battery fires

May 19, 2017

Trump’s advisors may be backing off cabin battery ban extensions

The lucky country may just fly under the radar of politically driven terrorism hysterics once more

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

BBC illustration of the risks of the Trump requirement of under floor carriage of pax devices

Subtlety may not rate highly in the Trump White house, but it seems it is trying to back away from triggering global bans on privately owned laptops and tablet devices in the hands of passengers in the cabins of airliners flying into the US.

For example, yesterday AusBT highlighted this encouraging story by the BBC, which coincidentally dropped any official reference to apparent lying by President Trump about specific threats that ISIS was planning dastardly deeds with miniature passenger carried electronic devices carrying small quantities of explosives.

That desirable analysis which might hopefully prove correct has however been contradicted by more recent US reports from Washington DC including from the generally speaking somewhat less accurate CNBC website.

Who are we to believe? The consistent clues in both reports that a global ban might be averted by an outbreak of common sense in the Trump administration start with a studied lack of urgency that has overtaken the earlier emphasis on strong intelligence concerning an attack using devices on selected ME carrier flights that somehow avoided acknowledging the existence of connections that would bypass such bans that occur at many dozens of airport/airline combinations between the states said to be the source of the now non-existent threat and the US.

The ‘genius’ at play in the Trump initiative was that it risked the lives of entire jet loads of passengers should one of those devices spontaneously combust and explode in a hard to reach checked luggage hold rather than in a cabin where there is a proven ability for trained flight attendants to quench such occurrences without delay.

The next clue comes from the narrative the US and EU officials are exploring (in a form of words if nothing else) alternative ‘enhancements’ to their current commonly aligned yet sometimes differently applied anti-terrorism measures.

Provided those enhancements have nothing in common with routine improvements poorly prepared IT departments inflict on Australians who rely in daily life on internet banking or publishing systems this has to be encouraging.

In fact there is ‘no reference’ to Australian flights to the US being affected in any of the US reports of recent weeks.

The lucky country may just fly under the radar of politically driven hysterics once more (but we cannot be so lucky forever.)


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12 thoughts on “Trump’s advisors may be backing off cabin battery ban extensions

  1. comet

    There’s an unhinged president, so anything could happen. At any time. Without prior warning.

  2. Zarathrusta

    The EU should be saying thing like “fake news”, “prove it” when given the alternative facts about the risks by the US. Who in their right mind would believe anything coming out of that country at the moment?

    1. Dan Dair

      Sadly, many, many millions of Trump-voters still genuinely believe that there is a domestic conspiracy of fake-news against him.?
      There’s no breaking this faith until the whole ‘house-of-cards’ collapses.?
      His supporters wholeheartedly believe the unsubstantiated b0110ck5 that he churns out & disbelieve the news media & intelligence agencies. This is simply about a faith & belief in that person.
      These people don’t even see the irony in Vladimir Putin offering to release a secret tape of the meeting to prove Trumps’ innocence, in the recent scandal of divulging classified information to Russian officials.
      The US media & intelligence say Putin influenced vote in favour of Trump which his voters didn’t believe;
      Putin offers to support & assist Trump against those domestic forces, which his voters think is reasonable.???????

      Even when Trump is clearly shown to have either made $billions from his position as President to take ‘back-handers’ to influence decisions or his complicitness with Russia is proven,
      there will still be a substantial minority who’ll believe that ‘shadowy-figures’ have made sure Trump couldn’t change America into the country they believe it should be.
      (Which I imagine would be something of a gun-toting, white-supremacist, apartheid nature.?
      We want the blacks, the Asians & the Hispanics in our country…… How else are we going to get the menial tasks done.????)

      1. AngMoh

        So what is more crazy: Putin to offer support to Trump against domestic political pressure or Putin offering to share recordings made in a secure room in the White House?

