Florida Tech Hosts Free Lecture about First Fatal Hijacking in U.S. History; Son of Downed Pilot to Speak Feb. 17

MELBOURNE, FLA.—The events of October 3, 1971 forever changed the way a nation handled crisis management in aviation. On that day the first fatal aircraft hijacking in United States history took place and a son would lose his father at the hands of a hijacker.

On Feb. 17 at 10:30 a.m., the College of Aeronautics at Florida Institute of Technology will host Andy Downs as he shares the events that led to his father’s death and the death of two other hostages on that fateful day. The free lecture, “Hijacking and Hostages,” to be held in the Gleason Performing Arts Center on campus, will also discuss the role the FBI played, which later set the standard for how not to handle hostage negotiations.

“Hijacking and Hostages” will cover everything from aviation safety to conflict negotiation and will be of interest to aviation professionals, American history buffs and anybody interested in law, criminal justice, forensic and behavioral psychology, safety and security, or documentary filmmaking.

Downs, an aviation security expert and author of the book 58 November, spent more than 20 years as a pilot and air charter owner. The call sign of his father’s aircraft was 58 November. He is also producing a documentary with the same title for PBS TV. Passionate about bridging the gap in communication between the aviation community and law enforcement personnel, Downs currently presents lectures in aviation security around the country.

After attending one of Downs’ lectures in Jacksonville, Fla., last October, Mikaela Lunday, Airport Operations, Gainesville Regional Airport, said, “I found his lecture to be quite intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking for anyone within the aviation or law enforcement industries.” A Florida Tech alumna, Lunday added, “He presented issues these industries face in a totally different light, placing emphasis on the need for both trades to come together for the aviation industry to be a more secure place for all involved. Not only did he keep his listeners captive the entire time through means of humor and entertainment, but he was also able to educate his audience with interesting evidence from history.”

For more information about the lecture, contact Tamara Gray at (321) 674-7619, or e-mail at tgray@fit.edu. To view the trailer of 58 November, visit www.58November.com.

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