"Hijack-Proof" Plane Under Development

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After they’ve beaten the explosives detectors, scammed the baggage scanners, avoided the ever-vigilant scrutiny of security screeners and knocked down the bulletproof door to the cockpit, terrorists of the future might face an even more daunting adversary -- the plane itself. European scientists began working on a $35 million project in July to see if they can’t make the last line of defense against airborne terror the aircraft. "You never reach zero level of threat, no risk, but if you equip planes with on-board electronics, it will make them very difficult to hijack," Daniel Gaultier, coordinator of the Security of Aircraft in the Future European Environment (SAFEE) project, told the Evening Standard.

The project, which is being funded by several European countries, aims to give aircraft the smarts to thwart a would-be hijacker by, for instance, refusing to fly into a large building. Sophisticated biometrics appear to be the heart of the system and would be able to spot terrorists before they act, detect whether a pilot was "under duress" while opening the cockpit door and ensure that everyone on board is who they say they are.