Well it looks like there may no longer be a need to be paranoid anymore. On top of the statistical backbone of your chances of dying in a hijacked plane, or even a plane crash for that matter (you are 500 times more likely to die in a car wreck) - Along comes science and technology to save us again.

New autopilot will make another 9/11 impossible

A hijack-proof piloting system for airliners is being developed to prevent terrorists repeating the 9/11 outrages.

The mechanism is designed to make it impossible to crash the aircraft into air or land targets - and enable the plane to be flown by remote control from the ground in the event of an emergency.

Scientists at aircraft giant Boeing are testing the tamper-proof autopilot system which uses state-of-the-art computer and satellite technology.

It will be activated by the pilot flicking a simple switch or by pressure sensors fitted to the cockpit door that will respond to any excessive force as terrorists try to break into the flight deck.

Once triggered, no one on board will be able to deactivate the system. Currently, all autopilots are manually switched on and off at the discretion of pilots.

The so-called 'uninterruptible autopilot system' - patented secretly by Boeing in the US last week - will connect ground controllers and security services with the aircraft using radio waves and global satellite positioning systems.

After it has been activated, the aircraft will be capable of remote digital control from the ground, enabling operators to fly it like a sophisticated model plane, manoeuvring it vertically and laterally.

So you may still be killed in a plane bomb brought on board (very unlikely). But also bear this in mind. There are more people who take public transportation in America than there are who fly on planes. So if a terrorist wanted to create maximum effect, he would probably attack the public there.

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