Charlotte Air Traffic Controller Charged With Having A Weapon Of Mass Destruction

Filed Under: Security/TSA

I have a lot of respect for air traffic controllers and what they do to keep our skies safe, and tend to think that there are “bad apples” in every industry. So while the fact that he’s an air traffic controller may only be tangentially related to what happened, it still makes for an interesting and somewhat concerning story.

An air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport was arrested yesterday on charges of possessing a weapon of mass destruction. The 30 year old was charged with acquiring, possessing, and transporting a homemade pipe bomb. Another man allegedly made the bomb to use against a neighbor with whom he had been feuding, but then changed his mind and gave it to the air traffic controller (as one does?). Hmmm…

According to The Charlotte Observer:

The airport said Dandan had access only to the off-site air traffic control tower and not to the restricted areas of the terminal or ramp. “He did not have access to any aircraft at the airport,” the airport stated. The FAA said it has terminated Dandan’s access to the facility and is cooperating with law enforcement.

So it doesn’t necessarily sound like he had any intentions related to aviation, though I’m not sure what exactly the process of giving a bomb to a friend looks like, or what the air traffic controller was planning on doing with it.

Apparently this all came to light from a 911 call on November 3, where someone had reported a homemade explosive device.

  1. Pipe bombs aren’t like magazines; you don’t just happen to have one lying around. This guy had a plan for it, he just hasn’t divulged it or it hasn’t yet solidified…independent if whether or not it was aviation-related. Their sole intent is to hurt, maim, and destroy. Try this numbnuts then, if found guilty, punish him to the full extent of the law.

  2. Just call it a clock and get an invite the White House. Oh wait, not anymore, we have an American there now.

  3. That quote is the stupidest quote I have ever seen.

    Obviously, ATCOs don’t have direct access to any aircraft. All we do is make everything separated and safe, and make the traffic flow effective and smooth through damn good vectors and godlike speed control.

    But with the alarming amount of people thinking Air Traffic Controllers are those guys with sticks on the ramp, I guess the existence of the quote is, if not justified, at least understandable.

  4. About the headline: Do you perhaps mean “improvised explosive device” — IED — instead of “weapon of mass destruction” — WMD? One’s a pipe bomb; the latter’s generally an atomic weapon or suburb-killing amount of nerve gas.

  5. Guess the headline stems from the actual charges vs. Dandan. (BTW, it might be irrelevant, but Dandan is a Lebanese last name.)

  6. Seriously, William Y made a statement about killing a former US president, which, joking or not, is a U.S. Federal offense. Presumably this site will be referring him to the Secret Service?

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