Feds may reduce funding for armed pilots?


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David
March 24, 2012, 11:09 AM
Interesting article about the Federal program that trains and arms some pilots .........

http://www.foxnews.mobi/quickPage.html?page=22995&external=1397629.proteus.fma#quickPage_html_page_22995_content_68875005_pageNum_1

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ApacheCoTodd
March 24, 2012, 11:39 AM
Of course they may... Because this is what is seen as waste in today's budget.:banghead:
I love the notion that no one on the flight really knows whether and can therefore expect that a crew member or three are armed. That and sky marshals give me a greater sense of security than having our shoes and crotches glommed by TSA officials.

mbopp
March 24, 2012, 12:52 PM
My brother is a captain for a major airline. A few years back he told me about this program and we discussed possible sidearms for him (he's a hard core lefty.) There was a major gun manufacturer offering discounts to flight crew members if they wanted to purchase one.
But he never pursued it further.

David
March 24, 2012, 01:13 PM
According to this, it seems that armed pilots are issued a HK USP40 Compact LEM pistol .........

http://www.hk-usa.com/civilian_products/civ_newsroom_07212003.asp

gunnutery
March 24, 2012, 01:44 PM
Here's my response I posted on foxnews.com :

So, we could trust the T SA 100% and take pilots tools away. OR let them keep their tools in case there's a lethal threat onboard, just in case the TS A agent had a bad day, or took too long making a nursing mother dump all her pumped milk out and let a bad guy get by unnoticed.

If we take pilot's life saving tools away, the only other option is scrambling F16s to follow the plane in duress and escort it back to an airport or take it out of the sky. In financial terms: $100,000+ in jet fuel, $100,000+ per missile fired. OR $15 per flight (as the interviewee said) for having an armed captain (who was going to be there anyway) plus $0.50 - $1 for each round he fires at said threat.

bigfatdave
March 24, 2012, 01:56 PM
Do the booger-eating-morons in the TSA still mandate a padlock through the trigger guard for onboard storage? (no, I'm not joking)
http://cursesfoiledagain2.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/holstervault_key_2.jpg (http://cursesfoiledagain2.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/pilots-gun-fired-in-cockpit/)
looks like a HK USP compact or tactical to me

HARV6
March 24, 2012, 02:00 PM
When the program started after 9/11 a pilot who volunteered was flown out to a training facility in the SW US. There they were issued a Springfield xd40, and for a week each individual was trained by multiple instructors. Each trainee burned through 2-3k Speer gold dots and shipped back home with a pretty decent supply. Can't see how that is very cost effective.

Laetus1
March 24, 2012, 02:00 PM
A very good friend of mine is a pilot who has been trained through this program. Yes, he has been issued an h&k usp .40. I have talked extensively with him about his training and have witnessed his abilities in person since the training. Since I assume he is representative of the program, I must say I feel much safer knowing that guys like that are in the cockpit. There will be NO more cockpit invasions with guys like him in there! Yes, there is expense involved in issuing him a handgun, but he pays for his own training and recertification. He gets no extra pay for what he does. This program costs a pittance compared to the value it brings, and eliminating this program does almost nothing to the deficit problem. Though there is no way to prove it, I suspect there is more going on here than a very serious worry about lowering the deficit.

Sent from my DROID BIONIC using Tapatalk

gunnutery
March 24, 2012, 02:35 PM
Each trainee burned through 2-3k Speer gold dots and shipped back home with a pretty decent supply. Can't see how that is very cost effective

I agree with that, they could've used a cheaper practice round for the majority of their training while doing quals with the gold dots. Perhaps the program was funded with too much money to begin with.

2zulu1
March 24, 2012, 02:47 PM
Just one more way this administration wants everyone dependent on the federal government.

Loosedhorse
March 24, 2012, 02:59 PM
The feds could define a curriculum and a course of fire. The curriculum (and test) could be online, and the course of fire supervised by any LE or state-certified instructor. That would leave the feds to foot the bill for the background check (in case airline pilots--who even without a gun can take down the entire plane pretty darn quickly anyway--haven't been checked enough)...and print the ID.

