View Full Version : pilots the enemy

1st Oct 2001, 21:34
Spoke to an adviser to Senator Gordon Smith (Republican Oregon) this morning about aviation topics. Talk inevitably got around to arming pilots as a last resort before being shot down by a USAF fighter.

The adviser (name I will not divulge) said words similar to "We are discussing that and having a lot of trouble. We are worried about the pilots hijacking the aircraft."

If this is the level of trust the government has in its commercial pilots (60% ex-military, 100 % with long verifiable employment backgrounds and life histories, several of them in my company ex-airforce one pilots) what are we supposed to feel. Can any US pilot have faith in an organisation that has so little faith in them?

Perhaps the government think they should not have taken many of these people into the military in the first place. Perhaps they think giving these people top secret security clearences and the control of nuclear weapons was a mistake. Perhaps the government thinks they made a mistake trusting these people in the past because clearly they cannot trust them now.

Reminds me of the military. Effective people cannot get anything useful done because of mealy-mouthed politicians.

2nd Oct 2001, 00:36
erm, why would a Pilot need a gun to hijack his own aircraft? Surely he would just hijack it any way, I mean who is going to stop him / them?

2nd Oct 2001, 00:45
There are 2 pilots so the gun can be used on the other guy who may want to stop your crazy idea. Problem with guns on flight decks is that the hijacker knows there is a weapon on board which he can use if he can get hold of it. As I said in an earlier thread the biggest risk now is getting shot by the "good guy", be he an F16, sky marshall or the other pilot.

2nd Oct 2001, 01:13
As I said in an earlier thread the biggest risk now is getting shot by the "good guy", be he an F16, sky marshall or the other pilot.

Actually, getting shot by the other pilot isn't currently a risk, since we are unarmed.

There is also the risk of the bad guys overpowering the sky marshall (as unconceivable as that may seem, since he's trained :rolleyes:!) and taking his gun. At least we'll die quick........

2nd Oct 2001, 02:59
Guns in the cockpit is a dead issue. It will neither be approved by Congress nor by foreign governments nor by the flying public. If you want to be an aerial cowboy, go and apply at the FAA's Sky Marshal program. Salary up to $80,000.

The Guvnon
2nd Oct 2001, 03:11
All management should have guns. Then we could shoot pilots we don't like.

2nd Oct 2001, 05:18
To The Guvnon,

Careful, some of us don't like management that much either, so come on give us a the gun???? :D

Ignition Override
2nd Oct 2001, 09:28
An article which I just found via an aviation e-mail service featured a very interesting article on Israel's El Al Airlines. I believe the origin was www.usatoday.com/usatonline... (http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline...)

The article states that El Al's pilots are NOT armed. Instead, the cockpit door never opens in flight and there are several armed agents somewhere in the cabin. It is good reading.

2nd Oct 2001, 09:58
Ignition Override,
Good read. Gives a clear picture of what EI AI does to it's pax.
Here's the exact path to save some searching for those who are interested too... http://www.usatoday.com/news/attack/2001/10/01/elal-usat.htm#more

2nd Oct 2001, 12:08
What's the point in arming pilots, when at check-in thru security, they'll lose the gun together with paper clips and nail files??????????

2nd Oct 2001, 12:25
All this hullabaloo will die off when everything settles down.Then u don't need to carry guns but will be able to carry your nose tweezers and your Mc Gyver's knife again.
Hope they don't remove the crash axe.Cheers

2nd Oct 2001, 17:36
Well we could return to the old days of the USSR where there was 6 or 7 crewmembers on each a/c.
Pilot, Co-pilot, Radio operator, Navigator, Flight Engineer, etc. austensibly so that if anyone wanted to hijack the aircraft to "defect" they would have to either overpower the rest of the crew, or at least have a majority consensus.

At least there would be more jobs!

2nd Oct 2001, 18:37
Security can take our fingernail files and paperclips so we dont use them wrongfully, then let us get into the cockpit where we have a huge pointed crash ax and one or two flare guns. Hmmmm???

2nd Oct 2001, 19:42
Regardless of the "tools" involved what is frustrating is the lack of logic from the decision makers.

They do not want us to possess a firearm because they do not trust us not to hijack our own aircraft. But they will give us an armoured cockpit door. That makes things nice and easy, I do not need to get involved in a messy shooting - I just wait until he goes to the toilet and lock him out. Now I have complete possession of the aeroplane with no inconvenient body to worry about and no way anybody can get in to interfere with my dastardly plans.


Max Continuous
3rd Oct 2001, 01:31
Boing, I think you'll find the plans involve the crew toilet and maybe a coffee vending machine being on the flight deck side of the armoured cockpit door.......

3rd Oct 2001, 08:07
Coffee vending machine I have not heard about yet. Toilet has been discussed for a time. (Remember when real aircraft had toilets on the flight deck by original design, Ah the good old days). I was told by another political aide that I would not like the ideas presently under consideration. Could this be the coffee machine and total isolation on the flight deck?

Still the same point though. I bet I can develop some way to jam any toilet door closed that you can design (with the other pilot inside). Perhaps we will go with exposed toilets and no doors to prevent this happening!

At our company we have had enormous battles to get decent rest facilities put on some aircraft because it was considered to cut into passenger seat space. The companies are going to love blocking off the forward toilet because the first class passengers are going to complain like crazy about having to queue with coach pax on a full aeroplane (by the way the last two legs I flew were one seat open on one flight and the other totally full. The flight after mine to the same destination was over sold).

My point is that of all the people in the world your own nation's pilots are the easiest to check for integrity. Most are ex-military, all have extensive work, education and residency records which are easily checked. Every pilot in the US is required to declare ANY run in with the law at his periodic aviation medical. We are tested randomly for drugs and alcohol abuse. Why should pilots be exposed to this almost obsessive suspicion when they are so obviously among the most trustworthy and well documented people in the whole population?

I see that Washington National Airport is to re-open BUT with much augmented security. One law for the rich and one for the poor. Tell me why, in a democracy, we should be saying that one level of security is good enough for the general population but another higher level is needed for politicians? Is it because the politicians know that the ideas they are proposing are only window dressing?

[ 03 October 2001: Message edited by: BOING ]

3rd Oct 2001, 10:37
Couldn't agree more with you Boing. The Feds have more info on me than they'll ever use, including a full FBI background check (courtesy of SAC for Nuke Top Secret clearance), all those years of FAA Physicals, Social Security and IRS records, not to mention the Credit details, Driver's records etc. etc. ad infinitum.. What more proof do they want that I am trustworthy enough to get an Airplane from A to B without succumbing to the urge to drive it into a building... Almost makes me look forward to retirement (NOT!)

3rd Oct 2001, 18:12

We are all major stars in "The Greatest Security Show on Earth!"

When the traveling public see's pilots getting cavity searched, and their toiletries confiscated, they make the "logical" assumption that IT MUST BE SAFE! Even the PILOTS are getting searched!

The entire issue is political.

From any angle that you view it from, politics are running this show, and any form of EFFECTIVE security enhancements will be a HUGE surprise to me. Expect more eyewash and harassment of flight crews.

Max Continuous
3rd Oct 2001, 18:27

You're totally correct, and our increasing role as political pawns makes our job a whole lot less appealing.

3rd Oct 2001, 22:57
Hey, anybody wonder why we get searched in such great detail, have our fingernail clippers and disposable razors confiscated, just to walk out to the aircraft and sit in the cockpit with a huge crash ax and a flare gun with several flares? Things that make you go Hummmmmm????? :mad:
The FAA, a true reactionary force!