In an attempt to test the physical security of aircraft parked overnight on the ramp at O'Hare, a TSA inspector climbed on top of nine different American Eagle airplanes, using the external Total Air Temperature probes as a foothold. Forty flights were delayed while mechanics inspected the sensors, which are required for proper function of cockpit instrumentation. More details are given in this article.
That was stunning enough when I heard about it, but not beyond the bounds of imagination when I consider the zealous actions of the TSA inspectors I encounter regularly. Someone hadn't informed this guy that an airplane is not a jungle gym but a very delicate piece of machinery. Despite the fact that it can travel at close to the speed of sound, it is easily damaged by applying force to the wrong parts of it. I imagined that he would have a little talking to, and a memo would go out, advising people not to climb on airplanes they are supposed to protect. At least now I know whom the instructions on a toothpick box are intended for.
But then I found out that there already was a memo. A memo encouraging TSA officers to attempt to enter aircraft parked on the ramp. Someone's model of airplane security is just wrong. These aren't tanks. They are designed to keep air pressure in, to resist small bird strikes, to be quickly evacuated in case of fire. They are not designed as idiot-proof fortresses. The TSA sees this action as akin to a security officer trying doorknobs. They don't see that it's more like the security officer kicking in windows. It's like someone hired as a bodyguard for a family came along and pushed all the kids off their bicycles, to see if they were tough. Well no, they're not. It is fairly easy to get into an airplane that is stopped on the ground, especially if you don't mind damaging it in the process. That's why we need security.
My aircraft is sitting locked on an unsecured (no fence) ramp right now. I'm glad there is no TSA security to 'check on it' for me.