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Last post 09-11-2006, 6:36 PM by Funkmeister. 5 replies.
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  •  05-21-2002, 3:25 PM 1711


    *** Posted by T. D. Ponder ATR ***


    According to news reports the Bush Administration has made a
    decision not to allow Airline pilots to protect themselves, their
    crews and their passengers with firearms.

    The Administration and the Congress should realize now that WHEN
    more airliners are hijacked and used as missiles against Americans then
    we shall be getting only what we did not prevent!

    The administration and Congress are loosing their voters' trust by not taking all appropriate steps to see that the tragedy of 9-11 is not repeated. You think there is political unrest now, think about charges after 9-11 happens again! Voters will hold President George W. Bush and his Administration and members of the Congress personally responsible.

    If a significant number of AIRLINE PILOTS REFUSED TO FLY UNARMED then this incredibly wrong decision would be reversed overnight! Passengers also
    should demand to have armed pilots.

    How many more airline pilots must die by having their throats sliced open before the necessity of arming our pilots and making them the last stop in thwarting a devastating hijack is understood?

    In the name of the security of our country I urge you to contact your members of Congress and to notify President Bush that you support the reversal of this decision immediately!

    T. D. Ponder
    Airline Transport Pilot
    Birmingham, AL


    Contact Email Addresses:






  •  05-22-2002, 7:48 AM 1712 in reply to 1711


    *** Posted by Michael Judah ***
    Dear Captain Ponder,
    I can understand your concern, we all can, but unfortunately arming Pilots will not solve or prevent these horrible attacks. Furthermore it just might make it easier for the terrorists to hijack Airliners since they would not have to carry any arms on board, therefore eliminating the possibility of there early detection.

    Training A Pilot or any other person for that matter to use a weapon with great expertise takes many months and requires constant training in order to maintain the skill. This would be highly costly and would create extra workload on the already overloaded Pilots.

    While Piloting an airliner you are totally concentrated with your work, faced towards the gages and instruments of the airplane and with your back towards the cabin door. I doubt you would be able to defend your self from the terrorist coming behind you, especially not with a gun. If you had been lucky you would have managed to struggle with the terrorist risking a bullet hole in the sensitive fuselage.

    In my opinion a marshal would solve the problem or at least reduce greatly the danger, allowing the Pilot and crew to continue with their skilled jobs and putting in ease the minds of all passengers.

    Best Regards,
    Michael Judah
    Commercial Pilot

    Please post your comments at
  •  06-04-2002, 1:17 AM 1723 in reply to 1712


    *** Posted by Chris V ***
    Many good points for and against have been posted concerning the use of handguns in the cockpit.

    Yes, it may not suit all pilots to carry a handgun, but shouldn't we allow the ones that does to have one? We do all kinds of training to keep us current on the planes we fly, a couple of days on the shooting range a year wouldn't hurt. After all, a hijack is an emergency situation like any other.

    Yes, it may sound easier to hijack an airplane if you don't need to bring your own weapons, but nobody is saying that handguns are the only solution to the problem. If you have an armored door it will take more than 30sec to get trough...would you take the chance knowing the guy on the other side has a gun?

    And if nothing else, it gives a feeling of safety knowing you have a last resort, and any man with a gun is a possible treat...even a pilot in a cockpit....facing a terrorist.

    Air marshals carry on handguns, but they are only present on 1% of the flights, the pilots are present at 100% (even if only 50% of all pilots qualified to carry on a gun this would be an improvement of 500% from today!!!).

    And when people say they would feel safer if they knew the pilots had some means of protection (and the proper training to use it).

    I'm sure this debate can go on forever, but talk is cheap, can't we at least give it a try!?

    The original article can be viewed at http://www.bestaviation.net
  •  09-15-2002, 4:46 AM 1846 in reply to 1711


    The safety of aircrews should be a primary concern for all of us. I'm not sure arming pilots is the answer though. I feel very secure since Jetblue installed armored cockpit doors on all of our aircraft. The first next generation door equiped aircraft has also just arrived on property from Airbus.
    If they can't get into the cockpit then why would I need a gun?

    Mark Meade
    A-320 Captain
    Jetblue Airways
  •  04-07-2003, 9:10 AM 2236 in reply to 1846


    I am a aeronautical engineering student at Loughborugh University, currently working on a project looking at a system in aircraft whereby once Air Traffic are aware of a hijacking situation, a 'button' can be pressed to automatically land the aircraft at airports preprogrammed into the fmc. The system would have no override option in the cockpit once activated.
    I would be most grateful for any thoughts and opinions from pilots as to how they would feel about such a system. Reasons why it would be a good/bad idea, and especially the problems that will be encountered. Thankyou
  •  09-11-2006, 6:36 PM 3585 in reply to 1711


    Wow.  Even when a simple common sense decision is made there's always someone to push forward an agenda that benefits nobody.

    Now I am not even going to comment on whether or not air crew should or shouldn't be armed.  What I can't fathom is why would you arm the pilot or right seat? Lets consider all possible scenarios for a second....

    The cockpit is breached -- the pilot has to turn aroud in his seat and attempt to shoot backwards at the assailant.  If the hijacker doesn't kill him before this gymnastic feat we hope the pilot pivoting doesn't fire and knock off one of the first class passengers.

    There is a hijacking so the Captain takes his weapon, leaves the 'secure' cockpit and exposes himself to harm (generally pilots are considered to be among the most important people on a plane and with very few exceptions we try to keep them alive).  Now the armed pilot is at risk, the second pilot is at risk while the doorway is opened (twice), and you are exposing the cockpit to additional risk.

    Terrorists take or are successfuly taking an aircraft.  It is believed their intent is for it to be flown to a populated area and kaboom.  The aircrew have no reason to believe or presume that any of the terrorists can fly.  The correct thing to do is take any action necessarry to disable the pilots.  Now while one or to  heroic pilots may shoot themselves to get the point across we can hardly expect that of anyone.  So a stewardess does the correct thing and takes a steak knife and tries to incapacitate a pilot carrying a loaded weapon -- I think he would object.

    So while I am all for properly trained air marshalls and then only in conjunction with proper screening as opposed to the current nonsense, arming the pilot puts everyone at much greater risk.  It is hard for many Americans to grasp but being armed does not directly correlae to being safer.  If you have to write silly letters to politicians why not suggest arming the pursors? Then your cockpit (and its occupants) are recieving the maximum security possible and should the pilots need to be disabled cabin crew have an additional tool should it be needed.
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