Question Sheet: New waves for safe flying


Before reading:

  1. How can security scanning at airports make flying safer?
  2. What might the word “waves” in the story’s title be referring to?
  3. Have you ever gone through an airport security gate? What did you have to do?

During reading:

  1. What is one reason Pan Am flight 103 stands out? What got started after this tragedy?
  2. What is one concern about the new generation of scanning machines?
  3. When did airports begin security scanning?
  4. What gives the millimeter-wave machine its name?
  5. What part of the spectrum does a backscatter machine use?
  6. Specifically how does the millimeter-wave scanner detect what’s in your pockets?

After Reading

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of the two new technologies described in this story?
  2. What does the story say about safety concerns of the new technologies?
  3. What is Intellifit? What is it doing?


  1. Why would airports need to see exactly what people are carrying under their clothes? What recent events make this a need?
  2. What does the word “waves” in the title of the story refer to?