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Postby Sean_Caranna » Fri Aug 13, 2004 11:33 pm

In an effort to show allegedly lax security procedures, NBC News attempted to penetrate a charter helicopter operation at St. Louis downtown Airport on Wednesday, August 11th.

The attempt was brought to a halt, and the individuals were apprehended.

Though this breach of security was stopped, it was indicated that NBC and other news agencies might attempt to repeat their efforts at other facilities around the country.

NATA urges operators to continue to be on the alert for security breaches by news agencies "testing the waters" and, more importantly, actual terrorist organizations or individuals intent on doing harm.

Operators nationwide are encouraged to review their security procedures and reinforce their security policies on a regular basis. NATA Members should review the TSA's Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports . Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to the Airport Watch Hotline at (866) GA SECURE.

The account of the August 11 incident, provided by the director of the St. Louis Downtown Airport follows:

"Earlier today two Middle Eastern men attempted to penetrate our security. They telephoned one of my helicopter FBOs and asked about a charter flight. After discussion of price and directions to the business, they arrived an hour later. When the office agent asked how they were going to pay for the flight they produced cash. When asked for ID, they produced driver's licenses from two different states and they were driving a car licensed in a third state.

Things didn't smell right so the mechanic took them into the hangar to see the aircraft while the office person called the FBI and local police. The helicopter they were going to fly was blocked in by other aircraft so the mechanic was able to stall them by having to slowly shuffle the blocking planes. Meanwhile the two men got their backpacks and odd-shaped luggage out of their car. Soon the local police arrived and they were hauled off to jail in handcuffs.

After a little time behind bars, the FBI verified that the two men were employed by NBC New York and were on assignment to get a story of how easy it is to charter a helicopter for a terrorist attack. The men had stayed in a local hotel and purchased box cutters, leather-man knives, and other potential weapons at the local Wal-Mart using a credit card. The box cutters had been hidden in the lining at the bottom of the backpacks and the other weapons were hidden throughout their baggage. They had audio taped the telephone conversation with Arlene and were going to use it as part of a national news story about how easy it is to get information and directions to the location of the helicopter and then hijack it to commit a terrorist attack.

I doubt they will be back at our airport soon and this is a story that will never be seen since they were caught. A very "well-done" to my FBO and staff and the local FBI and police response forces. We have since learned
that we were the first airport where this had been attempted and NBC planned to attempt similar penetration stories around the country. Please help me spread the word to other airports."
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this is stupid!!!

Postby millerdvr » Sat May 16, 2009 6:30 pm

I remember when that kid stole that cessna , in florida I think, and flew it into a building thinking he was going to bring a building down or cause major loss of life, and all he did was ruin a good plane and break some windows.  
What were the guys going to do with the box cutters anyway?  and there is no need for luggage on a charter flight.  and the damage a robinson helo would do crashing into the ground would be sooo minimal that it is stupid to even think.
Oh well, foiled again.  This is our wonderful press trying to add more needless regulation on an already over stressed sport.

My two cents
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