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Ed Trudeau was the Chief of Air Operations of Dulles International Airport who heads the Dulles control tower when a turncoat ex-Special Forces group took over IAD's tower's air traffic control systems.

Die Hard 2[]


Lorenzo and Trudeau in the control tower.

Dulles tower seized[]

Trudeau informs IAD chief engineer Leslie Barnes about the new storm front will become a factor for the runways. After hearing Barnes' advice, he tells his controllers to have the planes coming to them to slow them down before it gets crowded above them. Trudeau hears that Washington National Airport shutdown it's runways due to icy conditions and that they will be sending them more planes. Then airport police chief Captain Carmine Lorenzo tells Trudeau about the problems with the press covering the extradition of General Ramon Esperanza, a drug lord and dictator waiting to stand trail in the US. When John McClane arrives in the control room, which is the restricted area, Trudeau asked what's he doing here. McClane shows Trudeau and Lorenzo the profile of the man he killed in the luggage belt room, a mercenary name Oswald Cochrane. When McClane says that some group will likely hit the airport and with Esperanza on his way, it makes a very good possibility that the takeover will happen soon, Trudeau has Lorenzo to check into any out of the ordinary, much to the police chief's chagrin. Suddenly, the airport's runway lights shut down. Trudeau orders to put on emergency lighting. But finds the every system is down and not operating. Trudeau speaks to all of his controllers on the intercom to have every aircraft not in their landing pattern diverted to an alternate airport and have the other aircraft inside their airspace remain airborne in the outer marker.

He then orders that no one in the airport will know about the situation, due to the fact that 15,000 people in the airport and panic will ensure if the word spreads. He asked McClane if he expected this problem and McClane only says it's just beginning. Then the FAA hotline rang and everyone was confused since the FAA wouldn't know about their situation that soon. After McClane thinks it's probably the people who took over the control systems, Trudeau has Barnes put the call on the speaker. Then the leader of the mercenaries, Colonel Stuart, speaks to them that he wants General Esperanza's plane, Foreign Military One, to land on the runway at his detonation where it will not be met by anyone and demands to have a 747 cargo conversion plane fully fueled and placed in his deposal. After Stuart warns that any attempt to restore control of their system will be met by severe penalties, Trudeau curses at Stuart that he cannot do what's he's doing. After Stuart hangs up, Trudeau witnesses as McClane and Lorenzo clashed over the situation and Lorenzo kicks him out of the tower. Then when reporter Samantha Coleman came into the tower and Lorenzo kicks her out too, Trudeau tells Coleman the tower is off limits. After both McClane and Coleman got removed from the tower, Barnes tells him that he can set up the antenna array near the new terminal via annex skywalk so that they can talk to their planes. Trudeau authorizes Barnes to get the tools he needs to get it operational while Lorenzo sends his SWAT team to go with him as cover. He then informs the planes in the Dulles airspace that they are having severe problems with their landing systems without revealing them about the terrorist plot. Trudeau informs the planes to hold at the outer marker. After he gravely announces the planes, he tells the controllers to change the departure and arrival boards.

Windsor 114 crash[]

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A shocked and guilt-ridden Trudeau witnessing Windsor 114's explosion.

After Barnes informs Trudeau that Lorenzo's SWAT team are killed and the antenna array is destroyed by a bomb, Stuart calls them and saying that they going to suffer severe consequences for the lost of his men at the annex skywalk. When McClane tries to tell Stuart that five officers killed should be penalty enough, Lorenzo foolishly tells McClane to keep out of this situation; Trudeau immediately clicked off the speaker in anger and glares at Lorenzo for revealing McClane's identity to the terrorists and that his SWAT team is dead. Then Trudeau and the air traffic controllers' see that Stuart and his group reset ground level minus 200 feet and discover that Stuart is planning to have the plane low on fuel, Windsor 114, crash onto runway 29. When they see somebody out in runway 29, Trudeau takes a pair of binoculars and sees that it's McClane, trying to save the plane by wave it off by ground signal. But unfortunately, McClane's efforts we're in vain and Windsor 114 crashed, killing 230 onboard. Trudeau and everyone in the tower witnessed the horrifying crash.

After the crash, Trudeau comes down to the flooded police station where Barnes is getting patched for his injured arm and tells him to find a way to contact the planes about terrorists who likes to pretend they are the tower. After being handed the manifest of the people onboard the ill-fated Windsor, he goes to the shaken McClane and gives him some support. He tells McClane that they called the government for help, which they'll send the Special Army Unit and informs him that Northeast 140, the plane carrying his wife Holly, will run out of fuel in 90 minutes.

Overseeing the situation[]

When a Special Force unit Blue Light, led by Major Grant, arrived, Trudeau introduces himself to him. After Grant and his men heads for the police station to sent up the command post there, McClane asked Trudeau if things are better or worse with the Special Forces team arrived. He didn't know how to answer that. Later, at the police station, Trudeau was informed that the Special Forces team found the signal device that tapped in the tower's systems in the luggage area, which Lorenzo previously dismissed the shootout earlier as punks stealing luggage. Then he headed for the pilot's briefing room, which McClane was denied access. Trudeau looks at McClane regretfully as the elevator doors closed.

At Dulles tower, Trudeau receives a call from Colonel Stuart that they will lighting up runway 15 for General Esperanza and warned to not to land any planes. Barnes asked what they do and Trudeau, not wanting to risk anymore plane crashes, tells him to obey. He and the other controllers heard the sound gunfire onboard Foreign Military One. Then they witnessed the change of runways lights from runway 15 to runway 25R.

Later on, Stuart, after leaving the church, calls Trudeau, asking if the 747 prepared. Trudeau says it's in Hangar 11, the most isolated hanger. Then, after seeing reporter Richard Thornburg's informs the press about the terrorist situation, causing everyone in the airport to evacuate, Trudeau was disgusted that Thornburg just caused everyone in the airport to panic.

Then he, Barnes and the other controllers are surprised the Northeast plane carrying Holly landed, using the burned fuel line that destroyed the terrorists' plane. As the other controllers we're going to tell the other planes to landed where the fire trail is, Trudeau cheerfully tells them that all the other planes already know as they are hearing them they are going to land at the fire trail. After all the planes landed safely, everyone in the tower cheered, seeing the nightmarish situation is finally over. Trudeau and Barnes shook hands happily as they see the planes landed.


Screenwriter Doug Richardson spent a couple months observing airport traffic controllers in the control tower of JFK International Airport in New York City (which, oddly enough, is where 58 Minutes, the novel that inspired Die Hard 2, took place). He met a retired Air Force pilot from Syracuse, NY named Ed Trudeau who became his friend and helped him out with questions. Shortly after writing the first draft of the script, Richardson was fired from the film and this draft was later used in the film. However, because he had not gotten a chance to change the working name of the character, Ed Trudeau's real name wound up being used in the film. However, Ed Trudeau declined to sue the studio for negligence, as he saw no harm done.

Richardson said that the casting of Fred Thompson as Trudeau was perfect, as he resembled the real life Ed Trudeau.


Die Hard Wiki has a collection of images related to Ed Trudeau.

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