air line pilots union pushing to arm US pilots

Philip_G

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anybody read that article?
basically ALPA is pushing for a voluntary program to arm commercial pilots, training would be similar to the air marshal training, and the pilot would actually have limited marshal authority. I'm sure there would be limitations like, ya can't go back into the passenger cabin to have a shoot out or something, but still it's an interesting idea.
I'm curious what people think about it. On the heels of the proposal is the ATC recording of the pilots of one of the flights getting sliced up, so that will probably influence people's thoughts. But I think it's interesting, 3 weeks ago I would have thought you wer eout of your mind to suggest alpa would propose this.
I'll get the ball rolling, personally I'd volunteer, I don't really see a downside with a voluntary system, air force pilots fly with a side arm pretty often, if you're comfortable with firearms (as I am) then I don't see the problem.
ALso, I see it as a nice solution to the air rage problem, I don't think a crazed PAX is going to rush the cockpit if he knows they may be armed and shoot him/her.
as I understand (but don't really know) it works this way for ships, often times the captain is armed..
Oh also.. an afterthought.
people are going to assume an airplane will rip apart in mid air or something like in the movies if a bullet goes through the fuselage, which isn't the case. There are rounds that could be used that would not penetrate metal, and if they did a half inch hole isn't going to jepordize the airplane. Pressurization systems can easily cope with that small of a leak (the outflow valves that control the pressure are something like a foot in diameter)and the structure can handle the hole. There's some maintenance people here, they can shed some light on that I bet

[Edited last by Philip_G on September 26, 2001 at 09:31 AM]
 

Patrick Sun

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The only drawback is terrorist impersonating an airline pilot, and would be wielding a gun in the cockpit...
I guess we'll need fingerprint/retina scan ID system to make sure the pilots onboard are the actual pilots, and to be allow access into the cockpit. Who knows how security measures on airplanes will get to be.
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Deane Johnson

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I think Patrick has hit part of the issue right on the head. Some of these guys came on disguised as pilots. If guns were permitted for pilots, they would have come on armed with guns with no one questioning it. I certainly have no problem with the pilots blowing these guys away before they can do harm, but there are certainly some side issues that need to be addressed.
It seems to me there is also another issue and that is the practice of letting dead-heading pilots sit up front. If the cockpit is reinforced and locked as proposed, it will do little good if the terrorist is invited in and given a seat and a cup of coffee.
It seems to me there needs to be some major policy changes in this regard.
Deane
[Edited last by Deane Johnson on September 26, 2001 at 10:16 AM]
 

brentl

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What about the Tazer(sp) idea??
A gun can go through the hull, but a stun gun can't.
I think a gun for the pilots is the last resort.
LL cool B
 

Jay H

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Would the pilots be willing and able to use them? And what if they get killed in the process and the hijackers or nobody on board has a clue how to fly? Anybody with a knife can take a hostage and demand the gun from the pilot. The pilot is going to have to be willing to either shoot the hostage taker, collateral damage to other passengers or hostages be dammed, or hope that either the hostage taker is chicken or another passenger jumps the hostage taker.
The idea about assuming everybody behind the door is dead is proabably a good idea, but how good is that in practice, do you think that would work with the American public?
Jay
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Deane Johnson

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The Tazer probably deserves investigation. Maybe for all flight crew members.
On the issue of bullets piercing the hull, I believe they use some special type that doesn't do that, but rather flatten out and mess up a human body a bit. Obviously, they aren't as effective as a regular bullet, but better than nothing. It's my understanding that Sky Marshalls already use these.
Deane
 

MickeS

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Bad idea. The pilots should fly the plane, period. Get an air marshal on board or arm the flight attendants, but make the pilot just fly the plane.
/Mike
 

Ryan Wright

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The pilot is going to have to be willing to either shoot the hostage taker, collateral damage to other passengers or hostages be dammed
The same thing a sky marshal would do - aim precisely and shoot the hostage taker, collateral damage be damned. It's either a terrorist and a passenger or two, or the whole plane. Take your pick.
Really, I don't see this as any different than having sky marshals aboard. They're just turning willing pilots into sky marshals. That's absolutely fine with me.
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Deane Johnson

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Probably at this point in time, anyone hijacking an airliner is doing so do great harm with it. That means that if the hijacking is successful, all passengers will be killed within a short time. It's probably worth some risk to one or two people in order to save the rest of the passengers, and likely hundreds to thousands on the ground.
Look what the brave passengers on the PA flight did without much of anything to work with except their determination to prevent further blood shed.
Horrible thoughts, but this is where we are now.
Deane
 

Richard Kim

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I believe that there have been reports of arrests of suspected terrorists trying to board planes as pilots.
Because of this risk, we should not arm pilots and instead have sky marshalls, and install metal doors for the cockpit.
 

