Week in Geek Podcast: The saga of the stolen plane — and the flaws it revealed in airport security


After his shift last week, Horizon Airlines employee Richard Russell successfully stole a medium-sized plane and flew it across Western Washington, performing aerial stunts with F15 fighter jets on his tail, for nearly an hour before crashing into a small island in the Puget Sound.

The incident caught the attention of the nation for its bizarre nature and the initial confusion and terror following the plane’s takeoff. And although it didn’t end in an act of mass violence, Russel’s flight has sparked serious questions about airport security.

How was someone with no known flying experience able to successfully steal a plane without anyone noticing? Why did he want to do so? And what can be done to stop something like this from happening again?

We tackle those questions on this special episode of the Week in Geek Podcast, where we also share snippets of Russell’s rambling conversation with air traffic control as he roams the skies.

Listen to this episode of the Week In Geek in the player below or subscribe to the GeekWire Podcast in your favorite podcast app to hear every episode.

This week’s stories:

  • Airline employee steals plane from Sea-Tac, does aerial tricks with F-15s in pursuit before crashing on island south of Seattle
  • Inside the stolen passenger plane: ‘I played video games before, so I know what I’m doing, a little bit’
  • Port of Seattle steps up Sea-Tac airport security presence after fatal airplane theft
  • Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch venture rolls out world’s biggest airplane for weekend tests

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