Aircraft hijacking (also known as skyjacking and aircraft piracy) is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by force, either by an individual or a group. In most cases the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers.

Unlike the hijacking of land vehicles or ships, skyjacking is usually not perpetrated in order to rob the cargo. Most aircraft hijackings are committed to use the passengers as hostages in an effort to obtain transportation to a given location. Hijackings for hostages have usually followed a pattern of negotiations between the hijackers and the authorities, followed by some form of settlement - but does not always meet with the hijackers' original demands. If the hijackers show no sign of surrendering, armed forces would storm the aircraft to rescue the hostages.

Airline hijacking in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit

Airline hijacking was a form of terrorism devised by Reinhard Heydrich of the German Freedom Front and implemented by his successor, Joachim Peiper. Groups of four GFF agents seized three planes in 1947--two belonging to the United States and one belonging to the Soviet Union.

The American planes were flown to Madrid, Spain and Lisbon, Portugal, respectively, where they were held until the GFF agents in American custody were released. The American government did not comply, and so the GFF set fire to the planes and surrendered. The Soviet plane was held in Prague; the Soviet NKVD ordered the plane stormed with Red Army soldiers. The terrorists were killed with "acceptable" loss of life to the hostages and soldiers.

Joachim Peiper decided that hijacking was worth doing to the Westerners, as the US and Western Europeans made it clear that it was prepared to restructure its airline security infrastructure, effectively making them dance to the GFF's tune. However, Peiper stopped using it against the USSR, whose strategy was to kill the hijackers, without regard to the lives of the hostages or soldiers.