air line pilots union pushing to arm US pilots

PatrickM

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So what if the pilots receive the same training as Air Marshalls? They were pilots before so what makes you think you can turn them into law enforcement?
At least when they go to staff for Air Marshalls they'll be choosing (hopefully) people from a law enforcement backgrounds. Why do we want to make Pilots into Sheriffs in the sky? They have enough to do in the cockpit me thinks.
A gun in the hands of someone who is reluctant, unwilling or untrained to use it is extremely dangerous to everyone on the ground but even more so in a pressurized cabin 30,000 feet in the air.
Why do you think when jail guards go into the general population area they check their guns outside? Much better to get beat or stabbed then shot at.
Patrick
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Joseph S

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Why not just put a bomb on the plane in the first place? If it goes off course or the transponder is disabled the FAA just blows it to pieces and only those onboard suffer.
Honestly, this is arming the pilots idea is really sketchy. The only way to prevent the events of 9/11 would be to have to have a separate entrance to the cockpit. There is still the risk of a pilot immitation issue, but you have absolutely no risk of a terrorist taking hostages to gain control of the flight.
All they had were box cutters and took over 100+ passangers and crew. If we allow armed pilots on the plane there is still a great chance that he would not stop a group. Someone would get through to the controls. These folks were giving up their lives. If two or three die getting the gun from the pilot, I don't think they'll care any more. Furthermore, piercing the hub would likely mean most if not all passengers are still at great risk for death.
 

Philip_G

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as far as the pilot immitation, some of the large airport have already ordered the finger print scanner deals for secuirty doors. No more swipe cards. Slightly harder to imitate that.
 

Paul Wu

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All passengers must take responsibility in thwarting a hijacking. Only then can we truely have a safe flight. Arming pilots and having sky marshals is only putting the responsibility onto another party. It seems that we want to put the responsibility of our saftey elsewhere. But if somebody's dumb enough to try and hijack a flight that I'm on, I'd be one of the first to rush the guy. I just hope the guy behind me get's him or my efforts will be for nothing.
Let me be even more morbid. A pistol magazine holds 15 rounds, plus one in the chamber. So a hijacker can shoot 16 people before he is out of ammunition. If he has a submachine gun, that's 30 rounds in the magazine. If he just has a knife, he can maybe stab a couple of people before he's overcome by numbers. The layout of an airplane in not condusive to rushing, but a stream of attack along the aisle to the target, with the person behind climbing over the person in front as they go down. If he's got a bomb. Well so what. The minute he shouts "I am hijacking this plane I have a bomb" I know I'm dead. I sure as hell won't be sitting around hoping a sky marshal or the pilot would be able to come out and help.
The question is, are you ready to die to save the life of others? Who's to say I'd even be able to get out of my seat? I won't know until the situation is at hand, and I may be just all talk, I hope I never find out.
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Ryan Wright

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All passengers must take responsibility in thwarting a hijacking. Only then can we truely have a safe flight. --- I just hope the guy behind me get's him or my efforts will be for nothing.
I'm in 100% agreement with this and I, too, would be the first person out of my seat to attack the hijacker.
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-Ryan (http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
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Philip_G

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Ryan made some good points IMO.
Let me be even more morbid. A pistol magazine holds 15 rounds, plus one in the chamber. So a hijacker can shoot 16 people before he is out of ammunition. If he has a submachine gun, that's 30 rounds in the magazine. If he just has a knife, he can maybe stab a couple of people before he's overcome by numbers.

First, you're making a VAST generalization on magazine capacity, which in reality can vary from a single shot whatever up to an AK with a 75 or 100 round drum..
Second, you're sitting in your chair, a guy starts yelling at you, and says he has a bomb and will blow the plane up if you don't cooperate. What do you do? yell "SHOW ME MOTHERFUCKER" at him? no, you probably don't. They rely heavily on a psychological advantage, and while you sit here and say you'd do this and that, there are probably 200 dead passengers that would have said the same thing, and they didn't.
[Edited last by Philip_G on September 26, 2001 at 04:43 PM]
 

