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Airport security takes on a 'new look' at RDU

Posted October 15, 2008
Updated October 16, 2008

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— Raleigh-Durham International Airport officials showed off Wednesday a new no-touch passenger security checkpoint system in the new Terminal 2 that will be an alternative to the much more familiar pat down – and another line of defense after the metal detector.

The $177,000 Whole Body Imager uses millimeter wave technology that projects beams of radio frequencies over the body's surface and constructs a three-dimensional image of the body, without clothing, displayed on a remote monitor.

Michael Zunk, the TSA director at RDU, says the technology a significant step in checkpoint security.

"It's very accurate about identifying weapons, machine explosives – any type of explosives – because it shows up in an area as to where as to where you would have it – whether it is the waist, hip, ankle, back shoulders – wherever it is," Zunk said.

This technology is used at only 11 other airports in the United States and a few around the world, partly because of privacy concerns.

Transportation Security Administration officials, however, say officers in remote locations from the scanners view the images, which are automatically deleted after use. And because faces are concealed, a person's identity is never known.

Airport officials say they expect to install another system in the terminal by 2010.

The $570 million Terminal 2 is expected to open to travelers on Oct. 26 and will open in two phases, with the second phase scheduled to open in 2011.

It replaces Terminal C, which was built in 1987 as a hub for American Airlines.

The north concourse of the terminal will feature 19 gates, seven security checkpoint lanes and 26 shops and restaurants in 550,000 square feet. The south concourse will add 13 gates, another seven security lanes and 17 more retailers.

Some of the merchants expected in the new terminal are 42nd Street Oyster Bar, Carolina Ale House, A Southern Season, Brooks Brothers and Apple iPod.

American, American Eagle, Delta, United, Midwest Connect and Air Canada will initially fly out of the terminal. Continental, Northwest and US Airways will move to Terminal 2 when the south concourse opens.

23 Comments

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  • lizard Oct 16, 2008

    No big deal. I ordered glasses from the back of a comic book that did the same thing,, when I was in high school.

  • jacc1001 Oct 16, 2008

    The perverts at TSA must be bidding on who gets to watch the nude people.

  • whitejeans90 Oct 16, 2008

    "...and another line of dense after the metal detector."

    Typo? Perhaps not - dense is spot on when talking about TSA. They don't know what they are looking for or what they are looking at most of the time. I don't trust TSA with my luggage, never mind my life.

  • 68_polara Oct 16, 2008

    "if you do not want to be subjected to seraches then take the bus instead its that simple"

    I'm sure they will have these on buses in the future too just give big brother some time. We won't be able to buy food with out passing through one of these things some day.

  • WXYZ Oct 16, 2008

    Message to Airport Authorities and Airlines:

    "WHEN TSA GOES, WE WILL COME"

    That is, I along with most of my family and friends have stopped using air transportation because of TSA, except in emergency, several years ago. I apologize to the US Airline industry for this boycott, but making calls and writing complaints has done nothing to improve the attitude or performance of TSA. Now this scanner...a further arrogant attack on our civil rights. Those who are willing to exchange their civil rights for more government "protection", deserve neither.

  • Travised Oct 15, 2008

    Blanche, don't get me going on the phones. In MSP (the city) they re-routed ALL of the Fiber trunks for phones into one central building. The official reason was to make routing of calls easier. Unofficial was NSA and to allow THEM to scan our calls at that lovely masonry building off the interstate; nice that I know where they ran it! Hard to miss when you are watching the orange fiber rolls being re routed for almost a year.

    Only way around it (security) in air is to fly GA. Have a friend or contract somebody to fly you in a Mooney (M20) or Cessna (310). Anything in the top tier (Gulf, Lear) is way to costly. Even though the Gulfs can make darn good distances without refueling.

  • WRALblows Oct 15, 2008

    "get in touch with your congressman - representative, not senator - and tell him/her you want a stop put to it and a repeal of the Patriot Act. It's that simple."

    Since when has getting Congress to repeal laws simple? That's a ridiculously idealistic statement.

  • silvfx Oct 15, 2008

    if you do not want to be subjected to seraches then take the bus instead its that simple

  • Six String Oct 15, 2008

    Yak, yak, yak. If God had meant for us to be naked so that everyone could see us, we would have been born that way. Geez, get over yourselves.

  • BlancheDancing Oct 15, 2008

    As long as there is an alternative, I have absolutely no problem with it. I don't want to use it though. I am NOT in favor of repeal of the Patriot Act (hey, listen/record every phone call I make if it helps catch a terrorist before he/she blows someone/something up! I have nothing to hide except in these no-touch strip searches!) and welcome several different methods of airport search, I just want an alternative :)

    Hey .. I always get a 'pat down' with my lil feet on the shoeshapes. I just beep!!

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