Pilot to be fired for accidental discharge


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Braz1956
April 17, 2008, 09:47 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/04/17/pilot.gun/index.html



Group: Pilot whose gun went off will be fired

(CNN) -- An US Airways pilot who aviation officials say accidentally fired his handgun in the cockpit during a flight will be fired, a spokesman for a flight officers group said.

The airline has begun the termination process for Capt. James Langenhahn, said Mike Karn, vice president of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association.

Langenhahn told police that he was stowing his gun in the cockpit of a jet preparing to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month when it accidentally fired. The federal Transportation Security Administration is investigating the incident.

Calls to Langenhahn's home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were not immediately returned.

In an e-mail, US Airways representative Morgan Durrant said the company's policies prevent it from commenting publicly on a personnel matter.

Karn said his group, which represents pilots who are federally trained and allowed to carry firearms on flights, will fight the termination.

"This was accidental not intentional," Karn said. "This is not the way to treat a long-term pilot."

He said he did not know how long Langenhahn, 55, has been a pilot for US Airways but said he is a veteran with the airline.

The bullet from the H&K USP .40-caliber handgun penetrated the left side of the jet's fuselage but did not hit any crucial wiring or instrumentation, the TSA said.

The gun discharge was the first public incident of its kind in the history of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which has trained thousands of pilots to carry weapons in an effort to improve aviation safety.

Created in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the program was approved by Congress as part of the Homeland Security Act on November 25, 2002.

All AboutTransportation Security Administration US Airways Group Inc.

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Cosmoline
April 17, 2008, 09:52 PM
Langenhahn, 55,

Boot him before he vests, perhaps?

btg3
April 17, 2008, 09:53 PM
Langenhahn told police that he was stowing his gun in the cockpit of a jet preparing to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month when it accidentally fired.
Without knowledge of the procedures that apply to the situation, I do wonder why the gun had not been stowed upon take-off rather than in "preparation for landing". Regardless, I suspect the actual procedure used for stowing violates one or more of the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety.

Six O'clock Tactical
April 17, 2008, 09:56 PM
this sounds like fodder for a new H&K poster...

WayneConrad
April 17, 2008, 09:56 PM
Without knowledge of the procedures that apply to the situation, I do wonder why the gun had not been stowed upon take-off rather than in "preparation for landing". Regardless, I suspect the actual procedure used for stowing violates one or more of the 4 Rules of Firearm Safety.
The FSDO holster and the procedures using it will turn your face white. It's how you would create an ND, if you were out to do so.

Among other things, there's a lock that goes through the trigger guard of the loaded weapon. And the weapon must be locked every time the pilot leaves the cockpit.

mek42
April 17, 2008, 10:03 PM
If the Airline is forcing it's employees to use unsafe practices isn't that an OSHA concern?

feedthehogs
April 17, 2008, 10:05 PM
Who needs a .50 BMG when we now know a .40 will penetrate the fuselage just fine.

Who will be the first bonehead politician that will declare .40 cal guns as terrorist guns that will bring down an airplane?

btg3
April 17, 2008, 10:06 PM
:eek: Good grief! This puts every plane (and all aboard) at risk. In there any question that the axe needs to fall higher up in the FAA, rather than on a pilot?

ReidWrench
April 17, 2008, 10:09 PM
So it IS to be stowed loaded ! What good is an empty gun right ?

protolith
April 17, 2008, 10:13 PM
Its my understanding that the gun went off when the lock (goes through the trigger guard) caused the weapon to discharge. It appears that if the gun is not Fully in the holster, the lock will go in front of the trigger.

The regs also require that the firearm is locked when the aircraft is on the ground.

From the sound of things, its a miracle that a ND didn't occur sooner.

Firing the pilot is a B.S. PR move, CYA on the part of the airline.

Winchester 73
April 17, 2008, 10:18 PM
Firing the pilot is a B.S. PR move, CYA on the part of the airline.

Completely agree.PC personified.
Can we get back to the '50's?

plexreticle
April 17, 2008, 10:26 PM
With all the stupid rules stacked up for an almost guaranteed AD then I would just not bother if I were a pilot.

