Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 12:30:49 -0500

Author: "Richard L. (Dick) Picard"

Subject: Re: Whiteboards


John Mocko wrote:

> On Wed, 27 Oct 1999, Chuck Britton wrote:
> >
> > BUT, I have a serious question.
> >
> > If (or WHEN) a similarly auto-piloted plane is headed up the East
> > Coast, will the military jets be instructed to shoot it down rather
> > than have it 'flutter' to earth over a heavily inhabited area? Will a
> > president be willing to give such an order?
> According to the news story I saw on TV (ABC or CNN, can't remember which
> one) the Whitehouse was informed of the problem and was seriously
> considering "tipping" the plane over to cause a crash in an unpopulated
> area. The plan was to have a large cargo plane like a C-41 fly alongside
> and use it's wing to tip over the Learjet's wing and cause the plane to
> crash. Either the plan was decided against or they didn't have time to
> carry it out. It was going to be used if the Learjet looked like it was
> going to hit a populated city.
> ______________________________________________________________________

I had 22 years flying in the AF and I can tell you that there was a very real
possibility of that jet being shot down. The wing tipping would not have
worked as the auto piolit was in heading hold mode and it would have returned
to the heading after any tipping. The folks on the ground knew the fuel on
board and thus the planes endurence. They could calculate a rough area of
crash, and if it had been a pouplated area it would have been shot down over
a less populated area. The people on board were most likely long expired and
frozen. I have lost pressurization suddenly at 25000 feet and it is a very
memorable, loud, foggy, and cold experience. Amoung other things, our warmed
coffee container flash boiled and what a mess!
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