Something from the recent news caught my wayward eye.
You’ve no doubt heard about the tragically deranged man in Seattle who managed to steal the Q400 and do loops, with a fighter escort, before ending it all on a remote island.
In one news story I saw something suspicious: “Once the cockpit is entered, no keys are required to start the aircraft. Instead, a series of switches and levers must be pulled in a particular sequence to unlock the controls.”
“Switches and levers” sounds a lot like this from another recently attempted ariel joyride: “An affidavit says Scott told Texarkana police, who responded to reports of a man seen jumping an airport fence, that he didn’t think there was much more to flying than pushing buttons and pulling levers.”
I’m not a licensed pilot but I have taken flight lessons and I have flown small planes before. Believe it or not, this sequence of buttons and levers really is all it takes to fly – a very complicated sequence, one requiring constant attention and application of skill. It’s a level of skill completely beyond most people. The average American can barely drive a car. A plane is outside the question.
That’s why the dope in TX had no chance of getting his aircraft off the ground. And, it makes the guy in Seattle’s performance all the more amazing.
What I’m saying is that this should be a non-issue. But something warns me it’s on someone’s radar. The WSJ warns of “cracks in airport security.” I feel or sense the opportunity of more needless government intrusion. Perhaps this is something for the general aviators among you to keep an eye on. One more chance to stamp out freedom? Or a crazy coincidence?