TSA inspector breaks airplanes by climbing on them using instruments as handholds

A TSA inspector decided to get a closer look at some American Eagle jets at O'Hare, so he climbed up on them, using a fragile, vital instrument (the Total Air Temperature probes) as handholds. He damaged the craft so badly that the regular maintenance crew grounded them -- and if they hadn't noticed, the lives of everyone on-board could have been endangered. Remember, folks, the "S" in TSA stands for "Security."
Citing sources within the aviation industry, ABC News reports an overzealous TSA employee attempted to gain access to the parked aircraft by climbing up the fuselage... reportedly using the Total Air Temperature (TAT) probes mounted to the planes' noses as handholds.

"The brilliant employees used an instrument located just below the cockpit window that is critical to the operation of the onboard computers," one pilot wrote on an American Eagle internet forum. "They decided this instrument, the TAT probe, would be adequate to use as a ladder."

Commuter Flights Grounded Thanks To Bumbling TSA Inspector (via MeFi)


  1. Why not? This jerkoff gets paid to be a total idiot and constantly endanger others for his own benefit. He knows no other way to behave. Good thing we’ve made people like him the gatekeepers to our country and our civil liberties. Give him a laptop, while you’re at it, full of sensitive data. Time to film a new American Tourister commercial. Bravo!

  2. I think this post is slightly unfair. Idiots work in every organisation, not just the TSA.
    Posts about moronic regulations make sense because those need to be exposed to the public so that there becomes a political stimulus to change them. Bashing individual officers with bad judgment puts all TSA officers in a bad light. They can’t all be morons, even though they have to follow moronic rules.

  3. All TSA members shall now be added to the no-fly list.
    Only time before an off-duty of’ decides he needs to check the wings mid-flight – “TSA ma’am, need to check the engines for explosive liquid”

  4. I can’t believe you’re criticizing the TSA for keeping us safe. TAT probes could be used to help those planes fly, and by breaking the TAT probes and grounding those planes, the TSA has definitely prevented them from possibly being used for some sort of attack.

    What would happen to any other airport employee who had done that? They’d be fired and almost certainly prosecuted. But what would happen to an airport employee who tried to stop the TSA maniac from breaking the TAT probes? They’d be threatened with arrest by this completely uncontrolled and out-of-control agency.

    Until we start firing and prosecuting people who abuse their authority in ways that endanger people, hurt people, or intimidate people, we are guaranteed a system that will endanger, hurt, and intimidate people.

  5. It’s the airline’s fault. There was no “THIS IS NOT A HANDLE” in red block lettering similar to the “THIS IS NOT A STEP” on the wings.

    @#2: Really? Does MENSA have idiots? And if you read the story, the officer wasn’t really following the regulations, and the TSA’s response doesn’t do much to dispel the impression they are all idiots. So there you have it: moronic regulations being enforced by idiots. Happily, no one died because of this general idiocy…this time.

  6. Isn’t it odd that the TSA isn’t allowed anywhere near Air Force One?

    “I’m sorry Mr. President, but that fella over there in the blue uniform just broke off the angle of attack indicator vane from the outside of the cockpit because he thought it might be used as a weapon and it looked kinda sharp. You’ll have to give up that fundraising golf tournament.”

  7. @#6 SHRDLU According to the Chicago Tribune there is a sign:

    “There is a sign that clearly says, ‘Don’t step,’ ” said American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan.

    And for those who don’t RTA the FAA ended up grounding 40 planes because of this “goof”.

  8. Par for the course… The #1 reason I don’t feel safe at airports is the TSA.

    Chance of being killed in a terrorist attack: 1 in a gazillion.

    Chance of being disillusioned in your country by the TSA: Guaranteed.

  9. #6: “Does MENSA have idiots?”

    In the sense of having IQ-challenged members, highly unlikely. In the sense of having members who are stupid in ways not covered by IQ-tests, highly likely.

  10. As a commercial pilot I can assure you that those instruments are clearly labeled. That one MAY have had the markings, Warning hot. and No Handhold, and No Step

    Probably at least two of those markings, possibly all three.
    TSA is manned by people rejected from McDonalds and private sector security companies. Private sector security companies are latgely staffed by rejects from the po-po. The po-po are (partly) manned by the goons who beat us (the nerds) up in school.

