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30 December 2011 Safety Review for 2011

This 16th annual review discusses 12 fatal airline crashes and 11 other significant events from 2011, a year with more fatal passenger airline crashes than 2010, but fewer significant events. Unlike last year, which saw no fatal passenger airliner crashes in North America or western Europe, there were two this year.

2011 saw two significant milestones for both aviation safety and aviation security. The security milestone was of course the tenth anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. The past decade has brought on a host of significant changes in attitudes about what is acceptable when it comes to risks, and the steps taken to reduce or eliminate those risks when it comes to sabotage, hijackings, and other intentional threats to the air transportation system. Since 9/11, there have been two bombing attempts, both unsuccessful, involving US airliners, the December 2001 shoe bomber event involving Richard Reid, and the 2009 underwear bomber event involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

The other, less publicized milestone was the tenth anniversary of the last US crash involving a large passenger jet, the November 11, 2001 crash of an American Airlines A300 in New York. In the 10-year span since that A300 crash, there have been five fatal US passenger airliner crashes involving smaller aircraft, four turboprop aircraft, and a regional jet.

While there have been no fatal crashes involving large passenger jets in the last 10 years, there have been two fatal crashes involving large US cargo jets, a UPS 747 in Dubai in 2010 and a FedEx MD11 in Japan in 2009.'s primary focus is on plane crashes that kill passengers on large airliners, but this annual list of fatal and signifiant crashes includes fatal crashes of smaller airliners, airliner crashes without fatalities, and non-airline events. Among the 23 events from 2011, some of the more noteworthy included the following:
  • The first fatal crash of a large jet airliner in Canada in almost 13 years.
  • The sixth fatal crash of a wide-bodied cargo jet airliner in the last three years (three 747s and three MD11s since 2008)
  • Three fatal crashes with a sole survivor.
  • There were 19 events that involved passenger fatalities and there were no passenger survivors in eight of these events.
Fatal Airline Events in 2011
There were 12 events in 2011 that led to airline passengers fatalities, with half involving jet transports. The full list of fatal events is below:
  1. 1 January 2011; Kogalymavia (also known as Kolavia); Tu154M; RA-85588; flight 348; Surgut, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Surgut to Moscow, Russia. The aircraft caught fire while the aircraft was taxiing toward the runway. All eight crew members survived, and three of the 126 passengers were killed.
    Other Russian airliner crashes

  2. 9 January 2011; Iran Air 727-200; Flight 277; Urmia, Iran:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Tehran to Urmia, Iran when it crashed near the destination airport.
    Ten of the 11 crew members and 67 of the 94 passengers were killed.
    Other crashes involving Iran Air

  3. 10 February 2011; Manx2 Swearingen Metro III; Flight 7100; Cork, Ireland:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Belfast, Northern Ireland to Cork, Ireland when it crashed near the destination airport. There were low visibility conditions at the time of the crash. On the crew's third landing attempt, the aircraft crashed adjacent to a taxiway, came to rest upside down, and caught fire. Both crew members and four of the ten passengers were killed.

  4. 18 May 2011; Sol Líneas Aéreas Saab 340A; LV-CEJ; Flight 5428; near Prahuaniyeu, Argentina: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Neuquén near the Andes to Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina when it crashed about 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of the town of Los Menucos. The last contact with the aircraft occurred about 40 minutes after taking off from Neuquén. All three crew members and 19 passengers, including one child, were killed.
    Saab 340 plane crashes

  5. 20 June 2011; RusAir; Tu134A; RA-65691; flight 7R-243; Petrozavodsk, Russia: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Moscow (Domodedovo)to Petrozavodsk, Russia. The aircraft crashed on a roadway about one kilometer from the destination airport. Eight of the nine crew members and 39 of the 43 passengers were killed.
    Crash details at
    Russian plane crashes

  6. 8 July 2011; Hewa Bora Airways 727; 9Q-COP; flight 952, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo):

    The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Kinshasa to Kisangani, DR Congo when it crashed after missing the runway during a landing attempt. The aircraft came to rest about 300 meters from the runway. At the time, there was heavy rain, limited visibility, and thunderstorms in the area. According to a report about the crash in the Aviation Herald, the runway had no published instrument landing procedures. The aircraft was destroyed in the crash. Five of the seven crew members, and 72 of the 108 passengers were killed.
    Fatal 727 plane crashes

  7. 20 August 2011; First Air; 737-200; flight 6560; Resolute Bay, Canada: The aircraft (C-GNWN) was on a chartered domestic Canadian flight from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to to Resolute Bay in Nunavut Territory. The aircraft crashed near the runway during a landing attempt and broke up.

