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Old 04-20-2003, 10:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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First Airline Pilots to Carry Guns

First Airline Pilots to Carry Guns
by Leslie Miller
April 20, 2003

The Associated Press
Quote:
GLYNCO, Ga. (April 20) - There is a minuscule chance, beginning Sunday, that a pilot on a commercial flight may be carrying a gun. Some air travelers say even those odds are cause for worry. Others say they will feel safer if there's an armed pilot on board.

Saturday was graduation day for the first 44 pilots in a course at a federal law enforcement training center. Additional pilots will complete their training in the weeks to come - meaning a gradual increase in the number of gun-toting pilots in airliner cockpits.

The pilots went through a week of classes, tests, drills and target practice required before they could be sworn in as federal flight deck officers. The designation is required for a pilot to carry a pistol.

Cafe owner Peter Fragale of Jacksonville, Fla., thinks arming pilots is a good idea.

"They make me feel better,'' he said as he waited at Jacksonville International Airport for a flight to Atlanta.

"They should all have guns,'' Fragale said. "It's that last layer, that last-resort layer, in case the terrorists get through all this security,'' he said, gesturing toward uniformed federal screeners. "And they will.''

Art teacher Mary Ellen Binz, returning to Lake Mills, Wis., said putting guns in the hands of pilots makes her nervous.

"It'll get in the hands of the wrong person,'' she said. "I wonder how pilots feel about it?''

Polls last year showed more than 70 percent of pilots favored the right to be armed. After the hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001, pilots' unions lobbied for permission to carry guns in the cockpit. Opposing the idea were the White House and the airlines.

"I need to defend myself and my aircraft,'' a female pilot said Thursday during a break from practicing how to disarm a terrorist in close quarters. Participants in the course were not allowed to give their names or airlines.

Graduates are required to tell their employers that they have been certified to carry a gun 24 hours after they finish training. They do not have to take a weapon with them every time they fly, but they do have to inform airlines and the flight crew when they do. Passengers are not supposed to know if a pilot is armed.

More pilots are to be trained this summer, though the size of the group is uncertain.

Capt. Fred Bates, an American Airlines pilot who helped put the program in place, said as many as one in three U.S. pilots - about 30,000 - could be carrying weapons on the flight deck in five years.

Not all pilots who want to carry guns will be able to. They have to volunteer for the program, pass background checks and psychological tests and make it through a week of rigorous drills.

"This is brutal,'' a trainee, a male pilot, said after fighting off another pilot pretending to be a terrorist.

The pilot trainees, pitted against one another, thrashed and grunted with dummy pistols in a padded room. Instructors yelled out rapid-fire orders on how to fight attackers: "Get your hands on there, lower your center!''

Some pilots expressed little interest in the program. A pilot for Midway Airlines, who had just flown into Washington, said he viewed the training more as a way to make the public feel safer rather than actually making it tougher for attackers to take over a plane.

Pilots are not pleased about restrictions on carrying their government-issued .40-caliber semiautomatic pistols.

When pilots go through the airport to their plane, the guns must be in a locked case enclosed in a nondescript bag. Pilots can wear the gun in a holster while they are in the cockpit, but if they leave - to use the bathroom, for example - they must stow the weapon in a lockbox in the cockpit.

Pilots say they would like to be able to have the gun in a holster when they walk through the airport.
What do you think? Is this a good move? Would you feel safer on the plane knowing your pilot was packing heat?
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if it will actually make flying safer but I think it will make many people FEEL safer. I have no problem with pilots being armed while they're in the air.
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
who?
 
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after working for the airlines for twoa nd ahalf years and getting to know the mentality of some of these pilots, i think it's a very bad idea... yes, there are lots of responsible, levelheaded pilots out there, but there are also those dumbassed john wayne types who make this whole concept really scary.
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I am totally in favor.

Folks, what most of the public doesn't know is that there are ways around current airport security. There are carbon fiber and ceramic knives that DO NOT register in a metal scanner and would be every bit as effective as a box cutter in killing someone. And they are easy, very easy to get, as easy as getting on the internet.