    So, go down the chain and find the most socially inept, retard bully and you have a regular TSA officer. Not all of them are like that, but working in a workplace full of geniuses like that will damage even the best human.

    I haven’t personally had TOO bad experiences with the goonsquad, but just seeing an old man in a wheelchair dragged out of it and forced to hobble (half dragged) through a metal detector is enough to make me peeved off.

  11. I’m just wondering how someone can be qualified to inspect an aircraft for safety when he clearly knows absolutely jack shit about airplanes.

  12. @#2

    A moron can’t approach a plane unless the organization allows it in the first place. This IS about policy, not singling out individuals.

  13. “Hur Hur, me thot yu sed “TITS”, wot TATS?? Me LIKE TITS!

    or something like that. Well done boys. well done.
    “The inspector was attempting to determine whether someone could break into the parked planes.” With what? a coat hanger? An axe?

    I propose that all TSA be required to fly in an aircraft “serviced” by TSA personnel.

  14. From the article (emphasis added):

    “Our inspector was following routine procedure for securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac,” [TSA spokesman] Montenegro said…

  15. #2 posted by Philbert , August 20, 2008 2:12 AM

    “I think this post is slightly unfair. Idiots work in every organisation, not just the TSA.”

    Philbert has it right, but since the TSA is a gub’mint union outfit, the dangerous stooge will continue breaking planes until some one is hurt, or worse, killed. Then the useless congress critters in DC will witch hunt some middle management bureaucrat to sate the call for blame.

    And the dangerous stooge will continue to draw his union wage.

    In the private sector – the real world – dangerous stooges can be fired more readily. No lawyers or union reps required.

  16. Well, is there anything you CAN’T do with an axe?

    Think how lucky we are, though – back in the day, didn’t Shrub Jr. and his droogies insist that TSA employees should be exempt from minimum wage laws? Can you imagine what it’d be like if TSA was paying LESS than $6.55 an hour?


  17. I’m pretty sure the TSA HAS killed by now. Someone poor and not newsworthy, but deaed just the same. DHS/Immigration killed that baby in Hawaii, the TSA contaminated that child’s feeding tube on the mainland, they have forced innumerable elderly to stand alone dangerously or to crawl out of their wheelchairs…

    No, it stands to reason: the TSA HAS killed by now. There must be people who died shortly after TSA abuse in circumstances that normally would have gone to trial – without government immunity shielding the killers.

    Perhaps now is the time for people who have family members that perished as result of TSA physical and mental abuse to stand together and cry out as one: NO MORE!

  18. Philbert: The moron at Acme Paperclip Co. doesn’t have the power to paw through my personal belongings and confiscate random items, strip-search me in front of thousands of people, indefinitely detain me on a “hunch”, or simply ban me from flying anywhere because I have the same first and last name as someone who, sometime in the past, somewhere, allegedly did something bad. Extraordinary powers should be limited to extraordinary people, or at least to people who know enough about what they’re supposed to be doing that they don’t break what they’re inspecting.

  19. #6 – “Really? Does MENSA have idiots?”

    Have you seen their website? It looks like it was designed by a third grader in a “My First Website” class.

  20. people of intelligence and character were found unsuitable for certain details. Specifically the killing by submachine guns. The industrial mechanisms of the camps had not yet been arrived at and in order to cope with huge numbers of prisoners every day, trenches were dug by new arrivals who were then lined up and shot into them by squads who fired all day for full shifts. After using this method for a time the officers in charge found that there were only a few of their men who could carry out this duty day after day. These were marked for special duty later.

  21. I’m pretty sure the TSA HAS killed by now.

    Pretty sure? That’s good enough for me. String them up!

  22. yup,same way they’re pretty sure everyone is a criminal.

    I always forget the old ‘two wrongs make a right’ rule.

    Fallacy much?

  23. Wouldn’t tampering with an aircraft land this guy in jail on terrorism charges? If they can fine and imprison you for mucking with smoke detectors, this HAS to be good for a nice stint in lockup.

    I see a good case for sabotage here. Maybe he’s a terrorist, and KNEW what he was doing, thinking no one would notice.

  24. Tastypopsicle @ 9 said,

    And for those who don’t RTA the FAA ended up grounding 40 planes because of this “goof”.

