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Pilot arrested with gun (merged)

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Pilot arrested with gun (merged)

Old 21st Jan 2003, 18:11
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Pilot arrested with gun

CNN is reporting a NW pilot arrested with gun at a New York airport.

After an excellent landing you can use the airplane again.
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Old 21st Jan 2003, 18:41
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I thought that the Senate passed legislation allowing the carriage of guns by pilots?
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Old 21st Jan 2003, 19:35
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Pilot alleged to have gun in carry-on


January 21, 2003, 2:38 PM EST

Pilot alleged to have gun in carry-on

NEW YORK -- A Northwest Airlines pilot scheduled to work a Detroit-bound flight was arrested Tuesday morning at LaGuardia Airport after a loaded handgun was found in his carry-on luggage, authorities said.

Robert Donaldson, 43, was charged with three state counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and could face up to 15 years in prison, said the office of Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

According to authorities, Donaldson was walking through a terminal used for luggage screening of passengers and crew of both Northwest and Delta Airlines. Officials discovered the Taurus 9 mm semiautomatic handgun in his carry-on luggage.

Donaldson was scheduled as co-pilot on Flight 1191 from New York to Detroit, departing at 6 a.m. He had a permit to carry the gun in Michigan.

Brian Turmail, spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration, said screeners identified a handgun while examining a carry-on bag and referred the owner to local law enforcement. Police of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the airport, took him to a secure area, Turmail said.

No disciplinary action was immediately taken against Donaldson, who was in custody pending arraignment.

"We are cooperating with local and federal authorities," said Mary Beth Schubert, spokeswoman for Northwest.

A spokesman for Northwest's pilot union, the Air Line Pilots Association, said the group was aware of the incident. "We definitely don't want to speculate at this time," said Will Holman.

The homeland security bill that President Bush signed in November includes a provision allowing pilots on passenger planes to carry weapons -- but they would have to receive special training. The Transportation Security Administration was given broad authority to set standards, develop a training program and write rules for what kind of weapons would be used. It was estimated at the time that the program could be in operation as early as this spring.
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Old 21st Jan 2003, 20:10
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This is dreadful, to carry and safely use a firearm one needs to have self discipline, which this individual appears not to have possessed. Would you trust him knowing that he was willing to flout laws like this. God forbid he should ever get near an aircraft or passengers ever again.
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Old 21st Jan 2003, 20:54
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Perhaps he had a permit

So before we start making statements like:

"God forbid he should ever get near an aircraft or passengers ever again."

I'd suggest you let all the facts come out in this case. It is permissable to carry to a gun across interstate lines in the U.S with proper paperwork and licenses even for a pilot...not to mention passenger!!

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Old 21st Jan 2003, 22:45
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Thumbs down

Sorry, Whatshouldiuse, but this is precisely the sort of "absent mindedness" that is going to kill-off the program before it gets off the ground (I'm, like many of my colleagues, not convinced we dotted enough I's or crossed enough T's before rushing this one through). Reception to it amongst the public is lukewarm, despite the Union-sponsored surveys, and pilots have to be more responsible than ever to ensure that the "options" are left available that this program can provide (not to mention the deterrent effect).
The fact remains that some of the most enthusiastic and earliest volunteers for the training are the last people you'd want to have next to you on a flightdeck with a weapon - so called "gun nuts" - and it is imperative that fellow aviators weed these candidates out or calm them down. I personally have flown with one individual who said "...I hoped something would happen at the millenium new-year's eve, 'cos I was ready with my automatic weapons and bunker....they ain't gonna get my guns...". And he's one of the first to sign up.....God help us....
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 00:28
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The report says it was a Taurus 9. I wonder if it was their new Millennium PT-111 9mm Semi-Auto, Double Action Only, 2.35 barrel, 10+1 capacity, stainless slide, black polymer frame with 3-dot fixed sight.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 02:57
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The airline industry is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on tough new security screening, has introduced AD's for the installation of tough new cockpit doors (that are bullet proof - presumably both sides), cameras and other valid aircraft security enhancements, and then in the US, laws are being drafted to allow pilots to introduce weapons to an aircraft?

