(Illustration found here).
Underwear bomber or not…
Airplane toilets were the center of fright on Sunday in two separate incidents on a couple of US flights when passengers and crew got spooked by too much activity in-and-out of the loo.
In this age of terror, locking lips in a airborne toilet can be dangerous.
From ABC News:
Fighter planes were scrambled, bomb squads were called, FBI command centers went on alert and police teams raced to airports today, but in the end two separate airline incidents were caused by apparently innocent bathroom breaks and a little “making out,” federal officials said.
In the first incident, a pair of fighter jets were scrambled to escort an American Airlines jet into New York’s JFK airport after the pilot became spooked by passengers’ frequent trips to and from the restroom.
The precaution turned out to be unnecessary as federal air marshals aboard flight 34 from Los Angeles to JFK were able to resolve the situation when the passengers complied with their instructions, police officials said.
The pilot then radioed that the situation was under control and the plane landed safely.
Three male passengers were questioned upon arrival, but no charges were filed against them, authorities said.
The incident occurred around the same time that a second pair of fighter jets hit the skies to monitor another plane — this one a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Detroit — after two passengers aboard that plane were “allegedly behaving suspiciously,” according to the FBI spokesperson in Denver, Dave Joly. The plane was met in the Detroit airport by law enforcement and taken to a remote area for a security screening, but no explosives were found, Joly said.
Instead, the “suspicious behavior” was two people “making out” in the bathroom mid-flight, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
Three people were taken into custody for questioning, Frontier Airlines said in a statement, but no arrests have been made in that case either.
And words do count sometimes.
Raw Story caught the difference:
The local ABC affiliate in Detroit, WXYZ, was a bit more explicit in its language, noting that “the ABC News National Security team is telling Action News that their sources say the flight was disrupted by two people having intimate relations in one of the bathrooms.”
An FBI statement on the incident, however, mentions neither “making out” nor “intimate relations.”
It says simply, “Out of an abundance of caution, NORAD scrambled F-16 jets to shadow the flight until it landed safely at DTW at approximately 3:30 PM EDT.
Law enforcement met the flight, which was brought to a remote area of the airport.
The plane was swept with negative findings and cleared at 5:15 PM ET.”
Is “abundance of caution” the latest catch-phrase for safe sex?
People are way-jumpy.
And beyond a good passionate kiss, there’s also a no-no in even trying for a a good draw off a cigarette as the 9/11 terror horror has its source in airplanes.
The day after Sept. 11, 2001, a pieceÂ from Newscientist about how aircraft could be remotely controlled from the ground in case of hijacking:
“Most modern aircraft have some form of autopilot that could be re-programmed to ignore commands from a hijacker and instead take direction from the ground,” says Jeff Gosling of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
If a hijacking were detected in progress, being able to control a plane from the ground would be crucial, says Gosling.
“The only other thing you could do is shoot the target down.”
And if it can’t be shot down?
In all the chattering heads and TV specials on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there was one story I’d never heard of until this past weekend — a couple of US ‘kamikaze’ military jets were sent into the air on that fatal day to not shoot down any menacing aircraft, but to crash into them.
Officials already knew United Flight 93 had been hijacked and was heading for DC.
From the Washington Post:
On the Tuesday that changed everything, Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney was on a runway at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and ready to fly.
She had her hand on the throttle of an F-16 and she had her orders: Bring down United Airlines Flight 93.
The day’s fourth hijacked airliner seemed to be hurtling toward Washington, D.C.
Penney, one of the first two combat pilots in the air that morning, was told to stop it.
The one thing she didn’t have as she roared into the sky was live ammunition.
Or anything to throw at a hostile aircraft.
Except her own plane.
So that was the plan.
“We wouldn’t be shooting it down.
We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of that day.
“I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.”
Lucky Penney is one great, though, unsung hero — tough and bad like some airborne Trinity.
She climbed in, rushed to power up the engines, screamed for her ground crew to pull the chocks.
She muttered a fighter pilot’s prayer â€” “God, don’t let me (expletive) up” â€” and followed Sasseville (her commander, Col. Marc Sasseville) into the sky.
They screamed over the smoldering Pentagon, heading northwest at more than 400 mph, flying low and scanning the clear horizon.
Her commander had time to think about the best place to hit the enemy.
It was hours before Penney and Sasseville learned that United 93 had gone down in Pennsylvania, an insurrection by hostages willing to do what the two Guard pilots had been willing to do: Anything â€” and everything.
“The real heroes are the passengers on Flight 93 who were willing to sacrifice themselves,” Penney said. “I was just an accidental witness to history.”
“I genuinely believed that was going to be the last time I took off,” she said.
“If we did it right, this would be it.”
And despite sounding like a sexist asshole, Lucky Penney is also one hot-looking pilot.
Sept. 11, 2001, changed air travel forever.
People nowadays quite naturally get highly-spooked traveling way, way up there in a small, cramped metal tube that in the end is pretty fragile and can be brought down way-too easy.
And we’re all way, way-happy those trysts in those airplane toilets were harmless and Lucky Penney is alive 10 years later to tell the tale.