Monday, August 19, 2013
the last book I ever read (Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us, excerpt five)
from Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking:
To facilitate impromptu journeys to Cuba, all cockpits were equipped with charts of the Caribbean Sea, regardless of a flight’s intended destination. Pilots were briefed on landing procedures for José Martí International Airport and issued phrase cards to help them communicate with Spanish-speaking hijackers. (The phrases to which a pilot could point included translations for “I must open my flight bag for maps” and “Aircraft has mechanical problems—can’t make Cuba.”) Air controllers in Miami were given a dedicated phone line for reaching their Cuban counterparts, so they could pass along word of incoming flights. Switzerland’s embassy in Havana, which handled America’s diplomatic interests in Cuba, created a form letter that airlines could use to request the expedited return of stolen planes.