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Enough Hassling of Pilots & Flight Crews

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Well-known member
Jan 11, 2002
Do you really want an infuriated pilot flying your airliner?

By Hermann Weidemann
Special for The Republic
Dec. 12, 2001 09:39:07

As I stood there, spread-eagle in my pilot uniform with my patriotic American flag tie, I could feel my adrenal gland go into action.

My neck muscles were tensing up, my pupils were dilating, my palms were sweaty and I was mad, really mad! I had just parked my $35 million Boeing 737 at the gate next door. After a flawless flight from Reno that ended in a smooth touchdown, delivering 93 appreciative passengers to Los Angeles International, here I was being treated like a criminal seven minutes later!

My luggage was upended, my cell phone fondled, my laptop opened, my packages of gum inspected and worst of all, my body was wanded and patted down to find who knows what.

My crime was that I was taking a scheduled deadhead for which I was paid by my airline! For some reason I was selected (at random, I'm sure) for this exercise in humiliation. My fellow pilots followed my harassment sympathetically from the vantage point of their cockpit, through the glass windows of the terminal a mere 30 feet away. Have we lost our collective sanity? Would anyone seriously consider strip-searching a surgeon for sharp objects just before he is to perform open-heart surgery? Since Sept. 11, my small scissors that have been in my dopp-kit for at least a decade have been stolen by security personnel and my nail file was considered a dangerous weapon and confiscated. The ball-point pen in my pocket apparently isn't dangerous enough to warrant seizure, and the fact that I have a whole airplane at my disposal every time I strap myself into the captain's seat has apparently slipped someone's mind.

As I sat down in my passenger seat, I desperately tried to recall "why zebras don't have heart attacks." What was I to do with this anger? One of my thoughts was to call in sick the next time I'm treated like a terrorist. I know of a captain who delayed his flight for two hours to get a blood test because a passenger insinuated that he was under the influence of alcohol. Well, if I am a terrorist, then maybe the safest course of action would be to remove myself from my scheduled flight!

My mind was obviously not thinking rational thoughts in its enraged state. Then it hit me. With all this insanity I am still required to be the consummate professional once I pass the scrutiny of a minimum-wage screener. The fact that I have a U.S. Air Force secret clearance apparently counts for nothing. Martin Luther King had it right after all. The true human test is the content of our character, not the content of the captain's dopp-kit.

We're right back to the whole gun-control debate. Guns aren't dangerous, criminals with guns are. Pilots aren't the enemy, hijackers are. In our panic to achieve security we've made everybody a suspect and confused frenzied activity for progress. Will we subject our "passenger 57" air marshals to random searches and pat-downs as well? Why not? After all, they'll be carrying loaded handguns onto our airplanes. If the pilots have to be searched, surely the air-marshals should be inspected. Why shouldn't a screener determine the content of their character as well? Maybe the Archie Bunker solution is still the best. Let everybody bring their handguns aboard. That way we'll always be in a checkmate situation and look at all the money we'll save!

The absurdity of my statements is rivaled only by the illogicality of our new reality. Do you really want a raving mad pilot flying your airplane today? Isn't it about time that the pendulum swings toward intellectual solutions and away from this brainless confusion?
Thats what I was thinking...just not smart enough to write it! Enough with this cr@p!!!! A one day sick out will get our point across!
You know with the way the "flu" epidemic is running and especially with the screeners not having medicals pilots may just catch something a day or two would cure.. All that touchy feely stuff they do. Something is going to have to get some attention to the problems faced. Time to organize a response.
Just do what I do. Eat 10 bean burritos at Taco Bell, then while they're wanding you, let 'er RIP!
Next time they see you, they won't want anything to do with you!
I posted this on another thread, but it is probably more appropriate here.

Would be nice if flight crews could be labled as the "trusted fliers group".

Officials to discuss trusted fliers program
February 25, 2002 Posted: 10:37 AM EST (1537 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Homeland Security director Tom Ridge will meet Monday with John Magaw, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to try to work out their differences over the advisability of a trusted fliers program.

TSA officials have said the agency supports with reservations the trusted traveler idea, so long as the person still undergoes security screening at the airport. The fear is that a member of a terrorist sleeper cell, as a heretofore law-abiding person, could obtain such status as "trusted traveler."

The TSA last week scrapped a separate but related plan for expedited security screening lines that five airlines had established in more than a dozen cities for frequent fliers and first class passengers.

The agency said it wanted uniformity and consistency in the screening process. The move was one of the agency's first major enforcement actions since assuming responsibility for airport security February 17.

A spokesman for the Office of Homeland Security said Ridge does not believe it is a wise use of resources to subject everybody to the same level of security, and he will explore with Magaw the possibility of testing a trusted traveler program at a selected airport.

Ridge, according to a spokesman, believes it is important to both improve security and cut down waiting times at the nation's airports.

The subject came up Sunday at a meeting of the National Governors Association. Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating told Ridge the current security system provides a false sense of security while exacerbating delays that will discourage travelers and slow the recovery of the airline industry.

-- Aviation Correspondent Kathleen Koch contributed to this report.
FYI Everyone...

The guy who wrote the original article that started this thread is a Southwest guy, and that letter was published in the Arizona Republic in Phoenix. SWA management types saw it and panicked - they suspended the pilot pending a psychological evaluation. He apparently "cannot control his anger". The union jumped in and raised the BS flag, and after some scuffling and name-calling, he was reinstated without a Psych eval.

Last I checked this still was the United States, right? Am I now subject to suspension pending a psych eval if some AMR managment weenie reads this board and determines that I agree with what the SWA guy did?

Welcome to the New World Order...run by high-school dropouts with wands and a poor command of English.
Unfortunately it's all about political correctness who gets searched. The fact of the matter is; 100% of all the 911 highjackers were young Arab males. Profiling works, just ask El-Al. But in this day and age all the politicians are afraid of offending the hyphenated Americans.
We're going to NEED to get over this PC mumbo jumbo. It does nothing positive and creates opportunities for groups to take advantage of.

Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me!

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