Armed Pilots, new program

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Armed Pilots, new program

Postby Alan K » Fri Jun 21, 2002 4:21 pm

A couple of days ago, I read of a new program to train pilots in the use of firearms. The program already has its first phase by enrolling a number of pilots ( I believe about 200) in a new course designed to teach the use of firearms and firearms safety. These pilots would be the first group and would be allowed to carry in the cockpit. Whether or not any MA training will be afforded is unclear. The program will expand exponentially (sp) for about two years with a projected goal of 20,000.
This comes as the result of an act by the House of Representatives; also unclear was the authority. To me this is a major success in getting something done which should have been enacted at the time of the US Patriot Act in October of 2001.

I have tried to search the gun advocate home pages without success, but have found the following article which reflects the frustration of pilots and right to bear arms advocates:

Pilots Outraged at DOT's Decision to Leave Pilots Defenseless

May 21, 2002

Earlier today, Undersecretary John Magaw of the TSA announced the decision to ignore the will of the Congress and the American People by refusing to allow airline pilots to carry firearms on the flight deck. This indefensible decision will mean that, until Congress is able to act, airline pilots will be easy pickings for teams of suicidal terrorists that would use airliners as guided bombs.

APSA Chairman Capt. Tracy W. Price said, "Airline pilots across this country are dumfounded. Al Queda is surely laughing at our lack of moral certainty and strength and terrorist organizations all over the world have been sent the clear message that it is still open season on airliners and large buildings. On one hand, the administration is telling us that more attacks are eminent, but on the other hand, they refuse to allow us to defend our passengers and crew against the promised attacks."

Price continued, "The administration caved to intense lobbying from the Air Transport Association (ATA). Airline managements are afraid of lost revenue if they acknowledge the truth: no public accommodation like airline travel can ever be completely secured. Also, for many years, airline managements have been on a campaign to minimize the authority and stature of pilots, preferring to place decision making power in the hands of employees that do not enjoy the same autonomy and authority that pilots do. Arming pilots is clearly counter to this long term goal and we are stunned that they are willing to compromise the safety of air travelers to further their interests in this power struggle they have initiated with their pilots. This decision is great news for the terrorists and the ATA"

"Thank God for the efforts of Congressmen Mica and Young as well as Senators Bob Smith, Burns, Murkowski and Zell Miller. The legislation they are committed to will mandate that volunteer airline pilots be screened, trained and armed with firearms and it will remove the veto power that existing law gives to the administration and airline managements. We will work with our friends in Congress to expedite this legislation and we pray that Congress is able to move faster than the terrorists."

Contact Information:

Capt. Tracy W. Price - Chairman
Home: (703)250-3568
Cell: (703)587-7811
Fax: (703)250-3568

Capt. Marc Feigenblatt - Vice Chairman
Home: (513) 232-8350
Cell: (513) 225-5996
Fax: (513) 232-8349 (must call first)

APSA Web Site:


RELATED READING: Airplanes & Guns Archives

Does anyone have any further knowledge of this new program? How about JT?

Alan K
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Armed Pilots, new program

Postby Deep Sea » Sat Jun 22, 2002 9:17 am

Isn't it a good feeling when someone does something right, Alan?

The complaints that will follow will be interesting, no?

Allen Moulton from Uechi-ryu Etcetera
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Armed Pilots, new program

Postby Alan K » Thu Jul 11, 2002 3:06 pm

This program, which has passed in the House of Representatives, is now before the Senate.

We already know that the Bush administration is opposed to the bill and will try to defeat it even though it is an experimental program with initial strict limitations, and participation of relatively few persons.

If billions are being spent with the advocacy of the president, for all phases of defense from terrorism, I find it hard to believe why a logical, conservative approach, to strengthen the lastline of defense in our aircraft system should be opposed by the chief sponsor of anti-terrorism.

Despite the bad publicity generated by the two drunken clowns, the majority of airline pilots are already entrusted with the safety of millions of people each year. Few of us can really appreciate the amount of training and responsibility assumed by these pilots in each flight. They are in complete charge of complex multi-million dollar aircraft, and to assume that they could not be trained or inculcated to safely handle a pistol or revolver is a patronizing and invalid assumption.

I have heard the argument that the firing of the weapon could decompress the aircraft, or cause electrical failure.

Special weapons and ammunition negate the decompression theory, and the electrical failure theory is remote.

Let us let logic rule and take personal emotion and politics out of the equation.

Alan K
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Armed Pilots, new program

Postby Van Canna » Thu Jul 11, 2002 3:16 pm

It seems that pilots were armed up until 1964 from what I read, and never a problem.

While I can understand the concern of liability, and as Tony puts it, the possible psychological inability of the pilot to actually use the weapon, making it easy pickings for a terrorist, there is a deterrent factor at work that might well make a difference especially when the only other alternative or last ditch solution is to shoot our plane out of the sky.

Faced with this, I would take my chances with the armed pilot, maybe, just maybe being able to save the day. If not, you are dead anyway.

However,this should go hand in hand with cockpit reinforcement, and planes should be modified to allow either access to the rest rooms from the cockpit or put a "head" in the pit.
The weapon should be protected as much as the pilot carrying it.

Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited July 11, 2002).]
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