4:10 PM

The Pentagon Wants
to Kill Your Plane

One of my many stops each day is Wired Magazine's web site, which has tons of very well-reported and exciting stories covering everything from technology to politics to automobiles...including a substantial amount of articles on aviation. If you think this is just some "out there" blog, it is not, Wired.com is a very respectable source.

So when I read the following on their site recently, I almost fell out of my office chair:

Pentagon Wants Kill Switch for Planes
Say what?

Yes, you read that correctly. According to this Wired.com article by Noah Shachtman (confirmed on an official FedBizOpps website here), this crazed administration who has their knee so firmly planted on our backs as we lay spread eagle on the tarmac wants to have the last word on where you can fly. From wired.com:
"The Pentagon's non-lethal weapons division is looking for technologies that could "disable" aircraft, before they can take off from a runway -- or block the planes from flying over a given city or stretch of land. In a request for proposals, issued earlier this week, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate announced that it would like arms-makers to come up with a way to "safely divert an aircraft in the air or stop and/or disable an aircraft on the ground." And no, shooting the thing with a missile doesn't count. The Directorate wants "reversible effects which allow the targeted aircraft to be quickly returned to an operational condition with minimal time to repair."
Right about now, I'm sure you're thinking that even though we hear insane, nutzo stuff out of Washington each day, installing kill switches on U.S. aircraft is just not going to happen. Oh yeah? Tell that to the Feds...
Solicitation Number:

[excerpted verbatim from this site]...C. Safely divert an aircraft in the air or stop and/or disable an aircraft on the ground. The JNLWD requires a systems engineering based study to address the full scope of potential technologies and/or approaches to resolve these non-lethal counter-material capability gaps. The primary focus of the divert an aircraft task is to control the airspace and enforce no-fly or restricted flight zones. Effects should be focused on the aircraft, not the pilot or other personnel on board. The capability should enable the enforcement of flight restriction zones (e.g., metropolitan Washington, D.C.), protection of critical infrastructure and other high value assets from a possible aerial threat.
So are they talking about just turbine aircraft? Jetliners? Commercial carriers only? Or, are they talking about ALL aircraft? Does this mean that someday, JoeBob might have to install some expensive kill switch device in his J3 Cub just to go sauntering off over the countryside in search of $200 hamburgers?

Man, this stuff just makes me sick. I – like the vast majority of Americans right now – am SO ready to see a landslide on November 4th, 2008, so we can disinfect Washington and begin to heal this great country. It just goes to show what happens when the same people who brought you Katrina, the endless Iraq war and five-dollar-a-gallon gas try to find a way to prevent another 9/11. Here it is 2008 – six and one-half YEARS later – and they are still trying to figure this whole Homeland Security thing out.

It makes me wonder if Brownie wasn't really canned from FEMA after all. Maybe he is secretly working at the Pentagon as Director of some bloated new department tasked with thinking up new, more bizarro ways to screw us pilots.

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