Babbitt: Pilots, ATC didn't know of terror attempt

02/5/2010 | Detroit News, The

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says no one in the cockpit or on the ground initially knew the seriousness of the Christmas Day terror attempt on Flight 253. The Detroit News notes that security procedures enacted following 9/11 may have contributed to the confusion: Reinforced cockpit doors remain locked during takeoff and landing, so flight attendants can communicate with the flight deck only via telephone. Unable to see the situation for themselves, pilots radioed air-traffic controllers that a passenger had "firecrackers" on board. "So it didn't elevate to anyone -- whether it was the cockpit or air traffic control -- to anything of great seriousness at that point," Babbitt told lawmakers.

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