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View Full Version : The right to bear arms. Vote now.


snoopdoggie
2nd Apr 2002, 22:19
April 3, 2002
The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As representatives of the largest airline pilot organizations in this country, we would like your assistance in the immediate development and implementation of a program to defend the American traveling public with voluntarily armed pilots.

Public opinion polls and those within our own pilot groups indicate overwhelming support for arming flight deck crewmembers with lethal weapons. Nothing short of lethal force can stop lethal intent to hijack and destroy our aircraft and murder all on board. Yet the volunteer pilot arming provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 that you signed into law on November 19, 2001, are being ignored.

To remedy this situation, we ask for your assistance in implementing a flight deck protection program that has the following characteristics:

All volunteer pilots must be carefully screened, successfully trained and subsequently designated by a federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI or TSA.
Pilots so selected, screened and trained should be deputized or have the same indemnification and protections afforded other law enforcement officers in the employ of the U.S. government.
Pilots must be certificated in weapons handling, use of lethal force, carriage policy and procedure, rules of engagement in all environments, recurrent training, tort law, and other subjects deemed necessary by the governing authority.
Choice of weapons and ammunition will be mandated by the responsible federal agency.
Certified pilots will draw their weapons only for use in direct defense of the flight deck in accordance with program “use of force” rules.
If the unthinkable happens again, there must be a means provided for our flight crews to defeat any hijacker who breaches the flight deck with a weapon and attempts to destroy the aircraft. Otherwise, a U.S. fighter may be ordered to shoot down a commercial airliner full of innocent passengers. America’s pilots must have lethal weapons as a last line of defense against well-coordinated, highly trained teams of terrorists.

Each of our pilot groups has independently assessed and recommended the best way to implement a plan to arm our flight crews. Each has drawn similar conclusions closely paralleling a proposed training program developed by the FBI at the request of the Department of Justice. We have forwarded our specific recommendations through the comment process requested by the Federal Aviation Administration, and stand ready to immediately assist your administration in the establishment of such a program.

Sincerely,

Signature on File
Captain Duane Woerth
President
Air Line Pilots Association Signature on File
Captain John E. Darrah
President
Allied Pilots Association
Signature on File
Captain Tracy Price
President
Airline Pilot Security Alliance Signature on File
Captain Bob Miller
President
Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations
Signature on File
Captain Jon Weaks
President
Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association

cc: Norman Mineta, Secretary of the U.S. DOT
Tom Ridge, Director, Office of Homeland Security
John W. Magaw, Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, U.S. DOT
Robert S. Mueller, Director, FBI
Nicholas Sabatini, Associate Administrator for Regulation & Certification, FAA
Carol Hallett, President & CEO, Air Transport Association of America

EGGW
2nd Apr 2002, 23:27
I do hope this was a late April Fool.

How stupid :mad: :mad:

snoopdoggie
2nd Apr 2002, 23:29
Stupid, HuH?

I'll bet the pilots of 9/11 think the same thing!
I think your post is stupid, but respect your freedom of speech.

May you never get hijacked!:eek:

GlueBall
2nd Apr 2002, 23:34
Future prospective terrorist hijackers and other passenger Nut Cases will not be able to penetrate approved bullet proof cockpit doors and bulkheads.

Ordinary passengers concerned for their own safety and survival would no longer sit idle during any inflight disturbance.

Future airplane interior designs and upgrade kits for current pax jets will include separate crew lav and mini galley so that cockpit crews will not have to exit the flight deck during flight.

Assigning pilots a secondary role of becoming trained assasins is impractical reality.:eek:

Tripower455
2nd Apr 2002, 23:51
Not to mention screening pilots and flight attendants, selecting amputees, little kids and armed LEO's for gate screening. We have all those trusted employees watching the ramp for us!

If all of the above fails, we always have the future new hire in the F-Teen to finish the job. With the gauntlet of security that is and will be in place, why go to the trouble of arming pilots? They might hurt themselves. :rolleyes:

All kidding aside, it is the only effective way to prevent a 9/11 type incident from happening!

snoopdoggie
3rd Apr 2002, 00:49
Clueball,

Nice try, but you're wrong.
Ever go to the lav inflight?

Case closed.;)

18-Wheeler
3rd Apr 2002, 03:02
Ah, what a good idea.
All I have to do is turn around 180° in my seat, pick the right target, which is moving no doubt very quickly and very agressively, make sure that I ONLY shoot the hijacker and not anything trivial such as avionic panels, other passengers, flight attendants, windows, etc, then perhaps do all that a few more times to be sure.
With the added bonus that they're trained murderers, and I'm only a trained Boeing driver.

The words "completely", "utterly", and "insane" imeediately spring to mind.

Believe it or not, you are not in the movies! You WILL lose against trained murderers.
But yes, I'd still try - I'm two metres tall and don't really need any weapons to do a lot of damage.

* Edit - Replaced 'killers' with 'murderers', that's a more appropriate title for such scum.

Blacksheep
3rd Apr 2002, 03:35
The 9/11 murderers exploited a loophole in security - the fact that pilots were trained not to resist, cooperate fully and do as they were told. This loophole is no longer open. The next event, whatever it turns out to be, will exploit some other loophole and will also come as a total surprise.

You don't suppose that arming pilots might create additional risks? Personally I'd prefer there to be no weapons at all aboard any civil aircraft.

**************************
Through difficulties to the cinema

BEagle
3rd Apr 2002, 05:47
Yes - the 'trained to co-operate' school have been proved to be wrong. Remember Dawson Field with 3 hijacked aircraft being blown up by Palestinian hijackers? Why no El Al? Because their ex-military pilot put his defensive flying skills into action and the specialist sky marshall did the rest. Stupid Western governments let Leila Khaled go back rather than hanging the woman; now we are in this mess with airline travel becomingly increasingly unpleasant for flight and cabin crews and passengers alike.

You do need pilots with the skill to knock hijackers off their feet - a low G pushover followed by a high G turn within ac limits should be practisd in the simulator and trained marksmen carried in the cabin. It seems that flight crews will become isolated from their passengers and cabin crew - what a shame. Would Mr Desert Eagle 0.50 on the flight deck really help?

SupremeSpod
3rd Apr 2002, 06:19
It appears that we have some Rambo/James Bond Wannabe's

Anybody ever heard of Walter Mitty?

Surely it is best to prevent the problem with increased security, not be armed to the teeth waiting for it to happen!

EGGW
3rd Apr 2002, 07:32
If you have guns on any plane you have problems, no matter who has them. It'll only take one insane pilot, yes our own colleagues, who have lost the plot once in a while, remember that Royal Air Maroc ATR a few years back.
Security is about not getting problem pax. on board in the first place. I'm trained to fly aeroplanes, not become a marksman, trying to skew around and make a lightning decision on someones life, whether pax. or assailant/hijacker.
Gung ho wild west attitudes are not needed or required in avaiation, but a thorough security system, backed up by the knowledge that crews and pax. are not now gonna sit back when a hijack takes place, and i think they know this is a fact.

Habu
3rd Apr 2002, 07:46
You Brits are really afraid of handguns huh?
You sure can tell the difference between the Brits opinions and the Americans.

First, airliners are not designed for aggressive maneuvering, not to mention injuring passengers and crew who might be walking in the cabin.
Second, If you cannot hit a person at point blank range with a handgun in the cockpit, you should reevaluate your flying skills.
ALL pilots should have the option of using lethal force AFTER they have gone through training.

Remember, you did not know how to fly an airplane until someone taught you either...the same applies to firearms.
Wake Up...a handgun may save your life someday.

SupremeSpod
3rd Apr 2002, 07:55
A hand gun may end up taking it also.

As a 'brit' I might add that I'm not afraid of guns, just some of the morons that think they can solve every problem with one!

rubik101
3rd Apr 2002, 08:26
I am a Brit pilot who has experience with handling a hand gun in the RAF. I had to carry it on several occasions but never used it, thankfully.
I have a feeling that some of us are missing the point about the detterent effect two guns on the flight deck would have once it is known amongst the 'general public' that we are armed. Perhaps 'potential hijakers' would be a better term.
If the weapons in question were low velocity, as used on El Al they would pose little threat to the aircraft even if they did puncture the skin. The A/C is full of holes already!
If the weapon were a Taser, as used by many police and security forces around the world, the detterent effect would be reduced but still effective. Maybe we should have one of each?
Hand gun training and refreshers would quite easily be incorporated in our SEP training.
I don't see a problem with the concept.
The sooner the better.

M.Mouse
3rd Apr 2002, 08:27
Yes you can indeed tell the difference between the UK and US opinion here.

Ask yourself why special forces are more often than not successful in overpowering agressors in siege situations. Is it not the element of suprise, planning, determination and skill? Now turn that around to where the budding martyrs have the element of suprise, planning, determination and skill.

OK, I will draw my weapon, turn 180º while strapped in my seat and kill the one or two coming through the door.

Claude van Damme or Sylvester Stallone might be able to do it but I would probably shoot the stewardess being held as a shield or miss and kill a passenger.

There is no perfect answer any more than life is totally safe. We can only minimize the risks. As somebody said the next outrage will be different and that too will take us all by suprise.

Guns on the FD do not get my vote. Sorry.

Lawyerboy
3rd Apr 2002, 08:56
I'd prefer the right to arm bears, myself.

Pilots are trained to fly aircraft. Most of them are pretty good at it. Pilots are not trained to use firearms, and whilst - in the US at least - I have little doubt that some pilots fancy themselves as being a good shot, I'd echo 18-Wheeler in saying that in the time you'd have to react you'd have to be a trained bloody marksman to do anything other than cause more damage.

Guns and aircraft don't mix, and in any case this strikes me simply as another case of shutting the stable door long after the horse has bolted. If someone wants to bring an aircraft down there are plenty of ways to do it, and Mr Nigel 'John' Wayne with his peashooter isn't going to be able to do didley.

A-V-8R
3rd Apr 2002, 12:33
For a Brit, Rubin 101, pretty novel thinking.....

Clearly your mindset will protect the passengers much better than the some of the above Tofu Warriors mindset will.....

I posted this before, but it's only twenty eight inches from the back of my head to the Cockpit door.

I doubt I'll miss center of mass with a handgun.

With only a Taser I'll give that to the First Officer to distract him and I'll finish him off with the axe. It's always out nowadays.....On the 767 200 if the door opens it pins the axe to the Cockpit wall....

Warthog 1
3rd Apr 2002, 13:49
Interesting topic--here's the perspective of Fred Reed, a NY Post columnist and former US Marine. Not an advocate of the "softly, softly" approach to thwarting terrorists, but he has some excellent points.

Aviation Week for February 18 says that a Great Debate – “furious, behind-the-scenes” – rages over whether pilots of airliners should carry weapons. Granted, debate in Washington intellectually parallels professional wrestling, but without the dignity. Still:
Did we not just lose four aircraft, several thousand people, two and a quarter buildings, and get ourselves into an open-ended string of wars, and begin to turn ourselves into an officious security state, at a cost of many, many billions of dollars -- because pilots did not have guns?

Key point: A pistol is an overmatch for a small knife. You can probably keep guns off aircraft. You cannot keep sharp objects off. There exist, for example, hard, sharp plastic knives intended as weapons. I’ve seen them.

OK: Mahmud in economy whips out his box cutter, a stewardess shouts a warning and, as Mahmud rushes to the cockpit, the copilot opens the door and shoots him five times with a .45 semi-automatic. Mahmud ceases to be an international terrorist. He is now a carpet stain.

In fact, had the pilots been armed, do you suppose Mahmud would even have tried?

Yet here in the City of Living Tapioca, people argue that we should do anything but arm the pilots. Why? Because among the political overclass the ideological aversion to guns, and particularly to people who own guns, outweighs concern for lives.

What, pray, do we expect unarmed pilots to do? Idiotic suggestions abound. My favorite is that they should throw the terrorist off his feet by maneuvering violently, always a good idea in a 747. Let’s imagine it:

Ahmet arises, whereupon the pilot maneuvers hard. Unsecured babies fly from their mothers’ arms and smash against things. So do the stewardesses. (Exactly what one wants in an emergency: cripple the only people trained to handle it.) Heavy metal sandwich carts thunder about, crushing people. Passengers in the lavatories have their necks broken. Chaos, panic, wreckage prevail.

The terrorists, who knew this would happen, are least likely to be hurt because they will have been expecting it.

But . . . now what? The problem has not been solved. The terrorists are still there. People unbuckle, wanting to help the hurt. A mother will not sit insouciantly in her seat while her injured baby bleeds out of her reach. The pilot again violently maneuvers an aircraft not designed for it. Crash, thump, scream, maneuver wildly, crash, thump, scream

Practical.

But we mustn’t shoot the sonsofbitches.

It gets sillier. Says AvWeek,“Critics have warned that armed pilots would be more of a hazard to passengers than the remote threat of terrorist hijackings.” Oh. We trust the pilots to take off in a huge aircraft, fly it and us at an altitude of seven miles across a cold, deep, and wet ocean, and land the brute in marginal weather at Heathrow – but we don’t trust them with sidearms. What could be more reasonable?

Nice, frightened naifs say we should use non-lethal weapons. Good. Water cannon, perhaps. Rubber bullets? Tear gas? Foam? Flash-bangs? The salient characteristic of non-lethals is that they work poorly, especially in confined spaces.

Besides, I don’t want non-lethal weapons. I want lethal ones. I don’t like people who want to fly me into a large building. Killing them would suit me fine.

Sheer unfamiliarity with guns plays a large part here. I found myself talking some time ago with a pilot for American, one of apparently few who fear guns. The terrorists would take the guns away from the pilots, he worried, and kill them. The solution, he averred, was stronger cockpit doors.

Solution for whom? The passengers remain with the terrorists.

Having better doors to delay forced entry is a good idea. It isn’t a guarantee. There are ways of opening locked doors quickly. I have seen adhesive-backed charges of plastic explosive that can be slapped against a hinge. They stick. The impact starts the ignition train, and five seconds later the hinge blows apart. They can be made with no metallic parts. SWAT teams and commandos have, or know how to make, such devices.

This guy didn’t know that either. He knew how to fly an aircraft. He didn’t know squat about protecting one. And he didn’t know he didn’t know

But assume that the doors hold. The terrorists appear and begin cutting throats. First they kill the flight attendants. The pilots drive on, cowering behind the door that is their only protection. The terrorists say they will kill passengers until the pilots open the door. The pilots, now flying an abattoir, drive on – because, being unarmed, they have little choice. Should the terrorists figure out how to open the door, which is definitely doable, they will be helpless. Splendid.

But we mustn’t shoot the sonsofbitches.

The fear of depressurizing the aircraft is exaggerated. Cabins are pressurized to something like 8,000 feet, well below 14.7 psi. Even if the aircraft were in orbit, it would be only a dozen or so psi over ambient. A bullet hole would make a hissing sound. It would not, a la Hollywood, suck people out. Aside from which there are frangible bullets, hard enough to kill a man but that shatter into powder on hitting metal.

But I doubt that the American guy knew know about bullets either.

Now, AvWeek’s polls find that 73% of aircrew want arms on the flight deck. Most of the public agrees. The Overclass do not agree. Why?

On a guess, because they come from the coddled suburbs and pampered universities where it is always safe, where the police defend them from human reef life a mile away, where everyone is against violence and sings Kum BaYah and dabbles in Ethical Culture. As we become more effeminate, more a nation of mall children, the cosseted just don’t know that, occasionally, it really is kill or be killed. They’ve probably never held a firearm.

And there is the curiously American disjuncture from reality, our penchant for insisting that the world is as it isn’t, and then living as if it were. We begin a military campaign against the world’s terrorists, people who avowedly want to kill us, drive aircraft into nuclear plants to poison us with radiation, destroy our cities – but pretend we don’t need to arm ourselves. We know the terrorists are Moslem males, but act as if we didn’t. We wage war on terrorists, but eject little boys from school if they draw pictures of soldiers

And AvWeek’s ominous phrase – “behind the scenes” – means that we are likely to get what the overclass wants, not what we want.







©Fred Reed 2002

Capt Homesick
3rd Apr 2002, 17:33
Any weapon issued to pilots suffers from the same weaknesses- our seating position, and the time required to use it. A handgun would only be usable if one pilot had the time to draw it, leave his seat and be facing the terrorist- so the reinforced door option seems a requirement, whether or not the crew are armed. Perhaps the blow-out panels could include one designed to be usable to shoot through?
While we're talking about this, the addition of video cameras covering the cockpit access area seems useful, again whether the pilots are armed or not. However, if we're adding a PDA to allow us to view internal video, how about giving us some minicams looking at the engines, and perhaps the landing gear? I've never been hijacked, but I have had an engine fire- it would have been nice to have had visual confirmation that the fire was out, rather than the detectors burned away!
In the final analysis, however, alleging that "Brit pilots are afraid of guns" is both inaccurate, and irrelevant. Like many others, I received military firearms training- but even if every UK airline pilot demonstrated outside Parliament, we still would never be allowed weapons by the UK Government- whichever party was in power.

Capt PPRuNe
3rd Apr 2002, 17:51
As this is an emotive topic with a fairly visible split between the west and east side of the Atlantic I have added a poll to this topic.

Lucifer
3rd Apr 2002, 17:51
Right: the terrorist gets cleverer, forges an ID well/hacks new ID system or whatever eventually results, and gets his way onto the flightdeck as a jumpseater. Or even better, a radical white Muslim, who is not deemed to be a risk becomes a sleeper in an airline until he is required. Now he is armed/jumpseater can grab weapon, there is even less of a chance to save an aeroplance.

With regards to the long-winded report above, Fred Reed is wrong. People did not die because 'the pilots did not have guns', but because there was a security breach of 19 people who had a variety of expired visa histories, travel to radical regions, and peculiar behaviour that were not identified.

I actually agree that if I had a gun, I think I would be able to hit at least one of them seriously, but that is not the point really. It serves no purpose for CIVILIAN people to be trained to take them out. I am not a security guard, I am a pilot. How might some react on seeing dead bodies after killing people. Sure similar reactions may occur with tazars, but at least I am not deafened, potentially endangering innocents, and firing from an extremely awkward position - after one shot in the incorrect posture, the pistol is going to be pointing high/to the side, and with a light trigger which most are, potentially hit electics etc on the second shot.

The strengthened door has its weaknesses in terms of safety but renders guns unnecessary in most instnace, and in the last line of defence lethal force should not be a potential as it has too many downsides to the very rare advantages.

Lucifer

PS Please don't bring emotion into it: I am well aware how many people died, but emotion is not a valid basis for a decision whose repercussions last longer than the immediate aftermath.

Percy De Havilland
3rd Apr 2002, 18:51
This argument is out of date - anyone stands up any plane in a threatening manner and every passenger on board is going to have a go. Speaking for myself? No-one's flying me into Big Ben without a fight. Guns onboard are pointless and dangerous.

Send Clowns
3rd Apr 2002, 19:31
I vote no to this one, but I do support the right to arm bears :D

spagiola
3rd Apr 2002, 20:17
Public opinion polls and those within our own pilot groups indicate overwhelming support for arming flight deck crewmembers with lethal weapons.

Hmm, as of right now, the poll is two to one AGAINST arming pilots. How does that constitute overwhelming support?

Big Tudor
3rd Apr 2002, 20:33
Just to follow up on Capt Homesicks comment re sitting position. The majority of the population are right-handed. When sitting strapped in the left hand seat how far round towards the flight deck door can you get your right arm. I would hazard a guess just far enough to blow the F/O's brains out, unless your severely double-jointed. And where does that leave you?? Even sitting in the right seat, how good an aiming position are you going to be in? You are going to have to extract the weapon from its' (concealed) location, cock it, remove the safety catch, aim and fire. And whilst all this is going on Johnny Hijacker is going to stand there and provide the ideal target? REALLY. Preventing these people from getting on the aircraft in the first place is a far better option than dealing with them once they have made their intentions known.

A-V-8R
3rd Apr 2002, 21:02
Big Tudor, you clearly have not been trained in firearms....

One, you NEVER (That's computer talk for shout) keep your finger on the trigger until just before you shoot. Check the web and look up Elian Gonzales, and take a good look at the Police Officers finger ON THE FINGER GUARD as he points the gun in the man's face.

You don't remove the safety, on some firearms the safety is in the the two part trigger. Others, you simply flick it with your thumb. How much time does it take you to flick a booger with your thumb?

Most semi-automatics live with a round in the chamber. It's refered to as Stage 3. You don't cock them. You live with them.

Get some training. If you need a companion pass to come to the US for handgun training because your country has banned firearms in your country, just email me.

I'm really getting tired of people who know not of what they speak.

trytofly
3rd Apr 2002, 21:17
some good and interesting comments ( from both sides of the Atlantic ).but Habu.??? excuse me....are you saying I shouldn't be flying aircraft because I can't shoot straight !!?? Huh?
what a minefield.

HugMonster
3rd Apr 2002, 21:27
Good point about a right-hander. Would pretty much rule out a right-handed skipper being able to bring a pistol to bear. If he's flying with a left-handed F/O, you're in difficulties.

Either pilot will be drawing their weapon across their crew partner. Not nice.

Firing half-turned in your seat it would not be easy to make a well-aimed shot. Chances are the bad guy won't be permanently downed. Even better chances are he's got friends further back in the cabin.

BTW, AV8R, I do know what I'm talking about. Carried a concealed semi for self-protection for 2 years. Was trained in getting it out of various places of concealment in various situations and slotting bad guys.

Next point is, if it is known that the flight crew are armed, they wouldn't even attempt a one-man storming of the flight deck. If I were going to do it, I'd put someone in under cover in a cabin crew role. Put something really nasty in their coffee, and sit chatting and waiting.

What next? Flight crew may only take drinks from sealed beverage containers like coke cans?

Firearms will solve nothing. They will just place firearms in the vicinity of the bad guys. If five of them rush the flight deck as the door is opened for the drinks to come in (or better, wait till it opens for the hostie involved to come back out - bundle her back in in front of you as a shield, and the pilots have cups of coffee in their hands) are you just going to blaze away?

This is a complex problem. The solution is not so simple. It needs rational consideration and planning.

Habu
3rd Apr 2002, 22:15
Interesting responses. As I stated in my earlier posts, it look like the boyz on the east side of the Atlantic are against firearms and the ones on the west are for them. I do not give any relevance to the poll here as the major polls in the world show about 74% of the pilot groups in FAVOR of firearms in the cockpit.

As for shooting skills, those are aquired. A true weapons expert can shoot with both hands.

Something to keep in the back of your heads. It is always much better to have a handgun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

I am curious if it had been BA 747's hijacked by terrorists and flown into Parliment or Windsor Castle if your attitudes against firearms in the cockpit would still be the same.

