Well this is scary. US Airways Pilot’s Union recently sent out a memo warning that terrorists are believed to have recently conducted “dry runs” on several recent US flights.
Via Fox News reports:
Security experts for a major airline’s pilot’s union have warned members that potential terrorists conducted apparent “dry runs” aboard domestic flights in recent weeks, and urged flight crews not to be pressured into taking to the skies if they are fearful.
A memo from the U.S. Airline Pilots Association, which represents more than 5,000 pilots who fly for US Airways, cites “several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat.”
“Bringing down an airliner continues to be the Gold Standard of terrorism,” states the undated memo, first reported by WTSP-TVin Tampa-St. Petersburg. “If anyone thinks that our enemies have “been there, done that” and are not targeting U.S. commercial aviation — think again.”
On a Sept. 2 flight from Reagan National Airport in Washington to Orlando, a “Middle Eastern” man rose from his seat and sprinted toward the cockpit, before veering sharply to go into the forward restroom, according to the memo. While he was in there, several other men moved about the cabin, changing seats and going into overhead bins, it says.
US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident. Four passengers aboard the flight were detained by local law enforcement authorities upon arrival in Orlando due to suspicious behavior during the flight, according to a statement by Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman for US Airways.
The TSA said in a statement the incident was checked out thoroughly.
“The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) takes all reports of suspicious activity on board aircraft seriously,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein told the station in a statement. “Working collaboratively with local law enforcement, it was determined that the matter required no further investigation at this time. Additionally, due to the critical mission of TSA’s Office of Law Enforcement, TSA does not confirm the presence or identity of Federal Air Marshals.”
According to the memo, the pilot of a subsequent, return flight bearing the same flight number, 1880, ordered an inspection of the plane after eight women in burkas showed up at the boarding gate. The memo claims that “evidence of tampering was found,” though it does not elaborate.
One expert speculated that the efforts may have been aimed at sizing up security procedures and spotting air marshals aboard flights.
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., has since called for an investigation into the “suspicious” incident.
“It is government’s obligation and responsibility to remain vigilant,” Mica said in a statement. “While the specifics of the US Air incident are not public, federal authorities must review the matter.”
This is pretty scary stuff. We hope that measures were taken to keep close tabs on the suspicious individuals… and keep them off future flights!