    Just to ensure my continued membership in the Pedants’ Guild, I have to point out that the idiot TSA goon “only” damaged 9 airplanes; it was 40 flights that were affected one way or another while the damaged jets were grounded for repairs (although I’d also bet that the 40 only refers to flights made by those particular jets–no doubt it didn’t include missed connections and the like).

    TSA = FAIL

  25. As reported and as other comments have said, aircraft are covered in signage on where you can step and what is off limits, what is dangerous etc. so he really is ignorant. Excusing him is excusing someone who is unable to read a simple colourful sign designed to stand out and convey a simple strong message, it is not good enough in someone who has state sanctioned power over your person and whose actions in civil aviation contexts could endanger hundreds of people. Don’t the TSA do any basic training on the environment and machines they will be working in and around?

  26. Philbert has it right, but since the TSA is a gub’mint union outfit, the dangerous stooge will continue breaking planes until some one is hurt, or worse, killed. Then the useless congress critters in DC will witch hunt some middle management bureaucrat to sate the call for blame.

    And the dangerous stooge will continue to draw his union wage. (locomotivebreath1901@18)

    Uh, anyone who bothered to get their news from somewhere besides Rush Limbaugh and the Fox network might know that TSA employees are nonunion.

    If they had a union, they might be able to attract something besides bottom-of-the-barrel employees, and we’d all be safer. But then those no-bid TSA contracts the Republicans handed to their cronies wouldn’t be quite so profitable (although I’m sure they could have found other corners to cut–they always do).

    Of course, anyone who thinks unions are a bad thing–and that Americans should be paid as little as possible–might not get all this.

  27. I’m almost at the point where I think we just deserve this sort of thing. Americans have given the feds too much power and now some of us are sorry about it. But, it’s very hard to take something back once you’ve given it. We’re going to have to hope that all TSA agents are preplaced by smart robots. And make them happy and cute.

  28. what i want to know is what this guy was looking for? what made him think he was qualified to ‘inspect’ anything on the outside of an aircraft when he pulls a boner like this?

  29. It’s understandable that the TSA folks are targets for scorn. The long lines and silly requests at airports are the only real interaction the vast majority of Americans have with the Patriot Act and the “War on Terror”, despite all the talk about how our civil liberties have been suspended.

  30. The TSA does have the authority and mandate to check that aircraft are secure. And they do this by testing that the aircraft doors are locked.

    But climbing on the aircraft? that’s just irresponsible!

  31. They could solve this by turning the heaters for these on every once in a while. To keep ice from forming and blocking the nozzles these things get VERY hot. The first TSA guy with a cooked hand could serve as a warning for the others!

  32. Hey, Takuan? My dad works for the TSA in Denver. So maybe–seeing as how you’re obviously so concerned about human rights and civil liberties and all–you could stop threatening to hang him.

  33. Hey, IWood? I hope your dad isn’t the one who smirked at me when I was desperately trying to make my plane. No, I hope he was one of the relatively competent ones running the x-ray machine and keeping the line moving.

    Variation, even within the TSA.

    But why can’t your dad get better work than that? He’s not only surrounded by idiots, everyone who hears what his job is will assume he’s an idiot, too. Nasty prospect for a non-idiot (which I politely assume your dad is). Also, the pay has got to be total shit, or they’d get a better class of people generally, instead of the people who confiscate your shoelaces because you might use them to garotte a flight attendant.

  34. But seriously, Takuan: not EVERYONE who works for TSA abuses their position. There have to be exceptions. Plus calling for real people to be hanged is not cool.

    I want the TSA disbanded completely, but I see no need to execute any of them. Some (like the one who handled that boy’s feeding tube) need to be locked up, but all we really need to do is make the law apply to TSA employees. We don’t need TSA employment to be a presumption of guilt. Bad move, because if that were the case then nobody would..

    …nobody would work for…

    Hmm. :-)

  35. Firstly, I did not call for hanging, I specifically offered to provide the rope for a good old fashioned lynching. Get it right. Working for the TSA is a voluntary action. It then carries consequences. I see no reason to extend olive branches to those trying to split my skull open. If you work for the TSA, you de-facto approve of and support all their abusive policy and action. Get another job.