As far as shooting a flight attendant or civilian on board, while tragic and I believe completely avoidable, the loss of one or perhaps a few innocent lives to prevent the loss of thousands is acceptable to me. That decision must have already been made in ones mind before deciding to carry a firearm.

The other side is that I am highly trained in the use of defensive weapons and very comfortable carring one. I carry one on my person at ALL times except when I fly. Training is what removes the fear and apprehension of carrying a handgun as an absolute last line of defense from these crazed terrorists who could care less how many people they kill.

Again,
It is always much better to have a handgun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Respectfully,
Habu

Tripower455
3rd Apr 2002, 22:16
The point that many have missed is the simple fact that as long as passengers are carried on aircraft, no amount of preflight passenger/flight crew screening (harassment) can prevent a 9/11 type incident from happening again. There will ALWAYS be an exploitable "loophole" that will allow armed terrorists on board aircraft.

Without an effective means of defending the flight deck (ie: firearm), the whole issue of accidentally harming a flight attendant or pax is moot, since without effective means of defense, they are ALL going to perish anyway.......

I will give myself and my professional peers the benefit of the doubt regarding our ability to be trained with firearms.

Pilots SHOULD be the last line of defense on board the aircraft (heck, we aren't even considered part of the program!). Those of you that would rather hope for the best instead of taking proactive measures have your heads in the sand.

It's been argued that the passengers will take care of the problem. I agree to an extent and this is why on full flights I rest easier than on almost empty flights. If there are 20 folks in the back of the aircraft, and 10 are bad guys, there is nothing that will prevent them from taking the aircraft. I might as well cut my own throat (never mind.........they've taken all of my "weapons"!)

The stronger cockpit doors are a start, and much like a home alarm system, might give me time to TRY to do something. There might even be time to grab the crash axe, unstrap, extricate myself from the yoke and face the attacker(s) before they actually get through the door. It might also give the other pilot enough time to get off a distress call and pull the fire handles.....

The argument about righty vs. lefty is a tad silly as well. If you can be trained to fly a Cat 3 approach from either seat, you can be trained in weak hand shooting. The biggest advantage that a fiream has in cockpit defense is that there is no need for actual contact with the bad guys. This means that it can be deployed quickly AND effectively while sitting in the seat. We are talking about the simplest tactical problem there can be. Covering a 2 foot by 6 foot dorway, not assaulting an icy North Sea oil rig.......

Many, if not all of the "reasons" I've seen (here on Pprune and other places) for not arming pilots have been based on generalization, ignorance and emotion, rather than logic.

There are many logistical concerns, but nothing that can't be overcome.

After seeing the U.S. knee jerk reaction to the events of 9/11, we will never have the opportunity to be armed, IMHO. It makes too much sense to give the pilot controlling the aircraft an effective way of maintaining control. We will see more and more ridiculous eyewash and erosion of civil rights, in the name of "security". That should make the head in the sand folks happy.......

Tripower455
3rd Apr 2002, 22:24
Very well said Habu...I'm in complete agreement on all points.......

HugMonster
3rd Apr 2002, 23:47
Total nonsense.

Yes, people can be taught to fire a pistol weak-handed. Those with natural ability, and enthusiasm for the task, and with a lot of practice.

Two thirds of the pilots I've flown with in my life I wouldn't trust with a pistol if it were clamped in a bench vice, let alone with their good hand. Weak hand? Absolutely no way.

If you really believe that, you clearly have no understanding of the phisiology of the matter, and have probably not ever had to face for real the possibility of having to use one.

I notice that you also skate over all other problems, as most of the gun lobby appear to be doing, some of which I outlined in my previous post on this thread.

Firearms on the flight deck MIGHT solve the problem in one or two scenarii.
If the bad guys don't know they're there If there are only maximum of a couple of them If the pilots have been keeping up their practice and maintenance of the weapons If nobody else happens to get in the way If the right-handed captain can realise in time what's happening, put his coffeecup down, get his out of his flight case, swing round, bring the gun to bear and get a shot off that will sufficiently disable the intruder without missing and taking out an electronics cabinet or two instead, before anything heavy the bad guys happen to be carrying collides with the captain's cranium etc. etc.

Guns on the flight deck are a simplistic approach to an extremely complex problem. They will not solve the current problem, and may well pose many many more.

How many innocent people will it take to be shot before you might admit it isn't working?

Habu
4th Apr 2002, 02:14
If the bad guys don't know they're there
Wrong, if the bad guys know they are there, they are not going to attack the cockpit with only edged weapons. If the bad guys are capable of getting firearms onboard, we have bigger problems than arming pilots.
If there are only maximum of a couple of them
Only one at a time can come through the cockpit door and each weapon can carry 15 shots...a taser has only two and a leather jacket will stop them.
If the pilots have been keeping up their practice and maintenance of the weapons
A blind man can hit a man 2 feet away in any cockpit. MX of the weapon is a must for anyone who decides that a weapon will be carried.
If nobody else happens to get in the way
Hard to do in the cockpit. Your arguments are getting weaker.
If the right-handed captain can realise in time what's happening, put his coffeecup down, get his out of his flight case, swing round, bring the gun to bear and get a shot off that will sufficiently disable the intruder without missing and taking out an electronics cabinet or two instead, before anything heavy the bad guys happen to be carrying collides with the captain's cranium
etc. etc.
Do you think that bad guys are going to magically just APPEAR inside the cockpit? I think not. There will be much noise and commotion as he or several are trying to break down the hardened cockpit door which MUST be in place before weapons are allowed. If you think that a gun will be hard to use, try swinging that ax in the cockpit and see what kind of damage you will do.

I am beginning to understand how Bill Clinton became such a wimp and wanted to ban guns in the states. It had to be the Oxford brainwashing he was subjected to as a Rhodes Scholar.

You guys need to wake up over there and realize that a handgun is nothing more than a tool. In order to be used correctly, it must be in the hands of a craftsman. I suppose that those of you would rather just sit back and not get involved if someone was trying to turn your aircraft into a cruise missle.
We are facing a threat which we have NEVER had to deal with before and we must use tactics which we have never had to consider before 9/11.
Believe me, I would much rather not even be having this discussion but there is a real threat out ther still. IMO, if we are ALL armed, the threat will move to a much easier target.

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 02:48
Habu, you beat me to the punch!



Total nonsense.

Explain, using facts.


Yes, people can be taught to fire a pistol weak-handed. Those with natural ability, and enthusiasm for the task, and with a lot of practice.

Kind of like flying an airliner........... I am someone who does both.

Two thirds of the pilots I've flown with in my life I wouldn't trust with a pistol if it were clamped in a bench vice, let alone with their good hand. Weak hand? Absolutely no way.

Would you put your family in the back of their airplane? If so, there is NO difference trusting them with a firearm. If not, then you are at fault for not bringing their considerable shortcomings to the attention of superiors.

If you really believe that, you clearly have no understanding of the phisiology of the matter, and have probably not ever had to face for real the possibility of having to use one.

Actually, it appears that you are the one that clearly has no idea of the physiology of the matter. I actually HAVE had the experience of facing the possibility of using a firearm in self defense. Thank god I didn't have to since I was able to leave the area (attempted car jacking). The decision making process is exactly the same as handling unexpected airborne emergencies.

I notice that you also skate over all other problems, as most of the gun lobby appear to be doing, some of which I outlined in my previous post on this thread.

Name ONE problem that I or any of the "pro arming pilots" posters has "skated" over. Please..........

Firearms on the flight deck MIGHT solve the problem in one or two scenarii.

Actually, there is ONE scenario that it is designed to resolve, that NOTHING less than a repeating firearm can do........... Keeping intruder(s) out of the flight deck. (dot, end)

If the bad guys don't know they're there

A non issue. It would likely be a deterrent.

If there are only maximum of a couple of them

repeating firearm loaded with frangible ammunition........the alternative is a sidewinder in the tailcone (if we're lucky) or dead office workers.

If the pilots have been keeping up their practice and maintenance of the weapons

Another no brainer.......how do you keep proficient in the aircraft. Once again, your ignorance of firearms is showing. A firearm is a simple tool for a specific job. There is very little in the way of maintenance on a modern law enforcement firearm beyond keeping it clean and lubricated. For a gun that is carried daily, a once a month inspection and cleaning (1/2 hour if you're slow) is more than adequate. On a {gasp!} semi auto, change the mag springs and recoil springs once a year or so. On a revolver, just keep the lint from getting too thick...... I spend more time cleaning earwax from my headset......

If nobody else happens to get in the way

I believe it will work even IF someone else gets in the way. One or two innocents, (which would be horrible enough itself), is SURELY preferable to an entire airliner full, plus any folks in the intended target.

If the right-handed captain can realise in time what's happening, put his coffeecup down, get his out of his flight case, swing round, bring the gun to bear and get a shot off that will sufficiently disable the intruder without missing and taking out an electronics cabinet or two instead, before anything heavy the bad guys happen to be carrying collides with the captain's cranium
etc. etc.

Remove the gun from the above scenario. What is left? Throw the cold coffee at the bad guy? Hand him the crash axe (which is what you will do if you try to use it from the sitting position.) As soon as the cockpit is breached, you have started the rocket ride to allah's side. At least there is a fighting chance of defending the cockpit while seated with a firearm. Weak hand shooting is not that difficult. I have a much harder time switching seats in the airplane, and that's not too bad.


Guns on the flight deck are a simplistic approach to an extremely complex problem. They will not solve the current problem, and may well pose many many more.

The problem, once it gets to this point, is simple. Prevent the bad guys from taking over the aircraft. It has already been shown that we can't keep them off the aircraft in the first place, and NOTHING has changed to fix that problem.


How many innocent people will it take to be shot before you might admit it isn't working?

When ONE innocent person is shot in an airplane by an armed pilot, I might admit "it" isn't working.

The Greatest Security Show on Earth is not working, but at least we can rest assured that our future copilots in the F-Teens are watching out for us!

Put your head back in the sand.

Nano 763
4th Apr 2002, 05:44
I just answered the poll, and there seem to be way more Brits here than Americans.
I go with arming pilots that want to be armed (that would include me).
I also think that unarmed pilots would actually be safer than at present, cause all those bad guys out there would think that maybe there was a gun on the plane that could be used to stop them. Dead.
The security measures in place at present are, if they work, close to useless, and this is a viable solution.

StephenRED
4th Apr 2002, 07:56
Great debate..The one thing that would disturb me ..and I ask you,is could you REALLY shoot a cabin assistant even if you did have a gun??..I mean..honestly,I don`t know if I could..thats someones daughter,pride and joy..probably quite young and has a long life ahead of them,its one helluva decision to make,to kill her..and this is presuming all the armed pilots were capable of making it quickly.

Myself,I hope no one ever has to make that decision,because taking an innocent life is wrong to me..but I know it could save 300..but for the reasons above..its still wrong.

Airport security will always be breachable,fact of life,and aircraft are very vunerable.

My idea..how about a gas canister or system that gives out somekind of gas that would disable the people in the back..non lethal of course..and I know this sounds dodgy..some may say they have gas masks on them,(but i`m sure airport security are marginally capable of picking them up and not allowing them on board)..but..if you were to somehow modify the oxygen mask system so the masks DIDN`T come down,or even better,come down and give out the gas anyway..you might be onto something:D

My two cents worth,but I know for one..as said before,the UK will never allow guns..ever :(

HugMonster
4th Apr 2002, 08:21
Tripower and Habu demonstrate that they are not prepared to consider the problem rationally and logically. All they are prepared to do is to look at what apparently occurred last year, and want a solution to last year's problem. They are not prepared to admit that their solutions are merely reactive, and don't want to look for a proactive solution.

They don't want to admit that, in a hostile takeover, the attackers have all the initiative, and don't want to accept that they must think ahead of their attackers. They think that every situation they face will be just like the last one, and fail to credit the "bad guys" with any intelligence whatsoever.

They demonstrate that the either haven't read, or haven't understood at least two of the scenarii I've presented, and don't want to consider them because they rather disturb their nice, simplistic way of looking at things. They want everything to be in simple terms, just like Hollywood displays "life", with the good guys wearing white hats and the bad guys wearing black ones.

The lack of imagination worries me. I don't like to think of someone with as little willingness to think further than the one situational model they have seen, and incapable of seeing other models being in charge of an airliner.

Simplistic solutions will never work for such complex problems.

Big Tudor
4th Apr 2002, 08:36
Tripower

One or two innocents is SURELY preferable to an airliner full....

Sorry chap but if you take out one or two "innocents" as you put it you will be on a charge for murder.

A V 8 R

Sorry to dispel your illusion about me but I am trained in the use of firearms and have been for the past 17 years. The citizens of the good ole US of A do not have the world monopoly on the use of weapons.
:mad: (that's my talk for get your facts straight before mounting your soap box).

Talk of left/right handers is not silly. Next time you are in the flight deck try turning and pointing your arm at the flight deck door, either arm will do since all Americans are obviously ambidextrous when it comes to weapons.

Send Clowns
4th Apr 2002, 10:00
Tripower, don't be so daft. I used to shoot. I have fired full and small-bore pistols. In use "in anger" I would not like to shoot in a confined space or one-handed at all, let alone left-handed. I would not like to use the weapon in close combat, and I know about as much as a pilot is likely to know if he does annual company training.

Flip Flop Flyer
4th Apr 2002, 10:02
Ehh, Gentlemen, have any of you considered what the fare paying people down the back are thinking. We are not here to fly aeroplanes, rather to transport people or freight from point A to point B. Personally, I would consider very carefully before boarding any aircraft, where the crew carried hand guns. If I remember correctly, most gunshot victims in the US are innocents being hit by mistake; more often than not your own family.

Apart from any accidential shootings, i.e. where the gun fired misses it's intended target and hits a passenger or crew member, all terrorists would know that there IS a suitable weapon onboard. Now they need to find a way to get to it, and I for one will never be led into beliving that my enemies are stupid. They will find a way.

The essence of this is that, with the possible exception of US passengers, in my opinion most passengers will not feel comfortable knowing that guns are onboard. And since our only reason for being here is to transport these people from A to B, whatever the fare paying public thinks should be taken into consideration. They do have a tendency to vote with their feet ...

Turnup
4th Apr 2002, 11:18
Gentlemen, perhaps there is another way to ask the question that may evoke a different response?

I am a Brit, and a firearm owner, and I am not afraid of guns. I am very afraid of guns in inexperienced hands and so I am opposed to arming pilots, but I am not opposed in principal to an armed response in a hijack situation.

In my view there may be value in the possibility of an armed response, but not by the flight crew:

The skills necessary to qualify for the flight deck are not easily achieved and must be continuously honed in order to remain effective. The skills and more importantly the mind set needed to provide an effective armed response are also difficult to achieve (despite what Hollywood would have you believe) and similarly require continuous honing to remain effective. The "right stuff" that makes a good aeroplane driver is not necessarily compatible with what it takes to effectively resolve an armed conflict, particularly because inexperienced people have an unrealistic view of what can be achieved with a firearm (Hollywood again).

Would you disqualify a pilot who is not proficient with firearms or who does not posess the appropriate mind set to actually use a weapon? I am sure that there will be some who are not able to reach an acceptable standard of proficiency and I am equally sure that there will be some who do not have the mental resolve to use those skills effectively in a practical situation. This does not reflect upon their piloting abilities any more than a pilot's inability to perform brain surgery would - the skills are different and not everyone will posess them.

Do pilots have spare time to acquire and maintain firearm and tactical skills anyway? Certainly learning to be an effective counter to a hijack would take less time that learning to be a pilot, but it is non-trivial and it all adds up.

Do all pilots want to be armed? I'd be very surprised of the answer were yes.

I think the question "Should there be a dedicated professional armed presence on all flights?" may get a more positive response.

yotter
4th Apr 2002, 11:20
This is from another Brit:
I really do sympathise with the famailies who lost loved one on Sept 11th. I was in NY soon after, and saw the touching messages left for the police and fire departments. Some of you will remember the courage of the Londoners in 1940 who suffered the German Blitz for many months, and over 50000 people died, with many more injured and homeless. The air raids continued with the V bomb attacks into 1944 - so we share your suffering.
Perhaps the important difference is cultural - there are very few armed police in UK, and ordinary people do not have the right to bear arms. We see the regular news stories about mad gunmen
- some of then only kids, killing indisciminately and wonder why it is so easy to buy guns in the USA. Apparently the NRA and Charlton Heston are a very powerful lobby with the administration.
Generally most of us would be anti arming pilots because of the good chance of the guns being used against us by the highjackers.

Flyingspaniard
4th Apr 2002, 11:51
It is always much better to have a handgun and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Sorry can't agree with that one... I wonder if that is the attitude that prevails in the American schools where we hear of shootings on a daily basis.

Incidently, who is going to look after these guns. Someone said earlier that the pilot would draw it out of his flight case. Does this mean he is going to carry it around with him? What happens when he is in transit to and from the flight deck? Perfect opportunity to take it from him. This is hypothetical as it certainly would never be allowed in the UK. Is it going to be kept in a designated place in the cockpit, where the crew and and any well researched hijackers posing as crew are going to know about it? Will it be under lock and key then to keep it from the wrong hands, in which case will the pilot have time to get it out whilst in the panic of an attack?

This "tool" is going to create more problems than it solves. I would rather see some more intelligent ways of maintaining control of the aircraft.

This is what I would call a classic kneejerk reaction. As people keep saying no hijacker is going to attempt the same thing in the same way again. They are imaginative and well researched and well trained. A couple of pistol pete's upfront aren't going to present these professional murderers with any difficulties (for various reasons mentioned by Hug M and others), however they may present the rest of us with a few.


:mad:

Bmused55
4th Apr 2002, 14:05
I think airline should start training pilots in ignoring Hijacker demands and focusing on getting the aircraft on the ground ASAP.

These are the standing orders for the Pilots of Air Force One.
Locked in a secure flightdeck they descend as quick as possible and land on the nearest available runway.

A lightly armoured bulkhead and matching door leading to the cockpit would prevent forced entry, yet not be too heavy as to impune the performance or the aircraft.
Give this Bulkhead and door an airtight seal and you have a totaly secure from any threat Cockpit.

Most hijackers NEED the passengers as protection and barter.
There are, of course tragically, always exceptions, I need not point out the most recent of which.
But!,.... we cannot straggle security for these exceptions.

In addition, Flight attendants could be equiped with panic lockets.
Similar to the type used by senior citizens and severe diabetics to summon help if they are alone and in need of urgen medical attention.
These lockets could 1, inform the flight crew behind the locked armoured door of the hijacking and 2, inform the nearest listening post on the ground so that the authorities can be alerted.

If not the armoured door, the lockets would be a must, for the F/A's usually are the first to realize the hijacking. Being the ones you trudge up and down the cabin!


But, overall the most important thing is to take away the Hijackers mode of transport and ultimately his/her weapon.

Land and refuse to move.


AR

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 15:20
Tripower and Habu demonstrate that they are not prepared to consider the problem rationally and logically. All they are prepared to do is to look at what apparently occurred last year, and want a solution to last year's problem. They are not prepared to admit that their solutions are merely reactive, and don't want to look for a proactive solution.

Professor Hugs,

What proactive solution do you suggest?

Waiting for your throat to be slit? That is much more proactive and rational thinking.........

I find it humorous that you and your fellow subjects feel that a trained pilot with a firearm is not proactive or rational.

The current security situation is the definition of knee jerk, irrational reactionism. There is no way for anyone to prevent armed terrorists from accessing aircraft. There is nothing anywhere near as effective as a firearm for defense of the flight deck when bad guys are attempting to take over the aircraft.

Why is it acceptable to take a missile in the tail, killing all on board. As some other genius has pointed out, killing an innocent in the defense against a hijacking would be "murder". Is the fighter pilot or his superiors guilty of murder, when the lives of folks on the ground have been saved? As a pilot, you feel it's OK to accept your fate and eat the missile while you bleed out on the galley floor but not take a proactive step in defense of the aircraft BEFORE the missile hits? At least you will die (as well as your passengers) with your "principles " and morals intact.

Are you familiar with the term hoplophobia?

Max Angle
4th Apr 2002, 15:20
Lets have a debate about flightdeck, including firearms, by all means, but any American who can still sit there and defend the right to bear arms has lost thier grip on reality.

What is it about Americans and guns, you just love 'em don't you. TEN times more people die at the end of gun every year in the US that were killed in Sept 11th. More people die in one week in the US than the whole of Western europe in a whole YEAR. 19 times more deaths than ANY of the other 25 richest nations in the world.
Between you, you own around 250 Million firearms. It is total insanity.

Someone at the top of the topic accussed the Brits of being scared of guns, well it is not easy to see why when you look at the total mess your country is in because of them. There is really nothing you can do about it now, you are stuck with it, but I hope with all my heart that gun culture is one aspect of American life that we do not import to our shores.

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 15:46
Lets have a debate about flightdeck, including firearms, by all means, but any American who can still sit there and defend the right to bear arms has lost thier grip on reality.

This is exactly the attitude that has distorted your perception of reality.

Send Clowns
4th Apr 2002, 15:48
Tripower,

It seems your fantasies of how well-trained armed crews would or even could be is flying higher than your aeroplane. We both know that they would not be trained to the level of even a regular soldier or US police officer, let alone the specialist training needed for what you are suggesting to be effective. Have you ever seen FIBUA training (Fighting In a Built-Up-Area)? It is very messy, and shows how difficult it is to retain control of a fight in an enclosed space. That's why US SWAT teams and British Armed Response Units do only that job - they need a lot of training.

And whoever said "It is always much better to have a handgun and not need it than to need it and not have it" is thinking too simply. The statistics for US law-enforcers shot with their own guns are frightening, and they are regularly trained, storing their weapon in a holster by their sides, and mostly use their weapon in an open or relatively controlled situation. Ill-trained pilots, seated and strapped in an enclosed cockpit with the chaos of an attack, drawing weapons from God knows where. A recipe for disaster. It is clearly better in the vast majority of situations not to have a gun, unless it is ony accessed by specially-trained security personnel - I have nothing against sky marshalls.

Habu
4th Apr 2002, 16:16
but any American who can still sit there and defend the right to bear arms has lost thier grip on reality.

Ok, that was the last straw.
Just remember one thing my British friends.....If it wasn't for the American's and their so called love for guns, your butts would be speaking German right now.

Also...don't forget the asswhipping you Redcoats took from those armed American farmers when you tried to take our country.

