High Altitude, Bad Attitude
By Woon Choi, Tae Kwon Do
"Please Bow to your Flight-Attendant"
FEBRUARY, 2010: From now on, seated passengers should hear "Please fasten your Black-Belts," on airplanes after what happened on US Airways Flight-1447 from Philadelphia to San Francisco when self-overdosed medicinal marijuana cookies consuming patient, passenger Kinman Chan, allegedly began suffering from a severe panic attack after he doubled up on his dose preflight.
Reports say, halfway into the flight Chan, 30, started freaking out. Witnesses claim he was screaming, banging on the bathroom doors and opening overhead compartments in the rear of the plane.
He then went into a bathroom and locked the door for a few moments, then came back out with his pants down.
It was at this point that veteran flight attendant Lorin Gorman told him to sit down.
"Tae the Unfriendly Skies"
The seemingly deranged Chan refused, also making threatening motions and crude gestures towards her, while disrupting his fellow passengers and the entire flight. "He was looking back at me, waving hi," Gorman said of the erratic man in seat 17-C.
But soon enough, the passenger became aggressive, Gorman says.
"He's (Chan) banging around, screaming in the back bathroom, he's opened all the compartments," the attendant remembers. "I said, ‘You need to sit down now’,” Gorman said. He did not. "He went like that with his elbow," Gorman said, while bracing her wrist as she threw an elbow at shoulder height to mimic what she'd seen.
"Well, what I did, I just put him in an arm lock. To get his other arm, I had to jump up on the seat, he was resisting. He was stiff. At that point, I just put him into a choke hold."
"At that point, I just put him into a choke hold," said the Black-Belt flight attendant.
Kinman Chan, an artist from San Francisco, obviously had no idea he was facing a fourth-degree Tae Kwon Do expert on this flight!
Gorman, 51, said at that point she felt she had no other safe choice to make for the safety of all, so she quickly placed the unruly Chan in an arm lock submission, then repositioned into a secure choke hold, which finally subdued him until others assisted.
The plane still was diverted to Pittsburgh where Chan was promtly arrested and charged with disrupting a flight attendant and crew. Crew members made statements in Federal Court saying Chan acted a bit strangely upon boarding, later even attempting to punch one of the attendants!
He now faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Tae Kwon Do, a martial art that commonly utilizes 80% kicking and 20% punching, is also an Olympic sport is probably still the most popular form of martial arts practiced in the United States, and quite possibly the whole world.
Tae Kwon Do, which translates to "the way of kicking and punching" was originated in Korea. There is some debate about the exact origin of the art, but it is generally believed to have derived in its current carnation around 1945 from former regional arts and possibly Karate.
It was initially developed for the purposes of combat, however, today it is mostly practiced in the form of a competitive sport, even being incorporated into the Olympics in the year 2000.
Gorman is a 4th "Dan" Black-Belt in Korean Tae Kwon Do. She credits her post-9/11 special skills training that helped her to deal in those small spaces inside the aircraft. She has worked for the airlines for over 20 years.
Gorman, a friend of heroic US Airways pilot, Captain Chelsey B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, had once hoped to join the Navy's flight program, but instead went to college. Instead of becoming a pilot she chose to become a fight-attendant.
"She had to get on a plane," said Ms. Gorman's mother, Betty Gorman. "She took him (Chan) down alright, he was messing with the wrong flight-attendant!" Mrs. Gorman beamed proudly over her daughter's bravery during an encounter with the media.
Lorin Gorman will always be a hero to the passengers of US Airways Flight-1447!