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April 15, 2013 5:39 AM   Subscribe

" A 14-year-old ninth grader with no history of legal trouble, McKee stole his father’s .22-caliber revolver and headed for the Tampa airport. Once there, he pulled the gun on a National ticket agent and said, “I’m hijacking you and the plane, let’s go.” Once he had been escorted to the waiting Boeing 727, he demanded passage to Sweden. When advised that the plane didn’t have the range necessary to cross the Atlantic, however, McKee lost his focus and became easily manipulated. The captain first convinced the teen to release all of the passengers, then tricked him into stepping out of the plane to continue the negotiations. Once he unwisely exited the jet, McKee was overpowered by waiting security officers." -- Stories and news items from the days when airplane hijackings were still relatively innocent affairs, before 9/11 changed everything, on the skyjacker of the day Tumblr.
posted by MartinWisse (18 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Stupid Al Queda, ruining everything.
posted by Artw at 5:42 AM on April 15, 2013 [4 favorites]


So that was how it worked in 1972
posted by Blasdelb at 5:46 AM on April 15, 2013


I can remember being seriously instructed to not make any jokes about bombs at the airport, in the early 70s. This was the farthest thought from my mind; I just wanted my wings.

I was robbed - they went to the plastic ones just at that time
posted by thelonius at 5:51 AM on April 15, 2013


Even as late as the mid 90s, airliner bombings were treated as relatively innocent affairs, with this explosion "only" causing one death, and therefore meaning there was no need for security precautions about taking liquids on planes for another 12 years after that. Despite the fact that had the bomb been correctly placed, the plane would have been at high risk of a mid-air breakup.
posted by ambrosen at 5:58 AM on April 15, 2013


Considering this site is an ad for an upcoming book or something, I was expecting it to be a lot less than it is. The links to relevant newspaper articles really make it interesting and a huge timesink.
posted by item at 5:59 AM on April 15, 2013


I remember Pre-9/11 thinking US airport security was ridiculously slack compared with Europe, then immediately post 9/11 airports became weird paramilitary zones and then since then it's been ridiculously... well, "tight" is perhaps the wrong word, but they've certainly wanted to let you know they are doing something. I guess it's a balance that is hard to get right.
posted by Artw at 6:03 AM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Artw, I went through Amsterdam airport in 1997, and it was really intimidating....guys with Uzis, multiple checkpoints for ID and tickets and passports.

A few years later, back in the US, I experienced our version of how to do this. I remember the TSA guy in Boston, the 2nd or 3rd time I went through the system, was incredibly suspicious of this keychain flashlight I had, that lights up when you squeeze it. I finally told him, look, I'm glad to surrender that, if it's a problem item, and he grudgingly returned it. Meanwhile, a pilot in the smoking lounge at Charlotte advised me that I could carry a lighter in my pocket as I went through security, with no worries about it being detected, and he was right.
posted by thelonius at 6:24 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Considering this site is an ad for an upcoming book or something, I was expecting it to be a lot less than it is

I follow the author on Twitter and my impression is this is a labor of love (or that he got addicted to the idea while writing the book and will now be doing book readings to truly captive audiences).
posted by yerfatma at 6:37 AM on April 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


"President Castro, we have received word of another hijacked plane landing here."

"Another one? What are we supposed to do with all these planes? And then they want fuel to get back home, which of course they never pay for. Eh, I don't know... give them some food and beer I suppose, and then send them on their way."
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:52 AM on April 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Artw, I went through Amsterdam airport in 1997, and it was really intimidating....guys with Uzis, multiple checkpoints for ID and tickets and passports.

That's funny, I haven't thought about this in a while, but I used to travel to Greece quite a bit pre-9/11. Back in the old airport, they had soldiers with Uzis there too, and a tank parked outside for good measure.
posted by phaedon at 7:25 AM on April 15, 2013


Back in the old airport, they had soldiers with Uzis there too, and a tank parked outside for good measure.

You can take the country out of the dictatorship...
posted by jaduncan at 7:41 AM on April 15, 2013


Brendan, the author, is a friend and yes, he's quite passionate about his subjects (check out Now the Hell Will Start, also excellent). Thanks for the post!
posted by cyndigo at 9:51 AM on April 15, 2013


Take this boat to Bolivia, NOW!
- "Hijacker" a film by Louis CK
posted by chambers at 10:16 AM on April 15, 2013


Entebbe was a relatively innocent affair??!
posted by Wordwoman at 10:19 AM on April 15, 2013


I've been all prepared to explain to the yung'uns how you made a phone call back in the days of the dial, but I never expected to have to explain just how differently an airplane highjacking used to go.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:09 AM on April 15, 2013


I know what the intention is, but calling pre-9/11 hijackings "relatively innocent affairs" reminds me of an article I read some time ago wherein the author suggested that, because pickpockets weren't constantly robbing people on the subway, NYC had lost some of its gritty charm. Sure, on some abstract level, there might be a bit of romance involved. But the reality is not romantic at all.
posted by asnider at 1:53 PM on April 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, you know, there was this assumption that the hijackers wanted something and would negotatiate and wouldn't just fly the plane into the side of a building. That's gone now, forever.
posted by Artw at 1:57 PM on April 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


I remember the guards carrying carbines around Heathrow (i.e., London) back in the late 1980s. It's weird, but I saw fewer weapons in Tel Aviv.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:38 PM on April 15, 2013


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