Adios and good riddance. We will arm our flight decks in America and send the terrorist to you as you will become easy pickings and totally defenseless... or maybe you could just throw some hot tea on them.:rolleyes:

Percy De Havilland
4th Apr 2002, 16:35
You certainly helped us out in WW2 - however you were a little slow out of the blocks weren't you? And if only your armed forces during the war of independence were as capable as your current crop......you'd all be drinking tea and watching cricket at Yankee Stadium....

SupremeSpod
4th Apr 2002, 16:35
OK, let's look at this logically, where are you going to keep your gun?

How many rounds is your gun going to have?

How many rounds are you willing to expend to drop one target?

What if there are 30 people wanting to hijack your aircraft?
or 60?

Here's a suggestion.... Have radio/computer controlled aircraft...

As for the "Red Coats" thing, well, yes, it's well documented in history and Hollywood. But, a point to ponder... Friendly Fire? As an ex - RNR Marine, I'd rather take my chances with the enemy than rely on US air support. (Yes, I know I shouldn't have bitten, but I have...)

Orca strait
4th Apr 2002, 16:36
Being a Canuck and well trained at sitting on the fence and watching both sides of a disagreement, the time has come to speak.

Tri-Power and Habu have put forth a very valid argument whilst respecting the views of others. I must say I'm disappointed in the rebuttal by our EU counterparts; each of your opening statements begins by calling somebody a fanatic or such.

Lets tie this issue to something we all do on a daily basis as pilot's, the "go, no go" decision at V1. This is reviewed silently before each and every take-off, taking into account all of the variables of that particular take-off and deciding at that point what and when you would reject a takeoff for.

With this in mind, ask yourself, what would you be willing to sacrifice to minimize damage/destruction/casualties to the aircraft that you are in command of, if you were confronted with a hi-jack situation. Tough question, lots of variables, no easy answers. Special forces put it, "you are going to have to sacrifice a part of your body so that the rest may survive". Now that you've asked yourselves these questions, what tools would you like in your tool box to help you?

In the present climate the end game is accessing the cockpit. Once inside they've won, you are no longer a passenger aircraft but a human guided missile. The fact that the hijackers managed to score a 9mm from the skipper is pretty much a non issue at this point.

Keep the argument professional.

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

HugMonster
4th Apr 2002, 16:38
Actually, Habu, as has been shown many times, the USA turned up late to all the wars in the last century, and has never won a war on their own throughout their history. Yes, we were grateful that you came to our assistance after we had been fighting for over two years mostly on our own, and only after your interests were directly attacked. Have you noticed the support that Britain has given the USA in the last six months?

Furthermore, I think you rather overestimate your "farmers". Had France and Spain not come to your assistance, the result of the War of Independence would have been slightly different.

Your simplistic answers have been shown by many posters here to be impracticable, dangerous and failing to answer even the problem posed by the hijackers of 11th. September.

Get a grip. And while you're doing so, remember that many of the people you're talking to here are ex-services and know a thing or two about firearms, many having used them in anger. Have you ever done so?

Flyingspaniard
4th Apr 2002, 17:39
What proactive solution do you suggest?

Waiting for your throat to be slit? That is much more proactive and rational thinking.........

I find it humorous that you and your fellow subjects feel that a trained pilot with a firearm is not proactive or rational.


Being proactive implies that you act before a situation occurs not after. Trying to shoot a terrorist once he is inside the cockpit sounds like a reaction to me.

Just because I don't think guns are the answer, it does not mean I want my throat slit. There are other possibilities that could be investigated.

Passing over control of the aircraft to a facility on the ground in order that they could land the aircraft might be one answer (the technology exists); sky marshals might be another; using some sort of gas to disable everybody in the cabin might be another.

Who knows. The point is that just because some of us have rejected your idea does not mean that we are not open to any ideas.

Habu, could you not turn this into a slanging match between the US and the Brits. We are all entitled to an opinion. Just because you may not agree with it don't throw your teddy bear in and sulk!

Chuck Ellsworth
4th Apr 2002, 18:19
If only we could get an opinion from the eight pilots who were slaughtered along with thousands more on Sept. 11/01.

I wonder what they would have given for a gun in their last moments?

Cat Driver

..................
:D The hardest thing about flying is knowing when to say no.:D

CS-DNA
4th Apr 2002, 18:46
Gentlemen,

I'm afraid that I could not resist stating my opinion
on the subject of arming flight crew.

But first I will make a disclaimer:
(Begin disclaimer)
I am not a pilot. I am European (Portuguese) and, like most
Europeans, don’t like guns very much. I am also very well aware
that guns are a necessary evil.
Therefore this is my opinion and, obviously, a non-expert opinion.
(End disclaimer)

Regarding the issue of access to guns there is a deeply different
view between North America and most Western European Countries.
These views are deeply ingrained in the cultural identities, to the
extent that similar events (Armed robberies, mass shootings)
are viewed as arguments for both the wider use of guns (U.S.) and
stricter controls on guns (Europe). I will not try to convince anyone on
my views on this.

Regarding the issue of arming flight crew, I really feel that this
would not be a very good idea.

My view is that a Commercial Pilot is an Expert, and a Pilot’s expertise
is on safely and efficiently flying an Aircraft. This expertise is gained and
maintained by constant practice and dedicated training.

For dealing effectively with a determined and trained attacker there
would be a need for an Expert. These Experts are members of organizations
like the GIGN (France), the GSG-9 (Germany), the various
Federal/State/Local anti-terrorist forces on the US and elsewhere.
In order to gain and maintain this expertise these organizations spend
most of their time on training (and, hopefully, not very much real practice).

If you gave limited training (gunnery range for pilots, ppl level flying training
to Counter-terrorist operatives) and got one doing the others job you
would certainly have far less than the desired results (ranging from the
ineffective to the disastrous).

Terrorism/Counter-terrorism is a constant “game” of “catch-up”.
The terrorist constantly research and probe for loop-holes and breaches in
security, normal human behavior and culture, anti-terrorism/intelligence are
mostly behind, trying to catch up.
Any determined terrorist organization would soon find a way to negate any
defensive edge of having a hand-gun in the cockpit.

Unfortunately this “game” will not end, and I do not have any solutions
(although the idea of a gassing people to sleep on aircraft has crossed my
mind as a good possibility javascript:smilie(';)')
wink).


I apologize for the long rant….

Just My 3 Cents (0.3 EURO)

Send Clowns
4th Apr 2002, 19:02
Habu, now you're showing ignorrance and pettiness.

1. No way could Germany have taken Britain by force in WWI or WWII (have you seen the plans for Operation Sealion? They were a joke).

2. The right to bear arms in the US has no bearing on the competence of her armed forces in liberating Europe. You still have the 'right' to bear arms, we have no such right here. Who has what are widely acknowledged to be the best regular soldiers, the best reservists and the best special forces in the world? Therefore your comment has no bearing on this debate.

You have completely failed to address the very valid points made against arming flight deck crew. You have no answers, yet you blindly follow the path of your gut-instinct conviction. Seems rather narrow-minded to me.

Thank you CS-DNA for your calmly-considered post. I agree entirely.

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 19:15
Being proactive implies that you act before a situation occurs not after. Trying to shoot a terrorist once he is inside the cockpit sounds like a reaction to me.

But having the means to deter him from taking the aircraft in the first place IS a proactive measure!


Just because I don't think guns are the answer, it does not mean I want my throat slit. There are other possibilities that could be investigated.

So far in this thread, I haven't heard one other possibility, much less anything as simple and effective. All I've seen so far is a bunch of emotional, and ignorant rhetoric on the subject.


Passing over control of the aircraft to a facility on the ground in order that they could land the aircraft might be one answer (the technology exists); sky marshals might be another; using some sort of gas to disable everybody in the cabin might be another.


All of your suggestions have merit and thanks for being the first of the armed pilot detractors to make some suggestions. The remote landing sysems, despite the availability of the technology is that there are so many ways for that to fail in normal use. It is MUCH simpler and less dangerous to simply arm pilots, imho.

The same goes for the gas system. Plus it's easy to defeat. Not to mention the liability concers that are the same if not more relevant as with firearms. Passenger allergies to the gas. People's differing physiology makes us all react differently to chemicals etc.

As far as sky marshalls are concerned, the team approach that they use is very effective, but, first of all, they have to be ON the aircraft to work, and secondly you are introducing firearms into the immediate proximity of the passenger/terrorists, increasing the likelyhood of the bad guys obtaining a weapon PRIOR to breaching the cockpit, imho. I have spoken to one who was traveling on my aircraft, and they have the problem pretty much in hand (to my satisfaction, at least), but there is such a small chance of having them on the aircraft that I consider them a deterrent at best.

As far as training pilots goes, I will state again that defending the cockpit is a very simple tactical problem and can be trained into even the most simple minded of pilots (myself included). Those of you that think you can't be trained ought to consider another profession, imho. It is not in any way similar to close in urban tactics (other than the distances involved.) inasmuch as there is a 2 foot by 6 foot opening to be covered. The weapon should be immediately accessible (I'd suggest a belt or ankle holster, NOT in book bag where it is hard to get to and easier to steal when it is out of the cockpit. The person qualified/assigned to the weapon must be the ONLY person with access to it.), be of .38/9mm caliber or larger (.45 auto with frangible loads would be best....... most stopping power with the least likelyhood of penetrating vital parts of the aircraft's systems), capacity of at least 8-10 rounds per magazine. Something on the order of a G-27 or 30 would fit the bill.

As I've stated in earlier posts, I feel that this discussion is academic at best. We will never get the opporunity to be part of the solution, and will continue to be considered part of the problem.

I am all ears regarding other solutions. So far, I have not heard one that would do the job.

Send Clowns
4th Apr 2002, 19:35
Tripower

This thread is about arming pilots, not the aternatives. Many good arguments that arming pilots is more dangerous than leaving them unarmed have been advanced. No strong arguments have been presented to answer these points.

There is no onus on us to solve the security problem. We simply point out that arming will make the situation worse, which is sufficient argument against arming. I personally do not know how to make the situation better, or even if it can be made better or needs to be any better.

Do you know why Israeli sky marshalls use .22 rounds with light charges? It is because anything more is a danger to the aircraft, and that is in the cabin. Do you realise how secialised the training is to use one in a confined, chaotic situation to effectively stop an assailant? There are vastly more circumstances where a weapon on the flight deck will bring down the aircraft than will save the aircraft.

The statistics are mind-boggling. millions of flights a year where any gun accident could mean disaster. 4 flights I can remember where a weapon on the flght deck might have saved the flight (unlikely - they opened the flight deck doors, why would they not surrender to the hijackers as more hosties were threatened out of gunshot range? Why let the hijackers onto the flightdeck at all if you have enough notice to draw a weapon?). The weapon safety statitics would have to be phenomenal to provide any benefit.

You clearly have not thought this through. Do you really need to keep flogging a dead horse?

HOMER SIMPSONS LOVECHILD
4th Apr 2002, 19:48
Does anyone else find this deeply deeply creepy?
Fact is that guns exert a primitive and very real emotion on the average male.We just love them.Pick one up,feel the power ,the engineering,the latent death.Mmmmmm, guuunnns!!
We then go on to imagine scenarios where we use this weapon to to even the score" with some towel wearing gook/slope/commie/Proddy/Tim/Islamic nutter etc and we really really love that vision.
It is of course absolute and total insanity as proven by Max Angle in his excellent and (sorry gun lovers)entirely factual posting.
Of course the crew of the WTC aircraft would have loved to have had a gun in their hands pointing at the evil murdering and terminally brave young men that took their lives.I would love to have been that pilot and wasted the scum myself!But thats just a fantasy.
I don't want any guns on my flight deck.I dont want my FO shooting me or my passengers or crew.The fact is that that is by a long long way the most likely outcome.:confused:

HugMonster
4th Apr 2002, 20:22
Let's face it - SC is right that the one thing that would have stopped the atrocities of September 11th. were if the terrorists had not been allowed on the flight deck in the first place.

One thing that really upset me about those events was putting myself in the place of those pilots. Could I have sat in my seat with the door firmly shut, knowing that the girls I worked with, drank with, were a few feet behind me having their throats cut? Not easy.

Yet to hear Habu and Tripower talk, they would have no particular worries about shooting their cabin crew if they got between them and someone trying to take over their aircraft.

And neither of them has answered the point that we can bet with almost total certainty that the next attempt will not be carried out in anything like the same manner.

Neither has said whether either of them has ever had to use a firearm for real.

Neither has posed any sensible answer to the different scenarii offered.

All we have heard is the gun-totin', rootin' tootin' pistol pete nonsense.

No debate, no answers, no argument. Because all they have is the emotional kneejerk reaction to what happened six months ago. They cannot see any flaws in their suggestions, they cannot look ahead, nor can they plan ahead.

Flyingspaniard
4th Apr 2002, 20:59
If only we could get an opinion from the eight pilots who were slaughtered along with thousands more on Sept. 11/01.

I wonder what they would have given for a gun in their last moments?

I hate arguments like this. Its like when people mention the opinion of families of victims when deciding on a perpetrators punishment.

Of course they might have liked the use of a gun had they known their fate. However given that they did not would they have used it? Would they have put a bullet through one of their crew to maintain control of the aircraft? Who knows? Arguments like that get us nowhere.

If the pilot is going to carry these weapons on his person, does this mean he goes outside the airport carrying his gun? Or are all airports round the world now going to have to build armouries where these guns can be stored until the said pilot's next flight? Forgive me for saying so but the idea of a pilot clocking into work each day and picking up his piece on his way to the flight deck seems ludicrous.

As has also been said this argument is purely academic as a situation like this would never be allowed in Western Europe as we need a license and recurrent training even to own a water pistol!

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 21:05
Tripower

This thread is about arming pilots, not the aternatives. Many good arguments that arming pilots is more dangerous than leaving them unarmed have been advanced. No strong arguments have been presented to answer these points.

I agree. No strong arguments AGAINST arming pilots have been made in this post.

There is no onus on us to solve the security problem.

Yet, paradoxically, we are among the first to die in a hijacking situation. You guys almost have me convinced that it is better to be right and dead, than alive and wrong.

We simply point out that arming will make the situation worse, which is sufficient argument against arming.


That is the argument.....Those of you with little or no experience in the world of firearms are willing to leave it at that, and can't back up your "argument".

I personally do not know how to make the situation better, or even if it can be made better or needs to be any better.

Your previous statement refutes that remark.

Do you know why Israeli sky marshalls use .22 rounds with light charges? It is because anything more is a danger to the aircraft, and that is in the cabin.

Do you know that without any sort of cockpit defense, issues of penetration etc are moot?

Do you realise how secialised the training is to use one in a confined, chaotic situation to effectively stop an assailant?

And doing NOTHING is better? Explain this to me......

There are vastly more circumstances where a weapon on the flight deck will bring down the aircraft than will save the aircraft.

Name ONE.

The statistics are mind-boggling. millions of flights a year where any gun accident could mean disaster.

Hmmmm, I've never heard of even one problem in the 15 years I've been flying 121, with the armed leo's in the cabin.

4 flights I can remember where a weapon on the flght deck might have saved the flight (unlikely - they opened the flight deck doors, why would they not surrender to the hijackers as more hosties were threatened out of gunshot range?

Prior to 9/11, if you remember correctly, we were not trained to resist in any way. We know better now. The sheep approach is what caused 9/11 to be so successful from a terrorist's point of view.

Why let the hijackers onto the flightdeck at all if you have enough notice to draw a weapon?). The weapon safety statitics would have to be phenomenal to provide any benefit.

First of all, I don't recall the bad guys giving the flight deck crew a CHOICE. You lost me on the second point.

You clearly have not thought this through. Do you really need to keep flogging a dead horse?

Hmmm. you responded to MY comments on the issue. As someone who is experienced in the world of tactical law enforcement training as well as a major airline Captain, I HAVE thought the issue through an am able to comment on the issue from both points of view......

As far as I am concerned, the horse is still kicking (although he is fading quickly as the memory of the atrocities of 9/11 fade in the public's mind......)

HugMonster
4th Apr 2002, 21:07
Excellent points, Spaniard. Would they have used it in the circumstances? I suspect not.

A question like that assumes foreknowledge. Given that, as we have been led to believe, even the majority of the hijackers did not know what was to happen, and that all the then received wisdom was to act calmly and negotiate, I think they would have opted for not exacerbating the situation.

Only at the last minute would they have realised what was intended. With the possible exception of the aircraft that crashed in open country, by that stage they were probably removed from the flight deck and not able to influence matters further.

To answer just a couple of points in your last posting, Tripower, you appear to have ignored the fact that at least three (that I can remember without going all the way back through the thread) Brits here have substantial experience in handling and using firearms, and are still opposed to their presence on the flight deck. You appear either to have ignored, or not read those posts, and still to be labouring under the misapprehension that Brits know nothing about firearms.

The second point is that the crews on 11th. Sptember did have a choice. You allege they were not given one by the hijackers. They had one. They were mislead by the given doctrine of the time into taking the wrong option.

swashplate
4th Apr 2002, 21:13
You're all talking about yesterday IMHO...

The terrorists :eek: know that you are on the lookout for a hijacking, post Sept 11th....

Whats stopping them from just stealing a parked A/C or chartering one.... :eek:

I'd imagine they'll always do something different each time.... :eek:

Why not a SAM.... :eek:

Or contaminating fuel.... :eek:

or something completley different.......

PS: Mr Habu - please tone down the anti-UK comments. I would imagine the USA needs international co-operation now more than at any time in it's History.......

trytofly
4th Apr 2002, 21:18
fantastic thread !
Habu.....I've just remembered where I've seen you before...some old American all action blasting shooting movie on the big screen..you had a very small part I seem to recall. Making up for it these days then ? Oh, and who is your mate, power trip 455 ? sorry that was supposed to be tripower 455. Another up and coming star I see.

Talk about inability to listen to others. Read the replies chaps, and see at least that others who would vote for in this case can still see the pitfalls. It's all VERY emmotive, but you two are coming across as bad news. Sorry, but it's true.

RatherBeFlying
4th Apr 2002, 21:21
Once you have an armoured door, the bad guys are not coming in during the short interval before they are piled on by the pax. The last two incidents have made it clear that the pax now react quickly.

Yes, if a dozen martial arts trained bad guys storm the door when there's only another dozen pax on the flight, it may be time to depressurise. If they are smart enough to rush the door when a pilot is returning from a lav break, a gun might come in handy provided it's already in your hand and aimed at the door opening. Much better would be a double door system with an interlock, which I expect will be mandated shortly after the bad guys demonstrate this deficiency:(

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 21:32
Excellent points, Spaniard. Would they have used it in the circumstances? I suspect not.

I agree that if the 9/11 pilots had been armed (and no other differences...if they HAD been armed, they would likely have had different training. More proactive than the passive approach that got them killed) that the outcome would likely have been the same. The reason is that all of our pre 9/11 training re: hijacking was to do nothing proactive, because prior to that time, most hijackings ended in relative peace. The goal of the pre 9/11 hijacker was to free his imprisoned buddies, get a free ride to Cuba or something, and in the end, he expected to be let go. Suicide was not foremost on his mind. Now that we know that sucidal use of our aircraft is possible, should we NOT react (as we are essentially doing now) and continue to give in to these folks, knowing that they might be using our aircraft to see allah?

A question like that assumes foreknowledge. Given that, as we have been led to believe, even the majority of the hijackers did not know what was to happen, and that all the then received wisdom was to act calmly and negotiate, I think they would have opted for not exacerbating the situation. Only at the last minute would they have realised what was intended. With the possible exception of the aircraft that crashed in open country, by that stage they were probably removed from the flight deck and not able to influence matters further.


That was PRE 9/11. We now, as I've stated above, posess the knowledge that what happened is possible, and nothing's been/being done to prevent it from happening again.

I realize that you feel that my opinions are reactionary, but do you suggest we do NOTHING?

HugMonster
4th Apr 2002, 21:49
Yes, you can play the "suppose things had been different" all day long...

That is why I point out (did you read it?) that we will always be one step behind the hijackers. They are not stupid. They have a very good idea of what measures are in place, what is possible, particularly in the USA where airport and aviation security has for a long time lagged far behind Europe, and can figure out where the weaknesses are. I have pointed out a few more weaknesses. (Did you read that?)

No, I don't suggest we do nothing. But I suggest that we do not indulge ourselves in Clint Eastwood-style fantasies of blowing the bad guys away. I suggest we do not expect the next attack to be a carbon copy of the last one. I suggest that aviation security should be examined as a whole, and that what appears to be a quick and easy solution but, when you delve deeper is shown only to be likely to cause far more problems than it solves, should be discarded.

I suggest that it is time the USA learnt a little about aviation security from El Al, and from European airlines and airports.

We have all seen and laughed at the post-September 11th. farce that has been going on at airports throughout the USA. The really sad thing about it is that it is no laughing matter.

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 22:02
fantastic thread !
Habu.....I've just remembered where I've seen you before...some old American all action blasting shooting movie on the big screen..you had a very small part I seem to recall. Making up for it these days then ? Oh, and who is your mate, power trip 455 ? sorry that was supposed to be tripower 455. Another up and coming star I see.

Well, thanks for the vote of confidence.......yet another complete waste of server space. Keep to the issue. BTW, my mate of 13 years is named Donna, not Habu..............


Talk about inability to listen to others. Read the replies chaps, and see at least that others who would vote for in this case can still see the pitfalls. It's all VERY emmotive, but you two are coming across as bad news. Sorry, but it's true.

Hmmm,

I HAVE read every post on the subject, and have attempted to see the poster's points as well as refute them when I disagree.
I've been very logical and pragmatic in my thoughts and posts on the subject, and ignored the thinly veiled personal attacks from the likes of you and several others. In the absence of logical argument, you folks have resorted to generalizations and insults.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad that a bunch of professionals can't debate a controversial subject without resorting to grade school games.

As far as "coming across as bad news". I feel that a group of educated professionals, who are paid for their judgement, should be able to see past the institutional brainwashing that they've been subject to, and see this subject in a more pragmatic than emotive light. I see the "bad news" as your inability to overcome your irrational fears and look at the big picture.

I have not in any way contributed to the UK bashing on the thread, mainly because it's too easy! (that was a joke) :) I do however feel that opinions on this subject for the most part, are divided by a rather large ocean and differing cultures. I also feel that many of the arguments against arming pilots stem from complete, or at best, partial ignorance of the subject as well as too many movies.

Convince me why arming pilots is not a good idea. I am listening.
I have, thus far, seen no intuitive arguments that refute any statements that I've made on the subject, nor have I seen any workable alternatives to armed flight decks.