But they don't tell you that.

No, they put up all this security in order to make you feel safe.

Here's another thought for you.

The airline most targeted for terrorism is El Al (the Israeli airline). El Al has NEVER suffered a hijacking. Now, do you think that El Al pilots are armed?

-----------------------------------------
Please note, I am posting the items below not to alarm anyone or to encourage banning these items, but to point out the reality of the situation. If some lunatic REALLY wants to hurt or kill someone, there are ways. In my mind, armed pilots are the ONLY serious answer to this threat.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------


CIA Letter Opener

These CIA Letter Openers have long been a favorite with Synergy Terrorist Supply Customers, both for their low price and durable construction. Made from GV6H, a high-tech composite from Switzerland with 60% interwoven glass fibers, this 100% nonmetallic item will pass metal detectors and other security items undetected.

It also includes a built-in belt clip for secure attachment anywhere, including waist, socks, shirt cuffs and anywhere else you could clip an inkpen. It also includes a small hole in the handle for attachment to a lanyard. It is completely nonmetallic, nonmagnetic, nonabsorbent, making it a perfect item for issue to EOD personnel.

We were even able to use a hammer to pound it through a 2x6 when we tested it here in our offices. It did not shatter, bend or break. We know of no law that would permit one from carrying a plastic letter opener, making this item 100% legal to own and use... for opening letters.

-------------------------



This knife is based on the Speedster by Blackie Collins, only there's no steel in it whatsoever. The assisted-opening feature is made possible by Blackie's patented internal strut mechanism. The springs are made from Beryllium Copper to eliminate the magnetic signature so that this knife can be used as an EOD tool. Its handle is made from indestructible Fibreresin™ and the partially serrated blade is made of 33% glass filled nylon 66. Includes Fibreresin™ pocket clip. Overall length: 7 3/8". Blade length: 3 1/8". Weight: 1 1/2 oz.
-------------------------------------



Fine hardwood pen with single serrated edge.
06049501

--------------------------------------



Stealth defense comb
06025001

--------------------------------------



COLD STEEL DELTA DART
The Delta Dart is 8" long and 1/2" in diameter, yet it weighs only 1/2 an ounce! The comfortable handle is knurled for a positive grip and the butt is smooth and rounded, so it's perfect for both thumb and palm reinforced grip positions.

The Delta Dart is made entirely of an extremely hard, 43% glass filled nylon material called Zytel.® This is the highest glass to nylon ratio available so the point is tougher, lasts much longer and is easily re-sharpened with a nail file.

Designed with covert operations in mind, this non metallic tool works equally well as a last ditch self defense tool or a letter opener! The triangular blade geometry gives it incredible puncturing ability, while it's light weight means that you won't find it inconvenient to have.

Please note - as of 2002, all Cold Steel Delta Darts are now shipped with a metal retaining ring to comply with California Law regarding non-metallic knives.

(note, this ring can be removed - Lebell)

----------------------------

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Last edited by Lebell; 04-20-2003 at 11:20 AM..
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I dunno? Are they? I mean you make that statement like you are going to say "yes they are and that is why they have never been hijacked" but then don't. I personally never travel by plane but I have no problem with pilots being armed. I really doubt it will do much good but still. I think if pilots are going to do that then they need to also have some good self defense training as well. I mean whats the good of a gun if some fast and smart terriost can just disarm you?
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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give em guns. Wont be anymore dangerous than now
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't think phred's concerns are too necessary - not unfounded, but not necessary. From what I understand these pilots all have to go through psychological examinations, rigorous background checks, etc.

My only concern with guns on a plane is if one shot were to go through the plane itself and disrupt the presuure, etc. That could be a big disaster (of course, not as bad as if the plane crashed into a building)
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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As far as I see it, it's just like anyone else. If the bad guys think there's a chance that the guy they are about to fuck with might have a gun, they are going to think TWICE before they try something.

