“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.’
“Officials with American Eagle confirmed to ANN the problem was discovered by maintenance personnel, who inspected the planes Tuesday morning… and questioned why the TAT probes all gave similar error indications.
“One Eagle pilot says had the pilots not been so attentive, the damaged probes could have caused problems inflight. TSA agents “are now doing things to our aircraft that may put our lives, and the lives of our passengers at risk,” the pilot wrote on the forum.”
“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. No kidding.
“A few other notes.. ANN spoke directly to the TSA PAO in this story, Elio Montenegro… a man who desperately needs to get his stories straight. When ANN talked to him early Tuesday evening, Montenegro first stated that no aircraft were tampered with, and thereafter attempted to minimize the issue by stating that a TSA Inspector “may have touched” the aircraft… which American Eagle ‘sorta’ objected to. He claimed that there was no attempt to enter the aircraft, and when he was asked if TSA was, in fact, authorized to attempt such an entry — out of the sight/knowledge/supervision of American Eagle personnel — he said that he thought that I had asked a good question, did not know the answer, and promised to get back to me… in direct conflict with other reported statements. TSA can not keep their stories straight… and lying to the media… especially that part of the media that actually knows a thing or two about airplanes, was just plain foolish… if not a deliberate attempt to mislead.”
Commuter Flights Grounded Thanks To Bumbling TSA Inspector, Aero News Net, August 20, 2008 (via the indispensable B12 Partners)
Isn’t this Inspector a terrorist for tampering with aircraft? Just asking.
No wonder everyone hates to fly now.