To answer just a couple of points in your last posting, Tripower, you appear to have ignored the fact that at least three (that I can remember without going all the way back through the thread) Brits here have substantial experience in handling and using firearms, and are still opposed to their presence on the flight deck. You appear either to have ignored, or not read those posts, and still to be labouring under the misapprehension that Brits know nothing about firearms.


HugMonster, I apologize for missing that particular tidbit. I do recall three or so Brits that mentioned that they have some previous firearm handling experience. I do not recall however (I will look it up) them making any logical argument for not arming pilots based on this experience. I read them as "I fired a gun once, and don't think pilots should carry them" type of responses. If they had more substantial commentary, I will address them when I go back and find the posts.

As I've said previously, every one of the concerns addressed can be handled through training. I do not and have never advocated just handing every pilot a gun, btw. I am however, a strong advocate of TRAINED pilots carrying guns. I have several friends that are curent leo's with various county, city (I volunteer with my local PD in a training capacity), state and federal agencies, and I can tell you that they do not posess any more ability to be trained than you or I. If you can be trained to operate an aircraft safely, you can be trained to operate a firearm safely and just as importantly, effectively.


We have all seen and laughed at the post-September 11th. farce that has been going on at airports throughout the USA. The really sad thing about it is that it is no laughing matter.


I am in COMPLETE agreement on this one Hugs!

18-Wheeler
4th Apr 2002, 22:21
All I can say is that my response is simple- There is no way that I will be carrying a pistol in the cockpit, and as Captain there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I will allow anyone else on the flight crew to have one.
Remember, 95% of the world isn't American, and we generally don't share, mainly through experience, your views or love of firearms.

18-Wheeler
4th Apr 2002, 22:26
Some stats -
In 1988, handguns killed -
7 people in Great Britain
8 people in Canada
13 people in Australia
19 people in Sweden
25 people in Israel
8,915 in the USA

Believe it or not, the 'movie' solution of having bigger & more guns than the other guns isn't going to work on the flight deck.
We fly planes, not kill people.

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 22:28
All I can say is that my response is simple- There is no way that I will be carrying a pistol in the cockpit, and as Captain there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I will allow anyone else on the flight crew to have one.

Now THAT'S the type of logical, pragmatic discussion I like to see on the subject!


Some stats -
In 1988, handguns killed -
7 people in Great Britain
8 people in Canada
13 people in Australia
19 people in Sweden
25 people in Israel
8,915 in the USA

Statistics lie, and liars use statistics.........these statistics have absolutely no relevance whatsoever in this discussion.

Believe it or not, the 'movie' solution of having bigger & more guns than the other guns isn't going to work on the flight deck.
We fly planes, not kill people.



I think your basic idea is correct, that we fly planes and don't kill people. As long as we ARE flying the planes, people will not get killed. It's when our planes are taken from us, that people get killed. We need a credible way to prevent the aircraft from being taken. We don't have a credible way at this time.

Chuck Ellsworth
4th Apr 2002, 22:43
For years I and many other pilots carried handguns flying in the Arctic as survival gear.

To use the argument that pilots will need special training is absurd, until the anti gun group somehow gained a foothold in North American society hundreds of thousands of young boys were taught how to handle guns and hunted and target shot as a way of rural life.

Back to guns and airplanes, I live in Canada and in I believe 1975 all permits to carry were revoked, that was the thin edge of the wedge for the anti gun supporters to bring Canada to the mess we now face with Gun control laws, which incidently do not work. I still have my last permit to carry a 357 magnum handgun and I keep it to remind myself that there was a time when our society used common sense to control unlawful gun use. I do not know of even one of the pilots who carried ever having any incident of missuse.

I would love to know how many Alaska bush pilots carry handguns now, I bet there are many.

If a pilot wishes to carry a handgun and shows the maturity and skills to safely use same he or she should have that right.

Those who do not wish to carry should have that right.

Social engineering is not democracy, rather it is destructive to your freedom to live a lawful life and be trusted to act lawfully.

That is my position:::

Cat Driver

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 22:59
Posted by Turnup. I've reposted to quell accusations from HugMonster!


Gentlemen, perhaps there is another way to ask the question that may evoke a different response?

I am a Brit, and a firearm owner, and I am not afraid of guns. I am very afraid of guns in inexperienced hands and so I am opposed to arming pilots, but I am not opposed in principal to an armed response in a hijack situation.

In my view there may be value in the possibility of an armed response, but not by the flight crew:


That is your opinion and it is valid.......I still don't agree.


The skills necessary to qualify for the flight deck are not easily achieved and must be continuously honed in order to remain effective. The skills and more importantly the mind set needed to provide an effective armed response are also difficult to achieve (despite what Hollywood would have you believe) and similarly require continuous honing to remain effective. The "right stuff" that makes a good aeroplane driver is not necessarily compatible with what it takes to effectively resolve an armed conflict, particularly because inexperienced people have an unrealistic view of what can be achieved with a firearm (Hollywood again).

I also agree with this statement. GREAT points!

Would you disqualify a pilot who is not proficient with firearms or who does not posess the appropriate mind set to actually use a weapon? I am sure that there will be some who are not able to reach an acceptable standard of proficiency and I am equally sure that there will be some who do not have the mental resolve to use those skills effectively in a practical situation. This does not reflect upon their piloting abilities any more than a pilot's inability to perform brain surgery would - the skills are different and not everyone will posess them.

IMHO, the program should be completely voluntary, for all of the reasons you've cited.

Do pilots have spare time to acquire and maintain firearm and tactical skills anyway?

Isn't that why we became pilots in the first place? TIME OFF! :)

Certainly learning to be an effective counter to a hijack would take less time that learning to be a pilot, but it is non-trivial and it all adds up.

This is also true.

Do all pilots want to be armed? I'd be very surprised of the answer were yes.

Just a look at this thread should indicate the answer.

In the 6 months since 9/11, this subject has come up numerous times at work, and with very few exceptions, my peers have indicated that they would like the option to be armed. As a rule, pilots tend to be opinionated and not shy about sharing their views. In all honesty, in the 100's of fellow pilots that I've had this conversation with, I can recall about 4 that have indicated that they are against the whole thing. Keep in mind that I work for a major, domestic US carrier.

I think the question "Should there be a dedicated professional armed presence on all flights?" may get a more positive response.

Possibly, but this is so much more fun......

Tripower455
4th Apr 2002, 23:13
Let's face it - SC is right that the one thing that would have stopped the atrocities of September 11th. were if the terrorists had not been allowed on the flight deck in the first place.

There's an idea, just tell them to go away!

One thing that really upset me about those events was putting myself in the place of those pilots. Could I have sat in my seat with the door firmly shut, knowing that the girls I worked with, drank with, were a few feet behind me having their throats cut? Not easy.

What would you do now? Open the door for them? Tell them to stop? What are you smoking?


Yet to hear Habu and Tripower talk, they would have no particular worries about shooting their cabin crew if they got between them and someone trying to take over their aircraft.

I have asked. rhetorically, whether it is better to have 1 or 2 innocents die accidentally, or have an entire airliner blown out of the sky by the missile.

And neither of them has answered the point that we can bet with almost total certainty that the next attempt will not be carried out in anything like the same manner.

Keep to the subject.

Neither has said whether either of them has ever had to use a firearm for real.

Actually, I have said it IN THIS POST! So has Habu.

Neither has posed any sensible answer to the different scenarii offered.

Define sensible. Doing nothing? You have contradicted yourself many times in the last few pages.

All we have heard is the gun-totin', rootin' tootin' pistol pete nonsense.

With a few exceptions (you are NOT one of them)all I've heard is the sheeplike "arguments" from a bunch of ignorant folks.

No debate, no answers, no argument.

When someone comes up with debate, rather than inflammatory rhetoric and personal attack, I've responded in kind.

Because all they have is the emotional kneejerk reaction to what happened six months ago.

That's right, that IS all we have. It would be nice to have a logical reaction to the events of 9/11.

They cannot see any flaws in their suggestions, they cannot look ahead, nor can they plan ahead.

Show me the flaws in my suggestions. I've asked you twice, nicely.

Arming pilots is the answer to preventing another 9/11 type incident from occurring again. I say this as an experienced airline Captain, and an experienced law enforcement firearms instructor.

Ididntdoit
4th Apr 2002, 23:22
Don't want to bore people here, but whether pilots are armed or not would probabably not deter terrorists like those of 9/11. If they knew pilots were armed they could have come up with a different solution to gain access to the controls such as staying behind the cockpit doors and killing hostages one by one until the pilots released control. Whatever, the point is that potential hi-jackers will use their knowledge (most of which is published) of sercurity systems and future security systems to find alternative ways of gaining command of an a/c and whether pilots have guns or not would not alter what happened on 9/11, because they would have found another way. It has altered passengers and cabin crew reactions to the "traditional" terrorist, witness the "shoebomber" but how long this awareness will last is up to question. In conclusion, a well planned operation of the sort of 9/11 would have happened/could still happen because "they" have surprise on their side and will take advantage of other peoples wish to provide passenger services such as quick turnaround/cleaning of a/c/minimal delays at sercurity/etc. Just hope your not the unlucky sod on that a/c and if you are do the bestyou can.

phantomwray
5th Apr 2002, 01:12
There is an issue that I haven't seen raised yet. Assuming you do arm pilots, what happens when the hijackers wear bullet-proof vests? I realize that they are a little bulkier than your average T-shirt, and the security screeners might notice it, but what if they wear it under winter clothing?

Some might say just use a bigger gun or shoot him in the head. Wouldn't a bigger gun introduce even more problems in terms of collateral damage? And I imagine that shooting somebody in the head is a lot harder than hitting them in their center of mass.

I'm certainly not an expert on these issues, but this is something that I don't think has been discussed yet.

AA SLF
5th Apr 2002, 02:14
As a professional pax, with multi-million airmiles, I have been hesitant to enter this discussion - but:

1) This subject does involve me
2) I vote for the voluntary choice on the part of the FD Crew
3) I don't think the FDCrew will have much chance to use the weapon though, see #4.
4) Because the pax, at least on USA carriers, will never, ever again let someone/s get through the door . I am a member of the largest pax/FF board in the USA and over 90% of the members polled last year said they would "do anything" to stop another occurance of cockpit incursion.
5) The weapon should be a pistol, not an automatic. 357 Mag or larger. Frangible bullits.
6) I have seen LEOs on film wearing a vest that have been hit with 357 Mag shot and it knocked them off their feet.
7) When the cockpit door is opened on AA craft the carts are moved into place to block the aisle/s (narrow or wide body, either one).

IMHO - a right handed Capt. that cannot draw lefthanded; reach across the chest and pull a pistol trigger at least once at that small door has more "motor" problems than I want in a Captain. But I do NOT believe that FD Crew will be "surprised" by the door suddenly bursting open - I think they will have had a "lot of warning" that there is something going on in the cabin side of the door. If it is me in the cabin then you will hear me shouting a big "hooyah" as I try to distract/disable the bad-boy/girl and to elevate my adrenaline to quench my fear factor.

The USA pilots want the "right" to carry. That's all. If you don't want to be one of those, then don't carry, or use. Let those who do want to, do so. What is wrong with that??

Oh yes, I know, you are afraid that the "other" FD member with that big pistol may shoot you instead of the bad-boy/girl. TOO DAMN BAD. It is my life too that we are talking about and if you have to go for me to live then that's my vote. AND - if I go saving your life that is also OK with me cause I knew that if I didn't at least try and stop it then neither of us would live. What I don't understand is why the "anti's" on this thread don't have the same attitude as I do. Most of the professional pax in the USA have come to the same conclusion last fall!!! See my signature line, it has been there since last fall. -dAAvid

ps - I am not putting on the helmet or flak jacket with this post!

Lawyerboy
5th Apr 2002, 07:21
Another issue that hasn't yet been raised, but I guess I'm the appropriate one to raise it - imagine the following scenario.

An airline introduces a voluntary scheme allowing those pilots who wish to do so to carry firearms. A flight is subsequently hijacked but the pilots, on this particular a/c, have opted not to carry firearms. The hijacking ends, but not until some poor cabin crew and a few passengers have been killed.

What claims would the members of the flight deck or cabin crew, or the passengers, have against

(a) the airline, for not insisting that the flight crew carry firearms which may have ended the confrontation sooner and thus saved a few lives; and/or

(b) the pilots, for not carrying firearms when they were perfectly entitled to do so?

Let's imagine another scenario. Another hijack, but this time the pilots are armed. Hijacking ends, but again several innocent people are killed, along with the hijacker, by the pilot.

What claims would the families of those killed have against:

(a) the airline, for allowing it's pilots to carry firearms without providing adequate training (and let's face it, anything other than the constant, intense training that US SWAT teams and UK armed response teams receive in respect of close quarter combat is - and will be deemed to be - inadequate); and/or

(b) the pilot for taking a decision to use his gun?

You can be terribly utilitarian and argue that the good of the few outweighs the good of the one, that the ends justify the means, and any number of other similar platitudes, but ultimately - as with most things - this whole issue comes down to someone's bottom line. Airlines will not take the risk that their pilots either do use firearms, but muck it up, or don't use firearms, and wind up getting sued for it.

For my own part, as I've already made clear, I have a particular aversion to firearms, and consider the risk they pose in trained, let alone inadequately trained, hands to be too much. Sky marshalls.... perhaps. Pilots, no. The necessary shortcomings in their training would render the exercise too dangerous.

Big Tudor
5th Apr 2002, 07:31
Ok, Tripower, answer a couple of questions for me,

1. From your seat how good an aiming position can you get when the door is the target? How quickly could you draw the weapon from it's holster when you're strapped in?

2. Next time one of the crew enters the flight deck imagine that a hijacker is stood behind them. Look them in the eyes (not hard from 3 feet away) and tell us that you would readily pull that trigger.

You all seem to think that you will have plenty of warning of a hijack taking place. Ever heard the line "Keep your mouth shut or you're dead."

AA SLF Try shouting at the top of your voice when your teeth have been kicked out with a size 12 boot.

BTW I am not some poncy Brit who has shot a gun once and creamed my pants. I have a lot of experience of handling and firing weapons. IMHO putting weapons on the flight deck will not prevent a hijacking. As Huggy as pointed out, the bad guys are always one step ahead. Some of the guys who took over the a/c on 9/11 had been trained as pilots. What is to stop somebody training as a pilot, getting a job as a pilot, flying for years with no suspicion then suddenly pulling the flight deck gun on you? What would you do if it is the cabin crew who are the hijackers? Terrorists were able to carry out mortar attacks on LHR and LGW as well as 10 Downing St. not to many years ago. What would the outcome be if those attacks had been with SAM7's?

The IRA made a statement a number of years ago, "You have to be lucky every time, we only have to be lucky once." Even if bin Laden and his henchmen never commit another act they have succeded in disrupting the lives of millions of people worldwide, and moving us to a debate as to whether professional pilots should be armed.

LowNSlow
5th Apr 2002, 09:02
I just sit in the back folks but I'd prefer it if the airline beancounters put security ahead of profit and lost the revenue on a seat (or 2) by putting a sky marshall (or 2) on every flight. I know it would be expensive and take a long time but it does seem to be effective.

I'm sure that there are plenty of reservists from all countries who already have the gun handling skills, the capabilityto use them and are capable of being trained to be competent in an enclosed environment. With the ex NATO bods, they would very likely have combat experience as well. Given that the majority of Europe would never allow civilian pilots to be armed, the sky marshalls could end up being regular soldiers. If this was the case, it could be the most effective thing the armed forces could do to fight terrorism short of an all out assault on their nests.

Just think: When was an El Al airliner last hijacked? Israel has more than their fair share of enemies around the world.

Danny, how about splitting the poll to USA / Rest of World??

Turnup
5th Apr 2002, 09:18
Tripower455 - I'm sorry but I seem to be unable to reply with quotes - it bombs on my machine, however:

Your comments have given me some cause to re-evaluate my views. It seem that you are advocating allowing pilots to carry if they so choose and I think that we may find some common ground here. My opposition to the original survey question was predicated upon this being a requirement for all pilots and I had not considered the option that this was voluntary. I would support this provided that it were also mandatory that each individual demonstrate and maintain an acceptable degree of both gun handling skills and tactical awareness under presure .

Also, why limit this to pilots? By the time the threat reaches the flight deck the options for an armed response are much more limited than elsewhere in the A/C, not least of which because the threat may materialise at a time of high flight deck workload, plus I suspect that the flight deck is the most vulnerable area of the A/C - better to have bullets flying (if you really must) elsewhere? I still favour a specialised resource located in the cabin, but I accept that this may not be practical on cost grounds.

There are other problems, such as what to do with Firearm during layover in a less gun-tolerant country (such as GB)? - but maybe this can be dealt with.

The point about this addressing yesterday's problem and not tomorrow's problem, made elsewhere on this thread, is also something to think about carefully. When proposing dramatic solutions such as arming the crew, there is a danger of creating a false sense of security and deflecting thought away from consideration of the next threat by focussing on the solution to the last one, a common failing amongst politicians in my experience. Will a future terrorist attack (from any source) even be directed against aircraft? There are plenty of other means to make a dramatic (and traumatic) gesture. As a Brit I remember very well the years of IRA bombs going off in our cities (a threat that is not entirely removed even today), the execution killings etc. That aside, I am far from convinced that this would be an effective deterrent, but I have to concede that it may have some (small) value.

Percy De Havilland
5th Apr 2002, 15:24
Most sensible posting has come from Swashplate - the next attack (if it happens) will not be a hijacking - use of a SAM is far more likely.....and far easier than hijacking a plane. Let's be honest, even if pilots had had handguns on 9/11 - they would have been talked out of using them because, at that time, the instruction was to do whatever a hijacker tells you to do. The rules have changed and the terrorists know it.

rubik101
5th Apr 2002, 16:34
What an interesting topic this has become and what a truly transatlantic bag of worms and prejudices it has opened up.
To those Brits who are critical of the American contributors, I would only suggest they think carefully of how they might have reacted had it been a couple of BAs, a Monarch and a BMI aircraft that ploughed into the City, Parliament, the Palace. If the dead included thousands of 'civilians', most of our MPs (rejoice!) half the Royal Family, or what is left of them, what might you be suggesting now? Considered arguments and sensible suggestions only please.
I have yet to read a reasoned and 'sensible' alternative to the slit throat scenario, from anyone advocating the non-armed response. Throwing the tea and swinging the axe just don't work for me!
Leonides and a few of his fellows defended the pass at Thermoplae simply because it is narrow. The same principle applies in this argument. The door is 6'6 high and 2 and bit wide, even if there are five or six or seven then you only need to wait until they pull the dead hijacker clear before you shoot the next one. 15 rounds and a spare magazine from two pilots ought to be about enough.
If the hijacker has a F/A in front of him and tells you he will shoot her/him if you don't drop your weapon, what are you to do? Simple really, if you drop your weapon you are all dead, plus the target on the ground. If you don't he might shoot her/him in which case you can pull the trigger. End of hijack. If he doesn't shoot her/him then the pilot without the pointed gun lands the aircraft, hilack over.
To shoot from the position we are forced to adopt is not overly difficult, nor is it too time consuming to practice shooting with your 'weak' hand backed up by the other for support.
As for training, how often do you practice a V1 cut? The same amount of time and interval should be enough to keep you comfortable and capable of doing the job with a gun. Once the skill is learned it is not forgotten.
Too much rhetoric and emotion, not enough analasys has been thrown at this topic from some of the contributors. We need reasoned and sensible arguments and some practical alternative solutions. Until someone comes up with such an argument then I have to say I vote for the gun. As said earlier, better to have one and not need one than need one and not have one.

Captain Speeking
5th Apr 2002, 16:41
Just a practical point

What does the pilot do with his firearm when he enters another country? It may be OK in the US but it is against the law to carry pistols in this country and most of Europe so are you going to extend Flight Duty Periods whilst you surrender your firearm or collect it from Customs before flight?

Post phase 2 all doors will be bulletproof and reinforced so hopefully the hijacker will not be able to ener the flight deck unless you aree suggesting that are you going to draw your weapon and open the door to sort out what is going on in the cabin!


(I speak as one who has had a Beretta 9mm on a UK FAC until Dunblaine; I still have three high power rifles on it.)

Percy De Havilland
5th Apr 2002, 16:45
Rubik - what do you mean by suggesting that our reaction would be different if it happened to us? We lived with IRA for 70 yrs - we're pretty much used to bombings etc. Our policemen don't even carry guns - how does that affect your argument?
Anyway, I live in NY and witnessed the attacks, doesn't make me feel like everyone at risk should be armed.

rubik101
5th Apr 2002, 17:14
Percy DH, I did ask the question about your reaction to the scenario I posed, you failed to answer it, as have many respondents to many of the points raised. The impact of the IRA had direct impact on very few pilots. What I suggested might have happened would have a very different reaction to most of us who live here in the UK I think. Considered comments please, not just a flippant attemp to rubbish an argument.

JW411
5th Apr 2002, 18:42
I am becoming more and more distressed by the way this thread is turning into a Brit-versus-American slanging match. I think the time has come for us to look at some history which might just start to explain the difference between the two chains of thought.

I am a Brit and have worked on both sides of the Pond and so I freely admit to trying understand both sides of the argument.

I would guess that most of the more fervent protagonists in this discussion are younger than I? I will in any case make this assumption and apologise to any who might be offended in advance.

It is just possible that most folk in the USA have heard of WWI and WW2 which took place a very long way from Grand Rapids. The truth was that millions of people died in horrible circumstances.

It would be fair to say that most European capitals were "severely modified" in the process. When Hitler bombed London, he set in train a process that he must have subsequently regretted. London was bombed from 1940 until 1945 by conventional bombing followed by the dreaded V1 flying bomb and the unstoppable V2. All of our major cities received visits from the Luftwaffe.

In turn, Hamburg, Cologne, Dresden etc etc were devastated. (Please remember this word "devastated").

The 48 Contiguous States of America have never (thank God) suffered devastation on this level. If New York, Atlanta and LA had been blitzed and Chicago had been destroyed in a fire storm then we might be on a level playing field of thinking process.

The only serious attack on the USA took place at Pearl Harbour in 1941 which all of us know is in what is now the 50th state (I worked there for 6 months). This outrage (and that is what it was but they should have seen it coming) took place 2000 nms from Grand Rapids and so very few US citizens actually had to "take to the bunkers" underneath their homes.

In essence, not a lot in the way of damage has happened in the 48 States until recently. We in the UK have had parts of our cities blown up by the IRA ever since 1945 from time to time as if WW2 wasn't enough (until very recently). People have continued to die and what used to p*ss me off personally was the "goody, goody Irish Americans" rattling their cans in my face in my favourite Irish Pub on 2nd Ave in Manhattan. (The landord came from County Cork and he used to tell them to p*ss off).

