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.

Cedar's Update:

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.


Anonymous said...

Cedar you are correct the Charlotte airport fence is full of holes. The construction gates are never locked.

But the Carolina Aviation Museum's new location corrects the security issue.

However last time I went past the old location the gate was wide open.

Just saying...

Anonymous said...

Orr is about as unqualified and unsophisticated as they come.

The only reason he has a job is...."job security".

Fire his ass and get someone in there that actually has an idea or two and can put two sentences together.

His arrogance is well known, his "you can't fire me" attitude is well known.

Why oh why do we put up with clowns like this?

Anonymous said...

From WFAE:

Airport director Jerry Orr would not say whether the results of the joint investigation with TSA will be made public. Nor would he say when he plans to respond to Mayor Pro Tem Cannon's request.

What a F'ing DB! Retire the OLD GOAT!

Anonymous said...

Just heard that Jerry Orr has asked Chief Rodney to investigate... I feel better already!!

JAT said...

Wow. I thought the perimeter fencing might be beat up, not completely useless.

Barbed wire does not work if there are posts HIGHER than the wire -- you don't have to be Jackie Chan to easily pole vault (sans pole) yourself over such a fence.


Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are but you must be a terrorist, or a wannabe terrorist to take those pictures of the holes in the fence at our airport. I hope you get arrested your an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Cedar forget the DB comments, check this out. The updated FAA Airport Certification Manual the one collecting dust in Jerry Orr's office suggests 10-12 foot Fencing with a maybe to 8 foot with barbed wire on top. CLT is only six feet.

I don't understand why WSOC doesn't drive a truck out there and show Jerry Orr where the holes are.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:09
Give it a rest, your really, really stupid, clueless comments are tedious.

Anonymous said...

Cedar did you hear that RoMo is forming a task force to look into the airport security? A "Task Force" that is the most insane thing I've ever heard.

How about this I'll take my four wheeler over to the airport, give me a day pass and I'd take photos of every hole, open gate and gap in the fence I find.

The city can pay me a bounty of $500.00 per hole and I'll even throw in a few master locks and and 100 feet of chain to lock up the gates a little extra for fence fixin.

I'll take before and after photos, I won't toss my notes, I'll even us a GPS and note the weak points on a topo map.

Should take me about a week and I can start tomorrow.

I'll not get rich, but I'll be way less expense than RoMo and his clowns.

Anonymous said...

RoMo what a joke!

Andrew M. Thomas said...

I was a volunteer at Carolinas Aviation Museum when it was at the old location and one of the reasons the gate was in that condition to my knowledge was because we didn't have the money at the time to improve it and couldn't get the airport to fix it either. However we always kept a close eye on anyone near the fence and the facility had a gate at the entrance when we were not open. If that boy did get over the fences it was because they were completely ungarded as we had moved the location of the facility by then. There is now a much higher fence around the area.

Rea Road Neighborhood Coalition said...


Thank you for your additional input. I have always enjoyed the Carolina Aviation Museum.

If your ever up in Hendersonville pay a visit to the Western North Carolina Air Museum. Low budget tiny collection of aircraft. Much like Charlotte's years ago.


carlagrace said...

An airport is ought to be safe and supposed to have a well maintain security. No airport is of any less importance so they all should take care of and follow all the proper security standards.gatwick valet parking

Unknown said...

Its a small and under developed one. Though its not ant excuse for ill maintained security yet what can you do about it. gatwick valet parking

jade said...

The security gate(s) and turnstile fit perfectly onto the fence. There is an end pole to complete the fence. The fence fits perfectly over the slightly raised pier. pvc fence