Incident started with wrong word, not wrong squawk

 - May 15, 2008, 5:42 AM

According to the AOL Time Warner flight department, it wasn’t a hijack code that was mistakenly squawked (AIN, December 2001, page 10), but the inadvertent use of a secret pilot/controller code word that means hijacking that led to the forced landing in Brandon, Manitoba last October of a company Gulfstream V. The jet’s 10 occupants were then handcuffed at gunpoint. According to AOL Time Warner chief pilot Rick Goodhart, using the code word prompted ATC to alert air defense, which claims that ATC said the GV was squawking the hijacking code. There is reportedly a list of proscribed words within airline pilot/controller circles intended to let ATC know that an airliner is being hijacked, eliminating the need to squawk the hijack code.