JetBlue pilots squawk 7500, armed police swarm A321 at JFK

An A321 with around 160 passengers on board bound for Los Angeles was taxiing to the runway at JFK airport, when the pilots lost communication with the ATC at around 8:00 PM on Tuesday, due to radio problems. Around 15 minutes later, they managed to re-gain communications, but the hijacking protocols couldn’t be reversed at that point. Heavily armed FBI agents stormed the plane. After about 1.5 hours, the plane was cleared and returned to the gate for inspection.

The pilots likely intended to squawk 7600, but accidentally squawked 7500 instead. This must’ve been very scary for the passengers, who were then later placed on a different flight to Los Angeles.

For eyewitness accounts, I recommend reading the DailyMail article.


Those poor passengers, can’t imagine what they were thinking. It’s always the little things that seem to go undiscovered. Such as a simple number. Glad this was just a false alarm.


That is very scary!!!

People are only humans. We make mistakes. It is very easy too push a wrong number for a squak code such as 7500,7700,7600


Very scary indeed, I remember back in the days of my college era my class was choosen to be apart of the Met Police Counter Terrorism exercise at the top gear track on the 747 regarding high jackings and getting passangers off the plane was a very cool experience.

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Aren’t pilots supposed to avoid setting transponder codes in a way that they can accidentally be set to an emergency number?

I seem to remember learning that, but I don’t have much transponder experience.

Seems like a simple mistake with major consequences…

Usually ATC gives X-ponder codes that aren’t near the emergency codes. But within this case, if the pilot was trying to put 7600 in and instead went too far over and hit 7500 it’s a simple mistake.

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Mmm probabby retraining

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I’ve always taught my trainees a way to remember it

75 guys with knives
76 can’t hear sh*t
77 going to heaven

Surely those pilots had a comm fail checklist and could have seen the correct code, someone got lazy and forgot the correct beacon code… lol

Even if they did go to far or fat finger a number, it’s not instant broadcast. If that was the case, pilots would be stealing squawk codes from other planes all the time…


Yah. I don’t think it was intentional they did 7500 or maybe it was. But I would think it was fat fingers

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People allege on forums:

  1. NORDO
  2. 7500 possibly?
  3. Complete radio failure
  4. Incorrect frequency (on-guard) ATC’s fault for not double checking

(All after complete push-back, engine start-up, and taxiing to the active)

I would say it is all five or more possibilities, because that amount of security and armed intelligence is unnecessary for being “unable to contact the aircraft”.
But the med-dia likes to always leave out information, misinform people, and lack the education, common sense, and logic to write a story that would best interpret a story.

I think is about the only news source that is always giving out facts, rather than just “deductions” from what we see. The med-dia.

But I guess the general public wouldn’t understand this because the problems they think about are getting to their destination, paying bills, and trying to get on with their day.

I would just say it’s a full misunderstanding of the ATC, other traffic, and jetblue

A whole misunderstanding.

They should make Airbus and Boeing set their transponders to confirm squawk code input if they start with “75”. A GPWS callout would alert you, “WARNING, CONFIRM SQUAWK CODE 7—”, or, “RADIO STACK FAILURE, for loss communication”

You don’t want anything confirming outloud that you may have entered that code somewhere… think the hijacker if in the cockpit somehow would enjoy hearing “confirm you’re declaring a hijacking” of any sort? Lol


75 taken alive (but I like the knives one better) Sounds more… edgy!


Well, maybe Airbus and Boeing, are working on something better. lol Something has to be done. This isn’t the same as dialing for emergency services lol.

Here is confirmation of your answer, from local ABC NYC 7, explicitly reported. You can assume what numbers were inputted into the transponder.

Some good depositions from the pilots, JetBlue, and investigators. They said it was protocol.

What’s gonna happen to the pilots?

Probably a retraining. Maybe a talk from the FAA


What if they wanted a free airshow?