But, I guess THAT type of cost-savings wouldn't work. :rolleyes:

hso
March 24, 2012, 03:04 PM
Considering that the cabin is now behind an armored door that terrorists or hijackers can't get through to seize the controls of the plane and that the Federal Air Marshal service was greatly expanded after 9/11 so that many more flights have undercover armed security aboard them I'm not surprised that this program would be a prime target for cuts.

bigfatdave
March 24, 2012, 03:12 PM
armored door - slows down an unprepared hijacker, maybe
more air marshals - yeah, sure, whatever you say, I'm calling security theater

On the generic subject of airplane security, the FFDO program is the only federal program I'm aware of that isn't security theater or simple stupidity.
The TSA is a joke, if someone wanted to terrorize the public, the TSA has moved the target from the plane to the unsecure area of the airport, by making big crowds at the checkpoint. The TSA makes us LESS SAFE by bunching everyone up on the wrong side of the checkpoint.

BoilerUP
March 24, 2012, 03:20 PM
Airline pilots who become FFDOs have to find their own way to and from training (Uncle Sugar doesn't cover that), in addition to other out-of-pocket expenses.

The screening process also isn't exactly what one might call "relaxed".

Loosedhorse
March 24, 2012, 03:29 PM
The screening process also isn't exactly what one might call "relaxed". Why isn't it? I'm not being sarcastic. I don't want to go into details, but is there substantial doubt that a pilot wanting to down his plane will have any trouble doing that? Or that commerical pilots are already screened for psychiatric disease, criminal background, drug use, etc.?

Or is the thought that he will use the weapon to "neutralize" the other flight crew (including other FFDOs), and then have unopposed control of the plane?

Just seems like more "the gun will turn him evil" voodoo-thinking.

Balrog
March 24, 2012, 04:20 PM
Considering that the cabin is now behind an armored door that terrorists or hijackers can't get through to seize the controls of the plane and that the Federal Air Marshal service was greatly expanded after 9/11 so that many more flights have undercover armed security aboard them I'm not surprised that this program would be a prime target for cuts.

I was just on a 5 hour flight out of San Francisco. During the flight, the pilots opened the armored, locked door at least twice. Once was to go to the bathroom, and once was to get coffee.

bigfatdave
March 24, 2012, 05:29 PM
Just seems like more "the gun will turn him evil" voodoo-thinking.maybe they give out a badge AND a gun, that tends to make monsters out of bullies sometimes.

MAKster
March 24, 2012, 06:47 PM
Cutting the budget for the federal flight deck officer program might have no impact on the number of trained pilots. Think about it. When the program was first started they had to certify thousands of people since they were starting from zero. Now that the program has been in operation for years, the number of new pilots getting certified each year is much lower.

BoilerUP
March 24, 2012, 06:58 PM
Why isn't it? I'm not being sarcastic. I don't want to go into details, but is there substantial doubt that a pilot wanting to down his plane will have any trouble doing that? Or that commerical pilots are already screened for psychiatric disease, criminal background, drug use, etc.?

Yes, any crewmember sitting in the cockpit could easily down an aircraft or use it for nefarious acts without needing a firearm to do so. See: Egyptair 990, FedEx 705.

That does not change the fact that federal law enforcement and the FAA are very, VERY leery about allowing loaded firearms on airliners by non-LEOs, especially crew members, even with world-class training by FAMs.

FFDO screening includes (among other things) a computerized personality test and a psych eval by an approved psychiatrist and one has to clear all hurdles before being permitted to attend training. There is also a time limit between when the application process starts and when you must complete training; this limit is what caused me to stop the process when I flew for the airlines because I moved halfway across the country for the job and FFDO training fell to the very bottom of my priority list.

Believe me when I say more pilots would be FFDOs if the government made the process even the slightest bit easier.

HARV6
March 24, 2012, 09:38 PM
Once certified the pilots are in fact licensed federal law enforcement. That's why they are issued weapons and ammo, and must give them back if they drop out. The screening program isn't relaxed because each govt agency is required to do its own screening from scratch. It doesn't matter what back ground checks you've been through with different entities.

beatledog7
March 24, 2012, 09:57 PM
I have heard this proposed cut is being considered because airline security is "risk-based" and arming a pilot does not address the most likely security breach scenarios (given the locking and reinforced cockpit doors that are already in place).

OK, so fondling old ladies and toddlers does address the most likely security breach scenarios?

Ignition Override
March 24, 2012, 11:13 PM
We already have a crash ax in every cockpit, in addition to the halon, O2 bottle, pbe, goggles etc which we glance at during the preflight.
If we tell a TSA agent about the ax, most give me a blank stare, or are skeptical.

