Most of us know that the trip to the joy of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday evening ended in a fiery crash about 40 miles southwest of the island of Ketron. The improvised pilot did not survive.
So, what would prevent an unskilled employee from managing a complex regional airliner with turbo charging? In addition to colleagues observing unusual activities, absolutely nothing. The protocol does not prohibit an authorized SIDA employee on the form to gain access to the aircraft on the ramp. This is not an unusual activity, if the description of this person's work is never related to access to the aircraft.
And an employee who climbs aboard in the dark is likely to go unnoticed. In addition, most airlines do not block airplanes, because access can only be obtained by personnel who have passed security checks, through bridges for jet bridges and access to a doorway with a combination lock.
Refusal of air traffic control (ATC) to start aircraft engines is not required. Also, there is no need for assistance from the ground crew if the aircraft is parked from the gate and does not require pushing. It is assumed that either the crew or two mechanics were in the cockpit.
And, apparently, this employee found a clear path for a taxi to one of the runways in SeaTac, where unobstructed takeoff could occur without the permission of ATC. The only risk is a collision with another aircraft, which adhered to standard protocols.
During my career, I listened to the hyperbole from non-pilots expressing the fantasy of flying an airliner and performing aerobatic tricks. The discussions included a wink and a nod, and none of these people even offered a hint of the true implementation of such a scheme. In addition to legal danger, the fear of death seems to discourage most people.
In this respect, a Horizon Air employee would be in a mood that most of us could not understand. Even with the qualifications that I received as an airline pilot, I could not imagine the unauthorized use of my company's aircraft, not to mention the jumps in an airplane that was never part of my experience. Of course, my colleagues are familiar with the axiom: "If you can start it, you can fly it," but none of us would have considered such stupidity without proper preparation.
The simulator itself can only include a desktop screen and a mouse or a full-scale steering and steering device. In addition, the subscription can be obtained from various online companies that provide air traffic controllers, interacting in real time, as if the simulated flight was an actual journey.
I was present on a fake plane in Hartford, Connecticut, with my friend, who is participating in his own complex desktop simulator. It was impressive to observe the level of professionalism that these amateurs supported. Interestingly, I gave my friend the opportunity to fly on all three small planes that I owned for a certain period of time, and he performed above the average only based on his fake plane. This, as they say, with my friend and the most sensible people, that's where the fantasy ends.
It is possible that one engine evaporated first, and since Russell did not have training to control the asymmetric thrust situation, the aircraft became uncontrollable and crashed into trees. Of course, it is likely that the employee decided to accelerate his demise by pushing his nose into the landscape.
So should the security procedures change? Perhaps, but not significantly.
I have a simple solution: always close the cab door and give access only to authorized personnel via key and / or door code. For most airlines, this procedure can be easily implemented, since systems already exist.
In any case, this is a joyful trip, which will be thoroughly researched from many sides. As a retired professional, I ask you to try this at home on your simulator on the desktop, and not in a real airplane.