    All four crew members and eight of the 11 passengers were killed. Among the three survivors was a seven-year-old girl. However, her six-year-old sister was killed in the crash.

    Prior to this fatal crash, the airline had two prior serious, though nonfatal, incidents involving of their 737 fleet. In 2001, a First Air 737 landed short of the runway Yellowknife and was seriously damaged. While the aircraft was too damaged to be repaired, none of the 98 passengers or six crew members were injured. In a 2004 landing incident in Edmonton, Alberta, the aircraft landed to the side of the runway and struck a number of lights and a sign before the crew was able to come to a stop on the runway. This aircraft returned to service, and was the same one involved in the fatal Resolute Bay crash.

  8. 6 September 2011; Aerocon; Metro III; CP-2548; flight 238; near Trinidad, Colombia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Santa Cruz to Trinidad, Colombia, and crashed in the jungle during the approach to Trinidad. The crew was reportedly executing a non-precision approach. Both crew members and six of the seven passengers were killed. The sole survivor was found about a day after the crash.

  9. 7 September 2011; Yak Service Yak-42D; RA-42434; Yaroslavl, Russia: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled international flight from Yaroslavl, Russia to Minsk, Belarus when it crashed shortly after taking off from Yaroslavl Airport. The aircraft apparently ran off the runway took off several hundred meters beyond the end of the runway. After lifting off, the aircraft struck a radio mast about 450 meters from the end of the runway, and crashed at the edge of the Volga River. Seven of the eight crew members, and all 37 passengers were killed. Among the passengers were the coaching staff and players of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl professional hockey team. The team included several former NHL players as well as several members of the Russian national hockey team.

    This was the 23rd sole survivor airline crash since 1970, three of which occurred in 2011.
    Wikipedia entry on this crash
    Fatal crashes of airlines of the former Soviet Union
    Sole survivor plane crashes

  10. 20 September 2011; SALSA d'Haiti (Services Aeriens Latinosamericains, S.A. d'Haiti); Beech 99A; HH-APA; ;flight 112; Lorie, Haiti: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien, Haiti, and crashed in a field near Lorie, Haiti, There was heavy rain in the area at the time of the crash. Both crew members and the single passenger were killed.

  11. 25 September 2011; Buddha Air Beechcraft 1900D; 9N-AEK; near near Kotdanda, Nepal:
    The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic sightseeing flight which was to start and end at Kathmandu, Nepal. The aircraft crashed during approach at the end of the flight and the crash location was several miles short of the runway. All three crew members and 16 passengers were killed.

  12. 13 October 2011; Airlines PNG Dash 8; P2-MCJ; Flight 1600; near Madang, Papua New Guinea: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Lae to Madang, Papua New Guinea, and crashed into a dense forest about 20 km south of Madang while on approach. All three crew members survived but 28 of the 29 passengers were killed. This is the second fatal passenger flight involving this airline. On 11 August 2009, both crew members and all 11 passengers were killed in the when a Twin Otter Airlines PNG aircraft crashed into a mountain near Kokoda Airport.

Other Significant Events
The following events included several that killed passengers, but did not could in the previous list either because they involved aircraft that are not used in airline service in North America or western Europe or because they did not fit other requirements for inclusion in the fatal airline events list. Other crashes that did not involve airline aircraft were included because they were noteworthy in other ways.
  • 14 February 2011; Central American Airways; Let 410; HR-AUQ; near Cerro de Hula, Honduras: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from San Pedro Sula to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and crashed into a forest while en route to its destination. Both crew members and all 12 passengers were killed.

  • 1 April 2011; Southwest Airlines 737-300; flight 812; near Yuma, AZ: The airline was on a scheduled flight from Phoenix, AZ to Sacramento, CA, when it experienced a rapid loss of cabin pressure after a rupture developed in the upper fuselage about 18 minutes after takeoff when the aircraft was climbing through 34,000 feet. After the loss of cabin pressure, the crew was able to divert to Yuma, AZ without further incident. There were no serious injuries among the 117 passengers and five crew members on board. The rupture was about five feet long and about a foot wide.
    The NTSB launched a major investigation of this event, and additional details about this investigation are available at Because no passengers were killed, this event was not counted as a fatal event as defined by
    Wikipedia entry on this event
    Other Southwest Airlines Events

    Dr. Curtis Interview on BBC's The World Today

    Audio: MP3 | Video: YouTube

  • 4 April 2011; Georgian Airways Canadair CRJ-100; 4L-GAE; flight 834; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DNC): The aircraft was on a domestic unscheduled flight from Kisangani to N'Djili airport in Kinshasa, and was attempting an instrument approach to runway 24 around 14:00L during heavy rain and under low visibility conditions. The aircraft missed the runway, broke up, and caught fire. , and crashed into a forest while en route to its destination. All four crew members and 28 of the 29 passengers were killed.