During FFDO tng near Albuquerque, the per diem doesn't quite cover all of the expenses involved by guys who have done the program, and it is on their days off.
An FFDO had his HK in a "crash pad" near ATL Airport (Eastpoint), and when a guy kicked in a door late at night, the intruder was killed.

An LEO in College Park told me this outside Ruby Tuesday's on Thursday night.

mgkdrgn
March 24, 2012, 11:23 PM
Considering that the cabin is now behind an armored door that terrorists or hijackers can't get through to seize the controls of the plane and that the Federal Air Marshal service was greatly expanded after 9/11 so that many more flights have undercover armed security aboard them I'm not surprised that this program would be a prime target for cuts.
Federal Air Marshals .... less than 1/100th of 1% of all commercial flights.

Oh ya, I feel safer already.

One of those things that sound good in practice, but in reality amount to diddley squat.

The Feds will be quick to point out to you that NO flight with an air marshal on board has ever been hijacked ... and that is true. What they fail to tell you is that NO hijacking has ever been foiled by an air marshal ... and that 267 aircraft HAVE been hijacked since the inception of the air marshal program.

David
March 24, 2012, 11:34 PM
Here's a link to the TSA's armed pilot information .........

http://www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/ffdo.shtm

Pretty interesting.

mrvco
March 25, 2012, 12:36 AM
These guns will be repurposed for the TSA and we'll spend exponentially more money training TSA agents (soon to be "federal officers") to use a retention holster without removing their belt first.

paramedic70002
March 25, 2012, 12:01 PM
Time for Congress to pass legislation:

Any pilot with a concealed firearm permit issued by any state, can carry any concealed handgun he wants, in any holster he wants, with complete reciprocity anywhere in the United States, it protectorates, possessions and territories. Foreign flights, the firearm will be securely locked in the cabin while on foreign soil. Present FFDOs will be awarded their HK for service rendered.

Loosedhorse
March 25, 2012, 02:41 PM
That does not change the fact that federal law enforcement and the FAA are very, VERY leery about allowing loaded firearms on airliners by non-LEOsAgain, I understand that. My question is not are they leery, but isn't it ridiculous that they are?

A program similar to paramedic70002's would be very low cost, and would only arm the folks who could already destroy the plane anyway, even if unarmed. I don't see the security advantage to keeping them unarmed--does anyone?

bigfatdave
March 25, 2012, 04:12 PM
Time for Congress to pass legislation:

Any pilotcitizen with a concealed firearm permit issued by any state, can carry any concealed handgun he wants, in any holster he wants, with complete reciprocity anywhere in the United States, it protectorates, possessions and territories. Foreign flights, the firearm will be securely locked in the cabin while on foreign soil. Present FFDOs will be awarded their HK for service rendered.

you mis-spelled "citizen"

bigfatdave
March 25, 2012, 04:13 PM
A program similar to paramedic70002's would be very low cost, and would only arm the folks who could already destroy the plane anyway, even if unarmed. I don't see the security advantage to keeping themcitizens unarmed--does anyone?

You did too

Loosedhorse
March 25, 2012, 04:28 PM
Well, that makes sense: no middle-ground. Either phase out the FFDO program because its high screening and training costs are absolutely necessary before a pilot may be allowed to carry; or relax it enough so that every citizen can OC on US commercial flights.

:D

bigfatdave
March 25, 2012, 04:35 PM
Now you're getting confortable in that wookie suit (http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com/2009/08/word-of-day-how-to-speak-tamarese.html)!

TenDriver
March 26, 2012, 10:52 AM
Well, that makes sense: no middle-ground. Either phase out the FFDO program because its high screening and training costs are absolutely necessary before a pilot may be allowed to carry; or relax it enough so that every citizen can OC on US commercial flights.

:D
No thanks. Too much room for error in an enclosed space surrounded by flammable liquids.

alienbogey
March 27, 2012, 01:21 AM
FAM's (Federal Air Marshal's) are full-time employees of the government, with full-time pay and benefits to go along with multi-month training programs.

FFDO's (Federal Flight Deck Officers) are airline pilots who volunteer to take an unpaid week from their jobs to get trained, and then requalify twice a year, again unpaid and on their own time.

FFDO's cost a minute fraction of what FAM's do in terms of cost per flight protected, so which program do you think they're considering eliminating? :banghead:

The bottom line: 9/11 never would have happened with an FFDO in the cockpit, and it won't happen again on any flight fortunate enough to have one (or more) flying the airplane in case the terrorists try it again.

