Associations Assist After Seattle Plane Hijacking
The bizarre incident is forcing agencies to rethink personnel policies
The hijacking of a passenger plane at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by an airline employee on Friday was, by all accounts, almost unprecedented. And associations are offering their assistance as officials at the airport—along with the FBI and Alaska Airlines, which owned the Horizon Air 76-seater—try to make sense of the incident.
The biggest surprise may have been that Richard Russell, the man who stole the plane and died in the crash, was a member of the ground crew, not a pilot, at Sea-Tac. While his job gave him indirect experience with the aircraft, it did not include flying the plane. National Association of Flight Instructors President Rick Todd told The New York Times Russell’s explanation to an air traffic controller that he figured out how to fly the aircraft based on his use of video-game simulations was unexpected.
“It’s highly improbable, but not impossible, that he never had a lick of flying except other than in a virtual world,” Todd said.
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