AA Pilot Arrested - Omaha

WingNaPrayer

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American Air Pilot Detained In Neb Over Alleged Threat
OMAHA, Neb. (AP)
--An American Airlines pilot was arrested Wednesday for allegedly making a threat while passing through an airport security checkpoint.
An 8:15 a.m. CST flight to St. Louis was delayed about 90 minutes, then took off with 112 passengers.
City prosecutor Marty Conboy told Omaha television station WOWT that the pilot allegedly told federal airport security agents that he had an ax in the plane''s cockpit and would chop the agents'' heads off.
Omaha Airport Authority director Don Smithey said the pilot was arrested by airport police about 8 a.m. at a security checkpoint for threatening remarks the pilot made. Smithey wouldn''t comment on the nature of the pilot''s remarks.
There are other circumstances I can''t go into at this point, Smithey said.
The FBI confirmed for Omaha television station KETV that the pilot had been detained. Federal authorities also declined to immediately discuss the nature of the threat, the station said.
American Airlines spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross said words were exchanged between the pilot and security checkpoint workers. When asked for specifics about the threat, Bishop-Cross said only that the airline was investigating.
Telephone messages left by The Associated Press with the FBI and Conboy weren''t immediately returned.
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Sounds like this pilot is about as fed up with the incompetency of the TSA Security Screeners as everyone else is.
 

Diversion

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Nov 7, 2002
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[blockquote]
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City prosecutor Marty Conboy told Omaha television station WOWT that the pilot allegedly told federal airport security agents that he had an ax in the plane's cockpit and would chop the agents' heads off.
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[/blockquote]

I have a hard time believing the part about threatening to chop the agents' heads off. I don't know of any pilot stupid enough to do something like that.

However, a pilot making a factual statement like "I don't see why you're worried about my nail clippers when there's already an axe in the cockpit?" could be easily blown into something much larger than it is by an overzealous TSA agent.

It's getting really out of hand. The flight crews are not the enemy here. It would be nice if the TSA would stop treating them as such.
 

Rhino

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Aug 20, 2002
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The TSA personnel steal peanut butter sandwiches from each other, then come out of their 'break' to exert their authority on crews. The TSA is a HUGE waste of taxpayer money.
 

AAquila

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Sep 22, 2002
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What surprises me is that the Government spends any money on security in places like Omaha, Nebraska in the first place. These terrorists will be hitting high profile targets that generate massive media traffic, not some corn field.

Secondly, regarding the TSA, these guys are falling over each other with manpower.
Many take as much as six breaks and extended lunch periods, so as to not be seen.

Bottom line is they're bored, and I believe would do anything to spice up their day and pick up some 'brownie' points
 
[blockquote]
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On 3/5/2003 10:53:20 PM AAquila wrote:

What surprises me is that the Government spends any money on security in places like Omaha, Nebraska in the first place. These terrorists will be hitting high profile targets that generate massive media traffic, not some corn field.

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[/blockquote]

Really? Then explain why the 9/11 hijack teams originated their travel in Maine, and not Boston?
 

Hopeful

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Dec 21, 2002
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Rememeber the very first day when the TSA took over airport security? The very first people hired by the TSA looked professional, maybe retired law enforcement people or just a higher caliber of people. Well, look at em now! The same crew that were all let go to make room for the TSA have no joined the ranks of the TSA. Who is the government kidding?
 
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WingNaPrayer

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[blockquote]
----------------
On 3/5/2003 10:53:20 PM AAquila wrote:

What surprises me is that the Government spends any money on security in places like Omaha, Nebraska in the first place. These terrorists will be hitting high profile targets that generate massive media traffic, not some corn field.
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[/blockquote]

Well, perhaps that's because Omaha isn't a corn field, and strategically, it's quite important. Omaha is the location of Offut Air Force Base, just outside Omaha in Belleview, and is the facility that contains the president's underground communications bunker. Remember, right after the 9/11 attacks, Bush left Florida and headed straight for Omaha...not NORAD.
 

jj

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Aug 20, 2002
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I spoke to one of the F/A on that flight and they said the security screeners and law enforcement were definitly oversteping their bounds in their opinion. They actully came onto the plane and handcuffed the pilot in front of pax. That must of looked great.
 

TWAnr

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[blockquote]
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On 3/6/2003 10:03:53 AM jj wrote:

I spoke to one of the F/A on that flight and they said the security screeners and law enforcement were definitly oversteping their bounds in their opinion. They actully came onto the plane and handcuffed the pilot in front of pax. That must of looked great.
----------------
[/blockquote]

You forgot to add that they wanted to confiscate the crash axe.
 