The IRA even had a go at our tallest commercial building in London (Canary Wharf). It was not a pretty sight afterwards,

And so it was that I found myself away from home on 11 September 2001. I started the day by wishing my wife a Happy Birthday on the phone. It will never ever be again. I watched in astonishment on live TV the demise of the WTC - it was just astonishing and dreadful.

However, the loss of life in the WTC palls into insignificance when viewed with real war. For example, my old Squadron was involved in a battle in 1918 wherby 350,000 Germans died and so did 260,000 on our side. Just imagine that ladies and gentlemen: - that's 610,000 in one battle. Now just imagine what that would do to the population of Grand Forks.

So what I am trying to say to the young Brits is "Yes, the USA have always turned up late for a war and it has usually only been because their own comfortable life was finally threatened
but I for one am very grateful that they finally got round to it. If you fellow Brits are ever in any doubt, go and visit the USAAF memorial in Cambridgeshire - the 8th AAF lost 58,000 aircrew.

What I am saying to my American friends is let your anger die down and get rational. Please accept the fact that we in Europe have had our cities destroyed more than you could ever imagine and we have come out the other side. We do not have a gun culture any more and I for one am very grateful for that.

To my fellow Brits; I have visited IAD for many years and I often hire a car and visit the Newmarket Confederate Battle site. Not many people died at Newmarket but there is a record of a battle during which 2,500 died in one hour! You would not believe how many people died in the Civil War!!!!!

I have almost forgotten the original thread! I was qualified on Lee Enfield 303, .38 Revolver, Sten Gun, Sterling, Bren Gun, FN, Blindicide (GP), Browning 9mm.

I do not want firearms on my flightdeck. This is not the answer.

Percy De Havilland
5th Apr 2002, 19:57
Bravo JW!

rubik101
5th Apr 2002, 20:43
Indeed, bravo JW. A well crafted peice on the benefits of pacifism. I trust he neglected to mention that a suitable detterent to such wars had been in place since 1945 purely to suit the discussion in question. When the papers report the next 9/11 they may well ask why it is that no such detterent has been put in place since then and when, not if, will be the third and subsequent event?
If your reply is that guns are not the answer then please return to page 1 and re-read the thread. If you have a sensible suggestion as to how we prevent the next event, please do comment.

HugMonster
5th Apr 2002, 20:56
Rubik, please stop talking nonsense.

There has been continuous conflict in the world every year since 1945. Britain has been involved in many of them, as have the USA, the USSR (as it then was), France, China, Korea, Argentina, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, India, Pakistan and many smaller nations.

Perhaps you are conveniently forgetting Korea, Suez, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Congo, and many more right up to the Falklands, Kuwait, the Balkans, Afghanistan (twice) etc etc...

Firearms on the flight deck will not be a deterrent. You quite clearly have no experience whatsoever of using a firearm, let alone in a confined space.

You are falling into the same trap as the other advocates of armed pilots. You are assuming that the terrorists are stupid, that they don't plan, that they don't know what the opposition is, that they don't know the security procedures, that they are stupid enough to run the same plan twice.

It is extremely unlikely that armed pilots would have prevented the attacks on 11th. September. They are even less likely to be able to prevent future attacks.

What is needed is a considered look anew at the whole of aviation security, not a kneejerk reaction born out of anger and Hollywood fantasies of pilots blasting the bad guys back to Allah.

phantomwray
5th Apr 2002, 21:19
rubik101,

I have no doubt that some other act of terrorism will occur again, but I doubt that it will come in the form of a hijacked airplane. They know we're expecting another hijack so why would they bother? It's much more likely, in my opinion, that some other form of terror will be utilized. This would have a greater impact on us anyways. If we're under the impression that the attack can and will come from anywhere, in any form, then we would be living in fear of everything. In societies like ours, there's no possible way to defend against everything. We value our freedoms too much.

So, how can guns be the answer if we don't even know what the next event will be.

My solution to the hijacking scenario is to use a reinforced cockpit door that cannot be opened in flight at all. If there's no way to access the cockpit, then it's impossible to fly it into buildings. Unless of course you've got a sleeper agent in place on the flight deck, in which case there's not much you can do anyways.

You may say that closing off the cockpit entirely during flight won't be any good because the crew cannot go to the washroom or get served food. Well too bad. If that's the price to pay for security, then so be it. Relieve yourself before you embark and bring along a portable bag that you can urinate into. I've seen them made for both men and women. As for food, bring it with you in a lunch bag.

Guns have absolutely no place on an aircraft. They're too confined to use without risking innocents.


PS, my appologies to HugMonster. Your post was not online when I began writing mine and I've brought up similar thoughts to what you've posted.

swashplate
5th Apr 2002, 23:46
Thanks for you high opinion of my post!!! :cool:

Frankly, how do we know that the next attack will be anything to do with aviation at all..??? :confused:

I'm still waiting for al-quaida :eek: to start poisioning the water supply.... :eek: :eek: :(:(

or ******ing-up the Internet... :eek:

...or something else entirely..... :rolleyes:


...p'raps they'll do nothing, but meanwhile we all paralyse ourselves with our own paranoia... :rolleyes:

somewhatconcerned
6th Apr 2002, 00:05
Yeeee Hawww. Lets go back to the mid to late 1800's, give Pilots a Sheriffs badge and let them open up a can of whoop ass on any one who steps outa line.

18-Wheeler
6th Apr 2002, 01:33
Yes, perhaps the ultimate plane for the "I've got a bigger gun than you" brigade is one that
- Has sandbagged pillboxes on either side of the cockpit door.
- Claymore mines behind the pilot's seats.
- Drop net over the cockpit door.
- Remote control Vulcan cannon to blast anyone that doesn't do the secret knock properly.
- Flamethrower to make the terrorists all nice & toasty.
- For those terrorists right down the back fo the plane, a special ICBM kit. (Inter-Cabin Ballistic Missile)
- War room sitrep map option on the FMS displays.
- The machine gun that Blain had in "Predator", one for each pilot.
- Hand-grenade equiped Flight Attendants. (don't complain about the coffee!)

(sarcasm off now)

GlueBall
6th Apr 2002, 04:37
Not to overlook the Gulf War, ...where more "trained" allied soldiers got shot dead by "friendly" fire, than by enemy fire! Sad but true.

The probability of airline pilots ever possessing loaded guns in the cockpit is Hollywood utopia.
:eek:

411A
6th Apr 2002, 05:28
Hmmm, I see that most do not agree about arming pilots....the last thing an airliner needs is a redneck pilot (or two) packin' heat....notice that ALPA has petitioned the DOT for the "right to arm"....the only differance between ALPA and a bag of horse manure is the bag.

ok
6th Apr 2002, 17:29
In my opinion most of those here that are against firearms are either private pilot’s who do not understand the cockpit environment ,........or airline pilot’s from other countries that did not have their airliners hijacked, their flight attendant killed in front of their passenger then their airplanes stolen from them forcibly and flown into some of the most important building’s in the country to kill another 3000 of their countrymen!
But most of all, as some have said here, you have to look at what country those who oppose arming pilots are from.
Many do not allow even individuals the right to bare arms. Just take a look at their crime rate! In American we have that right! And it is that right that America has to arm their pilots no matter what other countries pilot’s want!

Ok
Professional Airline Pilot
Good ole USA

hobie
6th Apr 2002, 20:45
its interesting to note that at the time of writing, the subject in question has had 3,710 views and yet only 312 votes have been made ....... it gives a clue to just how unsure BB members are on this subject

my own view is that even if there were guns up front, the fact that the crew are going to be strapped in, looking the wrong way and any potential attackers having the element of surprise on there side, means that guns are unlikely to be a full proof solution ....... dedicated armed security in the "cabin" with a totally protected cockpit zone including washroom/refreshment etc facilities is the real solution in my opinion ..... and of course, cabin cameras so the guys up front know what the h$ll is going on in the back

its amazing how loosing say 10feet/3 mtrs(or less) of passenger space to provide a full facility zone for the flight deck sends airline managers into a panic yet seat prices can be discounted to ridiculously low levels without a moments thought

HugMonster
6th Apr 2002, 21:40
ok, just to correct a few misunderstandings you appear to be suffering from...

Not having had airliners of the UK hijacked and crashed into major buildings probably helps UK pilots think a little more dispassionately and rationally than those whose kneejerk reaction is to "blast the bad guys back to allah."

It is also probably symptomatic of the far higher levels of airline and aviation security in Europe and the UK than have been in force in the USA.

As has also been pointed out many times, many pilots in the UK are ex-military, and have a high level of familiarity with firearms and respect for their capabilites. We don't tend to share the fascination that guns command in the USA, and view them and what they can do in such situations with a somewhat jaundiced eye.

We have a very proactive approach, very ably assisted by our government agencies, towards threats to aviation security. Links through the Department of Transport are maintained directly with our intelligence agencies, and airlines are kept appraised of the level of various threats. For many domestic flights, police Special Branch keep an eye on who embarks for what flights. A much higher proportion of our passenger/flights require the passengers to produce passports. There is probably a much lower level of individual freedom here than in the USA, but all life is a trade-off. Which do you want - less freedom, or more exposure to possible offences?

As I've pointed out, security throughout European aviation is far tighter than it ever has been in the USA. And there is no chance whatsoever in the foreseeable future that there will be any call for European pilots to be armed. There is a lot you can do before you need do anything that gung-ho.

I'm not sure what your point is about crime levels, but the last time I checked, crime in New York City alone was far higher than the whole of the UK, including all terrorist offences in Northern Ireland.

Oh - and finally, we do have the right to bare arms. Indeed, some airlines even issue short-sleeved shirts. We do not, however, have the right to bear arms.

christian_MD80
6th Apr 2002, 21:56
OK, you are a little easy on the attack.

As a former army officer (abt. 17 yrs., armoured recce, several duties Middle East and Africa), coming from a country which allows private weapons, and being an airline pilot now, I like to give my 2 cents.

Pistols/Revolvers are a severe danger unless in the hands of a well trained person. Its not like in Die Hard II, remember the handgrenades? 17 seconds to the blow!? Easy in a movie, ok they need some takes, but even that is something we don`t have. Training to use firearms within a cockpit, inflight, needs more than the standard programme. It needs permanent exercise, not just every half a year to fire 40 rounds or so. It needs dedication and understanding, something most pilots won`t bring with them. They want to fly airplanes, not fire guns every other week. They don`t want to take care of weapons, especially if the fly outside the USA, or in case they have to take their guns home and have kids. You think we are small kids who are affraid of guns? As my british collegues told you allready, we had to suffer losses too, in the last few years (WW`s are history, as is Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War), but we still don`t give guns to every untrained mentally unstable beer drinker! I don`t want to have any gun onboard the airplane I fly, except in the hands of our "Tigers" (your sky marshalls). Pilots fly, LEOs enforce the law!

Terrorists will check their possibilities before the next attack. Having to expect armed pilots, no problem! All they need is a plan and some exercise. The same with the sky marshalls, but they need to be located, a not so easy thing. But better strengthen the ground "power" to avoid terrorists coming onboard. Have the intelligence services work together and be a little better against the enemy, instead of each other. Have your politicians work for freedom and peace instead of industry and war. And don`t think you are Seagull/Dudikoff/Willis or so, you would have to change your job.

No guns in untrained hands!

chris

Captain104
6th Apr 2002, 22:20
Follewed this thread from start up. Some real good posts, some not so convincing. The poll results quite clear.

As someone who earned his wings in US (btw: including small arms marksmanship certificate as qualified USAF sharpshooter) and at the same time always warmly touched by Brits way of life I deeply regret that this thread is turned by some "Hollywood pilots" into an US-UK(or EU) showdown even with fingertip aimed at WW2 history.
There are some relevant arguments on both sides but please try to keep your emotions down a bit. Otherwise John Wayne will get you. ;)

ok
No, I am not a private pilot. Yes, my company experienced not only hijackings. We lost a 737 captain in such an event.
Nevertheless may I take the freedom and vote against guns in cockpits. Reasons already posted by some fellow pilots.

Regards

AA SLF
7th Apr 2002, 00:59
HugMonster -

less freedom, or more exposure to possible offences?

My answer, as an American, is - MORE FREEDOM

Yes, that means more exposure, and I accept that risk. But, try to reduce it with various common sense approaches to that risk.

I guess this is the fundamental difference between Americans and the EU sort - more freedom versus less.

ps - we fought a war, more than once, over that fundamental idea.

ok
7th Apr 2002, 03:33
Hugmonster,

At least you made me laugh with the right to bare arm’s wise crack...thanks for that.
On the other hand it appear to me that most from the other side of the pond is intrigued with Hollywood and not real life. I do not know why they keep throwing those remarks in.....I am one who does not pay much attention to them but Hollywood appears to have a overwhelming affect on the non-American's. Stop the fascination!

Also from what I understand about the Phase 3 doors coming out next year is they will have a bullet proof window large enough for us to see from the front to the back of the aircraft ( One way view of coarse)! Beside all the other items,... Kevlar doors 5 point locking pins and all the other FAA requirements.
So those of you who say pilots would be surprised. Well there is one less reason for we wont be.

Ok

Ignition Override
7th Apr 2002, 04:10
No vote yet from me. Just a few simple questions.

Where can a pistol be kept so that it can be pulled out very fast without the risk of forgetting some access number, in a way that there would be no chance of two people fighting over the gun? If two people are struggling for control of a gun, it can easily fire and hit anyone nearby.

The pistol must be either 1) carried on a person, or 2) be in a flightbag etc or 3) already locked up in the cockpit. If locked in the cockpit, how can we prevent company or catering employees from stealing them while the plane is parked overnight?

Will the new cockpit doors have a small revolving section where the flt attendants will drop our food and highly toxic coffee into a box with small openings as in certain high-security US gas stations/prisons and banks?

After a crash landing, how do rescue crews get the unconscious pilots out if they are about 20+ feet above the ground? Not that this factor is an important element in the security equation.

ok
7th Apr 2002, 04:57
Again most people here assume that you will have to play gun slinger from the old wild west movies.....there is that old Hollywood fascination again!!
I would like to see a study on how many police officers or military officers/ of prison guards...etc. have pulled there gun soooooooo darn fast that they shot their partner, maybe they even shot out the front window of their patrol car or some bystander walking by. Wow maybe they even killed the bad guy.

Just a thought.
When it comes to meals and coffee, is that all you care about. Get it on the ground or between flights. You don't always have to have the flight attendant up front. And yes I like flight attendants, I am married to one and we work for the same company. We have small children and guess what , I have GUNS in the house.

Ok

Jet II
7th Apr 2002, 07:45
Ignition Override

If locked in the cockpit, how can we prevent company or catering employees from stealing them while the plane is parked overnight?

I strongly resent your implication that ground staff are any more dishonest than aircrew. If that were the case why are there no police stationed on every aircraft when it is parked up to stop them stealing everything in sight.

As we saw from the Egypt Air crash, SLF have far more to fear from deranged aircrew than anyone on the ground.

;)

rubik101
7th Apr 2002, 08:28
I don't wish to get personal but I wonder if some of the posts are read properly or just 'scanned'. Hugmonster says of me;
'Firearms on the flight deck will not be a deterrent. You quite clearly have no experience whatsoever of using a firearm, let alone in a confined space.'
Had he read my earlier contribution he would have seen that I wrote that I have beed trained in the use of, and carried a firearm, in the military.
Why would 'they' not use the same route again, as someone suggested? It worked pretty well last time and as nothing much has been done to alter the situation so far, they will almost certainly do it again. Why change a plan that worked so well?
Poisoned water supplies etc. may well occur but you think that they will ignore the spectacular, particularly when thay know it will be endlessly replayed by CNN, BBC et al?
As for these doors, if it is a door, it can be opened.
Last time I looked, 'street' crime is worse in London than in New York. See the Home Office stats for muggings and car crime. Per head, London is worse.
But what has that to do with the price of fish? We are loosing the plot if all we do is compare stats, reflect on Hollywood and remember fondly our time in the military. We need 'sensible' alternative suggestions and they seem sadly lacking so far.

mono
7th Apr 2002, 08:34
Jet II

Our company carry mobile phones in the cockpit, and had a spate of phone/sim card thefts.

I'm sure if they'll nick a phone they'll sure as hell nick a gun.

:eek:

christian_MD80
7th Apr 2002, 09:16
@Jet II, somebody did take mobile phones from aircraft at our company too. As the pilots had to put them into a locker after flight, we would be stupid to take them.

On the other hand, did maintenance, catering, cleaning personnel bring weapons onboard of aircraft in the past? Are they properly screened and permanently checked? Everywhere?

And yes, I know of two accidents with pilot suicide (Egyptian, Moroccan, sorry don`t know any non-arabic ones). Thats a factor of supervision in companys if they made it through selection process.

@OK, I leave in an area with very low crime, last murder was before 1955. Having weapons in a house together with children is a danger. I do not feel the need for a gun at home, thereby reducing this risk to zero. But times may change, so will my needs!

I will be against guns in untrained hands all the time, and the more complicated a situation can be the better the training has to be. A well trained terrorist will kill you and your collegue even when your first bullet went into his heart! And that means one person kills two and the rest of the intruders take your plane. Its not that easy. But having guns onboard is a risk for accidental killing or destruction of vital equipment. Pilots do not have the needed training and they won`get it. Its not a game!

I know abt. bullet-proof underwear, but that does not help with special ammo placed in your face. Its quite some time now, since the MAN QD has been introduced as the ultimate ammo for use onboard of aircraft. Or explosive ammo, even for .22. Why not leave fighting and flying to the respective pros?

chris

HugMonster
7th Apr 2002, 10:46
Picture the scene:-

You are flying along in the cruise. The door opens. In walks the hostie with the coffee you've been hoping for (indeed, gasping for) since take-off. Knock the headset off the inboard ear, push your seat back, with a visual check as you do so of the instruments (the F/O is flying). A quick chat with the hostie, take the coffee, have a couple of sips. Put it in the holder, take the F/O's cup and pass it to him. She asks what time you expect to land. Look at the FMC, give her the current estimate. She says "OK, thanks - see you later sweetie" without saying which of you two is the "sweetie", and opens the door. You turn back to the front, reaching for your coffee, and there's a sudden very loud explosion. Your mind leaps, you look at the panel, only there's something splashed all over it. You start to turn just as the F/O's head explodes. You realise that the girl who was about to leave is lying on the floor. Two - or is it three? - figures appear behind her, with pistols pointing at you. Your own semi-auto is under your left armpit. You can't draw it fast (the shoulder harness gets in the way, as does your jacket), you're not double-jointed in the shoulder so you can't swing your right arm round behind your back. You glance down at the transponder. Can you calmly reach towards it? And anyway, there's an odd cream-coloured gun pointed right at your head this very minute. You hear someone say "Get them out of their seats. I'll fly it."...

Looks like game over.

You are flying along in the cruise. The door opens. In walks the hostie with the coffee you've been hoping for (indeed, gasping for) since take-off. Knock the headset off the inboard ear, push your seat back, with a visual check as you do so of the instruments (the F/O is flying). A quick chat with the hostie, take the coffee, have a couple of sips. Put it in the holder, take the F/O's cup and pass it to him. She asks what time you expect to land. Look at the FMC, give her the current estimate. She says "OK, thanks - see you later sweetie" without saying which of you two is the "sweetie", and opens the door. You turn back to the front, reaching for your coffee, and then a few more sips as it cools, and then your vision starts to blur. Hope it'll clear in a moment - worry for a few seconds about when your next medical is due. Hear (as if from very far away) the F/O say "Can you take control? I'm not feeling all that well". You have enough consciousness left to see the hostie come back in accompanied by some other figures. You hear someone say "Get them out of their seats. I'll fly it."

Looks like game over.


Now who still thinks that firearms are the answer and that we don't need a complete, radical rethink of aviation security?

Captain104
7th Apr 2002, 11:19
Sorry fellow pilots. Am I a bit naive?
Is it clever to paint all possible pictures that openly in this thread available to everyone in this world?
Or openly discuss stage 3 cockpitdoor security in the future?
:(

Hezbollah
7th Apr 2002, 15:46
The mere idea of untrained civvies fooling around with loaded weapons fills me with enough horror, but the idea of it on board an aircraft is going from the sublime to the ridiculous. How many more aircraft/crew/passengers would be lost as a result of (not unlikely) accidents than would be saved by the (extremely unlikely) accurate and timely use of a firearm in a hijack situation. Add to this the fact that you are going to have to secure this firearm very carefully to stop an unarmed hijacker walking up and grabbing it, which obviously means that it is not going to be available for ready use by Roy Rogers in the driving seat either, so lets get back to reality, and go for better security at airports!

I. M. Esperto
7th Apr 2002, 19:54
I'm in favor of giving the pilots the option of carrying a concealed weapon.

I also like the idea of Skymarshals.

In the 1970's we had 3 of these on every B-747 International trip.

FWIW, many pilots used to carry a sidearm before we were subject to inspection.

I was one of them. I hollowed out an old Jepperson, put my 5 shot revolver with DumDums in it, wrapped the manual with a large red rubberband, and waited for the chance to use it.

Today, you'd be arrested.

HugMonster
7th Apr 2002, 20:34
You think you would ever have been given the chance to use it?

Hold on a moment, Mr. Suicidal Hijacker - let me just get my Jeppesen out of my flight case - take off the rubber band - aHA! Got you!

Fantasy - pure fantasy.

And that's not even asking what sort of propellant load you had, or the likelihood of ending in jail for even posessing dumdum bullets.

steamchicken
7th Apr 2002, 21:44
does anyone really want bullets flying in an aircraft? And, of course, a handgun isn't that much good against a rush by a hate-driven mob. If they're willing to crash the plane, waving a pistol won't scare them. Terrorism is a police problem - we've had it for a long time. They say Logan Airport in Boston doesn't segregate pax too well-can't be true? The answer is good security at the airports, but that is too boring to get many votes!

MachOverspeed
7th Apr 2002, 22:37
Very interesting topic. Timely as well.

My two cents.....

No doubt, there is a correlation between responses from EU and USA respondents.

To my honorable EU Pruner friends, I must say that as the petition was directed to the United States government, by citizens of the United States, your opinions, while appreciated, are nontheless meaningless given the context of the petition.

Please don't take this the wrong way. As an American I am constantly reminded by those from other locales that we "imperialist" Americans should keep our noses out of other peoples business. Might I suggest that your advice also applies to this petition. We do not seek to put firearms in YOUR cockpit.

It is also true that the idea of an individual having the right to keep and bear arms is alien to many Ppruners. Well, our model of government is different than yours. Not necessarily better, but different. It works for us.

