Ellen Saracini, widow of 9/11 United Airlines Flight 175 captain Victor Saracini, told AIN she does not believe that the airline her late husband flew for is doing all it can to prevent another 9/11-like cockpit takeover. Saracini was invited to Chicago on September 4 to discuss (with United vice president of corporate safety Michael Quiello) the company’s use of secondary cockpit barriers to prevent a potential breach. United Airlines currently maintains the largest fleet of aircraft already equipped with secondary barriers.
United Airlines Flight 175
U.S. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick has proposed new legislation [H.R. 1775] to require secondary cockpit safety barriers on Part 121 airliners. The metal barrier would be lowered between the first row of seats and the existing hardened cockpit door whenever a pilot leaves the flight deck.
The extra-barrier idea evolved from a study conducted by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) at the request of the FAA, the Air Line Pilots Association and other industry stakeholders to provide more specific guidance on securing the flight deck.
It was premeditated mass murder, almost flawlessly executed, and civil aircraft were the weapons of choice. A civil airplane was also the battlefield for the first retaliatory strike, when the passengers of a United 757 most likely aimed at a Washington landmark took matters into their own hands and fought back, causing the Boeing to fall short of its intended target.
Plato may have been correct when he said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” but apparently that does not apply to flight instruction. At least not according to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
No one believed for a moment that any hijacked airline pilot would fly a fuel-laden Boeing into the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, even with a gun to his or her head. So it was assumed from the beginning that hijackers had to fly them, and the hijackers had to be trained pilots.
The chaos that erupted on the morning of September 11 brought a flood of questions. Where were these airplanes coming from? Who was flying them? Why were they crashing into skyscrapers? In short, what on earth was happening?
“To be honest, I had a problem with Atta the first time I talked to him. I didn’t like his personality,” Rudy Dekkers, president and owner of Venice, Fla.-based Huffman Aviation International, said of suspected World Trade Center terrorist Mohamed Atta. “But what are you going to do? I’m going to deny someone flight training because I don’t personally like him?”