L1011Ret

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It certainly looks like the reporting by the Omaha newspaper is way off base. Look for more to come from AA.
 

TWAnr

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Here is the latest:

[blockquote]
******************************​
Published Friday
March 7, 2003


Frustration may be behind pilot's ax remark at Eppley

BY HENRY J. CORDES
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


Put yourself in an airline pilot's shoes and consider how it feels to be asked to take off those shoes - or a belt - at the airport security checkpoint.

You're the one who wears the uniform and flies the plane. You could crash the thing if you really wanted to do some serious harm.

There's even a fire ax right inside the cockpit. And soon, by congressional mandate, you'll be able to carry a firearm.

So why are you being screened, probed and searched to make sure you're not carrying a sharp pair of scissors?

For many pilots, it's "particularly frustrating" that they and their flight crews must undergo the same security screenings that passengers do, said John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association.

Such frustration may be behind the incident that resulted in the arrest of an American Airlines pilot at Eppley Airfield.

The 36-year-old pilot, of suburban St. Louis, had passed through the federal security checkpoint, but members of his flight crew were still being searched.

He became upset over the screening process and made comments to the Transportation Security Administration screeners.

He then asked an Eppley police officer manning the checkpoint to accompany him to the cockpit so he could show the officer something. The officer declined.

City Prosecutor Marty Conboy said the pilot told the officer he had an ax in the cockpit and could chop off the officer's head if he wanted to. That was the comment that led to the pilot being detained and ticketed for disorderly conduct.

Conboy said he will decide by next week whether the pilot's words and actions were worthy of a disorderly conduct charge.

One of his considerations will be whether the pilot intended to threaten the officer, or was making a point about the irony of the flight crew being searched for weapons when it has access to a fire ax in the cockpit.

The pliot could not be reached for comment.

Mazor, the union spokesman, said he doesn't know the details of what happened Wednesday in Omaha. But he said it wouldn't be the first time a pilot has been arrested for remarks made in frustration at security checkpoints.

"There have been a couple of incidents where pilots have made remarks like, 'I have a fire ax in the cockpit,' or 'I could crash the plane anytime I want, so why are you looking for tweezers on me?' and they ended up in the same situation," he said.

"It goes to the frustration pilots and flight attendants feel for having to go through that level of security."

Nonetheless, Mazor said, the union has advised members not to get into arguments with security screeners and to comply with all requests.

Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration in Washington, D.C., dismissed suggestions there is widespread discontent among pilots about security procedures.

Pilots, he said, are among those most supportive of the new security measures put in place in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The procedures are "making the pilots, their crew and their passengers that much safer," Turmail said.

"And most pilots would tell you they would not agree with behavior making threatening comments to screeners and law enforcement officials at a checkpoint."

There has been talk in Washington for years about creating special secure badges for flight crews and subjecting them to a different level of security.

Mazor said that while TSA officials have expressed interest in the concept, there has been little action. Turmail said those discussions are continuing.

The issue of what security checks will be required of pilots also could come under more discussion, now that Congress has mandated that specially trained pilots be allowed to carry firearms. The first class of pilots will go into training next month.

Regardless, even if the pilot was upset with current security policies for flight crews, there was no reason to voice his frustrations the way he did, said Don Smithey, Eppley's chief executive. The Omaha screeners were just doing their job.

"The federal rules are the federal rules," Smithey said. "If he has a problem, it can't be resolved in Omaha."

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[/blockquote]

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg...36&u_sid=674328
 

j7915

Senior
Sep 7, 2002
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[blockquote]----------------On 3/6/2003 6:58:00 PM TWAnr wrote: [blockquote]
----------------
On 3/6/2003 10:03:53 AM jj wrote:

I spoke to one of the F/A on that flight and they said the security screeners and law enforcement were definitly oversteping their bounds in their opinion. They actully came onto the plane and handcuffed the pilot in front of pax. That must of looked great.
----------------
[/blockquote]

You forgot to add that they wanted to confiscate the crash axe.----------------[/blockquote]

Isn't the crash axe a go-no-go item?

What the TSA needs is a sense of humour. I wonder if the Israeli security is as much of a pain? They conduct extensive questions and answers surely they have to take verbal exchanges with a grain of salt?