Tom-G

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I can think of many good reasons. Pilots have to eat. They have to sleep and trade places with other pilots on long, international flights. They have to use the bathroom.
No, they don't have to come out to eat. They should be concentrating on flying the plane. If they need nourishment while flying, the food can be prepared and placed in the cockpit prior to departure.
Accommodations can and must be made. If they need to use the lavatory, make an accommodation. Put a lav in the area before the door.
I'm not confident that arming pilots is the answer. I see too many things going wrong with that. I would love to see air marshals and the cockpit sealed off. That is the probably the best way to prevent a hijacking.
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As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day. --Roger Ebert on The Phantom Menace
[Edited last by Tom_G on September 26, 2001 at 07:07 PM]
 

PatrickM

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I heard on the news that President Bush is not in favour of arming pilots so I doubt it'll happen.
 

James Q Jenkins

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You people who say they'd attack hijackers remember this.
In the past, it has been very rare that hijacking has caused massive deaths among passengers. The events of the September 11 atrocity were unprecedented, even among hijacking. Until September 11, you could assume that if the plane were hijacked, you'd end up witha long damn detour, but eventually on the ground in an airport, where the hijackers would depart/negotiate, then eventually you'd go home. Stay in your seat and no-one has to die. Are you going to risk your children being orphans to save a couple days ona trip and an unpleasant adventure? Remember, this type of attack using hijacked aircraft was unthinkable before September 11.
Now, after September 11, I hijacking will never be thought of in the same light again. I believe that your "kill them f**kers!" mentality would be very common during a hijacking in the future. And I think the would-be hijackers know it. Remember what those heroes did over Pittsburgh. If any of the people on the WTC or Pentagon planes knew what was the plan you can be damn sure that they would have done something similar!
I think a new branch of the FBI or US Marshall Service is a better solution than arming pilots.
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-JQJ
[Edited last by James Q Jenkins on September 27, 2001 at 09:19 AM]
 

Neil Joseph

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All I can say is I feel sorry for the poor stewards and stewardesses. With people being armed on both sides, they will take the brunt of it. They better make those planes bullet proof then too!
orangeman
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Scott Dautel

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Remember, US Marshalls on planes was tried in the 70's and dropped for many reasons, not the least of which were cost, job burnout and the concern over "itchy trigger fingers". I whole heartedly think this is not a long term solution. IMHO, The very best thinking today brings together a combinatioin of measures including:
1) Fortified cockpit doors
2) video monitors in cockpit with cameras in back
3) arming trained pilots with some type of non lethal, non-projectile "stun gun" (WITH biometric trigger locks to prevent use by anyone other than those trained.
Imagine a "Laser Stun Gun" that could paralyse muscles, but not affect heart, vision etc. Now stop imagining ... such technology exists and was successfully tested several months ago. The company to watch and invest in is HSV Technologies of Lakeside, CA . Once again, American ingenuity at it's finest.
For the longer term ... remote piloting from the ground is feasible today in emergency situations, but will require decades to replace the nations aircraft with modern fly-by-wire technology.
Scott
 

Michael Vasquez

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Oct 11, 2000
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I think just about all of you have been watching too many "action hero saves the day with his expert marksmanship" movies.
Bank vault type cockpits are a long ways off in the future, so I don't see it as relevant to discuss the pilots ability to not have to be involved, he will have to be involved.
Plus you are kidding yourself if you think one training course, even a good one, will enable the pilots to become efficient marksmen in a stressful situation. I have seen people who are PROFESSIONALS in law enforcement, who have to qualify on a REGULAR basis, unload full clips at suspects in tense situations and the suspect is not hit once. I don't understand why we are even considering the idea of arming pilots.
Why not just make it harder to get on a plane with a weapon, pilot or otherwise? It wouldn't be that hard if the airlines and the American public were really interested in safety. For instance:
1. no carry-ons. none. If you have medicine you need, toys for the kids, or baby formula, then you put it in a clear zip lock bag and go through a special line to get your things thoroughly checked, and not by some half-asleep high school drop out, by someone properly trained and motivated to keep weapons and bombs off the plane.
2. Real security checks at airports to board the plane, not the half-ast joke that we have had for many years.
3. Real honest-for-goodness security in the airport, actual background checks of baggage handlers, janitors, skycaps, pilots, etc. As we've come to see lately, the airlines and airports were ridiculously unsecure.
I am getting really worried about this attitude that seems to exist to rush into new "solutions" without trying to figure out if they would really help, or just provide us with a false sense of security.
 