  36. I’ve got a friend here in Cali who’s a true, dyed-in-the-wool liberal. He spent some time living in Texas under Governor Bush, and saw first hand what the man did to the state’s government programs and its environmental laws, how he propped up his corporate buddies, etc. Needless to say, he’s not a Bush supporter…which is putting it quite mildly. He doesn’t care for Republicans, has problems with rich folks in particular and corporations in general. We do talk politics, and there are in fact a number of things we agree on.

    A couple of weeks ago, he remarked that a solution to what he sees as the existential threat posed by the American power elite (the Cheney crowd, the military/industrial axis, etc.) would be the same solution employed by the Red Russians against the White Russians. If you know your history, you’ll know that this solution involved a) a purge and b) lots of people getting shot in the head.

    He wasn’t kidding. He said, “It’s not my preferred solution, but…” and kind of trailed off.

    I was disturbed by this. Here’s this guy, a good friend, with whom I have a lot in common: a love of the outdoors, a tweaked sense of humor, etc. But his hatred–and yes, I would call it that–for Bush in particular and his general loathing for Republicans and folks of that ilk somehow has made it morally acceptable, in his mind, to seriously advocate extra-judicial execution of what is, essentially, a political class with whom he vehemently disagrees. It would be OK, you see, because the right people would be doing the killing, and the right people would be getting killed. It would be for the Greater Good. He saw no difference between that political massacre and the Bush/Cheney class sending an underclass to fight and die in Iraq. It was all killing…but that was OK if the people he agreed with were the ones behind the guns.

    I’ve watched you on BB for awhile, Takuan. And I knew that you would go exactly where you went, because you’re a predictable big fish in this little pond. I knew that, like my friend, you’re not against murder per se…just as long as it’s the right people getting a bullet or dangling from the gallows.

    I really don’t see much difference between you and the people you hate. Just a lack of opportunity and, perhaps, ambition.

  37. Xopher-

    I doubt it–he doesn’t work the checkpoints.

    And, honestly? Without going into the details of the situation, I wish he would, or could, but that’s just how it is, unfortunately.

  38. #49, Good story. Once again Cultural/Moral relativism shows us its many faces. Living in the gray area isn’t always great, but it’s about the only kind of reality that seems to make much sense–to me.

  39. IWood, I think it’s a mistake to take Takuan entirely seriously at any point. He’s like the god of over-the-topness. He knows perfectly well that saying “If you work for the TSA, you de-facto approve of and support all their abusive policy and action” is just like saying all members of the armed services approve of and support the actions at Abu Ghraib, and if he doesn’t know THAT’s not true I’ve got some soldiers I can get to ‘splain a few things to him! (I think he does, and he’s being a goad. But I kinda like Takuan, so I cut him a lot of slack.)

    To take your point more seriously, I don’t think Bush should be executed for his crimes, because I oppose the death penalty on principle. I do think he should do LWOP in a maximum security prison, and I must say, the idea of him being forced to stand continuously until he dies (and my sources suggest that would take about 48 hours) does my heart good…but not my soul, and I reject such an action as the best real-world choice. Fun to think about though.

    If he decides not to leave office when his term expires, taking his abuse of the Constitution to extremes, and to the point where everyone who still respects the rule of law is up in arms against him, and the situation arises where the only way to end the conflict is to shoot him in the head (or chop it off a la Barrayar), then someone should do that. But some things I put past even Bush.

    OTOH I’ve been wrong before.

  40. What a pity that the airlines will have to secure their planes with an actual competent security force ~against~ the security theater acting troupe.

  41. @37 RickB
    … aircraft are covered in signage on where you can step and what is off limits, what is dangerous etc…

    But that requires the ability to read.

    As to @ 53. I do think Bush should be executed for his crimes. Good for the Goose (Saddam Hussein), good for the Gander (George W. Bush).

  42. IWOOD,

    I’m surprised at you! Really. I laughed all day yesterday over your ”Viking spoons” solution (even called a couple friends to share it), but at no time did I think you would seriously advocate rape and murder [I’m still LOL as I type!] as a way of getting some fucking spoons. [5 minutes later … Man, have you got my number!]

    Takuan’s function on BB’s site is similar to the ”Honeymooners”’ Ed Norton’s day job, to ”keep things moving along;” and he usually does an excellent job of it, except for the occasional cranky or angry response that he has as much right to as the rest of us.