And what can the pilots do if they're sitting behind a bullet proof door? Maybe open it and then start shooting in the cabin? That seems like a good idea...

Lets hope that as time continues to pass, more people will become aware of how difficult (in all respects) such a law would be. This arrest will hopefully highlight some of the difficulties with gun carriage and get more people thinking about the pros & cons of such.

And for the ultimate ironic situation? A pilot being told he/she can't have nail clippers in their O/N bag, but its OK for the fully loaded .357 Magnum because they have "approval" for that. What more can be said...
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 03:42
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Well actually a lot more can be said Dome.

I used to fly 72s for the United States Marshal Service. We tried to make the cockpit door to be protected against any type breach.

What we discovered was with enough time no matter what we did to protect the door the “bad guys” could gain access. There are enough tools in the cabin of ANY airliner that can be used to force the top or bottom of the cockpit door open.

Therefore the ultimate answer was to have a firearm in the cockpit. I can’t tell what we did because it is still controlled information. But we were comfortable with the end result.

The bottom line is “Arm the Bloody Pilots”. As in Period!

Sorry anti-gun folks, but sometimes the truth is not PC.

Ps. We can’t put all of our passengers in handcuff, waist chains and leg irons, even how bad sometimes we want to!

Now understand I am not defending this guy. Ok?
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 04:54
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How could the guy either forget that the gun was in his bag or feel that he could get away with it? At some airports, we can all bypass security-you sit in a two-hour class and watch a video to earn the SIDA ID badge!!. But only at your homebase airport. DID an ex- or soon-to-be-EX-WIFE put it in after his bag was packed? Years ago, a Continental pilot's 'angry' wife put a 'controlled substance' into his food. She then called the airline, trying to get him fired. Of course he failed the urinalysis, either the gas-chromatography or spectrometer, or both. They gave him his job back very soon: somehow, the demented b---h confessed, or the airline probed and figured it out.

Believe me, these things have happened, and much more than once (If someone slipped drugs into your bag before you went to some Pacific Rim dictatorship nations, they will hang you, no matter who was responsible).

IF this was not the case, then this guy was very stupid and ignorant. Why do people who do the really stupid things actually believe that their employers need their services? Any of us can be replaced by reserve pilots or those who need extra money. Why is this a new concept for pilots, no matter how expensive their sim. training?? We are NOT critically-needed management officers.

Do we still carry "postal inspectors" in the US now, as in the old days, who can have a weapon with them? I would have to ask Dispatch or find clear language in the FOM to allow this.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 08:13
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Con-pilot, without entering in a pro or con on arming pilots, I have to disagree with what you just wrote.
You WILL NOT be able to get on an El Al flight deck unless you blow the plane up. The whole bulkhead is bullet proof and there are double doors. My dad as well as his fellow crew members there, never needed to carry a gun with them and the last (serious) attempt to enter the cockpit with a gun and a hand grenade miserably failed after Capt Uri Barlev clicked the AP off and dove. Patrick Arguelo, the male terrorist, was shot dead by the sky marshall while Uri Cohen the purser tried to pin down Leila Khaled (the reknown female terrorist). Uri Cohen took 7 bullets and survived, the 707 landed safely in London (Sept 1970). I would not qualify the November 02 "attempt" on an El Al 757 as serious, but even there the poor guy was pinned down in a few seconds and the pilots never had to get involved.
Again my intent is not to start a thread on El Al security or the need for guns in cockpits. Just correcting con-pilot on his statement.
Con-pilot, if it was possible for the "bad guys" to gain access to your flight deck, your company got conned into buying the wrong doors ......


