THE SKY PIRATES by James A. Arey


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When a hijacker seizes the wings of man those friendly skies suddenly become full of unnatural turbulence, as James Arey, former UPI aviation correspondent and Pan Am employee, reports here in what is the most complete overview of the ""skyjacking"" phenomenon yet published. Between 1930 and 1961 (the first American incident) there were only about thirty rip-offs in the sky (including the sensational Rudolf Hess flight to Scotland) but by 1969 ""Skyjacking was turning out to be as easy as thumbing a ride."" Arey takes a down-to-earth gander at the epidemic problem, reviewing some of the most notable cases (Arthur Barkley who hated the IRS; hapless Raffaele Minichiello who went to Rome for love) and analyzes the hijacker personality (most are ""petty little criminals, penny-ante people,"" losers, misfits -- jabbing ""a gun into a stewardess fulfills a certain need for an uncertain type of person""; more recently revolutionaries who use skyjacking as a form of political protest). He also discusses sundry proposals for ending the rash of sky piracies: use of sky marshalls and passenger screening systems which have had limited success; others more farfetched like putting all aboard in pajama-like smocks which only the stews could unzip, shooting the hijacker with a tranquilizing dart gun, slipping him a Mickey Finn, sending him bye-bye via strategically located trapdoors -- the list is endless. The new anti-skyjack treaty drafted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (endorsed by President Nixon) offers the best long-term solution, Arey suggests, and he includes its provisions in the text. Smooth ride all the way.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Scribners