Friday, September 14
I, Cringely | The Pulpit And I, too, am just another man with a hammer. My gig is technology, and I keep thinking there must some way to use it to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. The terrorists grabbed Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft because they are very different aircraft, yet share a single type certificate from the government. This means that the cockpits are identical. Learn to fly a 757 and you can fly a 767 too, making for a much larger pool of available aircraft with enough fuel capacity to take out the towers. But having a common type certificate also means the planes have the same autopilot systems, both of which include autolanding capability.
Why, I find myself thinking, can't we build a system that takes over control of the autopilot, locks out flight crew and hijackers alike, and lands the plane at the first sign of trouble. Well, we could, but it opens a whole new area of vulnerability -- hijacking autopilots. Forget I said anything.