I forgot to mention that Khaled & Arguelo were never able to get through the cockpit doors, but I'm sure you understood.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 10:23
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...aside from the fact that, while the bad guy is kicking away at the door, there's 200 passengers behind him who aren't going to just sit and wait for him to put them all into the ground.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 10:50
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Couldn't agree more. Just beef up the door and leave any shooting to the sky marshall. If the pax haven't killed them first.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 13:27
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It doesn't matter - if the next bunch of terrorists don't want to fight armed pilots, they'll simply take over a cargo jet, whose pilots were quietly exempted from the "Armed Pilots" legislation.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 13:32
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....this is precisely the sort of "absent mindedness" that is going to kill-off the program before it gets off the ground.
Here's hoping.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 14:03
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The only time a gun is dangerous, whether in the air or on the ground, is when it is in the hands of someone who intends to use it in a criminal manner. If all crew and passengers were armed all the time the flights would be safer than they are now, since the vast majority (99.99999999%) of crew and passengers are on the airplane for only one reason: to fly.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 14:27
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Surely you must be joking, if you are it is in poor taste, if you're not, please never hold a firearm anywhere near a breathing body. Negligent and accidental discharges are not only embarrasing but at times deadly. Towhit my earlier comments. If this particular bonehead believes he knows best and is willing to blatantly ignore rules he should not be allowed near an aeroplane nor passengers.
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Old 22nd Jan 2003, 18:02
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I can see it now....

"Airline bans guns after pilot sues airline for death of son who found loaded gun in travel bag"
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Old 23rd Jan 2003, 15:03
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The two preceding posts show me, at least, what is wrong with our world post 9/11. Two states of mind seem to have become permanent; ignorance and fear.

A gun is not, as so many suppose, a malignant, sentient being. It has no life of its own and cannot send out a heat -seeking missile toward a "breathing" body. It needs to be picked up, held in the hand and pointed. Then the trigger needs to be pulled. All supposing that the gun is loaded and the safety is off. An automatic, by its design, cannot be fired unless it is grasped correctly, something a small hand cannot do. A revolver has a heavy trigger action and is difficult for a child to fire. Sure they both can do a lot of damage, but again I stress, it has to be a deliberate action.

So while a child is rummaging through someone else's bag, and presuming Mom or Dad is off at the bar drinking strength and courage for the upcoming flight, what is the bag's owner doing? Looking on and laughing? Do we care about the other dangerous items that can be found in a stranger's bag? His pills? Lighter? Electric stapler? Shaving kit? Or is it just (shock horror) guns? And why just at the airport? What about at the mall or the railway station, or are guns only carried by evil passengers and crew at airports?

If one of my kids was as ignorant about life I would despair, and in fact I do, because so many have bought into the current stupidity and without a group effort the clowns will win.

The second state of mind, fear, is probably worse, since it allows ignorance and resignation to thrive. Because of fear, we are doing bin Laden's work for him, destroying our freedoms and allowing the clowns to take away our rights without protest. We choose to believe them when they tell us that the airports need to be made into fortresses (at least on the side we can see, never mind that the backside is just as porous as it ever was) and it is GOOD that 15-20 percent of the passengers have given up flying because of the hassles. We are told, over and over, by word and deed, that flying is inherently unsafe, and we are under an immediate threat of terrorist action; only the alert government can protect us. Well, since we know that all governments lie (it is their job, but it is not our job to believe them) and that governments work on the principle of the lowest tender, we should know that they cannot protect us, and that the threat as they present it is not real, it is only a means whereby the government can grow itself.

The real risk of flying is still the same as it ever was: pilot error. terrorist threats are, statistically, very tiny, and less likely now that we are on our guard. The place we need to develop strategies to deal with the threat is in the air. Something that is not being done. The best airport security cannot protect us, it cannot even come close. Look at the last series of hijackings, just over the last few months. The weapons used were a small penknife (on El Al, the world's safest they say), a bottle of petrol, an asthma inhaler and in the last one there was no weapon, just a group of guys who broke down the flight deck door and laid into the pilots. In the only successful hijacking the perp used a TV remote control! Even Richard Reid was stopped not by airport security but by an alert passenger who was suspicious that the guy sitting next to him was trying to set fire to his feet and called the attendant. I repeat, in case it needs to be said again: Airport security cannot protect us.

But we have given up looking out for ourselves and have submitted to Big Brother. Why have we done this; have we not learned from history that this will fail, and that we will lose our rights and freedoms without increasing our safety in any way? Are we stupid or just cowards?
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Old 23rd Jan 2003, 17:21
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This last post looks as though it is from someone who has never had formal firearms training from an expert. Accidents do happen and all too frequently. In these circumstances (in an aircraft) they would be worse than negligent since there is no necessity for firearms on board. An aircraft is no place for a shoot out, it is no place for a firearm.
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