    I remember Jackie Gleason’s character, Ralph Cramden, once saying: ”Norton, you’ve spent too much time in the sewers.”

    So it could be that….

  43. iWood – that’s a beautiful strawman you constructed there directly in front of Takuan. Bravo.

  44. Iwood – you’re sounding pretty preachy here, and I have no doubt that you’re sincere, but the reason your friend is considering a violent solution is that the American system of redress has been eliminated while you weren’t looking. The courts are not going to fix the problem. The Congress is not going to fix the problem. The media will mock anyone who says in public that there is a problem. And yet we’ve lost a city, we’ve been lied into war, our economy is in a shambles, and they’re still making money hand over fist — by borrowing it from the Chinese and giving it to their friends.

    While I’m ever so happy you’ve been properly vigilant in the Takuan matter, you’re ignoring the elephant in the room. Worse, you’re failing to be entertaining while pointing out the clear and present danger posed by Takuan’s pattern of fascism.

    I wish you would shut up now, and/or go elsewhere.

  45. IWOOD: Just because your “liberal’ friend is an idiot, please don’t take it out on the rest of us who have seen the abuses and extreme policies of this administration in action. It is sad that he is so disheartened as to advocate violence, but that is his problem, not ours, and not Takuan’s. Takuan is right. If your dad doesn’t like being lumped in with all the incompetent abuse being done by his colleagues, he should get a different job. No one but you takes him seriously about lynching TSA employees, but many of us can empathize with the sentiment. We feel powerless. This country was founded with a system of checks and balances to ensure against abuses. What check is there on their often abused power? What limits are there to protect us from their incursions? (Ow my balls indeed!) What can be done to curtail their incompetence?

    In previewing my comment I now see that MDHATTER and MICHAEL have addressed these points very eloquently. To them I say: Well said!

  46. The TSA’s abuses bother me less than the lack of oversight (but, to be clear, the abuses bother me). The goal of the TSA is security, right? In order to provide that security, there must be policies and procedures that are constantly reviewed for efficacy. Giving individual employees the initiative to go out on their own and do non-policy, non-procedure “inspections” WITHOUT OVERSIGHT is the dangerous, scary part of this whole charade.

    We shouldn’t condemn a man for trying to ensure the safety of others. We should, however, very strongly condemn an agency that alleges its intent to be the safety of others but doesn’t actually proceduralize and document how safety is to be achieved in a way that can be publicly reviewed, criticized and improved.

  47. In reviewing my comment, it sounds like I’m defending the TSA moron who somehow missed the “don’t f#cking grab/step here” label in that instrument. I’m not. He’s a moron.

    What I meant was that condemning the individual TSA workers instead of the TSA as a whole without…

    Aw, fuck it. And I was having such a pleasant day only moments ago.

  48. I like Takuan. I was dubious at first, but it helps if you think of him as a sort of Dadaist comments section performance artist.

    If I met him, I would gladly buy him a sensible library funding policy for his oscilloscope. And maybe a pony.

  49. Could we not pile on IWood? I don’t think he was being that unreasonable; he just doesn’t know Takuan like we do.

  50. “A couple of weeks ago, he remarked that a solution to what he sees as the existential threat posed by the American power elite (the Cheney crowd, the military/industrial axis, etc.) would be the same solution employed by the Red Russians against the White Russians. If you know your history, you’ll know that this solution involved a) a purge and b) lots of people getting shot in the head.

    He wasn’t kidding. He said, “It’s not my preferred solution, but…” and kind of trailed off.”

    You do realize that they, the American Power Elite feel pretty much the same way toward the “dyed-in-the-wool liberals”. And they’re pretty much not shy about saying so.

    That being the case, it’s not surprising that some liberals are willing to “bring it” should it become necessary.

    You see, unlike the neocons running this country, some U.S. citizens are willing to take up arms to defend this country and its constitution. If that means civil war, well, let’s hope Bushco doesn’t go that far.

  51. Why is anyone complaining about iWood’s father? He’s an in to the system. You want to overthrow the Tsar? Befriend his Cossacks.

  52. I work as an avionics engineer for an airline (not the one at which this occurred). I fly a lot. I have a ramp badge. I see the TSA from outside and inside the SIDA (secure identification area). Most of the individuals, as individuals, are doing what they can with the resources given them, which is the real problem.