Having been raised in a home with readily available and loaded firearms, and having been taught the proper respect for them, the idea that trained pilots might have access to a lethal weapon, to be used only in the event of a cockpit security breech, is perfectly reasonable.

I am not John Wayne. I have, however, been forced to brandish a firearm to protect my family twice since 1986. In one instance a band of "gang bangers" hit my son with a car, while he rode his bicycle. Law enforcement failed to arrest the offenders, even though they were driving a vehicle with stolen license plates. Later that night the gang bangers came to my home and demanded money for the damage to their automobile.....I was alone, save my wife and son. I told them to wait while I got my wallet. I discovered that if one falls out onto his front porch with a locked and loaded AR-15, gang bangers will scatter like quail. Thank God I did not have to pull the trigger. I was prepared to do so, but the bad guys ran away.

In the other instance my father was about to robbed, just as I arrived at his home. I pulled a riot shotgun from my truck and again, the bad guys ran away.

The mere presence of a firearm does not necessarily lead to violence. Despite what those of a more European persausion may think. I attended a very rural high school. Every pickup truck in the parking lot had a rifle or shotgun on the gun rack (depending on the hunting season). While we had the typical rate of disagreement, and the consequent fist fights, nobody EVER got a gun and tried to shoot a school mate. Call it developmental training. We were taught by responsible family members that it was better to take an ass-kicking, than to be a pussy and pull a gun in a siutuation less than life or death.

If my European friends do not want a gun in their cockpit, then nobody is going to force them to do so. It is their choice and that of their elected representatives. Given my choice, I would select a .45 Colt Combat Commander. It's all about knockdown power...

Somebody mentioned an accidental blasting of the radio rack or a gyro or whatever. Hasn't everyone had a total electrical failure, at night, in IMC, while single pilot?

Having been taught to shoot since I was a small child ( I got my first gun on my seventh birthday...), I see no difficulty in a "double tap" at cockpit door range, should some terrorist or nut be successful in breaking onto the flight deck.

I'd rather do that than be flamed by an F-15 with an Amraam, with the loss of everybody on board. If I miss the bad guy and he takes over the aircraft, the F-15 option is still available. The odds that "I" will miss at that short range are small indeed. The odds that everyone will be killed by the Amraam are virtually certain.

MachOverspeed

Ignition Override
8th Apr 2002, 00:15
Jet II and gang: Greetings from across the ocean/river. Valid point, but you jumped to a premature conclusion because I forgot to include some facts as a review. I meant nothing against the 99.99% of employees anywhere, pilots or not, who are honest, so please excuse my vague language.

Let's all put the situation in context: for those outside the US, they might not remember the unfortunate incidents of certain employees at MIami Int'l Airport caught smuggling guns (and drugs?) and convicted, not long ago. This is not to tar the other 99.99% of any job specialty with the same brush, who are hard-working and honest. Of course, this was probably the only such problem that has ever occured around US aircraft on the ground (yeah, right)...not including several other episodes caught on tape where some objects were "appropriated" from passenger luggage. Many years ago, Eastern Airlines jets had certain panels in the lavs etc where drugs had been smuggled. Ok, maybe I should assume that drug smugglers are too honest to consider 'borrowing' a brand new, shiny S&Wesson, Glock 9 mm, Beretta, or a Heckler und Koch...

The fact is that numerous people have access to an aircraft on the ground, pilots included...

Aren't the main points whether we allow any lethal weapon into the cockpit and if so, where is it locked away in a manner in which it won't be stolen? A DC-9 cockpit is a small place and I definitely don't want the FO to pull out a gun if someone is already forcing their way into this small area, with two sets of hands struggling for control of one gun. We might be almost better off grabbing the PA and sending a few guys up front, as the FAs should already be doing. If this possibility of a struggle over a gun is very remote, then fine. Maybe someone can convince me that this is so.

If a different type of weapon can immobilize without firing lead slugs at 4,000 fps, could it might be a more intelligent option?

Ignition Override
8th Apr 2002, 02:47
Mach Overspeed: that was a fine job you did to scare off those gangbanger lowlifes. But they must "have had a rough childhood", and so the media might have taken their side anyway.

Now if the FAA and the airlines invent a way to keep a gun in the cockpit, will the news and procedures to pull it out get flooded all over the Internet and network news, or can the codes etc be kept confidential? Some of our fancy plastic hotel keys don't work so well, even at a Doubletree, but they make good cookies.

rubik101
8th Apr 2002, 09:42
We still seem to be long on diatribes against guns in cockpits but short on alternatives. We have exploding heads, drugged coffee and gung ho passengers but no realistic, 'sensible' suggestion as to what we should do to prevent another 9/11. We have very little constructive input to this question so far, just lots of reasons why we shouldn't have guns and many of those arguments are flawed.
Like I said earlier, doors open, no matter how well protected they are.
Sky marshalls work but money talks louder. Anyway, who would think to put one on the Scottish shuttles each and every day, or the inter island hoppers?
I asked earlier how we Brits would feel if the A/C involved were a couple of BA's a Monarch and a BMI, no-one replied.
If it happened in the UK I suspect this argument would have a very different outcome.

HugMonster
8th Apr 2002, 10:19
Rubik, within the scope of the question as it was asked, there is no requirement to come up with an answer. The question was "Should pilots be armed?"

An overwhelming majority of people answer "No".

The question did not ask "If not, what is your alternative?" (as if you needed to have one)

Simple, huh?

It is not for pilots to provide comprehensive answers to aviation security. There are sufficient people with good expertise in the area to be able to sit down and have a discussion and come up with some answers that will provide a defence against not only a re-run of Sept. 11th. but also various other possibilities. I would not expect the answers to appear here.

If you really insist upon an answer to your rather naive question, my response would be as much horror and disgust as I felt on September 11th. It would not, however, change anything material to this discussion.

Your snide comments about my earlier post show up a misunderstanding of what was being said. I merely posed two of many possible scenarii in which guns on the flight deck would be totally useless.

Why should guns not be on the flight deck? Because the situations in which they would actually be able to do the job are very few and far between. Because they place more firepower on an aircraft, within reach of hijackers. Because they would be ineffective. Because they would run the risk of going missing. Because those charged with using them are first and foremost pilots, not sheriffs or gunfighters. Because, like flying, it takes constant practice and instruction to master the skills required.

Turnup
8th Apr 2002, 11:27
rubik101 asked:

I asked earlier how we Brits would feel if the A/C involved were a couple of BA's a Monarch and a BMI, no-one replied.
If it happened in the UK I suspect this argument would have a very different outcome.

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

You do us a Brits great dis-service with your presumption and I suspect that the closed nature of your question (and implied answer) has put many peeps on their guard, however, rising to the bait:

Nobody knows how they would feel under different circumstances, I can only state that there was widespread shock and outrage.

You may recall that GB was the FIRST country to publicly pledge solidarity (the very same day I think) with the US on this matter.

You may recall that the UK was the FIRST to pledge military support for action in Afghanistan - long before the UN got its act together and with wide public support.

You may recall that the UK is still actively supporting US military action in Afghanistan.

You may be aware that the UK is also, this very week, publically supportive of Dubya's hardening line against Saddam and his regime, and it seems likely to me that we will be assisting militarily in that arena too.

Other points to remember:

The UK has long experience of terrorism in the shape of the IRA, an organisation that was receiving considerable support from Irish Americans. I think I am correct in stating that a total of more than 2,000 people have died at the hands of IRA terrorists, in proportion to our respective populations a far greater number than died on 9/11, albeit diluted over time.

The UK has experience of A/C terrorism in the form of several hi-jackings and of course Lockerbie (Pan-Am 747 lost to a bomb with all on board).

We know well what it is like to be terrorist targets - and we have more experience of being hit "at home" than does the US.

I. M. Esperto
8th Apr 2002, 12:24
Hugmonster:

An armed society is a polite society.

No mob coming at me in the cockpit - there simply is no room. Close range shootout, me with the pistol, him with the boxcutter - I like that.

Dum Dum's were legal when I bought them in a local gun shop.

GB has experienced a rise in firearm crimes since they were outlawed, as has Australia.

We have a Constitution which gives us the right to own them, you don't.

Eat yer 'eart out.:p

Funky Me
8th Apr 2002, 14:33
We pilots need guns in the flight deck like a fish needs a bicycle. :rolleyes:

Why ?

You are attempting to treat the symptom rather than the illness. A gun is a feel good factor, like perhaps having a parachute would make us feel safer too ? We could simply slip that on and just jump free.....

The element of surprise, planning and cunning is always going to win over the biggest gun in the West. When will people start to learn that we must think laterally.

- we all like to think that we would be able to just turn around and "pop a cap in some toe rag's ass" but would it really be that easy ? Honestly, we all need to think about that a bit harder.

Guns in the flight deck are not a good idea because they are :-

1) Likely to fall into the wrong hands in a struggle.
2) Likely to go missing. (see previous posts)
3) Likely to cause injury to the owner or others accidentally.
4) Unlikely to penetrate bulletproof clothing too well.
5) Costly to train, monitor and control for an airline (yes cost does come into it !)

Better to spend the money on :-

1) Better security at (Especially US) airports.
2) "air-lock" type re-enforced doors to cockpits.
3) Better intelligence (see below).
4) Sky marshall's.

I hate to say this but unfortunately, the US law enforcement knew who the terrorists were, what their aims were, followed them, then lost them ! The gun brandishing pro "last line of defence" and all that brigade should be asking why they weren't shot on arrival on your shores just in case (a few, possibly innocent, lives gone to protect the general public and all that, right ? - just like the stewardess that gets in the way of
your gun )

I suggest that all the US immigration personnel at airports get re-deployed in security instead, as it seems that there is always an abbundance of them asking questions about why I want to be entering the states and where am I staying and all sorts of other stupid questions, they could be better utilised screening people BEFORE they get on the aircraft rather than hassling people who have already got off the aircraft ! "Hey, Mr. Jobsworth, If I wanted to illegally enter your country I'd walk over the border, like the other 5 million or so did, Adios."

Oooops, I wasn't going to make this too rude to the yanks, just got a bit carried away, sorry, please forgive me, I didn't mean it. :)

Alternatives ?

Well, prevention is always the best form of protection (ask any teenage mum) so if they manage to get into the "air-lock" perhaps, some form of non-lethal gas could be released in the airlock to paralyse the attacker, meanwhile the flight crew could put the Oxy masks on and dispose of the incapacitated body which the cabin crew could tie up before he/she regains awareness. :D

Nobody has the correct solution to this complex problem, however, IMHO a gun won't do it. No, I'm not scared of them, I'd actually like to have one, it would certainly make me feel better - but thinking more deeply and rationally about it, it just wouldn't be a practical workable solution.

WhatsaLizad?
8th Apr 2002, 15:10
Hugmonster,

You wrote;

Picture the scene:-


You are flying along in the cruise. The door opens. In walks the hostie with the coffee you've been hoping for (indeed, gasping for) since take-off.
..................Looks like game over.





If you or anyone here that is charged with carrying passengers after 9/11 is asinine enough to just sit in your seats while a hostie/flight attendant freely comes in and out of the cockpit, without a cockpit member visually checking through a barred door prior to entry and exit, you best just stay on the ground.

steamchicken
8th Apr 2002, 15:22
Well...a cop I know was recently on a "Advanced Control and Restraint" course (i.e. fighting) and amongst other things, the opinion there was that arming the police routinely was not a good idea, as innocent people would get shot, guns would be taken off cops, and criminals encouraged to arm themselves. Especially they were concerned by studies of US police ops which showed a horrible rate of injured cops and civilians and a lot of cops shot with their own weapons. The consensus was that in a close-quarter brawl you'd likely be stabbed before drawing and hitting the man/men.....and that was cops.

Tripower455
8th Apr 2002, 15:48
We pilots need guns in the flight deck like a fish needs a bicycle.

Why?

You are attempting to treat the symptom rather than the illness. A gun is a feel good factor, like perhaps having a parachute would make us feel safer too ? We could simply slip that on and just jump free.....

Are we treating the symtom rather than the illness by having engine fire extinguishing systems on our aircraft (they aren't on fire right now, are they?)? A firearm is the only SIMPLE, yet effective means of defending the cockpit. A bad guy breaching the cockpit IS a terminal illness that needs to be surgically removed asap.

The element of surprise, planning and cunning is always going to win over the biggest gun in the West. When will people start to learn that we must think laterally.

This is a very true statement with or without a gun. With a gun, at least you have a chance.

- we all like to think that we would be able to just turn around and "pop a cap in some toe rag's ass" but would it really be that easy ? Honestly, we all need to think about that a bit harder.

It is not harder, it's impossible without any means of "popping a cap in toe rag's ass". The way it is now, toe rag will be tearing us a new a$$, regardless of how much warning we have. Our only solace is that MAYBE the future new hire in the F-teen will arrive and nail us with a missile prior to hitting any ground targets!

Guns in the flight deck are not a good idea because they are :-

1) Likely to fall into the wrong hands in a struggle.

Since I'll be dead for sure without it, I find this an acceptable risk.....

2) Likely to go missing. (see previous posts)

I am sure that sky marshalls worry about this as well. If it is carried properly (read: on the authorized person at ALL times), this becomes a minute concern.

3) Likely to cause injury to the owner or others accidentally.

How so? I believe that you have fallen victim to urban myth.

4) Unlikely to penetrate bulletproof clothing too well.

True, but again, you'll be dead anyway, so what does it hurt.

5) Costly to train, monitor and control for an airline (yes cost does come into it !)

This is also a true statement, and likely the reason that we will never see armed pilots. It is much cheaper to make it LOOK like something is being done (ie: having pilots remove their clothing and pilfering our toiletries while armies of unscreened ramp personnel roam the ramps and aircraft), rather than actually try to solve the problem.

Better to spend the money on :-

1) Better security at (Especially US) airports.

Define "better". They have already spent billions of dollars "improving" airport/aircraft security, and guess what? Nothing has been done to actually prevent a 9/11 type incident from happening again. All of the money spent so far has been to appease the fears of a fickle public.

2) "air-lock" type re-enforced doors to cockpits.

It's too expensive to train an intelligent person to safely and effectively use a firearm but not too expensive to redesign an entire generation of aircraft?

3) Better intelligence (see below).

I am in complete agreement on this point! It'd been nice if we had acted on our limited intel prior to 9/11!

4) Sky marshall's.

Why is a gun(s) in the cabin, in close proximity to potential hijackers OK, but locked behind a "reinforced" door, not. Without going into detail, I think that the current sky marshall "team" program would be effective IF they were actually on the plane, and there were only a few hijackers. There is no way (the $$$$ thing again) that there will be teams of sky marshalls on every airliner, even just the higher risk flights. Having one sky marshall in a multiple hijacker scenario is tantamount to handing the bad guys a weapon before they even breach the cockpit. Armed (non sky marshall) LEO's in the cabin pose an even greater risk, imho, since they are generally not trained in the dynamics of airliner cabin security and almost always travel alone.

I hate to say this but unfortunately, the US law enforcement knew who the terrorists were, what their aims were, followed them, then lost them ! The gun brandishing pro "last line of defence" and all that brigade should be asking why they weren't shot on arrival on your shores just in case (a few, possibly innocent, lives gone to protect the general public and all that, right ? - just like the stewardess that gets in the way of
your gun )

Now you're talking sense! This has been a huge problem that will not go away, because it is politically incorrect to turn away immigrants that will in no way contribute to our society.

I suggest that all the US immigration personnel at airports get re-deployed in security instead, as it seems that there is always an abbundance of them asking questions about why I want to be entering the states and where am I staying and all sorts of other stupid questions, they could be better utilised screening people BEFORE they get on the aircraft rather than hassling people who have already got off the aircraft !

Again, you're making way too much sense! It is much easier, and better eyewash to harass the obvious non threat, than to risk offending someone who might be an actual threat.

"Hey, Mr. Jobsworth, If I wanted to illegally enter your country I'd walk over the border, like the other 5 million or so did, Adios."

Oooops, I wasn't going to make this too rude to the yanks, just got a bit carried away, sorry, please forgive me, I didn't mean it.

I've taken no offense at that statement, because you are 100% correct! Very much like our current ramp situation, our borders are easier to cross illegally than legally.

Alternatives ?

Well, prevention is always the best form of protection (ask any teenage mum) so if they manage to get into the "air-lock" perhaps, some form of non-lethal gas could be released in the airlock to paralyse the attacker, meanwhile the flight crew could put the Oxy masks on and dispose of the incapacitated body which the cabin crew could tie up before he/she regains awareness.

This is somehow simpler, cheaper and safer than arming pilots? As far as prevention, the answer, as usual is to skirt around the issue and increase the harassment factor at the airports. Imho, there is no way to prevent bad guys from getting on civil aircraft.

Nobody has the correct solution to this complex problem, however, IMHO a gun won't do it. No, I'm not scared of them, I'd actually like to have one, it would certainly make me feel better - but thinking more deeply and rationally about it, it just wouldn't be a practical workable solution.

I disagree about it not being practical or workable. There are a lot of issues to be addressed for sure, but nothing insurmountable. I have not seen a more practical or workable alternative, despite the rhetoric from some here on pprune. It would make the overnights a bit more bland, as alcohol and firearms do NOT mix (pun intended).....

Tripower455
8th Apr 2002, 16:22
Posted by HugsMonster........


Picture the scene:-



You are flying along in the cruise. The door opens. In walks the hostie with the coffee you've been hoping for (indeed, gasping for) since take-off. Knock the headset off the inboard ear, push your seat back, with a visual check as you do so of the instruments (the F/O is flying). A quick chat with the hostie, take the coffee, have a couple of sips. Put it in the holder, take the F/O's cup and pass it to him. She asks what time you expect to land. Look at the FMC, give her the current estimate. She says "OK, thanks - see you later sweetie" without saying which of you two is the "sweetie", and opens the door. You turn back to the front, reaching for your coffee, and there's a sudden very loud explosion. Your mind leaps, you look at the panel, only there's something splashed all over it. You start to turn just as the F/O's head explodes. You realise that the girl who was about to leave is lying on the floor. Two - or is it three? - figures appear behind her, with pistols pointing at you. Your own semi-auto is under your left armpit. You can't draw it fast (the shoulder harness gets in the way, as does your jacket), you're not double-jointed in the shoulder so you can't swing your right arm round behind your back. You glance down at the transponder. Can you calmly reach towards it? And anyway, there's an odd cream-coloured gun pointed right at your head this very minute. You hear someone say "Get them out of their seats. I'll fly it."...

Looks like game over.


You are flying along in the cruise. The door opens. In walks the hostie with the coffee you've been hoping for (indeed, gasping for) since take-off. Knock the headset off the inboard ear, push your seat back, with a visual check as you do so of the instruments (the F/O is flying). A quick chat with the hostie, take the coffee, have a couple of sips. Put it in the holder, take the F/O's cup and pass it to him. She asks what time you expect to land. Look at the FMC, give her the current estimate. She says "OK, thanks - see you later sweetie" without saying which of you two is the "sweetie", and opens the door. You turn back to the front, reaching for your coffee, and then a few more sips as it cools, and then your vision starts to blur. Hope it'll clear in a moment - worry for a few seconds about when your next medical is due. Hear (as if from very far away) the F/O say "Can you take control? I'm not feeling all that well". You have enough consciousness left to see the hostie come back in accompanied by some other figures. You hear someone say "Get them out of their seats. I'll fly it."

Looks like game over.


In what way will having a gun in the cockpit CAUSE the above scenarios. With or without, you are (as well as everyone else on the aircraft) dead. In the first scenario, you might actully have a chance with a firearm. In the second, it has no bearing on the outcome either way, so why not have it.

BTW, what is the signifigance of the "cream" colored gun. Are terrorists becoming fashion conscious, or are you referring the the mythical "glock 7" (hollywood's ceramic gun)? You've seen too many movies........

I. M. Esperto
8th Apr 2002, 16:37
http://www.secure-skies.org/news.htm#PILOT%20GROUPS%20SEND%20LETTER%20TO%20PRESIDENT%20B USH
PILOT GROUPS SEND LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH:p

Tripower455
8th Apr 2002, 16:43
Well...a cop I know was recently on a "Advanced Control and Restraint" course (i.e. fighting) and amongst other things, the opinion there was that arming the police routinely was not a good idea, as innocent people would get shot, guns would be taken off cops, and criminals encouraged to arm themselves. Especially they were concerned by studies of US police ops which showed a horrible rate of injured cops and civilians and a lot of cops shot with their own weapons. The consensus was that in a close-quarter brawl you'd likely be stabbed before drawing and hitting the man/men.....and that was cops.





The big difference in the cockpit is that when the bad guys get in, you are as good as dead anyway, so why not have a fighting chance.

Please quote actual studies re: US cops being shot with their own weapons, being disarmed, shooting inncocent people etc. While these incidents do occur, they are not commonplace and the benefits of having armed police far outweigh the pitfalls. No offense intended, but it seems to me that your cop friend is being subject to more institutional brainwashing.

Cops have a different job as well. They are always in close proximity to the bad guys, and are more likely to end up in a physical battle with them. They are also not sure of the baddie's intention when they arrest them. Most go peacefully, but there are some that don't. We, on the other hand, are generally not in close proximity to the baddies. The only time we will likely (if ever) get near bad guys in our daily work life is while we are sitting ducks strapped in our seats. At this point, we will be fighting for our lives, because we KNOW that the guys in the cockpit are most likely there to KILL us, and take our aircraft (even if they aren't there to kill us, why take the chance of assuming that they are there to admire our considerable skill as aviators). Even in a struggle while seated, it is much easer to get a shot off that might be effective in neutralizing or even slowing down the aggressor than to try to fight barehanded or with other manual "weapons" (crash axe etc.).

Percy De Havilland
8th Apr 2002, 17:00
IM Esperto - there appears to be a lot of rage and anger within you. May I suggest a trip to a psychologist might be just the trick.

I. M. Esperto
8th Apr 2002, 17:02
Percy -

You swine. You vulgar little maggot. You worthless bag of filth. As we say in New Jersey, I'll bet you
couldn't pour **** out of a boot with instructions on the heel. You are a canker. A sore that
won't go away. I would rather kiss a lawyer than be seen with you.
You're a putrescent mass, a walking vomit. You are a spineless little worm deserving nothing
but the profoundest contempt. You are a jerk, a cad, a weasel. Your life is a monument to
stupidity. You are a stench, a revulsion, a big suck on a sour lemon.

You are a bleating foal, a curdled staggering mutant dwarf smeared richly with the effluvia
and offal accompanying your alleged birth into this world. An insensate, blinking calf,
meaningful to nobody, abandoned by the puke-drooling, giggling beasts who sired you and
then killed themselves in recognition of what they had done.

