for about every plane that's flying overhead.

Taking that same idea, one doesn't even need to take over any ATC facility to 'hijack' an aircraft. One can get a jammer and remotely take over an aircraft.

Anything with a radio frequency can be jammed or disrupted no matter how secure it may be.

- Neil Harrison

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1773 times:

Imagine this:

You're an airline pilot for some airline (let's call it Blue Sky Airlines) and you've just taken off from JFK bound for Las Vegas. The weather is just beautiful. A front had just pushed through earlier and now a high pressure is settling in. The skies are totally clear. Basically the same weather that was present on September 11th.

Departure has just handed you off to New York Center and soon NY Center is going to hand you off to Indianapolis Center.

"Blue Sky flight 600, climb and maintain flight level 330. Upon reaching flight level 330, contact Indy center on 123.85," Center tells you.

"Roger... blue sky's flight 600 is going up to 330 upon reaching 330, we'll contact Indy on 123.85," you reply.

You turn to your First Officer and watch as he dials in the requested altitude on the autopilot. Then you go back to shooting the breeze about how poorly the Yankees played their last game.

Since you're at cruise alititude you decide it's probably a good time to take off your shoulder harness and recline a little bit. After all, this is another milk run to the glitzy city of Las Vegas.

Little do you know that somewhere down below some person with malicious intent has just built himself a device to remotely control your aircraft. Blue Sky has installed, in every one of their aircraft, a device that allows personel on the ground to remotely control aircraft from the ground. This is in direct response to the September 11th hijackings. It's supposed to prevent the kind of carnage that happened on that dark day. Blue Sky is very proud of this latest safety device. They even have included it in their latest advertising blitz.

That isn't on your mind, however. You're more concerned about the bland taste of airline coffee or making it to the destination on time. The last thing you want to hear is some disgruntled passenger bitch about how they missed their connection because of you. You inevitably get blamed for things like that; it's part of the job.

Meanwhile down on the ground somewhere that guy with the jammer has just fired it up.

In the cockpit the autopilot disconnect chime has sounded. Both you and your copilot quickly reach for the controls to fly the airplane as you've been taught. What you find out mystifies you... you can't control the airplane! Suddenly it banks hard right and makes a 180 degree turn. You glance over to see your F/O struggling with the controls.

It isn't in your mind that maybe someone has just hijacked your aircraft from the ground, using the very device that was supposed to prevent such a thing.

"No," you think, "it's an autopilot malfunction."

"Bob (the name of your F/O)," you say, "I think we may have an autopilot malfunction. I'm going to run the checklist and see what I can do."

"Okay," he manages to say as he continues to stuggle with the controls hoping he can overpower whatever it is that's taken control of the airplane.

You run the checklist and nothing works. You pull circuit breakers... nothing.

"Blue Sky 600, we see you've made a 180 degree turn. Everything alright up there," ATC inquires.

"Negative. We've lost control of our airplane. It's like the computer's have gone haywire or something," you reply.

"Roger," ATC says.

You are helpless to do anything. Someone or something has just taken control of your airplane. You still think that the computer has gone haywire. However, down on the ground, the hijacker has sealed your fate. He wants to bring down the US government. What better way to do that than to bring a fully loaded 767 down on the US Capitol to do what Osama failed to do.

As both you and your copilot struggle to regain control of the airplane, you look out the window to see a skyline of a city emerge. As it draws closer you can make out a distant object... it's the Washington Monument.

The images of September 11th are still fresh in your memories. You are continually haunted by the images and vow to never let that happen on your watch.

"Bob! We've gotta do something! We're gonna hit something!" You fairly scream to him.

"I'm trying. God... I'm trying." He almost pleads.

Suddenly the plane banks hard left and lines up with the Capitol building.

"Oh shit!" You say as you grab the controls and immediately yank on them. They're stuck. Nothing you can do can help the situation.

"Bob... pull with me! Pull with me, dammit!" You scream to Bob.

"I am!" he says in an exasperated voice.

The last image you have is of the Capitol dome.

... See what a jammer can do? Yeah, this is another great decision by the powers-that-be.

User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1757 times:

I forgot to add to my previous post that another reason to be opposed to this:

Most ATCers aren't pilots. I am really enthused to the idea of handing over control of an airliner filled with people, cargo, and fuel over to a nonpilot.