    At the time of the crash, the airplane operated on behalf of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). Because this was not a regular airline flight, this crash was not counted as a fatal event as defined by This was also one of those rare airliner crashes with a sole survivor.
    CRJ plane crashes

  • 7 May 2011; Merpati Nusantara Airlines Xian MA60; PK-MZK; near Kaimana, Indonesia: The aircraft was on a domestic scheduled flight from Sorong to Kaimana, Indonesia, and crashed into the sea about 600 meters short of the runway. The aircraft broke up and sank, and all 19 passengers and six crew members were killed.
    Xian MA60 background information

  • 11 July 2011; Angara Airlines Antonov 24RV; RA-47302; flight 5007; near Strezhevoy, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Tomsk to Surgut, Russia, and the crew executed an emergency landing in the Ob River near the town of Strezhevoy, Russia. The crew reported an engine fire while en route, about 90 minutes after takeoff. All four crew members survived, but six of the 33 passengers were killed.

  • 13 July 2011; NOAR Linhas Aéreas; Let 410; PR-NOB; ;flight NRA-4896; Recife, Brazil: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Recife to Natal, Brazil, and crashed in a populated area about one minute after takeoff, narrowly missing several buildings. The aircraft was destroyed by the impact and post crash fire. Both crew members and all 14 passengers were killed.

  • 28 July 2011; Asiana Airlines; 747-400F; HL7604; flight 991; near Jeju, South Korea: The aircraft was on an international cargo flight from Seoul, South Korea, to Shanghai, China. About an hour after takeoff, the crew reported on onboard fire and diverted toward Jeju, South Korea. Both pilots were killed in the crash.

  • 29 September 2011; Nusantara Buana Air CASA-212; PK-TLF; near Bohorok, Indonesia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Medan to Kutacane, Indonesia. Contact was lost with the aircraft a few minutes after departure, and had crashed into a forest while en route. All four crew members and 14 passengers were killed.

  • 1 November 2011; LOT 767-300; SP-LPC; flight 16; Warsaw, Poland: The aircraft was on scheduled international flight from Newark, NJ to Warsaw, a flight that was uneventful until shortly before landing when the crew was unable to lower the landing gear. The crew continued to fly and burn off fuel for about 90 minutes, giving emergency crews time to foam the runway, and allowing the authorities to dispatch a pair of F-16s to inspect the LOT aircraft. The crew executed a successful gear up landing that resulted in no injuries among the 220 passengers and 11 crew members.
    More information, including videos

  • 17 November 2011; Piper Cherokee; N7746W; near Perryville, AR: Oklahoma State University (OSU) women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna, the pilot, and one other passenger were killed in a crash that took place about 40 miles northwest of Little Rock, AR. The coaches were heading to Little Rock on a recruiting trip at the time of the crash. While the aircraft was privately owned, the plane's pilot was a certified commercial pilot. Early reports indicate that the pilot, a former Oklahoma state senator, was an OSU alumnus and donor, but had not previously flown OSU coaches prior to the accident flight.

    This is not the first fatal crash involving OSU athletics. On 27 January 2001, two OSU basketball players, an OSU basketball executive and five staffers and broadcasters associated with the program were killed when their ; Beechcraft King Air crashed shortly after takeoff from the Jefferson County airport near Denver, CO. The two crew members were also killed. The chartered aircraft was bound for Stillwater, Oklahoma when it took off during snowy conditions.

    After the 2001 crash, OSU changed their travel policies for student athletes, including rules requiring two pilots to be on board for all OSU travel involving student athletes and aircraft to be powered by two or more turbine engines. However, these policy changes did not apply to recruiting trips involving only coaches.

