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My favorite quote has to be:

"After graduation, the TSA issues the pilots a Heckler & Koch .40 caliber semiautomatic revolver." :roll:

The whole article is here:

Number of pilots carrying guns rising as more sign up for federal training

By Ken Kaye
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Posted February 11 2007

Five years after the 9-11 attacks, a growing number of U.S. airline pilots are packing heat, prepared to use lethal force to protect the cockpit. Soon, they will carry badges, bringing them even closer to being bona fide law enforcement officers.

"Every cop has that metal badge to flash," said John Mazor, spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association. "It is a valid recognition signal between law enforcement officers."

Officially known as federal flight deck officers, these are the airline pilots who keep side arms handy to provide one more layer of security and a last line of defense.

About 8,000 pilots now tote government-issued guns on a voluntary basis, or about 8 percent of the nation's 100,000 pilots, according to the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, a grassroots organization that advocates increased cockpit security. Two years ago, about 3,000 pilots were armed.

Although there have been no reports of pilots drawing their weapons since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the federal government has granted pilots slightly more leeway in how they take guns on board planes.

Notably, pilots now can lock their guns into holsters, which are then placed in an unassuming bag. After pilots are in the cockpit, the holsters are removed from the bag and latched onto their belts. Previously, the guns had to be transported onto planes in a heavy steel box.

To further fold pilots into the police community, the federal flight deck officer program has been placed under the Federal Air Marshal Service, an arm of the Transportation Security Administration. Last month the marshal service approved issuing badges to pilots so they are more easily identifiable.

"We're a law enforcement agency, so we understand the culture they're trying to develop as federal flight deck officers," said Conan Bruce, air marshal service spokesman.

To become flight deck officers, pilots undergo six days of intense training at a federal complex in Artesia, N.M., including weapons handling and close-combat techniques. Most importantly, they learn "how to use the appropriate level of force," Bruce said.

In one exercise, they are placed in a simulated, darkened cockpit. Then intruders attempt to overpower them. The pilots must decide whether to draw guns or confront the attackers physically, Bruce said.

"It can be anything from a lethal force scenario to an intoxicated passenger," he said.

After graduation, the TSA issues the pilots a Heckler & Koch .40 caliber semiautomatic revolver.

Yet, some pilots think the federal flight deck officer program has a long way to go.

One problem is that a tedious enrollment process discourages pilots from applying, David Mackett, president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, said. The process includes, among other things, a psychological evaluation and a background investigation.

Then, pilots must pay for transportation to the training site and usually end up forgoing $3,000 to $4,000 in pay during that week, he said.

Another problem: many pilots object to rigid rules governing how the guns must be handled. For instance, during a flight, pilots are not allowed to take guns out of the cockpit to go to the restroom. Yet that is when the cockpit is most vulnerable to attack, said Mackett, a captain for a major airline.

"The moment the cockpit door is open, that federal flight deck officer doesn't have a weapon on him, and that just makes no sense," he said.

As a result of such restrictions, he said about 50,000 pilots have declined to volunteer for the program. In turn, he said, only about 4 percent of domestic flights have an armed pilot.

Pilots are not allowed to carry weapons on international flights because the United States has yet to win approval for the program from other nations, Bruce said.

Dean Roberts, an Orlando-based pilot with a major airline, said he was rejected by the federal flight deck officer program because he voiced criticism of how it was managed.

Roberts, who is a member of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, said he has no desire to try again because the rules imply the government doesn't trust pilots with guns.

As an example, he said a pilot riding as a passenger in the back of the plane is forbidden from using a gun if a passenger becomes dangerous. "It's rules like that -- just-because-we-said-so rules -- that keep a large percentage of guys from participating," he said.

Bruce, of the Federal Air Marshal Service, disagreed, saying that most classes are full. About 50 pilots are trained each week.

He said the enrollment process is "typical and consistent with most law enforcement applications," and that most applicants successfully become federal flight deck officers.

"In fact, a mere fractional percentage of applicants have been not met program standards," he said.

He also noted that pilots are not allowed to brandish their guns outside of the cockpit as a matter of security.

"Any law enforcement officer will tell you that with a weapon, if you don't have control over it, there's a chance someone else will," he said.

Ken Kaye can be reached at [email protected] or 954-385-7911.
 

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Why not give em all guns, it's not like they are drinking on the job.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/ ... 9196.shtml
http://www.washtimes.com/business/20030 ... -9841r.htm
Why not let civilians take the same course, at their own expense. I know I would fork out the money to be allowed to carry on a plane. I fly a lot and most of it is coast to coast with the occasional international.

I imagine terrorists would think long and hard about getting on a plane if there where possibly 5 or more Joe Schmo's carrying.

I am willing to take responsibility for my own actions. I am not willing to accept the consequences of someone else's actions or inaction. I refuse to cede my ability to defend myself to someone else.
 

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I like Slabertooch's idea. I really like it!

The possibility of having trained, competent and armed passengers on flights would certainly give potential hijackers something to think about...

It would almost certainly eliminate any chance of planes being hijacked in this country ever again!

Anybody wanna bet our government will go along with the idea?

Didn't think so..........................!
 

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Key word, our government. Which is why in the near future I plan on running for local office. Time for me to stop bitching, and get involved. Nothing big, but a start.
 

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Pilots are not allowed to carry weapons on international flights because the United States has yet to win approval for the program from other nations, Bruce said.
We need their permission to arm our own pilots? Does Israel ask permission?

Dean Roberts, an Orlando-based pilot with a major airline, said he was rejected by the federal flight deck officer program because he voiced criticism of how it was managed.
No response from the government?
 

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I still remember one of the first people to sign up for it was an airline pilot that was also in the National Guard.

They said his mental profile did not pass the test to carry a gun on an airline.

His response was, then the mental profile is too strict. That when he is not flying hundreds of passengers around, his other job entailed him to be on alert in a fighter jet incase a passenger jet was hijacked again. If one was and he got authorization, he would have to shoot the passenger jet down.
He said he thought it strange that the Fed would trust him to fly a fighter jet and may be called to use it to shoot down a passenger jet and at the same time the Fed does not trust him to carry a handgun on a passenger jet.
 
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