Hold on to Your Skirts, The Puffer is Coming

May 30 2006, 10:58 AM

With air traffic expected to be at an all-time high this summer, DIA officials are implementing the newest high-tech tool to ferret out those of us who might bring explosives on board our flights: A wind machine known as a "puffer."

Passengers selected for the new screening will be directed to stand in the unit, and a glass door will be closed in front of them. The machines work by blowing puffs of air over travelers while they stand in the portal. In 20 seconds or less, the device collects the air sample and analyzes it for explosives residue, said Patrick Ahlstrom, the Transportation Security Administration's federal security director at DIA.

How strong is the wind?

Agency officials said the bursts of air are powerful enough to lift a skirt or loose shirt. So screeners will advise passengers to hold on to loose clothing if they don't want an experience like Marilyn Monroe's famous film scene in "The Seven Year Itch."

I bet it will also provide a whole new meaning to "having a bad hair day."

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