        1. Dan Dair

          Considering that nothing has (publicly at least) changed between USA & Russia, between Obama & Trumps presidencies,
          can you imagine Putin making any such offer towards Obama,?
          & could you imagine the outcry in Republican America, if Obama had accepted that support.?

  3. comet

    Trump is like the mad king.

    Nothing he says or does makes any sense. Now he’s directing aviation safety, demanding lithium batteries must be stored in the cargo hold.

    Tomorrow he might start a war.

    1. Dan Dair

      I prefer to think of him as a ‘despot-dictator.!

      Historically, when Kings have gone ‘mad’ (or have otherwise been incompetent), those courtiers & politicians which surround them have generally protected both the King & the country from the illness & governed reasonably(usually), ‘in the King’s name’.?

      In the case of despots. Their entourage is generally supportive & encouraging of the wild & unpredictable actions. Marcos of the Philippines, Ceausescu of Romania and Mugabe of Zimbabwe all fall into such a category. Any criticism of these people, their policies or their political party was/is seen as ‘treason’ & dealt with extremely harshly.

      I fear that DJT falls much more into the latter than the former category.?

  4. ghostwhowalksnz

    There definitely is credible intelligence from trusted sources that ISIS is highly interested in using laptops as bombs.
    Doesnt this ‘trump’ all the other bizarre explanations given here.
    I was interested in updating my desktop with a SSD drive and was amazed at the newer type of small sized memory units available that didnt even need to plug into the standard hard drive adaptor. You can see that replacing the hard drive completely is a relatively straight forward process

    1. Dan Dair

      “There definitely is credible intelligence from trusted sources……”
      Well no-ones mentioned it to me.?
      I’m not trying to say that there actually isn’t any truth in this story,
      I just haven’t seen any reports from any credible sources, that there is any actual truth to this tale.
      (Obviously, if you can point me at a credible source that is reporting credibility to this story, I’ll be grateful)
      Maybe I’m being naive, but I didn’t notice any “bizarre explanations”, just people talking about a lack of a strong justification for the partial (& possibly still blanket) ban, which is in direct contradiction to the current FAA regulations & recommendations.!

      And all that said,
      Everytime I travel overseas, I expect to have my laptop scanned separately & possibly hand-examined if there’s any scanner issues.?

      If we assume that this threat actually is completely real, will the detail of electronic-equipment examination be improved by putting my laptop in a suitcase & having it ‘bulk-scanned’ with the five hundred or so other pieces of hold-luggage.?
      The stated issues have been about replacing batteries with explosives.
      Sure, you could replace the hard drive on an older laptop with an SSD, but the most modern laptops only have SSD’s now and none of the information so far released by the Trump government implies that hard-drive space was considered to be a potential space for a terrorist bomb.?

      1. Giant Bird

        Laptops have 2.5 inch HDD. There is a very big difference in volume between a 3.5 inch desktop hard drive and a 2.5 inch laptop hard drive. The volume difference between an SSD drive and a 2.5 inch HDD is relatively small and my understanding is that for an explosive of such a small volume to bring down a aircraft, the bomber would have to be incredibly lucky.

  5. ggm

    Credible theory: they stole a TSS approved Xray machine, so the threat analysis went to what they could discover would “pass” Xray inspection, as much as what would successfully blow up a plane…

    1. Dan Dair

      Credible – possibly.?
      Factual – anyone’s guess.?
      What’s more relevant is the companies who make these scanners, MUST know what they don’t look for or can’t detect.?

      If the above story were wholly true, it would make much more sense to ‘hand-examine’ laptop batteries or perhaps issue a ‘hand-held’ device which CAN detect things which the main scanners can’t.?

      Who’s to say specifically what method terrorists would end up using , as the most effective way to smuggle an explosive device onto an airliner.?
      Why does it HAVE to be a laptop.?
      If it can’t be scanned for, why not replace all the stiffeners in a briefcase with explosives.?(for example.????)

      AND anyway, no-one has so far explained why carrying a bomb in the hold is better than carrying one in the cabin.?

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