Pilots is there to fly the plane anyway not be a security guard. If he/she can't do a regular CCW on an airplane then what's the point.

crashresidue
April 17, 2008, 10:27 PM
Hope this prints!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTODo6yxRWI

If this isn't a spoof, then all I can say is "Sorry for the pilots!"

cr

harrygunner
April 17, 2008, 10:38 PM
I have personally seen one of the holsters provided to pilots. A guy I practiced with a couple of times, a pilot, switched to that holster to gain experience with it.

There is a leather loop that is supposed to go under the trigger guard when re-holstering. That piece of leather kept catching on the front of the guard and not seating properly.

I could see a lock winding up in that leather loop, but, in front of the trigger. To better describe the problem, the hole for the lock weakens the leather that normally fully covers the trigger opening. So, when the leather catches on the front of the trigger guard, the lock can be placed in the wrong location, in front of the trigger.

The other strange thing about this program of pilots willing to defend us as we fly: the pilots must pay for their equipment, ammo and practice.

The government needs to start respecting the responsibility these people take on voluntarily.

BTW, this guy is a great shot and I'd be happy with him in the cockpit.

geekWithA.45
April 17, 2008, 10:39 PM
What a crock.

Does anyone have the contact info for the relevant parties?

Winchester 73
April 17, 2008, 10:47 PM
U.S.Airways contact info:
http://www.usairways.com/awa/?c=8110108311_USBRND_060506_0003&ovchn=GGL&ovcpn=us_brand&ovcrn=us-airways&ovtac=PPC&gclid=CJKqura-45ICFQsrswodYW8m5g

mekender
April 17, 2008, 11:17 PM
CNN reported on it recently too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pzzzcw27iGw

Erik
April 17, 2008, 11:26 PM
Not surprising. Had he waited until he was on the ground where his attention wasn't divided, and followed the proceedure to secure his weapon, he'd not be in termination proceedings.

The issue holster:

http://www.desantisholster.com/31l.html

mekender
April 18, 2008, 12:27 AM
Not surprising. Had he waited until he was on the ground where his attention wasn't divided, and followed the proceedure to secure his weapon, he'd not be in termination proceedings.

procedure required that the gun be locked up and stowed before landing...

karz10
April 18, 2008, 12:45 AM
Wow, I just don't get the whole let's put stuff in the trigger guard of a loaded gun... and since all guns are to be treated as loaded, putting anything in the trigger guard period, right?

I don't know if the pilot did anything 'wrong' or not based on their screwy policies, but it sucks for him, pilots, passengers, and gun owners in general.

Just shows how government can screw up even a good idea.

Karz

Wes Janson
April 18, 2008, 12:58 AM
It's stupid freaking rules creating a dangerous situation because the people who wrote them didn't know jack squat. They should have commended him for following the other rules, and keeping it pointed in a safe direction.

misANTHrope
April 18, 2008, 03:33 AM
If the Airline is forcing it's employees to use unsafe practices isn't that an OSHA concern?

These aren't airline policies, they're TSA policies BTW.

WayneConrad
April 18, 2008, 03:38 AM
Not surprising. Had he waited until he was on the ground where his attention wasn't divided, and followed the proceedure to secure his weapon, he'd not be in termination proceedings.
Once again, pilots do have to go potty, and the TSA procedures require the pilots to secure their weapon every time they leave the cockpit. They don't have a choice.

Bad procedure, bad holster.

retgarr
April 18, 2008, 03:42 AM
I'm thinking if the storage rules are unsafe I wouldn't bother. A gun on a plane is very defensive only anyways. Even armed the pilots are told not to open the cockpit door for ANY reason. People are being killed outisde, tortured, whatever. They are never supposed to open the door, gun or not. That being said, looks like they need to work on this program a little more...

coloradokevin
April 18, 2008, 06:13 AM
Hard to say what happened.

If the pilot was playing around with his gun (unholstering, showing it to his first officer, or whatever) he probably deserves to lose his job.

If it occured as the YouTube video showed, that may be another story.

Nevertheless, I carry a gun on-duty in a holster ten hours a day, no less than four days per week... Whenever I am away from home off-duty, I also carry.

