Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Hidden Cockpit

Nobody sees, nobody knows....
  [vote for,

Most aircraft have a "hell hole" - an open space beneath the flight deck for maintenance operations, to provide easy access to flight controls. It's called the hell hole because it's very cramped and unpleasant to be in for extended lengths of time.

I suggest a top secret plan to install an extra set of controls (throttle, control yoke, fuel control switches, etc...) in the hell hole with a sky marshall trained to fly the plane. In the event of a hijacking, the pilot would signal the sky marshall by tapping out a morse code signal on the floor above the sky marshall, the code diguised as nervous fidgeting. The sky marshall then throws a switch that physically disconnects the flight controls in the flight deck and connects the hidden set.

As the frustrated and confused hijackers helplessly await the inevitable, the hidden sky marshall lands the plane at a secure airfield, having alerted authorities with a hidden radio. After everyone left the plane and it was swarmed with maintenance crew the sky marshall would change into a maintenance uniform and slip out unnoticed. Only the crew would know about the hidden set of controls.

The hidden sky marshall would be well compensated for his discomfort.

21 Quest, Sep 22 2006


       //Only the crew would know about the hidden set of controls.//
Well, you've already gone and blown that little secret, haven't you?
ldischler, Sep 22 2006

       I think this is a great idea. The Rama seat.
Zimmy, Sep 22 2006

       I like it.. maybe there's a way to make the area a little more roomy for the sky marshall?

       What if the pilot really DOES have a nervous tapping habit?
ionsfromzion, Sep 23 2006

       What if the hijackers break into the hidden second cockpit and disable the main controls? The plane could be hijacked before anybody even realises what is going on.
st3f, Sep 23 2006

       <sort of joking>the obvious answer here is to do away with the pilots altogether and just fly remotely by wire</sort of joking>
neilp, Sep 23 2006

       //What if the hijackers break into the hidden second cockpit //

       The panic pilot cockpit could be accessable from the exterior of the plane only.   

       How about just putting an armed marshal or two on every flight?
Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 23 2006

       Indeed. Why, if this were real, they'd never post it, right? *shifty eyes*
shapu, Sep 24 2006

       It'd have to be an instrument only landing? But that's better than no landing.
Ling, Sep 24 2006

       Well of course it'd be posted, and on such a public site as this. 2 words: plausible deniability.

       "if we were REALLY doing this, why would me make it so public? You're nuts if you think this is real."

       And as far as landing, there could be a camera on the nose of the aircraft with a screen in the hell hole for the pilot to see where he was landing.
21 Quest, Sep 24 2006


       Flight Plan - fairly decent movie.

       Turns out the flight marshall is evil.
DesertFox, Sep 24 2006

       I have a better idea. All pilot, crew, and passenger seats are ejection seats. When the plane is hijacked, everyone ejects and parachutes to safety except for the hijackers. Trans-Atlantic flights beware.
MoreCowbell, Sep 24 2006

       Why not just make the regular cockpit accessible only through the outside of the plane?
ye_river_xiv, Sep 28 2006

       Is there an open space behind this hidden cockpit, to provide easy access to its flight controls? A hell hole's hell hole, if you will. Perhaps in the event of the Sky Marshall becoming in some way incapacitated, the remainder of the flight could be undertaken by a chimp hidden away inside there. And if the chimp succumbed to terrorism, a marmoset (secreted away in the hell hole's hell hole's hell hole) and if the marmoset didn't work, a trained rat (in the HH'sHH'sHH'sHH), and if that failed, ahhh well, there's this really proficient spider...
zen_tom, Sep 28 2006

       //There's always room somewhere to put a secret, secret cockpit, in case the hijackers disable the main cockpit and the secret cockpit//

There's a danger here of the entire aeroplane getting filled up with ever-more-secret cockpits - in fact, why don't we just give flight controls to every passenger? A small joystick next to the in-flight TV control and steward(ess) call button should be enough. Then, in an emergency, the aeroplane is flown by the democratic choice of the entire plane-load of passengers (although obviously navigational decisions taken by business and first-class passengers are given more weight).
hippo, Sep 28 2006

       [hippo] a marvellous idea - defeat the terrorists through the power of democracy!
zen_tom, Sep 28 2006

       And the family that flies together, dies together.
ldischler, Sep 28 2006

       Don't need pilots at all, except to give a reassuring announcement prior to crashing: aircraft can take-off, navigate and land automagically. So lock everything away in several secret boxes, and have no manual controls.
But someone else should try it first: I'll wave from the viewing platform.
Edit: I just thought that Hijacking might then become Hihacking.
Ling, Sep 28 2006

       //As the frustrated and confused hijackers helplessly await the inevitable//

       they begin shooting the passengers and crew until the plane returns to their control.
jhomrighaus, Sep 28 2006

       //they begin shooting the passengers and crew until the plane returns to their control.//

       I hate to say it, but I consider a plane-full of people to be a more acceptable sacrifice than a Tower-full. Sometimes we have to decide when to cut our losses. It may be a hard decision, but it's one that has to be made sometimes.

       The Isrealis (sp?) found that the best way to discourage hijacking was to simply slit the hijackers' throats upon landing. It sent a pretty powerful message to would-be future hijackers.
21 Quest, Sep 29 2006

       [21 Quest] Most hijackings do not turn out that way. Most hijackings end up with the vehicle hijacked being taken to some unscheduled destination, and the passengers held hostage for ransom or some political result, or the cargo sold for profit.
Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 30 2006

       Well yeah, if the terrorists are successful in their hijacking. The Israeli flight I was referring to was brought to safety by the passengers revolting.
21 Quest, Sep 30 2006

       Time to dust off this old thing...
21 Quest, Mar 26 2015

       Put together 50 flight simulators. Put 50 trained pilots in them. Use fly-by-wire to transmit instructions to any plane in trouble and feedback from cameras and sensors on it. I suspect the average of their inputs would be much more likely to get the plane safely onto the ground than the pilots in the cockpit.
Voice, May 04 2019

       Don't really need hijackers on a 737, although Boing have tossed in a 737 going into river, just for variety.
not_morrison_rm, May 04 2019

       //I suspect the average of their inputs would be much more likely to get the plane safely//   

       If 25 decide to go for a heavy landing while the other 25 hit TOGA for another attempt then the average is a half- throttle float down the runway and into the trees. The least safe option!
bs0u0155, May 06 2019


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