Tom-G

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I like the idea of sealing off the cockpit so that there is no entry from the seating area. Arming the pilots would surely be helpful, but that isn't the most feasible way of preventing a hijacking.
Is there any reason why the pilot would need to leave the cockpit? I can't think of a good reason, so why not seal off that area?
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PatrickM

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I'm not sure arming pilots is a good idea. You have to be able to use it properly to be effective. Their pilots first not security personnel or law enforcement.
Isn't there a stat that says 70% of people who have guns in their houses who are broken into have their own gun used against them?
Patrick
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Jeff Ulmer

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Who is to say that there aren't already terrorists who hold pilot licenses that just haven't been called into service? Now you want to allow weapons on board the plane that could either be used by a terrorist or be captured by one. Bad idea. Lock the door and be done with it, and make sure ground security is tighter. Use a sky marshall if necessary (create some jobs).
I doubt we will ever see a hijacking like this again, as everyone knows the plane could possibly be used as a weapon, and those on board will know it, and can react accordingly.
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Jay Taylor

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I’m in favor of arming the pilots but I would want a better method of identifying them as actual pilots to insure they are not imposters. I also would want them to not unlock the door for virtually any emergency in the back or a hijacker would use that weakness to get the pilot out of the cockpit with a diversion.
I think most people agree that the pilots should have arrest authority but if they are locked in the cockpit that authority may never be used. Since the stewards, stewardesses, and passengers will be left to deal with any problem in the back, perhaps we ought to give some arrest authority to the entire crew, not just the pilots.
Jay Taylor
 

Philip_G

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I think that identification is already an issue.
in the past it was sort of a professional courtesy to allow any pilot from any airline to jumpseat, it could be a vacation, or a guy going to work. I did hear that report yesterday that one of the terrorists was wearing a pilots uniform and had been permitted to jumpseat. No one's jumpseating right now last I heard (pissing off my friends that had 2 weeks off and wanted to get out of town haha)
Identification is a problem for air marshals too, I don't see any differentiation between them and an armed pilot, other than a marshal would be easier to impersonate as they have no uniform.
the problem I DO have with a marshal, all the terrorists in theory have to do is team up, have one stand up and do something to draw attention from the marshal and another come in and kill him. Really, it wouldn't be hard I don't think. Not to mention the "spottiness" of an air marshal, how many do we have? a couple thousand for how many thousands of flights a day?
I think a lot of pilots may not like guns, making them apprehensive to use the force when it's needed, that's why I think a voluntary plan is a good idea. Personally if my life or the life of my crew or passengers was at risk I'd have no problems. But you don't know until you're in that situation.
interesting discussion though, wanted to see if americans could accept the idea, I didn't think we would..
it's like the old saying
"the government can only do for you what the government can do to you"
 

Philip_G

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can't seal the cockpit completely, pilots have to pee too

really though, if a terrorist is killing your crew, are you going to site there behind a locked door and not help? Are secure doors a help then?
I think a lot of you are over estimating the amount of attention required when an airplane is in cruise, sure there's stuff to do to prepare ahead, but really it's just pushin buttons and monitoring it. takeoff, climb, decent and approach/landing would be a little different.
[Edited last by Philip_G on September 26, 2001 at 12:07 PM]
 

AjayM

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Arming pilots is a knee-jerk solution to a big problem. You can't just drop a gun in the cockpit and tell the pilot to "shoot the bad guys". If you've ever fired a gun before you'd realize that it's a little harder than what they do in the movies, now add in a small room like a cockpit, the huge adreniline load, etc and you have a problem. There's a reason why anti-terrorist group like the FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) train every day for the few times they need to be deployed. Nevermind trying to keep the plane flying. So now you'll have to train the pilots at a top level CQ combat, and make sure they're still qualified to fly the plane.
And we won't go into the whole problem of bullets and electronics don't mix, or bullets through the skin of a plane don't mix, etc.
Sealing off the cockpit and instructing the pilot to never open the door is a much better solution. With instructions that if any problem arises that the pilot lands the plane at the nearest airport that is capable of landing the plane, when you're flying over the US you're probably never more than 10 minutes of flying time to an airport. It's not that much different than the scene in Air Force One when the terrorists start shooting and the first thing the pilots do is lock the door and go for an emergency landing.
{Joke}Of course if you really want to solve the problem, instead of handing out the newspaper when getting on a plane hand out handguns to all the passengers. If somebody stands up and declares he's taking over the plane, he now has 100+ armed and now very angry armed people who won't hear of it! This also solves the security issues, no need for security, no need to smuggle weapons on-board, etc....problem solved
{/joke}
Andrew
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Philip_G

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I take offense to "just dropping a gun in the cockpit" as that's far from what is proposed, if we're talking the same training that air marshals receive, are you saying they're a bad idea also?
 

Jin E

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Isn't there a stat that says 70% of people who have guns in their houses who are broken into have their own gun used against them?
Never heard that one before. Sounds like one of those made up numbers you hear people spouting trying to frighten people away from guns. Sounds a lot like the Kellerman and Reay report that has been beaten to death and proved highly missleading. I have heard the statistic that 98% of the time a gun is drawn against someone during the commission of a crime the crime is deterred.
Debunking the Kellerman and Reay Report
You also have to remember that a high percentage of pilots are ex-military and have had a lot of training with a side arm. What makes someone with the title “Sky Marshall” more able to use a sidearm then a pilot with an equal amount of training. Except during takeoff and landing you really don’t need the pilot at the controls. I do know that it would be better to have ANY one of the good guys up there with a gun (whether it be the pilot, sky marshal, me) then none at all. Just the knowledge of someone armed with a firearm will deter the thoughts of taking over the plane. Even Bin Laden is stupid enough to bring a knife to a gun fight. It will make the terrorists have to try harder in order to take the plane over… and have to take more chances. I’m proud to say that I use my right to carry every day… and I have personally deterred 2 crimes by brandishing my little 32 auto with no shots fired.
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