  • 28 December 2011; Kyrgyzstan Airlines Tu134A; EX-020; flight 16; Osh, Kyrgyzstan: The aircraft was on scheduled domestic flight from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The airplane reportedly landed hard rolled over, broke up, and caught fire. The right wing was completely separated from the aircraft, and the aircraft came to rest inverted, but all of the occupants were able to escape. There were no fatalities among the 95 passengers and six crew members, but there were at least 31 injuries. At the time of the crash, airport conditions were foggy with reduced visibility.
    More information, including photos

Fatal and serious events by year
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002,2003
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Bonuses
Be sure to check out the latest free downloads from, including the new book, Baggage and Security Guide, the newly revised Parenting and the Internet, and The Podcasting Manual. These books are available as PDF files, MOBI files for your Kindle, or EPUB files for your iPad.

Also available is the Fear of Flying Resource Guide, with an overview of the symptoms of fear of flying, as well as recommended resources for managing or eliminating these fears.

28 December 2011

No deaths in Kyrgyzstan jet crash

28 December 2011; Kyrgyzstan Airlines Tu134A; EX-020; flight 16; Osh, Kyrgyzstan: The aircraft was on scheduled domestic flight from Bishkek to Osh, Kyrgyzstan. The airplane reportedly landed hard rolled over, broke up, and caught fire. The right wing was completely separated from the aircraft, and the aircraft came to rest inverted, but all of the occupants were able to escape. There were no fatalities among the 95 passengers and six crew members, but there were at least 31 injuries. At the time of the crash, airport conditions were foggy with reduced visibility.

23 December 2011

Holiday Air Travel Advice 2011

Once again, the holidays mark one of the busier travel times of the year, with much of it personal travel as family and friends take to the skies. As with every holiday season, many of the same issues come up again and again, but in the past few months has added a number of resources to help you deal with some of the uncertainty and stress.

The two biggest changes include the recent release of the Baggage and Security Guide, with dozens of articles on dealing with security, baggage, unaccompanied children, and other concerns. It is free and available as a PDF download, or as a MOBI or EPUB file that you can read in your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.

For those who are are a bit anxious about flying, has teamed up with the SOAR fear of flying organization to offer advice, information, and other resources for fearful flyers. Download's fear of flying resources guide for more information.

Much of the advice has for passengers traveling this time of year hasn't changed all that much, but below we have included some of the issues that many passengers are likely to face, from missed connections and lost baggage to having some of your carry on items confiscated by airport security. Please review the following pieces of advice, you may find something that will help you avoid problems, or help you deal with them should they happen to you.

Get to the Airport Early
Assume that getting to the airport, parking, going through check in, and going through security lines will take longer than usual. Arrive early, and do what you can to avoid delays. If you are only taking carry-on bags, print out your boarding pass before getting to the airport and go straight to the security gate.

Keep Track of Any Flight Changes
A day or two before your trip, check with your airline to see if your flight's schedule has changed. If you can, sign up for phone, email, or text messaging alerts from your airline to find out about any last minute changes to your schedule. Keep your cell phone with you and have the airline's customer service or reservations number handy just in case you run into problems and have to call the airline directly.


In the US, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires travelers over the age of 18 to have some sort of photo identification issued by a state, local, or national government agency. This would include driver's licenses, passports, and military ID cards but would not include student ID cards or employee ID badges.

If you do not have these kinds of IDs, you may be able to present alternative documentation to the TSA. Non-US/Canadian citizens are not required to carry their passports if they have documents issued by the U.S. government such as Permanent Resident Cards. Those who do not should carry their passports for domestic US travel.

For more identification advice, including more details on IDs the TSA finds acceptable, and what to do if you can't find your ID, download the Baggage and Security Guide.

Depending on the level of security in place when you are at the airport, the security agents may insist on searching every bag, package, and suitcase. Be prepared by arriving at the airport at least a half hour earlier than usual. One recent change in TSA is good news for many parents. Children under 12 are no longer required to remove their shoes to go through the screening area.

Flying with Holiday Food
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, traveling with food is fairly common. You should be aware that some food items are banned from carry on baggage because they contain liquids or gels. While you can carry cakes, pastries, and pies with you in your carry on bag, but the following should either be in checked baggage or left at home:

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gravy
  • Jams, jellies, and syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer
  • Gift baskets with one or more of the above items

Note on gels and liquids: There are exceptions for small amounts of gels, liquids, and aerosols, and more generous exceptions for medically related items, but for most items in containers over 3.4 oz. (100 ml), if you can pour it, pump it, squeeze it, spread it, smear it, spray it, or or spill it, you probably can't carry it in your carry on. Snow globes of any size are also not allowed in your carry on. Visit to find out what you are not allowed to take on an airplane.

