News Story

Sparrows Point, MD Company Unveils Airline Cockpit Security System

Sparrows Point, MD Company Unveils Airline Cockpit Security System

by Joseph M. Giordano

The Dundalk Eagle

Five shots were fired near the podium at a press conference held at the Hale North Point office building in the 4500 block of North Point Boulevard on Sept. 18. No one was injured. And that was the point of the exercise. A week after the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, it seemed fitting that Sparrows Point-based Exxcel Corp. unveiled its contribution to airline safety: a bulletproof bulkhead, door and Z-Bar security system designed to keep unwanted visitors from getting into the cockpit of an airplane.

"It will revolutionize airline [security] if we can get the FAA to listen to us," Exxcel executive director Alvin Levenson said at the press conference.

Levenson invented the Z-Bar, a sort of folding deadbolt that allows a person to look out the door without opening it all the way.

Working with William Fourney, chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Levenson developed a Micarta Fiberglass door and bulkhead, or wall, to be fitted between the cabin and the cockpit.

The door comes with a tray window and a bullet-resistant polycarbonate window.

To the layman, this means that thanks to a mesh of fiberglass, bullets can't get anywhere near the pilots while they are locked in the cockpit.

In a demonstration of the effectiveness of Levenson's system, five rounds - one round each from a 9 mm, .45, .357, .38 and .40 calibers - were fired at the door and bulkhead. None penetrated.

October 15, 2002

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