10-2-11. AIRCRAFT BOMB THREATS

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  • 10-2-11. AIRCRAFT BOMB THREATS

    1. When information is received from any source that a bomb has been placed on, in, or near an aircraft for the purpose of damaging or destroying such aircraft, notify your supervisor or the facility air traffic manager. If the threat is general in nature, handle it as a “Suspicious Activity.” When the threat is targeted against a specific aircraft and you are in contact with the suspect aircraft, take the following actions as appropriate:
      • REFERENCE
      • FAAO JO 7610.4, Chapter 7, Hijacked/Suspicious Aircraft Reporting and Procedures.
      1. Advise the pilot of the threat.
      2. Inform the pilot that technical assistance can be obtained from an FAA aviation explosives expert.

        NOTE: An FAA aviation explosive expert is on call at all times and may be contacted by calling the FAA Operations Center, Washington, DC, Area Code 202-267-3333, ETN 521-0111, or DSN 851-3750. Technical advice can be relayed to assist civil or military air crews in their search for a bomb and in determining what precautionary action to take if one is found.

      3. Ask the pilot if he/she desires to climb or descend to an altitude that would equalize or reduce the outside air pressure/existing cabin air pressure differential. Issue or relay an appropriate clearance considering MEA, MOCA, MRA, and weather.

        NOTE: Equalizing existing cabin air pressure with outside air pressure is a key step which the pilot may wish to take to minimize the damage potential of a bomb.

      4. Handle the aircraft as an emergency and/or provide the most expeditious handling possible with respect to the safety of other aircraft, ground facilities, and personnel.

        NOTE: Emergency handling is discretionary and should be based on the situation. With certain types of threats, plans may call for a low-key action or response.

      5. Issue or relay clearances to a new destination if requested.
      6. When a pilot requests technical assistance or if it is apparent that a pilot may need such assistance, do NOT suggest what actions the pilot should take concerning a bomb, but obtain the following information and notify your supervisor who will contact the FAA aviation explosives expert:

        NOTE: This information is needed by the FAA aviation explosives expert so that he/she can assess the situation and make immediate recommendations to the pilot. The aviation explosives expert may not be familiar with all military aircraft configurations but he/she can offer technical assistance which would be beneficial to the pilot.

        1. (a) Type, series, and model of the aircraft.
        2. (b) Precise location/description of the bomb device if known.
        3. (c) Other details which may be pertinent.

        NOTE: The following details may be of significance if known, but it is not intended that the pilot should disturb a suspected bomb/bomb container to ascertain the information: The altitude or time set for the bomb to explode, type of detonating action (barometric, time, anti-handling, remote radio transmitter), power source (battery, electrical, mechanical), type of initiator (blasting cap, flash bulb, chemical), and the type of explosive/incendiary charge (dynamite, black powder, chemical).

    2. When a bomb threat involves an aircraft on the ground and you are in contact with the suspect aircraft, take the following actions in addition to those discussed in the preceding paragraphs which may be appropriate:
      1. If the aircraft is at an airport where tower control or FSS advisory service is not available, or if the pilot ignores the threat at any airport, recommend that takeoff be delayed until the pilot or aircraft operator establishes that a bomb is not aboard in accordance with 14 CFR Part 121. If the pilot insists on taking off and in your opinion the operation will not adversely affect other traffic, issue or relay an ATC clearance.
      2. Advise the aircraft to remain as far away from other aircraft and facilities as possible, to clear the runway, if appropriate, and to taxi to an isolated or designated search area. When it is impractical or if the pilot takes an alternative action; e.g., parking and off-loading immediately, advise other aircraft to remain clear of the suspect aircraft by at least 100 yards if able.

        NOTE: Passenger deplaning may be of paramount importance and must be considered before the aircraft is parked or moved away from service areas. The decision to use ramp facilities rests with the pilot, aircraft operator/airport manager.

    3. If you are unable to inform the suspect aircraft of a bomb threat or if you lose contact with the aircraft, advise your supervisor and relay pertinent details to other sectors or facilities as deemed necessary.
    4. When a pilot reports the discovery of a bomb or suspected bomb on an aircraft which is airborne or on the ground, determine the pilot’s intentions and comply with his/her requests in so far as possible. Take all of the actions discussed in the preceding paragraphs which may be appropriate under the existing circumstances.
    5. The handling of aircraft when a hijacker has or is suspected of having a bomb requires special considerations. Be responsive to the pilot’s requests and notify supervisory personnel. Apply hijacking procedures and offer assistance to the pilot according to the preceding paragraphs, if needed.
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