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122 votes
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Can a fighter jet be stolen?

Military aircraft rarely have any sort of keys or any sort of authentication systems, they rely on physical security measures to prevent people from getting to the airplanes in the first place, like ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
119 votes
Accepted

How do civilian pilots and ATC verify that other people on the radio are who they claim to be?

This is a reasonable question, and to an outside the simple answer of We don't / can't might seem a little bit jarring. After-all, we live in a time of hacking, terrorism and so on and I can ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 9,308
85 votes

Can a fighter jet be stolen?

I was a pilot attached to Attack Squadron 86 flying A7-E's during the mid-1980's and here is a case where one of our jets was nearly stolen. It is not what you might guess, and as GdD pointed out ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,318
72 votes

Locked out of private jet - how do you get in?

It depends on the exact model. Bobby pins or any key that physically fits will get you into some, you'll need real picks for others, and some custom jobs may require a police snap gun or a locksmith's ...
Therac's user avatar
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61 votes
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Why are commercial flights not (publicly) trackable in some locations?

The reason is that there is no member of the general public in those areas with an ADS-B receiver sharing live data with the public tracking sites. Websites like Flight Radar 24 rely largely on ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
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60 votes
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What precautions prevent 'insiders' from stealing a large aircraft, as in the Horizon Air Q400 incident?

As an aircraft mechanic at a major airline, I think I can answer this pretty well. It wouldn’t be hard at all. All I have to do is wait for an aircraft move. This could be to bring a plane into the ...
Frank's user avatar
  • 2,403
55 votes

Can a few random interaction with cockpit controls result in a crash?

There's a real-life example that seems very similar: Aeroflot 593. The pilots let two children sit in the cockpit while the aircraft was on autopilot. One of the children pushed the control column for ...
Pondlife's user avatar
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51 votes

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

You will have both hydraulic system plumbing lines, the metal pipes, and wiring harnesses running along the rear spar, serving hydraulic actuators and electrical components like sensors and servos, ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
42 votes
Accepted

Is it suspicious or odd to stand by the gate of a GA airport watching the planes?

I mainly fly in the UK and Europe, however I trained in the US and have flown there a few times since. I have probably 50 hours in total in the US. I can tell you that almost without fail, every ...
Jamiec's user avatar
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33 votes

Is it suspicious or odd to stand by the gate of a GA airport watching the planes?

It depends on how you go about it. Don't wear all black or camo with a face mask. Don't sneak around in the grass, or run from building to building seeking cover. Plane spotting is a somewhat common ...
Rob McDonald's user avatar
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27 votes

Can a fighter jet be stolen?

Can a fighter jet be stolen? Absolutely, no key required. There was the case of a lance corporal who took a USMC A-4 Skyhawk for a joyride in 1986. See: Marine Mechanic Stole An A-4M-Skyhawk. 21-year-...
Gustav's user avatar
  • 279
27 votes

Can diplomats be allowed on the flight deck of a commercial European airline?

Generally, airlines are required to have content in their ops manual clearly stating who is entitled to flight deck access from the point the engines are started until shutdown. In some countries, ...
Juan Jimenez's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

Can a few random interaction with cockpit controls result in a crash?

Random? Probably not. Deliberate? It's hard to say, but the pilots will certainly have a hard time landing. There are many switches in a cockpit, and some are more important than others. If you don't ...
kevin's user avatar
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25 votes
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Is it possible to drive into Gibraltar Airport's runway?

There are no physical restraints to entering the runway when the road is open. You can see from this video of the crossing that Gibraltar police and the base for the Royal Air Force are present. The ...
Ambo100's user avatar
  • 493
22 votes
Accepted

Are there any accident reports that mention hacked/compromised avionics as a factor?

Searching the NTSB Accident Database which also covers some international commercial flights for the key words "hack", "hacked" do not provide any results related to hacked avionics. Likewise using ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
22 votes

Locked out of private jet - how do you get in?

The only key lock you might encounter on a corporate jet will be a pin/tumbler lock securing the outside operating handle of the main entry door. You won't find anything exotic unless the owner has ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
20 votes

What security regulations apply to US private airstrips?

Private airports have very little security and light aircraft flying within a country typically aren't required to file a flightplan and aren't required to have transponders for secondary radar. You ...
Peter Green's user avatar
  • 1,681
20 votes

Can a fighter jet be stolen?

Could someone steal a jet fighter? Sure. But as mentioned above there are a few obstacles to doing this. First you're going to have to get to a jet fighter which means you're going to need access to ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
20 votes

Does the FlightRadar24 pose a risk to aviation security?

The data FlightRadar uses is provided by volunteers using commercially available ADS-B receivers. All it does is save the terrorist a couple of bucks buying an ADS-B receiver.
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Someone's shooting at my plane out of the blue! What do I do?

For my answer I'm going to assume that someone is genuinely trying to shoot you down for some reason, it's not some sort of legal intercept. If you ignore a legal intercept then I can see a warning ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
14 votes

What precautions prevent 'insiders' from stealing a large aircraft, as in the Horizon Air Q400 incident?

You can probably guess - none. Like most industries, aviation relies on an assumption of good faith from the employees. The incessant string of terrorist attacks throughout this century changed some ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
13 votes
Accepted

Does the FlightRadar24 pose a risk to aviation security?

The short answer is yes it does. In reality, the amount of benefit Flight Radar gives to those that would exploit it for evil is negligible compared to the amount of good the technology provides. The ...
Dean F.'s user avatar
  • 16.5k
13 votes

Why are Israeli planes followed by an armored police truck at ZRH?

It is happening as an extra security measure, probably attempting to mitigate the risk of an explosive-laden person or car breaching the perimeter fence - like many city airports ZRH has a multitude ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
12 votes
Accepted

Isn't it dangerous to sell alcohol inside of airports?

Most alcoholic drinks are, in fact, nonflammable because they're mostly water. The original definition of "proof" was that 100-proof was the minimum alcohol content required for a pellet of gunpowder ...
David Richerby's user avatar
12 votes

How realistic is the plane scene in Captain America: The First Avenger?

Though 'getting on/off aircraft through landing gear' is a favorite trope in movies, it is practically impossible in most of the modern airliners. Airliners are pressurized, and as a result, the cabin ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
12 votes
Accepted

Why in certain airports the windows are blocked while others not?

Keep the sun out if facing south or west, help keep the temperature down.
CrossRoads's user avatar
  • 8,795
12 votes

Do airplanes really expose their internal wires and electronics like this on the wings when braking?

To complement things mentioned in other answers and comments, in particular the mention of the underside of a car, here is what the undercarriage well looks in a Boeing 737: Neither these pipes and ...
Martin Argerami's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

Are GA airports typically accessible 24/7?

The general answer is that the airport manager is in charge of ground access (unless the TSA is involved; see below) and individual FBOs can open or not whenever they like. There are no standard ...
Pondlife's user avatar
  • 71.8k
10 votes
Accepted

What would escorting an airliner which is the subject of a security threat by fighter jets achieve?

There are multiple reasons: Yes, they'll shoot the aircraft down if deemed necessary. It is a grim prospect, but sometimes grim events require grim responses - there is little doubt that many lives ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 9,308

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