    Where is the science that says two or three people can actually create a liquid bomb with stuff they brought on an airplane? Where is the science that says someone can stuff so much C4 in their shoe that they can actually blow up an airliner? And this incident is similar: where’s the science that says someone can climb on a fragile little TAT (total air temperature) probe, open a locked cockpit window from outside, and somehow damage an airplane any worse than the TSA agent did in trying to find out?

    There is a joint responsibility between the TSA and each airline that airplanes parked on a ramp must me made safe from sabotage. The airlines actually train their employees in ramp and aircraft safety. It is obvious that the TSA doesn’t train their ramp personnel adequately. But, if he were responsible, he should be uncomfortable in his ignorance of airplanes. It is inexcusable that he didn’t know he was breaking them and making them unflyable.

    If the TSA is concerned about actual ways in which airplanes can be sabotaged while parked on the ground, they should, in conjunction with the airlines and airframers determine what those possibilities are, and watch for them, and secure against them. They shouldn’t just send a goon out there with no training and no idea what he’s doing to wreck a bunch of airliners.

    Sorry to sidetrack the discussion away from the politics of libery, and from the Nazis. ;-)

  53. poor Rob, it’s OK, I’ll be your friend.

    Perhaps a little reality check: What is the TSA supposed to do? Keep planes safe? Very well; imagine for just a moment that you or he or I or she really, really wanted to blow an airliner out of the sky and kill every last person on board. That this was the object at any cost. Every penny available, death as part of the price, no rules or qualms about neutrals, pets and children.

    Think they could stop you?

    So what is the TSA?

  54. @Rob – I’d have said the same thing if some ignorant jerk was picking on you, besides, the TSA confiscated my nose last week.

    Anonymous @69 – Great point. As in any other organization, people can only be as responsible as their organization empowers and trains them to be.

    Much fail abounds at TSA, but the question remains – is that the policy?

  55. robbie, `I’ll stoop so far, but past a certain point you have to get up. No one can do the work for you, it is your responsibility. Note I still extend the courtesy of assumption of equal ability.

  56. iwood, i would love to see what the tsa gives an employee upon hiring. i.e. “welcome to the t.s.a.”, job discription, shaming the elderly, how to treat the disabled, etc… please ask your father to scan them to a flickr site or sumsuch, as i’m sure there are many here who would love to read such info. also i would thank your dad profusely.

  57. Apparently this happened because some prankster smeared peanut butter on those parts. And everyone knows TSA employees can’t resist the lure of peanut butter.

  58. Philbert @2, let me add my two cents’ worth. There are indeed idiots in every organization (and which ones they are varies by day and context), but this story couldn’t have happened unless the TSA has major problems.

    For starters, they hired someone who was capable of pulling this stunt.

    Next: this guy’s called an “inspector” and he’s supposed to police areas where planes are parked, but he hasn’t been taught not to climb on them, or told to pay attention to the warnings printed on them. He hasn’t even been taught basic on-the-job safety principles like “don’t do dangerous stuff when there’s no one else around.”

    He was only entitled to check the door to see whether it was secured, not climb around on the planes playing Tarzan. That is: he doesn’t know what his job is, and yet he’s working unsupervised in a sensitive area. Every organization has its share of idiots, but they don’t all turn ’em loose.

    This is a nontrivial screwup. As the story says, no way is inspecting aircraft the TSA’s job. This guy didn’t just trash the sensors on the planes. He also trashed the procedures, safeguards, recordkeeping, and other systems of the people who maintain the airplanes. That’s incredibly stupid and dangerous. No set of safety procedures ever invented is proof against random idiots wandering around and messing with stuff. As the Editor in Chief of the original publication said:

    The TSA has NO BUSINESS putting untrained personnel in a position to damage aircraft. Their bizarre games, in the name of security, do NOTHING to enhance security and do much to inhibit safety. Aviation personnel — pilots, A&P’s, ground personnel — are all either licensed or supervised by licensed personnel and this kind of tampering, had it been accomplished by anyone else, would have subjected that person to criminal charges.

    In this case, ANN strongly recommends and encourages the criminal prosecution of this so-called inspector and his immediate supervisors… it is a matter of time before one of these morons does something stupid and gets someone killed… and with the way these incidents are occurring, we believe it is a virtual certainty that a TSA “Inpector” will hurt or kill someone in such a manner.