Tom-G

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I caught a segment on CNN recently that suggested each plane be equipped with equipment which would allow remote control of the plane from the ground. I really like this idea. If precautions could be implemented where the remote crew can be warned of terrorists, control of the plane would be given to someone not in the plane and negate any terroristic actions. This would have saved the lives of the people on Flight 93 and sounds like a very good idea. The security on the ground could be a lot better at preventing terrorists from taking over via remote control.
I know there isn't going to be a fool-proof plan, but America must attempt to implement some safety precautions.
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As for the bad rap about the characters--hey, I've seen space operas that put their emphasis on human personalities and relationships. They're called "Star Trek" movies. Give me transparent underwater cities and vast hollow senatorial spheres any day. --Roger Ebert on The Phantom Menace
 

Ryan Wright

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Why not just make it harder to get on a plane with a weapon, pilot or otherwise?
Why don't we take this a step further: Anyone who has ever had any martial arts training is restricted from ever flying on a plane. Anyone with large muscles - linebackers, weight lifters, etc - can't fly. These people could use their bodies as a weapon. Hell, might as well say anyone who has an IQ above a certain level can't fly, because they could use their brain to outsmart the other passengers and takeover the plane.
Most people (as well as our government) are concentrating on restricting people. No curbside check-in. No carry-on luggage. Etc. What good will this do when future terrorists spend 3 years under intense martial arts training? Or when they just make a super hard plastic knife and sew it into their clothes, or hide it in their shoe, or put it in a capsule and stick it in their...? Really, how are you going to prevent that? Perform body cavity searches on every passenger? On every pilot? Every employee? Terrorists take their time. They could place a maintenance employee within the company with a perfectly good record and wait 10 years for the right moment to plant a bomb, or smuggle a gun on-board and hide it under a specific seat, etc.
The fact is, you can't keep weapons off of the plane. You just can't. If someone is hell bent on hijacking an airline and has money and time on their hands, you won't know what's going on until you're in the air. It has to be stopped there, in the plane, while in flight. This is what we need to concentrate on, not restricting everything under the sun and making it miserable for the rest of us. I personally don't see a difference whether the armed sky marshal is back in coach, or up in the cockpit flying the plane. As long as they have the same training, what does it matter? If we said we were going to train existing sky marshals to be pilots, would you care? If not, why do you care that we do it the other way around?
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-Ryan (http://www.ryanwright.com )
Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.
 

AjayM

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As long as they have the same training, what does it matter? If we said we were going to train existing sky marshals to be pilots, would you care? If not, why do you care that we do it the other way around?
Are you ready to pay say 10x the amount of money to fly somewhere? It's going to be nice that when I want to fly to Europe instead of paying $500, I'll have to pay $5000 for the same crappy seat and service. Or maybe dropping $3000 to fly from Florida to New York. Sounds like the way to go to me.
You'd need double the amount of pilots, and to pay for their special training and then you'd have to give them a raise for this new part of their job.
Let's look at it this way. Being an Air Marshal is a full time job between the heavy training schedule and the actual flying part and being a pilot is a full time job between flying/training/keeping current. So is it that easy to just mix the two and hope it works out? We've all had situation in our work life where a co-worker quits and you suddenly get double the work load..lots of fun isn't it. And I doubt very many of us have a job that is as stressul as being a pilot or a cop (sky marshal). You wouldn't ask one of the sales-people at your company to go into your server room and install the new version of Solaris on your Sun machine, then upgrade the database to Oracle 9....so why would you ask pilots to also become cops?
The airlines will never go for the larger cockpit idea either, look at how much revenue per day you would lose by knocking 3 rows out of coach, basically 9 people total for a domestic flight (more on international), say an average ticket price of $500, that's $4500 a flight you lose...multiply that by the 2000 domestic flights a day the big airlines do...we're talking some serious cash. And in the eyes of the bean counters, it's cheaper to have a tragedy every so many years than to prevent it