- Neil Harrison

User currently offline242 From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 498 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1736 times:

It's inevitable. The pilotless airliner will happen, it's only a matter of time.

The amount of power required of the transmitter to remotely control an airliner would be huge. Anyone attempting to jam or disrupt the signal would be transmitting their exact location. Not to mention that there would most likely be thousands of backup freqs.

Anything with a radio frequency can be jammed or disrupted no matter how secure it may be.

Ever try to jam military radar? It doesn't happen.

Pilot1113, you've truly missed your calling, I seriously thought I was reading the script to "Turbulance IV".

User currently offline9V-SVA From Singapore, joined Aug 2001, 1861 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (14 years 1 month 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1717 times:

In my opinion, this is unnecessary. As it is highly unlikely for hijackers to enter the cockpit and command the flight crew now, why would they do this?


9V-SVA | B772ER
User currently offlineKAL_LM From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 497 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1646 times:

There are some folks who already believe this has happened and is the cause of the 9/11 attacks...of course this is the extreme side of the conspiracy/the government is out to get us spectrum...(but if you want to check it out, I believe that the system was called Homerun)

I could see management trying to take the pilots out of the cockpit, but even with computers, you're still going to need a human in there. This is really a knee-jerk reaction to the hijackings that could prove to be quite counterproductive to safety.


is that a light at the end of the tunnel or just a train?
User currently offlinePilot1113 From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2333 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 1591 times:

>>Pilot1113, you've truly missed your calling, I seriously thought I was reading the script to "Turbulance IV".

Watch out John Nance!  Big grin

- Neil Harrison

User currently offlineFDXmech From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 3251 posts, RR: 30
Reply 10, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1567 times:

Sounds like a total Hollywood fantasy.

You're only as good as your last departure.
User currently offlineDelta737 From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 517 posts, RR: 10
Reply 11, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 1557 times:

GPS disrupters really wouldn't harm commercial aviation all that much.

Most of the LNAV that commercial airliners use is still largely based off of intertial reference systems. The FMS computer uses a cross check of DME data from VORTACS and, if installed on the aircraft, cross checks against the GPS signal.

So if your IRS units fail, it'll revert to GPS and DME. If your GPS unit fails, it'll still reference the IRU's (primarily) and then cross check with DME data.

Heck, in some of the older MD-88's, the FMS is just nothing more than a super-dooper RNAV that simply references DME triangulation and nothing more (AHRS).

Nothing like a little AHRS map shift to start off the morning!  Smile

Umm, I guess I'm guilty of thread creep, went WAAAY off-topic and probably provided WAAAY too much information, but there ya have it!

Doug Taylor

User currently offlineVS11 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1234 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1527 times:

What makes you think that the pilots would not have any means to switch the remote control off?

User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (14 years 1 month 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1521 times:

I would assume that if it was designed so that the pilots had a way to switch it off, it would be just as easy for terrorists in the cockpit to also. Kind of defeats the purpose...but its not like putting it in would be the first stupid decision involved in this idea.

Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Eads Cements Management Control Over Airbus posted Wed Nov 1 2006 08:51:46 by Leelaw
Why LOW Load Factors On 9/11 Hijacked Aircraft? posted Thu Apr 13 2006 20:13:41 by N484ER
Taking Tennis Racket On Aircraft posted Sat Jul 17 2004 14:24:08 by Planesarecool
Are There Any 747-200 Over Water Aircraft? posted Mon Aug 18 2003 06:39:38 by Kevin752
ATC Directs Airliner Over Artillery Range posted Wed Jun 26 2002 16:22:02 by Flanor
Autolanding Hijacked Aircraft posted Sat Sep 15 2001 21:36:30 by SailorOrion
Taking Things From The Aircraft? posted Fri May 18 2001 08:30:31 by Cathay Pacific
CrossAir Taking Over Aircraft From Swiss Air posted Wed Dec 19 2001 12:49:22 by GF-A330
Chances Of An Aircraft Losing Control On Depature posted Thu Oct 12 2006 07:21:06 by SpeedBird203
Swiss ATC Charged Over Bashkirian&DHL 2002 Crash posted Tue Aug 8 2006 02:40:02 by Zarniwoop