    For “someone” read “airliners full of passengers.” And how was this screwup caught?

    the problem was discovered by maintenance personnel, who inspected the planes Tuesday morning… and questioned why the TAT probes all gave similar error indications.

    Suppose he’d done it after the Tuesday morning check? That could have gotten interesting.

    The real problem is that this guy’s superiors don’t know what his job is either. What he’s doing has to mesh with the work done by other people in that area. It has to respect the needs of the existing system. Unfortunately, that seems not to have happened. If, as appears to be the case, he was turned loose in those spaces with little training and less supervision, the TSA at that airport has incompetence and mismanagement in depth.

    LocomotiveBreath @22, I thought everyone knew the DHS and TSA are non-union and not covered by Civil Service regs. Bush & Co. insisted on it.

  59. Let’s see we are being terrorized by our own security at airports, wiretapped by our own government at home, robbed by baggage inspectors, safety officials are damaging our planes, we are placed on secret lists as potential threats to our own country without recourse…hmmmm.
    Looks like the Terrorists HAVE WON and the most ironic part is that they are saving gas (and airfares) by staying home and having our fellow Americans make our own lives miserable.

    Once again, ‘We have met the enemy and he is us!” Pogo, American Policy Analyzer.

  60. Does MENSA have idiots?

    Oh dear, yes. Pick up a copy of their magazine and flick to the reader’s letters section.

    Just because people have ‘intelligence’, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they know how to use it.

  61. One of the biggest ironies here, as I posted on another TSA related thread here previously, is the following:

    One of my best friends is a commercial pilot. He still always has to go through the TSA’s every day and they have stolen items from him. Recently they openly “confiscated” one of those big multiple d-battery flashlights from his carry-on luggage because he was told it could be used as a weapon. He needed it to regularly inspect his plane before take-off to ensure its safety, since his company would not provide one. So the real guy who is trained to look after the safety of any plane he flies with a final inspection is denied his tools to do so by the same organization that let this fool loose to run afoul of all protocols in the vain attempt to do his job for him.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t get crazier than this, folks…

  62. He needed it to regularly inspect his plane before take-off to ensure its safety, since his company would not provide one.

    Sounds to me like the airline company is even dumber than the TSA.

    How did they react when your friend refused to fly the aircraft, since he couldn’t inspect it before take-off?

    (I’m assuming he didn’t let TSA’s stupidity put his passengers and people on the ground in danger, by not following safety procedures).

  63. “While this may be terrifying on a number of levels, the situation becomes far more questionable with the release of a recent memo from the TSA in which such damaging and destructive actions are apparently ENCOURAGED. The memo clearly states that, “Aircraft operators are required to secure each unattended aircraft to make sure that people with bad intent cannot gain access to the planes. But during the inspection, TSA’s inspector was able to pull himself inside of an unattended aircraft by using a tube that was protruding from the side of the plane. TSA encourages its inspectors to look for and exploit vulnerabilities of this type.”

    ANN has repeated this quote to a number of aviation professionals throughout the industry within the last hours, with reactions ranging from, “Oh my God,” to “that is most idiotic thing I have ever heard.” ANN finds it hard to disagree. The statement by TSA, depending on how you interpret it, has the potential to imperial the flying public in myriad ways, and seems a clear violation of a number of FARs as well as possible criminal statutes. TSA’s Lara Uselding, however, states that the memo is not intended to suggest any endorsement of the ORD inspection techniques that caused this fracas to start with — though any person reading it thus far (outside of TSA) has voiced the same concerns ANN has.”

  64. ROB@90: He managed to borrow a flashlight to complete his final inspection and had to buy a new one subsequently. So far they haven’t confiscated that one yet.

  65. unbelievable, tak! they are going after the AIRLINE that this happened to. i’m thinking that the TSA officer is now up for the ‘Medal of Freedom’ or somesuch. jeeeebus!

  66. Oh great! Just to show it’s never been about safety… Airline complains about the TSA incompetently breaking their planes and they launch their own investigation, which, coincidentally, finds that it is the airline’s fault: Cha-ching! $175,000 fine. Thank you! Takuan’s Godwinning is sadly becoming more and more justified…

    (Btw, how are those steam-punk anti-TSA pissed-off unicorn badges coming?)

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