Surrounding city centres and likely terrorist targets with “soft walls” will make it impossible for hijacked planes to get anywhere near them. So say the inventors of an avionics system that creates no-fly zones that pilots cannot breach.
Since the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, anti-aircraft missile batteries have been installed to protect buildings in Washington DC and other US cities.
Less drastic solutions have also been suggested. Aerospace company Northrop Grumman, for instance, has proposed installing the electronics from its Global Hawk pilotless plane in passenger aircraft to allow ground control to take over a hijacked plane and land it remotely. Others say automatic landing systems could steer planes to safety without human intervention.