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Friday, February 9, 2007

Hardening Cockpit Doors Called Into Question

Impregnable cockpit doors, walls and floors are presenting some problems, according to a report by Air Safety Week, RAN’s sister publication, in the wake of FAA calls to build in methods to defy terrorists in future airliners. Related Article 
ASW reports that the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) has reports of flight crews injuries related to the hardened doors while others have been trapped on the flight deck. ASW also has reported electrical locks creating smoke in the cockpit and remote opening failures requiring pilots to leave their seats to open doors.
The most startling example involved the Helio flight which crashed in Greece during which the crew was rendered unconscious. They thought the avionics compartment was overheating, the captain left his seat to investigate and collapsed from hypoxia. Flight attendants could not gain access to the cockpit after oxygen masks deployed and the airliner kept ascending. The Greek crash inquiry report makes only guarded references to the dangers of locked cockpit doors. For a complete analysis of the problems associated with hardening cockpit doors see the January 29 issue of ASW here
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