Bully's always want to pick on the guy who's got no defense.
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:13 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd rather have them packing heat than hooch.
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have much more confidence in an air marshal carrying a gun than a pilot, especially since the pilot is much more visible than a plainclothes air marshal. I just fear that the weapon could get into the wrong hands, and I fear that it would be all too easy to do.
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BBtB
I dunno? Are they? I mean you make that statement like you are going to say "yes they are and that is why they have never been hijacked" but then don't.
No, I didn't say it because no one knows and the Israelis aren't saying. Much like they will neither confirm or deny that they have nuclear warheads.

But experts in both fields are pretty much in agreement that both are true.

Also, airline security experts say that there are several reasons why El Al has never been subject to a successful hijacking, this being one of them.
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Old 04-20-2003, 05:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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My sis is cool with it- shes a flight attendant.
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Old 04-20-2003, 08:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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The idea of pilots with guns in planes makes me nervous. I know there are lots of weapons that can get through metal detectors... not just exotic ones like Lebell was saying. Somebody could do something as simple as sharpening a broken piece of PVC pipe or a lexan plastic camping knife, and it would be just as lethal as a real knife.

However, giving pilots guns is still a bad idea. If a gun was fired in a plane, it would rip a hole through the side, causing the plane to depressurize. I think a much better idea would be to teach the pilots close-quarters combat, and give them a close-quarters weapon, like an electric stun gun or something similar.

The bottom line is, if people really want to hijack a plane, chances are they will find some way to do it. If a pilot has a gun, and there are 3 or 4 hijackers, it's unlikely that he or she will be able to fight them all off before they close distance and the gun is more of a hazard than an advantage. Also, in that kind of a fight, the passengers would be at a greater risk of being hit by the pilot than the hijackers would.

I just think there are other options available that should be looked at before giving pilots guns.
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Last edited by phoenix1002; 04-20-2003 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:23 PM   #14 (permalink)
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this will end in disaster. I give it two years before a plane is brought down by a gun accident.
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:37 PM   #15 (permalink)
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its good until the accidental deaths outweigh the potential lives saved.
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:44 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I agree an accident is going to happen, however, the chances are very slim. Of course, one could argue that the odds of a terrorist attack on an airplane are very rare as well. One major difference though...we know it won't be an accident, therefore, the question is, what can we do to prevent terrorist attacks? Not much in reality, however, this is the best we got. Will it make me feel safer? Nah, I'm already terrified of flying anyway.
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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From what I've read, a bullet hole in the side of a plane will not actually cause the whole aircraft to explode at the speed of light, that kinda thing is more "movie physics". (Like the explode -on-impact car and the hero-through-a-plate-glass-window trick)

The hole will whistle as masks drop from the ceiling and the pilot gently takes the plane down to a comfy altitude. The right kind of ammunition might make things even safer.

The greater worry is other passengers being hit by stray bullets, which is where a well-trained and experienced air marshall comes in.
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:02 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Contrary to what some think, a bullet through the skin of an airliner will not bring it down.

Frangible ammo can also be used that will fragment rather than pierce the skin.

And I'll risk the stray bullets if the choice is between that and being flown into a building.
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:04 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Oh, BTW,

You guys do realize that most of our pilots are former Air Force guys who we've trusted with multi-million dollar air craft, sometimes with several tons of bombs and missles, right?
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
.
 
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what about hiring some of those chicks from that flick with hot babes in bikinis with ak-47's, as hostesses. no one would mess with them with those weapons.
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:25 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Yuk.

Who wants an AK? I recommend MP5's
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Old 04-20-2003, 10:44 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I will never complain about the shit-ass food again.
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:03 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by World's King
I will never complain about the shit-ass food again.
hahaha
my 2 cents: i dont think it will help the situation, a pilot with a gun just doesnt sound like a good idea to me. I think they should have guards with guns disguised as passengers like israel has.
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:36 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Anything that has the possibility of saving my ass on a flight and getting that same ass on the ground relatively safely is alright by me.

As long as these guys are trained I don't see the problem
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Old 04-20-2003, 11:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Lets just get those drunken pilots back on a plane...
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