I will never get over the embarrassment of belonging to the same species as you. You are a
monster, an ogre, a malformity. I barf at the very thought of you. You have all the appeal of a
paper cut. Lepers avoid you. You are vile, worthless, less than nothing. You are a weed, a
fungus, the dregs of this earth. And did I mention you smell?

Try to edit your responses of unnecessary material before attempting to impress us with your
insight. The evidence that you are a nincompoop will still be available to readers, but they
will be able to access it more rapidly.

You snail-skulled little rabbit. Would that a hawk pick you up, drive its beak into your brain,
and upon finding it rancid set you lose to fly briefly before spattering the ocean rocks with
the frothy pink shame of your ignoble blood. May you choke on the queasy, convulsing
nausea of your own trite, foolish beliefs.

You are weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. You are grimy, squalid, nasty and profane. You are
foul and disgusting. You're a fool, an ignoramus. Monkeys look down on you. Even sheep
won't have sex with you. You are unreservedly pathetic, starved for attention, and lost in a
land that reality forgot.

And what meaning do you expect your delusional self-important statements of unknowing,
inexperienced opinion to have with us? What fantasy do you hold that you would believe that
your tiny-fisted tantrums would have more weight than that of a leprous desert rat, spinning
rabidly in a circle, waiting for the bite of the snake?
You are a waste of flesh. You have no rhythm. You are ridiculous and obnoxious. You are the
moral equivalent of a leech. You are a living emptiness, a meaningless void. You are sour
and senile. You are a disease, you puerile, one-handed, slack-jawed, drooling, meatslapper.

On a good day you're a half-wit. You remind me of drool. You are deficient in all that lends
character. You have the personality of wallpaper. You are dank and filthy. You are asinine
and benighted. You are the source of all unpleasantness. You spread misery and sorrow
wherever you go.

You smarmy lagerlout git. You bloody woofter sod. ****** off, pillock. You grotty wanking oik
artless base-court apple-john. You clouted boggish foot-licking twit. You dankish clack-dish
plonker. You gormless crook-pated tosser. You churlish boil-brained clotpole ponce. You
cockered bum-bailey poofter. You craven dewberry pisshead cockup pratting naff. You
gob-kissing gleeking flap-mouthed coxcomb. You dread-bolted fobbing beef-witted
clapper-clawed flirt-gill.

You are a fiend and a coward, and you have bad breath. You are degenerate, noxious and
depraved. I feel debased just for knowing you exist. I despise everything about you, and I
wish you would go away.

I cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard
stupid. Stupid, so stupid it goes way beyond the stupid we know into a whole different
dimension of stupid. You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid collapsed on itself so far
that even the neutrons have collapsed. Stupid gotten so dense that no intellect can escape.
Singularity stupid. Blazing hot mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid in one
second than our entire galaxy emits in a year. Quasar stupid. Your writing has to be a troll.
Nothing in our universe can really be this stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial fragment
from the original big bang of stupid. Some pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by
anything else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we know.

Tripower455
8th Apr 2002, 17:29
IM Esperto - there appears to be a lot of rage and anger within you. May I suggest a trip to a psychologist might be just the trick.



Where in the world did you ever get that notion.....His posts have been logical, lucid and non emotional (not withstanding his last one, which, presumably was made in a humurous light.... at least I found it humurous!).

Prior to 1988 or so, when it became mandatory that pilots be screened (as a result of the actions of a GROUND OPS agent!), MANY pilots carried personal handguns with them (I can think of at least 5 that I know personally, heck, Eastern even had a policy that if you carried a handgun in your kit bag, that it was not to be left in the crew room for obvious reasons). Can anyone name a time when it was the slightest bit of a problem? How many "hosties" or innocent pax were maimed or killed in those days, despite the fact that the pilots had NO training whatsover in civil carrying or use of weapons in the context of airline cockpits. Were they smarter or more responsible than we are today? Actually, the only incident that I am aware of a firearm being used by cockpit crew to foil a hijacking was successful. Back in the late '50's, an AA Captain used a personal firearm to ward off an attacker IN THE COCKPIT. I will find the article and paste it when I get time.

BTW, I'd be more concerned with a few of the other poster's state of well being.

Tripower455
8th Apr 2002, 17:37
If a different type of weapon can immobilize without firing lead slugs at 4,000 fps, could it might be a more intelligent option?

How about frangible slugs at 850 fps? Sounds like a .45 ACP Glaser Safety Slug to me?:)

Bally Heck
8th Apr 2002, 20:15
A friend of mine who was once a UK police firearms officer related a tale to me.

When he was undergoing his firearm training, part of it involved a talk from a psychologist. He told them that they were, from a psychologists point of view all unsuitable to carry firearms.

Why?

Because they wanted to!

steamchicken
8th Apr 2002, 21:27
Well...yes. BTW the cop in question on my earlier post is a quite senior person to do with airport security and posting the documentation (even if I had it) would breach his confidentiality - not that it's important, but politeness demands.

Oh yes, on the topic of politeness, I'd like to congratulate I.M.Esperto on finding one of those websites that randomly generate abuse. It shows great originality and intelligence.

I. M. Esperto
8th Apr 2002, 21:48
Steamchicken - That was no web site. This is my own collection, gathered over 5 years of membership in political forums.

It grows, and grows.:p

Trans Arabia
8th Apr 2002, 23:00
Arming VOLUNTEER crews would be a deterrent. The hijackers would have to assume all. Airlines would then be making a strategic decision. All the other discussion on how guns would be used (if ever) is tactical and is moot unless the original strategic decision is made.

In my (younger) bank officer days, all tellers. and most guys/girls sitting at a desk had a pistol. It was only when the union insisted they were taken away (the branch manager was allowed to keep one) that armed robberies at my bank skyrocketed. Most staff then were ambivalent as not too many bank employees got shot. Those of us who experienced a holdup, however, quickly came to the conclusion that "when Guns are outlawed, the only ones with guns will be the outlaws".

That was in Sydney, NSW close on 30 years ago. Now, in that state, it is Very difficult to obtain a Firearm.........(legally);)

Ignition Override
9th Apr 2002, 04:30
Wow! One of you even topped Monty Python's John Cleese with creative insults/satire (I hope).

Tripower 455: your cockpit scenarios were chilling and well thought-out.

By the way, I absolutely refuse to use the word flightdeck, whether in person or on the plane's pa system, but the rest of you guys will let some mal-adjusted feminist chauvinists decide that they can randomly change the English language at their whim, because they were 'forced' to become pilots? We have much better reasons to do pages upon pages of Aircraft Oper. Manual and Cockpit Oper. Manual revisions

To the rest of you: a very interesting debate, I only had time to skim over it.

Squiddley
9th Apr 2002, 06:25
Just a thought:

Assuming those in favour have their precious hand guns, are fully trained, expert shots etc. and have practised storming scenarios, what happens when a call comes from the cabin to say something along the lines of

"unless you come out, unarmed and with your hands up, we will shoot/stab/strangle one pax every minute" ?

If, god forbid, a sept 11 scenario was being planned again, obviously the bad guys wouldn't care a hoot whether pax died before the target was reached. What good is the hand gun now?

As far as deterence goes, if you carry a gun, the bad guy will carry a bigger gun with more rounds etc. The problem begins on the ground, and that's where the focus should be - and (rightly) IS.

rubik101
9th Apr 2002, 08:58
Bearing in mind that every pilot has in their hands, every time he or she flies, a lethal weapon capable of killing thousands of people, what harm can it do to carry one with 15 rounds?
Get real. One chance is better than no chance.

HugMonster
9th Apr 2002, 10:10
In what way will having a gun in the cockpit CAUSE the above scenarios. With or without, you are (as well as everyone else on the aircraft) dead. In the first scenario, you might actully have a chance with a firearm. In the second, it has no bearing on the outcome either way, so why not have it.

BTW, what is the signifigance of the "cream" colored gun. Are terrorists becoming fashion conscious, or are you referring the the mythical "glock 7" (hollywood's ceramic gun)? You've seen too many movies...

I did not intend, as most posters who applied their intelligence realised, to illustrate the gun causing problems. I was illustrating the gun being totally ineffective against methods likely to be used by hijackers.

Please can the snide remarks. Until not too long ago, I was a small cog in the anti-terrorism machine in the UK. I have spent quite some time with firearms experts over here, and trained very thoroughly in use and concealment techniques. I have seen firearms which do not show up with use of an AMD (Archway Metal Detector) and only show up very faintly on most airport X-ray machines.

Don't attempt to mock when you don't know what you're talking about.

Myron Nelson
9th Apr 2002, 17:08
I am a "Colonist" flying at the same airline with Habu and Tripower455. I appreciate the euro point of view having been born of UK parents and I hold a Belgian ATPL. I grew up in Idaho where we took shotguns to high school and went out at lunch time and shot pheasants and ducks for the biology teacher and taxidermy class, and nobody thought a thing about standing in the school parking lot wiping down firearms.
Yes we Yanks tend to get a warm fuzzy from cold blue steel. If they were honest with themselves most of the US pilots who support arming the cockpit do so mostly for the privilege of carrying them at all times and bypassing security with them. We want them when we are walking back to the hotel from the brewery on the overnight. The majority of US pilots support arming the cockpit but unfortunately, I feel that it is for the wrong reasons. The evidence for that is that when it is presented that the firearms will be in a cockpit lockbox support from pilots plummets. The reason that almost all of the management pilots in the US amd most polititians are against arming the cockpit is not that they were cut from a different cloth than the line pilots, it is just that the management pilots have set emotion aside and tried to explore the mechanical, logistical, and liability issues involved and realize that they are overwhelming. Habu and Tripower may be as capable as can be, but we have quite a few Suzy Q's and others which guarantee that arming the cockpit combined with the advantage of surprise will mean nothing more than arming the terrorists.
It won't happen, common sense in this case will prevail.

Tripower455
9th Apr 2002, 17:24
I did not intend, as most posters who applied their intelligence realised, to illustrate the gun causing problems. I was illustrating the gun being totally ineffective against methods likely to be used by hijackers.

You've illustrated your myopic view on the subject. In one of your scenarios, I agreed that a firearm would be useless. In the other, there is a chance that it might actually be of use. Since it doesn't CAUSE any problems, why not have it just in case. If the baddies make it that far, you are pretty much doomed anyway, so why not have a last ditch chance at saving yourself, as well as the aircraft? A firearm is not the panacea to prevent hijacking, but, I can guarantee that you will be totally ineffective against a hijacking without it. Consider it another layer of defense. The last layer before the aamram hits.

Using your simplistic "logic", we really only need ONE engine on an airliner, because the other(s) might fail too.........besides, all you need is good maintenance on the ground, and it won't fail at all!

Please can the snide remarks.

Now THAT'S a funny statement coming from a guy/gal who is unable to disagree on a subject without resorting to insult. It's frightening to think that you might actually fly an airliner........

Until not too long ago, I was a small cog in the anti-terrorism machine in the UK.

I guess that passenger security screeners are considered a "small cog in the anti terrorism machine". Removing toiletries from flight crew and frisking old ladies is sooooo effective in the war on terrorism..... Here in the states, the passenger screeners are one of the major cogs, which is VERY scary!

I have spent quite some time with firearms experts over here, and trained very thoroughly in use and concealment techniques.

I have spent quite some time with doctors, laywers, stock brokers and a millionaire. In all that time I still don't consider myself an expert in their fields, nor are they experts in mine. I also do not comment on things that I am not at least somewhat familiar with.

I have seen firearms which do not show up with use of an AMD (Archway Metal Detector) and only show up very faintly on most airport X-ray machines.

There is no doubt that the technology exists for such a weapon. Having the technology doesn't mean that the weapon is in widespread use. If they were, don't you think that OBL, with his millions, would have opted for them? The use of ceramics/polymers for firearms is still in it's infancy. It is not easy to make a firearm entirely from non metallic parts and still have even rudimentary function.

Oh, and keeping with the topic. Supposing Mr. Terr has one of these weapons, am I (and by extension, my pax and crew) somehow safer without a weapon of my own?

Don't attempt to mock when you don't know what you're talking about.

You really ought to consider taking your own advice on this one.

Anyone who has thought this issue through rationally, and in context (whilst ignoring the lifetime of brainwashing), can come to no other conclusion that the only effective means of defending the cockpit when breached by bad guys is with a repeating firearm. All of the arguments against it can be addressed by training.

There is no way that can prevent the bad guys from introducing a weapon into the cabin or of keeping them off the aircraft in the first place. No amount of flight crew or passenger screening will do it. Heck, it is easier for a bad guy to access MY airplane than it is for me to. As it stands, the only credible defense we have IN the aircraft are the passengers (if there are enough on board), and the "improved" cockpit doors. The sky marshals just aren't there often enough. I have only seen ONE (travelling by himself) since 9/11 on any of my flights. Not to mention the fact that they are in the cabin with the bad guys, giving the baddies a chance at actually obtaining a firearm or 5 prior to breaching the cockpit.

I have adopted the policy of never leaving the cockpit in flight. Granted, the longest leg that I fly is a little over 5 hours, but I can hold it that long. I do not restrict my F.O.'s (although some Capt's do) from potty trips, but I would prefer they stayed put. Flight attendant's visits to the cockpit are a rare occurence nowadays.

In the case of bad guys threatening or killing passengers/FA's if we don't open the door, we really have no choice, armed or not. As hard as it would be to do so, we have the responsibility to NOT open the door in this case and land somewhere, if possible.

Think of the alternatives:

Keep the door shut, and all of the pax/crew in the back are killed by the terr's, but you are able to land (or at least prevent the aircraft from being used as a missile.)the airplane before they can breach the cockpit

OR...........you concede to the hijackers and open the door, at which point, you are immediately killed, as is the F.O., but the pax get to live until the aircraft hits the nuclear power plant.

OR........ you stay behind the mythical armored door with a firearm, all the while working towards landing the aircraft somewhere. It will not be a surprise when they breach the door, and in this case, there will actually be a chance of preventing them from using the aircraft as a missile. Without the firearm, the outcome wll certainly be the same as my second alternative.......

In the event of a surprise attack on the cockpit, like the armored door being blown off with c-4, a firearm might be of use, it might not. Having it MIGHT change the outcome of the situation. By NOT having it, your fate is sealed as soon as they breach the door. If you are lucky, the future new hire in the F-Teen will get your airplane prior to it hitting anything.

With or without a firearm there is a good chance that you and everyone on your aircraft will die anyway in a 9/11 type hijacking. Might as well have a fighting chance.

Tripower455
9th Apr 2002, 17:54
If they were honest with themselves most of the US pilots who support arming the cockpit do so mostly for the privilege of carrying them at all times and bypassing security with them.

Myron,

If you were honest with yourself, you would not have made that statement at all........ Carrying a gun is a pain in the tail. You of all people should know that. Leaving a gun in the cockpit as part of the aircraft equipment makes no sense from a security standpoint. There is the problem of theft by unauthorized individuals. Accessing the weapon when it is needed is also a concern. A lock box in ops has the same theft problem. The only person that should have access is the one trained and authorized to use it. It should be carried on the person at all times while on duty, including layovers, for the security of the weapon. By leaving it in the cockpit, many of the fears that others have illustrated become valid. The only way it could work is by making us defacto federal leos......

As I've stated many times before in different threads, all that is needed to have us bypass security is a real ID (like Disney World uses), and that will never happen. Heck, even with the SAME ID that the rampers have, we aren't allowed to bypass security in my domicile. The eywash value of us being frisked is too great.

We want them when we are walking back to the hotel from the brewery on the overnight.

Please............replace "we" with "I" before making statements like that. Beside, we wouldn't be IN the brewery with a weapon in the first place.

The majority of US pilots support arming the cockpit but unfortunately, I feel that it is for the wrong reasons.

Another bold statement. I'd expect better than assumption from you, Myron. Even if that statement was true, it doesn't mean that armed pilots wouldn't be effective. See my above posts on the subject and refute my statements with fact or even opinion based on fact. PLEASE!

What do you suggest be done (other than NOT arming pilots) to solve the issue.

It won't happen, common sense in this case will prevail.

Actually, it won't happen because common sense will NOT prevail, as usual..... Emotion, (read: eyewash) will.

As for the "Suzy Q's" (are you in this category? :)), my guess is that most will not opt to train with firearms at all. If you think that that a lot of our folks would be dangerous with a gun, do you not also think that they are dangerous with the aircraft?

I would not put my family in the back of an aircraft commanded by someone that couldn't (not wouldn't, as that's a different issue) be trained in the safe use of a firearm.

holden
9th Apr 2002, 18:22
I see no reason not to arm pilots providing:
a)The first line of defence remains sky marshalls.Pilots can not really be expected to fly the plane and kill the baddies.However,their right to defend themselves and their passengers,should that first line of defence be compromised, must be respected in light of 911.
b)Training should be rigorous(obviously...)
c)Firearms should be low velocity.

As someone with dual US/UK nationality,I can understand the reactions of both sides.It would work in the States but not in Britain.Thats not a criticism of one or the other,but merely an admission that the two countries are very different.And of course that gulf has been widened further by 911.
Childish remarks about WW2 wont help any;Britain owes a great debt to the US.Something that Churchill acknowledged then,and something that Blair acknowledges today.

Neo
9th Apr 2002, 20:51
Make mine:

IMI Desert Eagle .44 Mag
6 inch barrel
Chrome Finish
Cherrywood Grips
Wadcutter Rounds with 24 grain charge

Smokin!

christian_MD80
9th Apr 2002, 21:04
How much?

steamchicken
10th Apr 2002, 14:12
Thinking about this, what is the distance from the door to the pilot's neck in a B767 (for example)? And how quickly could you and 8 of your mates charge it? That gives you the time you'd have to a) realise what was happening, b) hand over control, c) unstrap, d) draw, e) hit all of them before they gangswarmed you - without reloading or blowing holes in the a/c. Perhaps an experiment could clear this up?

MachOverspeed
10th Apr 2002, 17:32
As I see it, this issue is really very simple.

The original petition was from the USA pilot unions and made to the government of the United States of America. No mention at all was made of arming non N registered aircraft/flight crews.....so why the hue and cry from our EU friends?

If the Euro's don't want pistols on their flight decks, or in their homes, or on their police, etc.....that's fine with me. As far as I'm concerned, the less they know about guns, and the less practice they have using them, the better.

You can bet though, that after my hand heals up, and I can get back to work, I'll be packing a .45 under my jacket. Being as I'm FAR 135, I don't have to clear terminal security anyway. It's a straight shot from the parking lot to my aircraft. And that's the whole point. There is no credible security. I must provide my own.
I'll be damned if some @#$%^&* is going to force me to fly anywhere, or take my aircraft away from me, without a fight.

It would be nice if we lived in a perfect world and there was no threat of hijacking. But that's just not the case. We are engaged in a shooting war with terrorism. War is a nasty business and requires extraordinary measures to be taken if one expects to win. The only thing worse than loosing a war, is to be afraid to fight, and wind up dead anyway.

"Better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees"
-Emiliano Zapata-



MachOverspeed

Tripower455
11th Apr 2002, 02:41
The only thing worse than loosing a war, is to be afraid to fight, and wind up dead anyway.

That sums it up quite nicely!

Ignition Override
11th Apr 2002, 07:33
You folks, British, American, whatever, are wasting your time attacking each others' attitudes over WW2 strategies, political isolationism, whatever. Among the allies there were many successes and major, major mistakes (via hindsight) made by everyone, whether regarding tactics or strategy. Many of our US cultural attitudes about weapons have been influenced by macho John Wayne and other movies/tv shows (some favorites: 'Combat', '12 O'Clock High, 'Dirty Harry') along with our many misleading historical myths and legends. By the way, my wife and I visited Dresden (stayed in Meissen): "Florence on the Elbe".

The US is still partly a frontier society-only a hundred and ten years ago or so, Ft. Smith Arkansas (home of "the hanging judge": the gallows and courthouse are still there) was on the edge of the wilderness.

But what does all this have to do with some method to safely store a loaded pistol in the cockpit, such that it can be pulled out in two or three seconds, with the safety off, a round in the chamber, cocked, and fire, without hitting the other pilot(s)?

Go ahead, back to the squabbling and name-calling.

Pandora
11th Apr 2002, 10:43
Wow.

What a huge thread, and although there have been complaints form the pro-gun gang that no one from the anti side has managed to give a convinving argument, you still haven't convinced me that I would like to carry a gun at work. I am a UK airline pilot and my experience of guns mostly comes from a happy youth spent shouting 'Pull' then blasting the small flying clay things out of the sky with a 12-bore. My brother wasn't allowed to because although he had been shown countless times the correct wy to load a gun he still managed to accidently shoot himself in the foot.

So, as I mentioned, I'm a pilot. I know very little about high level anti-terrorism action, and therefore do not feel qualified to give advice either way. I do however believe that flying an aircraft into a building is only one of the many different ways of killing people and destabilising the world as we know it that these people have up their sleeve. If the experts who advise airlines in national security feel that we could do some good by being armed with guns, then give me one. I am perfectly sure I could be trained to be very good with a handgun. It can't be that different to a shotgun, and I was very good with those. One thing is for certain though. I will not be able to fire a gun at a bunch of hijackers who have already gained control of the cabin IN SPITE of the security measures on the ground, and of course the 'new and improved Karate Kid' style cabin crew. Let's make no mistake about it. By the time terrorists have gained access to the cockpit through the locked reinforced door and managed to overpower all of the passengers and the cabin crew, we haven't got much going for us. And I certainly don't think at this point I would be able to hold them off with one hand (even though I am a right handed FO ;) ) and intercept the ILS for 27 into LHR.

Back to these experts I mentioned earlier. If they said 'Pandora - we want you to carry a gun', I would. I am not going to ask for the right to carry one because I don't think it would do any good. There is nothing to show that it would have done the pilots on the 4 US aircraft last year any good. They were doing everything their training taught them to do in the way of passive acceptance of demands. It wouldn't have done the 'good' pilot on the Egypt Air any good, it vould just have given the 'bad' one an easier way of disposing of the good one. It wouldn't have done the pilots of the Lockerbie Pam Am flight any good, because the terrorist threat was in the hold. It wouldn't have done the pilots of any number of hijacked aircraft any good, because shooting the hijackers would have caused escalations in the sitautions that were finally peacefully resolved.

I would hope that our security experts are at this moment identifying and putting a stop to future potential terrorist attacks. I hope that they are advising the incorporation of proper security into airports so that we will never have to do hand to hand battle in the air. Certainly last time I was in the States (pre Sept 11th) there wasn't just a little bit of security - there was NONE.

