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Pilots union warns of possible terrorism 'dry runs'

8:46 PM, Oct 10, 2013   |    comments
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ORLANDO (WTSP - TAMPA) - An internal memo from the union representing US Airways pilots details a frightening incident that brings back memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, WTSP TV in Tampa-St. Petersburg reports.

The US Airlines Pilots Association memo says "there have been several cases recently throughout the (airline) industry of what appear to be probes, or dry runs, to test our procedures and reaction to an in-flight threat."

The pilots say the most recent dry run occurred on Flight 1880 on Sept. 2. The flight left Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C., bound for Orlando. The memo says that shortly after takeoff a group of four "Middle Eastern" men caused a commotion.

Witnesses claim one of the men ran from his seat in coach toward the flight deck door. He made a hard left and entered the forward bathroom "for a considerable length of time."

While he was in there, the other three men moved about the cabin, changing seats, opening overhead bins, and "generally making a scene." They appeared to be trying to occupy and distract the flight attendants, the memo said.

US Airways and the Transportation Security Administration confirmed the incident with WTSP. US Airways said it won't discuss the details of security measures, but that it works closely with authorities.

The TSA said it takes all reports of suspicious activity aboard aircraft seriously, and the matter requires no further investigation at this time.

Wolf Koch, who flies Boeing 767s for Delta Airlines and is the Aviation Security Committee Chairman for another union, the Air Line Pilots Association International, says many flight crews are concerned the planning may already be underway for a 9/11-type attack.

Koch describes the events of 9/11 as "an incredible attack on us. It was very well orchestrated and they're going to try it again... 100%, no question in my mind. They're going to try it again."

Statement from the Transportation Administration 

US Airways Statement

Congressman Mica's Statement
 

WTSP/USA TODAY

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