Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Charlotte Douglas International Airport Not Secure? Why You Shouldn't Be Surprised.
Photo Washu Otaku
Charlotte Douglas aviation director Jerry Orr addressed the Charlotte City Council Monday night and told council that the airport doesn't plan any special review of security after a teenager apparently stowed away in the wheel well of a US Airways jet bound for Boston's Logan International.
According to the "local paper" the TSA is responsible for screening passengers and luggage but the City of Charlotte is responsible for security measures such as fencing, locks on doors and other ways to restrict access to planes.
"We'll take a look at that," Orr told reporters before the City Council meeting on Monday night. "But we take a look at that all the time." he quipped.
Photo Washu Otaku
"The Massachusetts police (are) investigating," Orr went on to say. "All we know is what we have read in the paper."
On Friday, Norfolk, MA, District Attorney William Keating called the incident a serious public safety issue. "It appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet airliner without being detected by airport security," Keating said.
The fear is that if a 16-year-old could climb into a passenger jet's wheel well, a terrorist could do the same.
The TSA told the "local paper" last week it was planning to investigate but the federal agency declined to comment further.
Orr said the airport didn't have a lot of information yet about the apparent breach, which happened a month ago and refused to speculate on how Tisdale might have gotten onto the tarmac and into the plane's wheel well.
Orr said the airport is surrounded by a 6-foot-high chain-link fence, topped by strands of barbed wire.
A US Airways spokeswoman reached by the "local paper" late Monday declined to comment on what investigation the airline was doing into the incident, citing the ongoing probe in Massachusetts. She also would not comment on how Tisdale might have gotten into the plane.
City Manager Curt Walton, who is Orr's boss, said he hadn't spoken with Orr about security at the city-owned airport.
Airport security wasn't discussed at the City Council's dinner meeting Monday. After the meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon said he expected a report from city staff about security measures. "We need to know that security is as stringent as it should be," Cannon said.
Cedar's Take: Wake up Charlotte not one of your city leaders has stepped up to address this issue. Jerry Orr is an old goat who should be forced into retirement. Walton and the City Council have thier collective heads in the sand and the TSA and Homeland Security are clueless.
Charlotte Douglas is not secure and I'll go on record that two easy entry points, the "old" Carolina's Aviation Museum and the General Aviation ramp may have been familiar to the young Air Force Junior ROTC member. And between the two, 145th Airlift Wing also known as NC Air National Guard.
Photo Washu Otaku
The above photo was taken on April 3, 2010 at the "old" location of the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Click on the photo for the big view. What do you notice? Broken pipes, loose wires and sign that says "All Maintenance Stands Must Be Locked and Chained to the Fence"! Nothing like making it easy.
And in the background a US Airways Jet bound for Boston. They are so close you can throw rocks at the planes.
Anyone who understands night ops at an airport knows you are blind on the ground from a cockpit. You see nothing but lights and anyone could run up behind a plane waiting just off the the runway.
I quick drive around the airport and you will find a dozen points of entry. Open gates, broken fencing, and areas that are overgrown with cover.
The "old" Carolina's Aviation Museum is where Cedar Posts believes Tisdale found his last ride.
In a two-paragraph statement Tuesday, police in Charlotte said Jerry Orr, the director of the airport, asked CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe to investigate the incident.
The department is organizing a task force that will include "various disciplines within the department as well as federal partners," the statement says.