Taking control of the plane from the ground would be interesting, but that's still a little to far in the future...sure you can land certain planes now with autopilot (at specific equiped airports), but that's not the same thing. But nobody is going to guarantee a 100% reliability on a system like this.
The key here is that you'll never make it 100% safe to fly, and the issue needs to be addressed not in the plane but on the ground, if somebody has gotten onto a plane with weapons and is going to try and take it over, you've already lost. Arming pilots just means an innocent drunk with Air-rage is going to get shot, or you've just armed the terrorist that you are fighting against (these terrorist were impersonating pilots or were pilots with other airlines).
If I'm ever in a plane and unlucky enough to be in a hijacking I'll do everything the Terrorist says...until I see both pilots sitting with me in the back of the plane, the odds are on my side that the plane will get on the ground and I'll get to walk away shaken but unharmed. If I see both pilots not in control of the plane, then all bets are off.
Andrew
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BrianB

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And in the eyes of the bean counters, it's cheaper to have a tragedy every so many years than to prevent it
This was documented in the UK recently, with the railway system. There was documentary proof that the railway companies calculated that it was cheaper to pay the costs of a large accident 'every so often' than to pay for increased safety features on every train service.
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Neil Joseph

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I believe the prison system has a more rigourous security system than that of any airport. The prison guards all have to have a certain level of clearance, police checks done etc. The fact is, weapons still find their way inside prisons one way or another. What makes us think that we can keep weapons off planes. I agree that security should be beefed up because it is non-existant up to this point. Let us take a lesson from Israel (El Al) as they have the safest airlines and best security as far as I know. But you can only take it so far. Nothing guarantees weapons not being on planes.
Hey, maybe we can teleport ourselves around the country though.... http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum2/HTML/005264.html
 

Scott Strang

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Airline pilots are professionals. They have to be able to remain calm during adverse circumstances. For this reason, I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to "pack heat". Hell everyday they're entrusted with not only an airliner that's valued at > $40 million, but also with lives in the plane and potentially on the ground.
Aren't some airline pilots retired from the USAF or Navy where they served as military pilots?
From what I'm reading in some of these posts, it appears that many of you have never before fired a pistol or rifle
in your entire lives. This is shocking to me.
Everyone should at one time learn to properly use a firearm; it's not a bad thing to learn.
Since I grew up in the south, firearms have been, and always will be, a part of my life. Granted I don't have a massive firearm collection (can't afford to buy those and all of the other stuff I want)and the ones I do have were inherited. But my dad always took me different places to practice and I was absolutely forbidden to touch any of them without his direct supervision and I wasn't stupid enough to test that rule.
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Jin E

Second Unit
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On Depressurization
from David M.
Licensed Aircraft Engineer
One or even several bullets puncturing the pressure cabin wall would be hardly noticeable and the aircraft's pressurization control would easily cope with the slight loss of air. The likelihood of a single bullet causing a massive structural failure is so remote as to be insignificant. It is quite possible that gunfire in the cockpit or passenger cabin could cause damage to fuel, hydraulic or electrical lines but again it would have to be unlucky to cause a major problem that could not be survived.
Commercial jets pressurization systems are designed to maintain the cabin at a pressure altitude of not exceeding 8 or 9 thousand feet no matter how high the plane is flying, and they do this with a typical differential of maximum 6 to 9 psi. Rapid depressurization is uncommon and systems warn of creeping depressurization because at a cabin altitude of over 15000 feet blackout is likely to occur but by then the oxygen masks will have long before deployed typically at around 10 to 12000 feet pressure altitude.
I believe I read somewhere that a Boeing 747 can lose five cabin windows and maintain cabin pressure so I personally would not be worried about a few potentially life saving shots being fired by a sky marshal - what effect that might have on ones hearing is another matter entirely!
Regards, David.
September 17, 2001
An interesting read concerning firearms on planes.
https://www.keepandbeararms.com/info...em.asp?ID=2474
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-Jin
My Theater
 

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