Wireless devices could foil hijack attempts



The next time they plan to hijack a plane, the terrorists may be in for a
surprise. Flight attendants soon may be outfitted with wireless devices that
would be used to alert pilots of attempted hijackings or other in-air security
threats.

The proposed regulation, which is not yet final, grew out of discussions of
an advisory panel created by the Transportation Department after the Sept 11,
2001 terrorist attacks. The panel recommended that the cabin crew should have
"a method for immediate notification to the flight deck during a suspected
threat in the cabin" that would permit pilots to take appropriate action.

Diane Spitaliere, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman, said that some
airlines have been offering flight attendants that kind of alert system
"for quite some time." But the FAA wanted to make it official, she
said.

Other systems that the agency mentioned as possible alternatives to wireless
devices include setting up an alarm procedure using an existing communications
system, such as "subtly keying the (intercom) in a specific manner."
The FAA has invited comments on the proposal before Nov 21, 2005. After a final
decision on the issue, airlines would be given two years to comply.

Jasmine Kaur

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