I personally have never had a snap holster come loose for a reason like the YouTube video stated. I have a mechanical "hooded" holster retention system on my current duty weapon (safariland holster), and it has occasionally "unsnaped" by being hit once or twice... My job is certainly more rigorous than an airline pilot's duties while flying an airliner (I run, fight, wrestle, drive, etc while wearing that gun). Still, the weapon has never moved from it's properly retained postion, even in the remote instance where it has come unsnapped while wrestling with a turd.

My current off-duty rig doesn't even have a retention strap, and I've never lost a gun (or ended up with a gun half out of the holster in it).

So, while I'm not saying that it isn't possible that this could have happened in a benign way, I am inclined to believe that the problem very well may have been on the pilot's shoulders! Keep in mind, the other pilot was almost certainly interviewed, and cockpit conversations are recorded on airliners.

In other words, perhaps we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that this is a good/bad termination until more of the facts are available to us!

TAB
April 18, 2008, 06:23 AM
when I 1st saw the holster they were required to wear, I figured that is what cuased the discharge... then I saw the pictures of the bullet hole( no they have not been released... lets just say its good to know people that work for airlines)... lets just say there is no way in hell it would have went where it did if it was a AD.

USMC 1975
April 18, 2008, 07:35 AM
There are only two people who know exactly what happened. One is the Pilot and the other is his FO ( First Officer ).

It is standard in the industry that the FO will never rat out his Captain. What happens on the flight deck, stays on the flight deck ( unless the FAA starts looking at recorder info ) so it will be hard to determine exactly what really happened.

I still do not see how guns in the cockpit is going to help. Since 911, all doors to the flight deck have been beefed up and are always locked. The most vulnerable moment for a flight crew is when one of the pilots leaves the flight deck to use the bathroom or whatever. It is at this point where the gun is locked and stowed, so how is it going to be a help to anyone ?

Chris

Dksimon
April 18, 2008, 08:04 AM
That is probably the stupidest holster I have ever seen. Not that the blame falls solely on the holster but it is a pretty cruddy piece of engineering.

misANTHrope
April 18, 2008, 10:37 AM
when I 1st saw the holster they were required to wear, I figured that is what cuased the discharge... then I saw the pictures of the bullet hole( no they have not been released... lets just say its good to know people that work for airlines)... lets just say there is no way in hell it would have went where it did if it was a AD.

You must mean these pictures:
http://img101.imageshack.us/img101/4483/47e886d03ca715527200803bq8.jpg

The location of the hole is reminiscent of the way that guy in the video demonstrates holding the gun while securing it...

TAB
April 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
I've got some better ones, but yeah... other then him messing with it, the only way it could have went off and that angle was if he was laying down.. with his feet on the dash...

Erik
April 18, 2008, 10:42 AM
Anyone believe the airlines are terminating this guy without an opinion from the TSA citing he failed to follow procedure? I don't, thus my earlier post. I also don't buy the whole its the holster and the policy's fault argument, even while not being a fan of either.

I could be wrong, though, in which case I'll support the pilot during his wrongful termination lawsuit.

misANTHrope
April 18, 2008, 10:57 AM
I've got some better ones, but yeah... other then him messing with it, the only way it could have went off and that angle was if he was laying down.. with his feet on the dash...

So is that Youtube video inaccurate in showing the pistol being secured with the holster no longer strapped on? I would think you'd almost have to remove it from your belt before putting that padlock in...

CTPistol
April 18, 2008, 11:08 AM
Had nothing to do with the holster, had everything to do with him breaking the rules...

And as far as not rating out another pilot in aviation, we wish that was not the case. Pilots are the first to throw each other under the bus - despite what they say..

and either way likely has nothing to do with a guy messing with his gun at 8000ft.

stevelyn
April 18, 2008, 01:06 PM
I woud say that the Transportation Sturmabteilung's gun handling "proceedures" are in large part at fault here.

The TSA monkeys never wanted armed pilots to begin with and threw up every obstacle imaginable to discourage pilots from being armed. It took two acts of Congress and the firing of the POS former BATFEces Gruppenfuhrer John Magaw to get the first pilots armed.

If you didn't want a program to succeed, you would build it to fail from the start. It appears TSA built failure into the program.

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