Note on fruit cakes: In virtually all cases, fruit cakes (even those made with loving care by close relatives) should be dealt with long before you get to the airport. Some prefer giving them away, but discreetly tossing them out when no one is looking is often the preferred method.

Duty Free Items
If you are traveling to or from the US, you should make sure that you don't run into problems with duty free liquids like alcohol, perfume, and cosmetics. provides detailed advice on how to deal with these kinds of duty free items.

If you carry gifts, either in checked or carry-on baggage, remember that the TSA has to be able to inspect any package and may have to unwrap your gift to do so. You can partially unwrap them for easier access, ship wrapped gifts ahead of time, or wait until you arrive at your destination to wrap them.

Baggage Issues
There are three baggage issues that become important during the holidays. The first is that most US airlines are charging you for every checked bag, so using carry-ons only will save you some money. Second, if you do check one or more bags, be prepared to deal with a lost, stolen, or damaged bag. That means if it is valuable to you and you can't deal with having it lost or stolen, keep it with you on your person or in your carry-on bag. That includes things like money, jewelry, medicine, passports, eyeglasses, and laptop computers.

The third potential problem is that if there is no space in the overhead bins, you may be forced to have your carry-on bag checked. If this happens, be prepared to take out any valuables from your carry on before a cabin crew member or a gate agent takes it away.

Unaccompanied Children
If you have a child who will be traveling alone, you should be aware of your airline's specific rules on this kind of travel. has detailed advice on travel by unaccompanied children, including having the child carry a copy of all contact information and if the child is old enough, a working cell phone. Brent, a flight attendant with a major US airline, wrote to and offered the following additional advice:

I liked that you suggest having the unaccompanied minor carry a copy of all contact information. One issue I run into is illegible handwriting on the form we use that stays with the child. This form is filled out by hand by the guardian of the child when they present the unaccompanied minor for the flight.

Although the agent who accepts the child and inputs the information in to the computer should check for legibility, this is often not done. Flight attendants don't have access to any information on the company's computer system while on board the aircraft, so we must try to make out poor hand writing in the event we must contact the adult listed. It seems like a minor issue. But when you are on board an aircraft we must be able to effectively utilize the few resources we have.

Also, as you mentioned, cell phones for unaccompanied minors are a very good idea. I don't have any problem contacting an adult for an unaccompanied minor from my cell phone in the event of a delay. However, this might be more than some flight attendants are willing to do. It also opens the flight attendant up to sharing personal phone contact information with a stranger that some flight attendants might not be comfortable with that.

A child with a properly charged cell phone and contact information can be very helpful. This often helps to calm the nerves of the child's parent or guardian and the child because of the separation. A quick chat on the phone with a responsible adult representative of the airline who is on board the child's flight can make all the difference when it comes to peace of mind. I have heard the relief in many parents and grandparents voices.

General Baggage Issues
Carry-on Bag Issues
Travel by Unaccompanied Children
Top 10 Tips for Children Traveling Alone
What You Are Not Allowed to Take on an Airplane. Baggage and Security Guide's fear of flying resources guide

Photos: Eileen Mansoorian, TSA

11 December 2011

TSA officer in alleged sexual assault while in uniform

On November 20, 2011, Harold Glenn Rodman, a 52-year-old TSA employee who lives in Manassas, Virginia, was arrested and later charged with several felonies, including three sexual assault related charges (aggravated sexual battery, object sexual penetration, and forcible sodomy) and one kidnapping related charge (abduction with intent to defile). Details on these charges, which are based on a number of records from the Prince William County (Virginia) General District Court and the Prince William County (Virginia) Police Department, are available at

According to the Prince William County Police Department and several media reports, On November 20, 2011, at 3:25 am, police responded to a reported sexual assault of a 37-year-old woman in Manassas, Virginia. The victim and a friend were in a vehicle when they were allegedly approached by an unknown man, later identified as Rodman. The victim was allegedly assaulted after she stepped out of the car to talk with the suspect. The man was allegedly wearing a TSA uniform and displayed a badge before sexually assaulting the victim. Rodman allegedly fled the scene on foot, but was later arrested while coming out of his residence.

