Dumb-ass anti-terrorism ideas -- patented!

Neatorama's got a roundup of the dumbest anti-terrorism patents: no technology is too stupid and expensive to defend us against imaginary bombs!

U.S. Patent 6844817, Aircraft anti-terrorism security system, by Wolfgang Gleine. Issued Jan 18, 2005.

Problem: Terrorists want to hijack a plane by trying to break down the cockpit door.

Solution: After hardening the cockpit door, airlines should add the next logical step: airplane trap door that springs open to entrap terrorists below deck.

Bonus: Great prank to pull on the co-pilot going on a bathroom break.

Improvement Suggestion: Add an alligator pit to the trap door ...

Link (via Schneier)


  1. Shouldn’t there be a second trap door below the first one? Now THAT’S a dubm-ass idea.

    I actually heard Mayor Koch suggest that to stop vandalism by taggers in the NYC Transit train yards, they should stock the train yards with wolves, as a deterrent. Maybe we could have wolves in the pit below the trap door. Why not?

  2. isn’t this another sign that the patent system is broken? What are they really patenting here? a trap door?

  3. You all DO realize that such a trap door would end up being used by a nasty flight attendant on a autistic kid goaded into a tantrum… ;-)

  4. How about sharks with frikkin’ lazers in a pool beneath the trapdoor? That would be really cool …

  5. hey — Lionel Trains had a missile-launching boxcar (and a missile-launching engine if I recall correctly) back in the late 1950s.

  6. Everyone knows coating the terrorist in quick-drying glue and then handing him a lit stick of dynamite would be most effective.

  7. What’s the average reflex saving throw for a terrorist NPC? Anyone have a Monster Manual entry for them? They may have to hire some epic level rogues to design the trap.

    Seriously, though, anyone can apply for a patent for just about anything–doesn’t mean anyone takes it seriously ot it’s going to get made.

  8. I may know about as much overall about planes as the patenter, but, wouldn’t the position of the holding pit be immediately next to avionics? Somehow that seems less better.

  9. Holding pit? How about an ‘ejector floor’ that fires when the cockpit door is broken open with sufficient force.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain. Apologies for that brief vibration. We encountered some, uh, turbulence, that we were unable to route around. On the positive side, we do now have some empty seats in business and economy, so if you happen to be sitting next to one of those seats, feel free to stretch out or move over if you wish.”

  10. A brilliant defence against terrorists who are incapable of climbing out of an eight-foot hole. I for one feel far safer from the terrible threat of midgets on a plane.

  11. Is there a patent application drawing standard? Because the technical drawings are always so similar.

    I especially like the dirty hippie terrorist shown in the “Explosion Containment Net” drawing. (damn, that’s a strong net!)

  12. @16 Yes there is a very strict set of standards for patent application drawings. And that is exactly why they all seem to be so similar.

    Here’s a novel idea. Set up a dummy cockpit that looks just like the real thing. When the hijackers try to take out the captain and co-pilot they become sealed in the fake flight deck.

    Throw in glue and/or other hilarious props plus a camera and have real entertainment for the passengers instead of cheap b-movies.

    And what the hell is up with the “air mixing unit” on the outside of the freakin’ plane. Seems they are just piling bad design upon bad design with this one.

  13. I’ve got a great idea–HOW bout ARM the pilots and possibly a guard! Noooo….that’s just too outrageous. Trap doors and cameras mounted in front of every seat detecting “suspicious” facial expressions of passengers (a.k.a.-suspected terrorists) are much better ideas.

  14. #4 – If I was on that flight, I would have no problem with this application of the technology :-)

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