Finally, this topic appears to have brought out the worst in some people. There seem to be some xenopohobic rants from some people, particularly from Habu. I don't think that if all American pilots started to carry guns the terrorists would come and attack Britain instead, because it is precisely because of the American way of dealing with other countries that these Arabs wanted to attack America so badly. It is a bit like saying that if we changed our defensive behaviour the IRA would start bombing America instead. I don't think so. However as each day goes on with Britain standing shoulder to shoulder with America in its' War on Terrorism' we are exposing ourselves to your risk a little bit more. Value your allies a bit more and have a bit more respect for your enemies.

And IM Esperto, I can't see exactly what it is that caused your rant, but maybe a polite 'I don't agree with your sentiments' would have left you with rather less foam around your mouth.

christian_MD80
11th Apr 2002, 13:58
Pandora, I fully agree.

There will always be different opinions if you ask more than one person, sometimes even when you ask just one.

Maybe we can let opinions to their holders, accept differences by areas and stay together against an enemy which wants to destroy more than our overseas friends. BTW, not all arabs are our enemys, but some more are on the best way to become enemys by simple misjudgement of our weak "world leaders" about cause and effect.

chris

I. M. Esperto
11th Apr 2002, 16:17
Would you rather be shot down by an F-16, or allow the pilots to carry a pistol?:confused:

christian_MD80
11th Apr 2002, 17:00
I`m a lucky pilot, I don`t fly in the USA, being threatened by Air Force or Navy. On the other hand, flying around europe is not that save. Too many american rambos in F-16 for example.

Stupid decisions dont get better when made by the president of the USA.

chris

PS: Could answer more in detail, but your statement was short too.

steamchicken
11th Apr 2002, 17:04
My point was that guns on the flight deck will not prevent hijackings - just as guns all over the bleedin' place don't prevent crime in the US!

Captain Sensible
11th Apr 2002, 19:57
Pilots carrying guns? I think Americans will be the death of us all, I really do!

MachOverspeed
11th Apr 2002, 20:13
I wonder....

Does not having guns all over the bleeding place make Europe any safer?

What are the rates of rape, strong arm robbery, assault, murder, child abuse, aggravated theft, vehicular assault, bludgeoning, knife attack, sports associated mayhem, burglary, etc.

The Euro's want to believe that America is awash in so-called gun violence (as if an inanimate object could by its own free will cause harm/death). If I put a .45 on my desk, it will, by virtue of Newtonian physics, remain so placed until acted upon by an outside force. The point being that it is people who are dangerous, not guns. Nor is any other tool which is handled with the proper respect. People hurt themselves with jig saws every day.

There is very good data showing that violent crimes are prevented over two million times per year by armed citizens (see Prof. Gary Kleck, et al).

True, there are more per capita gun related deaths in the US. The part being untold is just how many of those deaths were the result of an armed citizen defending his life, or that of another, or his property.

Lots of folks with terminal disease shoot themselves in the head too, but are those cases ever delineated in the suicide statistics?

For those who might suggest that deadly force is not justified in stopping, for example, a car theft, try making it to work with any reasonable assurance in Dallas, where a one way commute of an hour is very common. No transportation = no job = kids go hungry and live in poverty. No thanks! Try stealing my truck, and wind up looking like a sprinkler.

By the way, in Texas one is allowed by law to employ deadly force to prevent the theft of any property valued greater than $200.00. So, if your brother-in-law is a car theif, tell him not to conduct his business in Texas....

MachOverspeed

Captain Sensible
11th Apr 2002, 20:28
I quote the last, "By the way, in Texas one is allowed by law to employ deadly force to prevent the theft of any property valued greater than $200.00." Unbelievable; the value of a human life rated so low. But we digress from the theme of the thread, the solution to preventing further disasters after 9/11 is entirely political, and, at the moment, American foreign policy towards the Middle East question is totally off-track, I believe.

rubik101
11th Apr 2002, 23:07
If I were sitting in my 737 cockpit/flightdeck when the door flew open and a *******/terrorist/hijaker/fanatic screamed at me because the jumpseat was in his way, do you think I would sit there until he figured out how to lower it/stow it and then come and slit my throat or would I turn and blow his brains into row one?
One chance is better than no chance.
You want to be a martyr, fine.
I want to live, maybe, not die, definitely.

Capt PPRuNe
12th Apr 2002, 19:05
Due to topic divergence (in a big way) the topic has been put back on the rails (hopefully) so please try and avoid derailing it again with all the baggage of history and trivia.

Brakes...beer
12th Apr 2002, 20:47
Royal Air Maroc... Silkair... Egyptair...

Isn't the major danger pilots using guns against each other? Why bother smuggling knives through security, when a dedicated terrorist can get a job with an airline and arm himself once on the flight deck?

Oh. Don't tell me - security screening of job applicants.

RatherBeFlying
12th Apr 2002, 23:03
We'd do much better training the cabin crew in unarmed combat dirty tricks -- and offering the same training to vetted frequent flyers.

If you look at this months' Air and Space (http://www.airandspacemagazine.com/ASM/Mag/latest.html) article Armed and Anonymous , the Americans can do a great job setting up an Air Marshal program. The problem is that their attention lapses and the budget cutters eventually gut the program.

Defendo training, which I have taken, would work very well in a confined area. It does not require strength; a seven year old girl coming from the course was asked by her father to do to him exactly what she would do to an attacker and put him in the hospital.

Strapped in a cockpit seat, there's not much you can do in a surprise attack. Now if you want an effective gun, you have to mount it in the panel pointing backwards and have a fire button on the yoke:D

MachOverspeed
12th Apr 2002, 23:24
Fairness and balance. Yep, that's the ticket.

Seems that its OK to slam America/Americans, but not OK to point out Euro hypocrisy.

What a bunch of grandmothers.....

Adios,

MachOverspeed

Caslance
13th Apr 2002, 05:34
"Seems that its OK to slam America/Americans, but not OK to point out Euro hypocrisy"

Last time I looked in my Webster's, it didn't define hyposcrisy as "disagreeing with Americans"!! Strange, but true.

Can anyone explain how the fact that the flight crew are armed would (for instance) prevent a bomb in the baggage hold from exploding or prevent the nut-job in the rear seats from releasing the contents of his well-lubricated and concealed (you get my drift here, I'm sure) capsule of sarin gas? Passengers and crew would be just as dead in either situation.

It would be even nicer if someone could explain this without stereotyping and insulting the populations of entire continents, as well!:(

flapsforty
13th Apr 2002, 07:41
Pandora, tried to mail you but link didn't work, so here goes.

I found reading your post a refreshing experience. It was in my eyes a balanced argument from someone who markedly lacks pre-concieved notions on this subject.
No mud slinging or stereotyping but a look at the facts based on your personal experiences.

In a thread frought with passions, ego's, extreme touchyness and name calling, your post is a marked example of how debate could be waged.
Regrds
falps :)

Moritz Suter
13th Apr 2002, 11:56
Looks like the schoolmistress has marked your paper and given you an 'A', Pandora. Gosh, how special you must surely feel.

I.M. Esperto's astonishing rant is evidence aplenty that guns belong in cockpits, like ashtrays belong on motorbikes. What is it with our American cousins? Drugs are illegal, but guns are not. This gets curiouser and curiouser, as Louis Carol might say.

MS.

avialuver33
13th Apr 2002, 18:07
Max Angle, Yotter, Flyingspaniard, and others with anti-American sentiments----I am an American, I own guns, am a PROUD member of the NRA, and have NOT lost my grip on reality. There are over 60 million gun owners in the US. Less than 1% of all gun-related crime here is committed by persons in possession of a legally owned firearm.

I will not let my 2nd ammendment RIGHTS be trampled upon by liberal muckety-mucks who know not what they speak of. I am a citizen of the US, not a "subject" of the crown. Our freedoms here are unparralleled ANYWHERE in the world. Yes, they do come at a price, but I'll be damned if I am going to let a miniscule segment of the population, and a knee-jerk liberal press, wrest my rights from me.

It is NOT a "mess" over here. School shootings, although deplorable, are NOT a daily occurrence. There are problems that need to be addressed here, as with anywhere, but the solution is not to tar every gun owner as some mindless murder statistic waiting to happen.

I've noticed snide comments RE: gun ownership from some Brits in the past on this web site. Funny, you had no compunctions about maintaining an empire upon which the sun never set through use of arms. You couldn't hold on to "the colonies" though, because WE were armed and gave YOU a good @$$ whipping.

I like living in a country where I WILL BE THE ONE, not some liberal, self-righteous, mis-informed carreer politicain, to decide whether or not gun ownership is right for ME :mad:

HugMonster
13th Apr 2002, 18:22
avia, I have no doubt that very little crime in the USA is committed by legally-owned firearms.

That, however, is not the issue.

If you need a better comparison, you should examine what proportion of crime in the USA is committed with any firearm. You will find that a far higher proportion than the UK.

Legally-owned weapons get lost or stolen. They then become illegally-held weapons. Where do you think the crooks get them from? Saddam Hussein? The fewer legally-held firearms there are, the fewer can be purloined for illicit purposes and be used in the commission of, say drug offences...

As for the scope of this thread, the question is whether or not there should be firearms on the flight deck.

To decide that, you need to ask yourself:-
1) Will it solve any problems?
2) Will it cause further problems?

If the answers are Yes/No, then no problem - let's have them.
Otherwise, if No/Yes, the answer is likewise very clear.

If Yes/Yes, then you need a balancing act on the nature of probabilities.

Most people here appear fairly clear that it will not solve any problems (or, at least, very few) and has the potential to create many, many more.

End of story. I don't care what your "rights" are over there. They don't include the right to bring your pistol here. The chances are that if American aircraft land at a UK airport (or almost anywhere else in Europe) the firearms will be impounded.

As for the American War of Independence, curb your enthusiasm slightly. You were losing (and losing badly) until France and Spain gave you a hand.

avialuver33
13th Apr 2002, 19:03
HugMonster
Your logic astounds me. So I should give up my right to own a firearm because someone could steal it?

Just as you do not care about my rights over here, I do not care about your lack of same over there. As another post so correctly pointed out, this is an issue about guns in American airliners' cockpits. We'll decide what is right for us. As a member of the flying public at large, the ones who make your job possible, I am all for armed pilots. I trust the training that gave them the ability to fly large, commercial aircraft, and I would trust the training given regarding the use of firearms.


There are a lot of things I like about your culture. I'm a big fan of Brit TV (especially comedy--I love your sense of humor--One Foot In The Grave, The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin, Monty Python, Benny Hill, Yes, Minister, and on and on), golf, Brit literature, etc. I do find it distressing, however, that there seems to be more and more Brit-induced anti-American sentiment, especially regarding gun ownership. If your culture can put up with a lack of personal freedoms, that's fine; but please do not condemn my culture because we won't.

Oh, and by the way, I'll curb my enthusiasm regarding the American War for Independance when you remember that you were losing, and losing badly, until we gave you a hand in two world wars.

HugMonster
13th Apr 2002, 20:46
I didn't say you should give up your rights.

Perhaps, though, it is time that some Americans (I don't point the finger specifically at you, since I don't know you) accepted responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Insist on your rights - that's fine by me. But with "rights" go corresponding duties. These are, nowadays, rather less popular than the rights they accompany.

Where does freedom start and finish? What level of freedom and "rights" are acceptable? The only answer is personal taste. Any and every right you insist upon has a detrimental impact upon your neighbours. Certainly, school massacres are not everyday occurrences in the US of A. How many, though, is too many? As far as I can recall, we have only had two in the UK within the course of my lifetime. I may be mistaken.

Your "right" to firearms ends where it impinges upon my right to life, liberty, and the happiness of pursuit. The vast majority of the American public have no need for firearms. All, however, have a right to life and freedom from being accidentally shot.

avialuver33
13th Apr 2002, 22:26
HugMonster

I agree 100% that with rights come responsibilities. I also agree that not all Americans see fit to take responsibility for their actions, nor do they think about how their actions may affect others.

I really cannot, for the life of me, understand how by merely owning a firearm, and using it responsibly, it can be taken as a threat by so many. Hunting & gun ownership aren't for everyone (I'm speaking of Americans here), and I'll be the first to admit that. I respect another individual's right to not exercise his or her 2nd ammendment rights. But please, do not tell me what is right or wrong for me.

I sense an intelligence and wit in your writing. I am sure we could have a most interesting discussion over a few beers. Yes, you can drink yours warm, and I'll lock up my guns. Forgive me for writing when my passion was enflamed. I feel very, very strongly about my personal liberties, and I meant you no personal affront. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

By the by, what type of airliner do you fly? Do you answer posts on the questions forum?

18-Wheeler
13th Apr 2002, 22:31
Sod this 'rights' crap.
It's just plain common sense - There's no way that aircrew can used a firearm on the flightdeck. Any halfwit must realise that.
Stop dancing around the issue.

avialuver33
13th Apr 2002, 22:36
18-Wheeler

Regarding this issue, I guess I will just have to agree to disagree .

18-Wheeler
14th Apr 2002, 04:40
No, we're never going to agree.
And you're still wrong.
Pretty much all the standards we apply in aviation are set that unless the lowest standard cannot be met, then that person is not able to fly on the line.
Believe it or not, the vast majority of normal people around the world, including the US, would not be able to shoot someone, even a terrorist. Even with training. As was mentioned before by someone else, what are you going to do with a pilot that can't make the grade for killing people? Fire them?
Utterly ludicrous!
You pro-gun mob just don't seem to understand that once they've entered the cockpit, it's too late! The terrorists entering the cockpit are going to kill you, and there's ******-all you can do about it. If pistols were hyperthetically allowed on the flight deck, they would obviously make plans for such and arrange their attack to suit.
Do you think that they're so stupid as to not be able to work that out for themselves???
The mindless "John Wayne solution" of having bigger & more guns than the bad guys IS. NOT. GOING. TO. WORK.
Why can't you understand that??

It's really, really simple - You just don't let them into the cockpit. I'm not 100% sure how to do that, but it must be possible.
I'm more than willing to talk about that, but as far as the insanity of arming the crew, forget it.
You are confusing your outdated 'rights' with reality.

camber
14th Apr 2002, 05:46
Definately opposed to the carriage of firearms on aircraft. Hijackers won't need to worry about tight security screening, they can just wait til one of the flight crew go to the toilet and bust in and take the company one. We're pilots, not Agents. Leave it right out of the aeroplane.

Stratocaster
14th Apr 2002, 09:29
I don’t have the skills of a sociologist, but I like the theory that Americans might haven’t changed their perception of personnal protection and security for centuries. Imagine yourself as one of those pioneers who spent months on a boat and found themselves in hostile country, where the humans and the animals who were there before them were not very happy with the idea of having to share the land with those foreigners. Wouldn’t you feel a bit insecure ? :)
Even many decades later, as the country grew, imagine the headache to organise an efficient police force that works and even prevents crimes. I can understand that the people who used to live there thought the only way to protect themselves was to get a gun. But the leading authority has changed, improved and, as a matter of fact, is now the only super-power left in the solar system. I’m sure the US administration alone could keep terrorists far away from airplanes if they really wanted.

Moreover, Americans are totally “desensitized” to guns and violence since that’s the world they live in for so long. It’s even easier to buy a gun than an aerosol against asthma.

They want to put guns in the cockpit ? Well, as long as they don’t force others to do the same, why not ? I’m convinced it’s wrong and it's not the definite answer to our problem but they’re free to try. We face a global problem that needs a global approach, and only guns will not solve it of course. Has United or American talked with El Al yet ? Does El Al have guns in their cockpits ? I think not, I guess they have sky marshalls, and other security systems some of us are not even aware of. And so far it has worked perfectly although they're the #1 target in the entire airline industry.

My fear is that things will evolve the same way car thefts evolved. As the cars became more and more difficult to steal, the primary target shifted from the car itself to the owner of the car and the techniques became more and more violent. Today, somebody who wants your car will probably start by putting a weapon in your face.

What’s the next terrorist attack going to be ? Same technique as 9/11 or even smarter ? Who says that while Captain Wayne flies a perfect SID (although he has only one eye on the instruments while the other is “locked” on the cockpit door and only one hand on the yoke because the other one is close to the trigger of his gun) he won’t be shot down by a fanatic who launched the stolen Strella missile he bought on the flea market in Addis Abeba ?

I. M. Esperto
14th Apr 2002, 12:18
Stratocaster - The next "terrorist attack"?

There was ONE attack, 9-11, consisting of 4 planes with suicide bombers. We were warned by our gobmint that more would follow on a weekly basis. It didn't happen.

What DID happen was passage of The Patriot Act, and the establishment of a huge burocracy called Homeland Security.

We have voluntarily given up many fundemental rights in the name of "security" and "patriotism".

For what?

We are not even chasing bin Laden anymore. We have bombed, invaded and concoured Afghanistan, even though there were no Afghani's involved in the events of 9-11. We have destroyed the Taliban, which we had established in the 1980's to combat the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. Our CIA put bin Laden in charge of this, gave him Stingers, training, and all sort of assistance.

The USSR wanted Afghanistan to use as it's route for a pipeline for it's huge oil reserves in the Caucus Basin, to the Arabian Sea.

So de we. Bush and Cheney are both big oil men. That's what all this nonsense is about.

I think the group of suicide bombers that carried out the attacks on 4-11 were trying to change our Mid Eastern policy of one-sided support of Israel. They failed miserably.

Now we are stuck with this nightmare called "security".

We are chasing ghosts. Soon we will be chasing our tails.

:mad:

18-Wheeler
14th Apr 2002, 12:25
"Has United or American talked with El Al yet ? Does El Al have guns in their cockpits ? I think not, I guess they have sky marshalls, and other security systems some of us are not even aware of. And so far it has worked perfectly although they're the #1 target in the entire airline industry."

My point exactly - I just wasn't sure how blindingly obvious to make it. You just don't give the SOB's the opportunity to even try to take the plane.

GlueBall
14th Apr 2002, 12:38
The Straw Poll at the top of this thread will give you a clue about this impractical reality. :eek:

Checkboard
14th Apr 2002, 15:47
I am an Australian pilot, which I think puts me in the middle ground between Brit and US guys.

In Britain the standard police oficer DOESN'T carry a firearm, in the US, a standard police officer DOES.

In Australia - even given British inclinations in most things, a police officer carries a firearm.

I honestly believe, even knowing some of my fellow pilots, I would feel happy if pilots were afforded the same trust as Australian police officers (which is ALREADY enforced in law) to enable them to carry firearms to protect the law that they ALREADY are required to enforce.

(P.S. This comment is after half a botlle of cold Stolli - and as such may be removed at a later date!)

avialuver33
14th Apr 2002, 16:20
18-Wheeler

I said I would agree to DISAGREE. I disagree with you. I don't dislike you, I disagree with you. O.K.? I hold my opinions as strongly as you hold yours.

As far as the pro-gun "mob" and "outdated rights" comments go, well, again, that's your opinion. Fortunately for me, the 2nd ammendment to the US Constitution protects my "outdated rights".

I honestly do not believe that organized terrorist groups will soon target large commercial airliners as their weapon of choice. It's the "free-lancers", the one's who want to make a name for themselves and money for their families, that I worry about. Will armed pilots be the solution to this threat? I don't know, and I don't know if anyone can really predict with any accuracy if it will. All I'm saying is that, as an American, I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with armed pilots on AMERICAN AIRLINERS. You can refer to me, and other law-abiding, gun-owning American citizens, in a derisive a manner as you like. I take comfort in the fact that I am armed. I take comfort in the fact that when I am away from home, my wife is safely and competently trained in the use of firearms. When my daughter is old enough, she, too, will be trained to safely handle firearms. Whether or not she chooses to use, or even like them, will be up to her. But that's the beauty (so far) of living in this country. It will be up to her to decide for herself; it won't be someone else's decision.

My response to the posts on this thread were aimed (no pun intended) not so much at those who disagreed with armed pilots, but at those who took cheap shots (again, no pun intended) at the US and its culture. Reading some of those posts conjures up images of complete & total chaos and mayhem. That simply isn't the case.

18-Wheeler
14th Apr 2002, 23:16
Some stats.

In 1988, handguns killed -
7 people in Great Britain
8 people in Canada
13 people in Australia
19 people in Sweden
25 people in Israel
8,915 in the USA

Oh yeah, good choice.
You DO have a problem in the US with firearms.

If you won't accept common sense ..... why would I argue with you???

Velvet
15th Apr 2002, 03:00
Avialuver33 - I think you'll find that the American Constitution only covers your rights within the USA.

Please excuse if this particular aspect has been covered, but I'm on my way to the airport and unfortunately don't have time to read every page. As a much travelled pax, I also think I and anyone who flies should be involved in this - it's not just pilots who will be affected if guns are allowed on the flight deck. I may end up being an unfortunate statistic, collateral damage, because some people think putting a uniform on gives you protection from errors of judgement.

This debate seems to be between American and British pilots mostly with diametrically opposed views on pilots being armed. What seems to have been overlooked is that if you do wish to arm pilots you would need to obtain the agreement of every country where pilots operate - basically that means world-wide.

Since you can only control your own airspace, would this mean that only domestic flights are armed, or would you also insist on international flights having guns on the flight deck. Would you allow armed foreign civilians from countries which are potentially or currently not on your 'Christmas Card' list. How would you ensure that all those on the flight deck are properly trained in the use of weapons and have them properly secured.

So you would be faced with a choice, stop flying to those countries who won't allow foreign civilians (no matter who it is) to carry guns, or not carry guns on those flights which landed in any country which didn't agree with your policy.

Additionally, who has responsibility for the gun(s) - do you allow a young FO who perhaps is not yet trained in the use of weapons to have access. Or do you insist that all pilots undergo weapons training before they are allowed near a plane. What about pilots who are opposed to the use of weapons, do you insist they either carry them or not fly.

It is too simplistic to say if pilots had guns it would solve most of the problems with potential hijackings etc. If guns are the answer, you're asking the wrong question. It's also simplistic to assume that guns equate to safety. It may be that some pilots can fire from their seats and hit the target, it may also be true that some hijackers would be deterred from their actions by the thought of being killed. But, and it's a huge but, most terrorists are prepared to die and to take as many innocents with them as possible, how many can the pilot shoot before he is overpowered and they have control of the arms and the flight deck. Lastly, what happens when a pilot kills innocent passengers because he misunderstood the situation; especially if those passengers are American and the pilot is Iranian or Iraqi. How many Americans would believe the pilot acted with the best of intentions?

Ultimately, it comes down to trust - do you trust every pilot to have a gun - even the enemy.