If everyone is nervous and irritable, I know I am, that makes it so much easier for a would be terrorist to blend in with the crowd.
 

j7915

Senior
Sep 7, 2002
423
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[blockquote]----------------On 3/8/2003 4:27:29 PM TWAnr wrote: Here is the latest:

[blockquote]
******************************​
Published Friday
March 7, 2003


Frustration may be behind pilot's ax remark at Eppley

BY HENRY J. CORDES
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER


Put yourself in an airline pilot's shoes and consider how it feels to be asked to take off those shoes - or a belt - at the airport security checkpoint.

You're the one who wears the uniform and flies the plane. You could crash the thing if you really wanted to do some serious harm.

There's even a fire ax right inside the cockpit. And soon, by congressional mandate, you'll be able to carry a firearm.

So why are you being screened, probed and searched to make sure you're not carrying a sharp pair of scissors?

For many pilots, it's "particularly frustrating" that they and their flight crews must undergo the same security screenings that passengers do, said John Mazor, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association.

Such frustration may be behind the incident that resulted in the arrest of an American Airlines pilot at Eppley Airfield.

The 36-year-old pilot, of suburban St. Louis, had passed through the federal security checkpoint, but members of his flight crew were still being searched.

He became upset over the screening process and made comments to the Transportation Security Administration screeners.

He then asked an Eppley police officer manning the checkpoint to accompany him to the cockpit so he could show the officer something. The officer declined.

City Prosecutor Marty Conboy said the pilot told the officer he had an ax in the cockpit and could chop off the officer's head if he wanted to. That was the comment that led to the pilot being detained and ticketed for disorderly conduct.

Conboy said he will decide by next week whether the pilot's words and actions were worthy of a disorderly conduct charge.

One of his considerations will be whether the pilot intended to threaten the officer, or was making a point about the irony of the flight crew being searched for weapons when it has access to a fire ax in the cockpit.

The pliot could not be reached for comment.

Mazor, the union spokesman, said he doesn't know the details of what happened Wednesday in Omaha. But he said it wouldn't be the first time a pilot has been arrested for remarks made in frustration at security checkpoints.

"There have been a couple of incidents where pilots have made remarks like, 'I have a fire ax in the cockpit,' or 'I could crash the plane anytime I want, so why are you looking for tweezers on me?' and they ended up in the same situation," he said.

"It goes to the frustration pilots and flight attendants feel for having to go through that level of security."

Nonetheless, Mazor said, the union has advised members not to get into arguments with security screeners and to comply with all requests.

Brian Turmail, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration in Washington, D.C., dismissed suggestions there is widespread discontent among pilots about security procedures.

Pilots, he said, are among those most supportive of the new security measures put in place in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

The procedures are "making the pilots, their crew and their passengers that much safer," Turmail said.

"And most pilots would tell you they would not agree with behavior making threatening comments to screeners and law enforcement officials at a checkpoint."

There has been talk in Washington for years about creating special secure badges for flight crews and subjecting them to a different level of security.

Mazor said that while TSA officials have expressed interest in the concept, there has been little action. Turmail said those discussions are continuing.

The issue of what security checks will be required of pilots also could come under more discussion, now that Congress has mandated that specially trained pilots be allowed to carry firearms. The first class of pilots will go into training next month.

Regardless, even if the pilot was upset with current security policies for flight crews, there was no reason to voice his frustrations the way he did, said Don Smithey, Eppley's chief executive. The Omaha screeners were just doing their job.

"The federal rules are the federal rules," Smithey said. "If he has a problem, it can't be resolved in Omaha."

******************************​
[/blockquote]

]http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_np=0&u_pg...--[/blockquote]

Why shouldn't the pilot point out, that whatever they are looking for at the security checkpoint, he already has bigger stuff in the cockpit. And what are they going to say when the pilots start carrying guns? Sorry but only .50 calibre S&W nail clippers allowed?

As I said in another posting, the security people need to get a sense of humor. The special security badges would be a great idea, but so far I have only heard that for the convenience of frequent fliers. Sleeper agents can become frequent fliers. Those Saudi 9/11 "martyrs" planned their operation for three years, during which time they were law abiding citizens, attracted no attention.
 

TWAnr

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Aug 19, 2002
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[blockquote]
----------------
On 3/8/2003 8:04:21 PM j7915 wrote:

Isn't the crash axe a go-no-go item?

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[/blockquote]

According to my pilot friends, it is an FAR requirement. That does not mean that the TSA agents and the Omaha police department officers are familiar with any Federal Aviation Administration regulations.