Many pilots say requiring them to go through security is ridiculous.
One 20-year airline pilot, Patrick Smith, recalled once being stopped and questioned because he had a butter knife in a bag.
“If a pilot like me is going to be up to no good, why would he need a butter knife?” he said. “I’m in control of the entire airplane!”
Mr. Walsh argued that it sends a disturbing message to passengers for them to see pilots being searched.
“They must think, ‘This is the guy flying the plane. If you can’t trust the pilot who can you trust?’” he said.
Capt. John Prater, head of the Air Line Pilots Association, noted pilots are already subject to FBI background checks. Prater said that based on discussions with TSA officials Monday he was hopeful the agency will soon approve a “crew pass” system that would allow flight attendants and pilots to undergo less stringent screenings.
Some pilots also are concerned about possible health risks from low-level radiation emitted by the body machines.
Mr. Sullenberger, who recently retired, said pilots are exposed to more radiation because they fly at altitudes where the atmosphere doesn’t fully block harmful rays.
“So, for those of us who are already exposed to many times more radiation than those who work on the ground, it is of concern to us that we are exposed even in small amounts to additional, what we consider unnecessary radiation exposure,” he said.
Mr. Sullenberger said he hasn’t heard of studies addressing those potential health risks, but he said, “Absent the data, I think we need to err on the side of caution.”
Not all passengers share the level of ire of Tyner, whose individual protest quickly became a web sensation over the weekend.
Waiting to board a flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, Mark Spritzler said he, for one, accepted that scanners were a necessary inconvenience.
“It makes me feel safer flying,” Mr. Spritzler, of Long Beach, said. “I don’t think they intrude on my privacy, the images are seen behind closed doors and unfortunately this is what has to be done to make things more secure.”
Associated Press writers Samantha L. Bonkamp in New York; Joan Lowy and Adam Goldman and Sam Hananel in Washington, D.C., and Robert Jablon and Daisy Ngyuen in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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