News report of the assault

These were serious charges, especially disturbing because it involves an alleged abuse of authority by an off-duty TSA security officer. The immediate TSA response indicated that the organization was addressing this recent situation appropriately. According to a TSA official, “This individual was immediately removed from security operations pending an investigation. The Privacy Act precludes the agency from disclosing additional information regarding personnel actions.” The official said that “TSA holds its personnel to the highest professional and ethical standards, and investigates all allegations of misconduct. TSA is working closely with local law enforcement on this matter...the disturbing allegations against this individual in no way reflect the work of the more than 50,000 security officers who every day ensure the security of the traveling public.”

This TSA response deals with the immediate situation with the one accused employee, but it does not address several key questions about what processes the TSA may have in place to prevent people with previous criminal convictions from entering the TSA workforce. In the case of the accused TSA employee Harold Rodman, his name did not come up in a search (conducted December 11, 2011) of either the Virginia State Police database of convicted sex offenders, or the US Department of Justice national database of sex offenders. However, for the other 50,000 TSA security officers, the Rodman situation brings up an issue previously discussed in a November 2010 AirSafeNews article, which asked whether the TSA was allowing convicted rapists to perform pat-down searches of airline passengers.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the parent organization of the TSA, hinted that potential employees with serious criminal convictions may have made it through TSA's employee screening process. In 2004, the DHS released a report that specified 28 kinds of felony convictions that would have disqualified an applicant for a TSA screener position, including rapes or crimes involving aggravated sexual abuse, but only if those convictions had occurred in the previous 10 years. The report implied that a person convicted of rape, attempted rape, child molestation, or similar crimes may not be required to report such convictions during their background check if those convictions were more than 10 years old, or if the convictions were less serious than a felony.

Are there sexual predators at the TSA?
The key issue, then and now, was whether the current TSA screening process would prevent the hiring of anyone who has been found guilty of any crime that involves rape or some similar criminal act, or if already an employee, if that employee would be kept away from direct contact with passengers. Most passengers may want to know if the TSA officer who could be conducting an intimate pat-down search or who may have access to images from advanced screening devices has a record of inappropriate, abusive, or illegal sexual conduct. The TSA's public statements on the screening process for TSA's employees don't indicate if this is something that is done for all employees. Also, the TSA doesn't make it clear what kind of conduct or convictions would either keep someone from being hired or would prevent them from having personal contact with passengers after they have been hired.

Is the TSA protecting the public from predators?
If the TSA could answer the following questions, questions taken directly from the November 2010 article, it would go a long way toward reducing the risk the public would face from sexual assault by TSA employees:
  • Are there any current TSA employees who are convicted sex offenders (either for a felony or lesser crime, either as an adult or juvenile), even if the conviction occurred more than 10 years before joining TSA?

  • If the answer to the first question is yes, are any of these employees acting as security screeners who have direct physical contact with the flying public?

  • If the answer to the first question is no, have all TSA employees, as part of their background check, been asked if they have been convicted of rape or some other sexually based crime, whether it were a felony or lesser crime, either as an adult or as a juvenile, even if the conviction occurred more than 10 years before joining TSA?

  • If the first question can't be answered for a TSA employee because of inadequate information, would this employee be restricted from working in a position that involves direct physical contact with the flying public?

  • Are TSA security screeners who are convicted of rape or another sexually based crime, no matter how minor, immediately removed from any position where they may have physical contact with the traveling public?
Share your ideas on making TSA better
Any screening process, no matter how rigorous, is perfect. Any organization as large as the TSA will have a few people who do not measure up to a reasonable standard of competence or excellence. However, that is no excuse for the current situation where the average passenger is unsure if the person wearing the uniform can be trusted. While the questions listed above are a good start, there is room for improvement. Please feel free to add your suggestions as to how this current TSA situation should be addressed.

Early responses
  • Full Federal & State record searches back to when the applicant reached majority. No 'sealed records' applicants need apply. Zero tolerance for any type of assault. I want to be safe, not assaulted. Slightly off-topic-yet-related... Perhaps the TSA should begin their focus on passengers as they arrive for booking / enter the terminal very similar to El-Al's approach. Look for someone acting suspicious instead of reacting to an out-of-date threat.

  • (Do) The same thing they do for convicted drug dealers.

  • (Do) Nothing, it's never been a problem.

  • What keeps someone from committing the first sexual assault ever as a TSA employee, just because someone does not have a record doesn't mean that some day they wont be arrested for sexual assault, it is tough if not impossible to screne.

  • The TSA should be closed and the security should be turned back over to the airlines.

  • Disband. If having naked pictures taken of you and/or being groped by a stranger aren't violations of the "unreasonable search and seizure" ban in the U.S. Constitution, then what is?!?!?!?!