I recently went to a lecture concerning a “Hijacking & Hostages” incident that happened to the father of the man giving the presentation, Andy Downs. Every month or so Florida Tech hosts a speaker in the Gleason Auditorium. This month’s lecture was hosted by the College of Aeronautics.
This lecture about hijacking and hostages concerns the first fatal hijacking in America and how it all unfolded, what errors were made and what steps have been implemented (and are still being implemented) to make sure that it never happens again. Andy Downs shared the story of how it all unfolded on a flight from Nashville, TN to Jacksonville, FL.
The story was featured on a documentary film called “58 November”. Brent Downs (Andy Downs’ father) was hijacked by George Giffe and Bobby Waye Wallace in 1971, the first incident of a fatal hijacking in America.
Since the incident in 1971 many regulations were changed, Mr. Downs being a prime pusher of the new regulations. He also started his own aircraft charter company and owns many planes. He has been flying for over 30 years now and is a great source for many of our flight students at Florida Tech to talk to about what it takes to get involved in more aviation opportunities after college (its all about networking and who you know!).
All of our lectures at the school are free for students and are educational to so many people’s majors. Just this one lecture involved legality issues, flight safety, aviation, management skills, and communications. Ill be sure to attend the next seminar hosted there in a few weeks; coming up is a lecture about air safety hosted by the Aircraft Owner’s and Pilot’s Association (AOPA).