BBDartCA
March 27, 2012, 01:28 AM
I was just on a 5 hour flight out of San Francisco. During the flight, the pilots opened the armored, locked door at least twice. Once was to go to the bathroom, and once was to get coffee.
But was the 125-lb 23 year old stewardess standing in front of the door while the pilot went pee?

JustinJ
March 27, 2012, 04:29 PM
A program similar to paramedic70002's would be very low cost, and would only arm the folks who could already destroy the plane anyway, even if unarmed. I don't see the security advantage to keeping them unarmed--does anyone?

Because a person with nefarious intent who managed to take the weapon may then have total control of the plane without having to sneak anything on board.

Its distrubing to hear that the cockpit doors are opened regularly on flights. I hope there is at least a procedure in place to ensure no passenger is within a certain distance before doing so. A second door with interlock system would obviously be a better option.

BoilerUP
March 27, 2012, 04:33 PM
Because a person with nefarious intent who managed to take the weapon may then have total control of the plane without having to sneak anything on board.

Control of the cabin perhaps...airplane, no.

That door isn't opening unless its opened from the cockpit, and you can damn sure bet if there's somebody back there who is armed trying to make entry one of the pilots is waiting with the crashaxe.

Its distrubing to hear that the cockpit doors are opened regularly on flights.

Pilots have physiological needs just like anybody else, and its nice to get a drink or a meal sometimes, especially on longer flights.

I hope there is at least a procedure in place to ensure no passenger is within a certain distance before doing so.

There is.

Dueling1911s
March 27, 2012, 05:40 PM
Do the booger-eating-morons in the TSA still mandate a padlock through the trigger guard for onboard storage? (no, I'm not joking)

looks like a HK USP compact or tactical to me

they got rid of the goofy trigger lock with pancake holster a while back. now they use a paddle holster and store the weapon in a "lock box" they have to carry with them thats even bulkier.

they switched them to federal hst's cuz speer couldnt keep up with their demand. and they are only issued a box of 50 when they leave training

k-frame
March 27, 2012, 10:31 PM
*sigh*

It's almost as if this guy knew we were discussing pilots and their ability to cause harm if mentally unstable:

JetBlue captain: 'They're going to take us down!' (http://www.ajc.com/business/jetblue-captain-theyre-going-1399758.html)

By OSKAR GARCIA

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Screaming "They're going to take us down!" a JetBlue pilot stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq Tuesday until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him to the ground just outside the cockpit, passengers said.

Passengers said the pilot screamed that Iraq or Afghanistan had planted a bomb on the flight, was locked out of the cockpit, and then tackled and restrained by passengers.

The captain of JetBlue Airways Flight 191 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport was taken to a hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board that forced the co-pilot to take over the plane and land it in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said.

The unidentified pilot seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down in the back, passengers said.

Loosedhorse
March 27, 2012, 10:53 PM
It's almost as if this guy knewSorry, I still don't get it. Is it, "Wow, if that guy had had control of a gun, this could have been a disaster--good thing he only had control of a jetliner!"

:rolleyes::D

Neverwinter
March 27, 2012, 11:41 PM
The bottom line: 9/11 never would have happened with an FFDO in the cockpit, and it won't happen again on any flight fortunate enough to have one (or more) flying the airplane in case the terrorists try it again.
The bottom line is that 9/11 won't happen again on any flight because the paradigm of the passengers has changed, regardless of whether there is a FFDO/FAM on board.

k-frame
March 28, 2012, 12:32 AM
s it, "Wow, if that guy had had control of a gun, this could have been a disaster--good thing he only had control of a jetliner!"

Ha! Take your pick. The good news was that he was in the passenger cabin and not at the controls when he had the breakdown. Or so it seems.

As for another 9-11, I wield a mean laptop so don't even think of taking over that plane. Heck the removable battery alone would make for a small club (and now with my luck the TSA just dreamed up a new rule...)

Agsalaska
March 28, 2012, 01:20 AM
I would venture to guess the pilot today at some type of serious medical condition. Encefalitis was my first thought. My mother had it once. She literally went from completey normal to cookoo in a matter of minutes. Viral Meningitis, West Nile, or even a serious fever could also cause an otherwise normal person to act in such a manner. If that is the case I feel for him and hope he recovers. Fortunately everyone around him acted in a sane manner.

Loosedhorse
March 28, 2012, 10:34 AM
The good news was that he was in the passenger cabinActually, he was on the flight deck, but forced out and locked out. The passengers then subdued him.I would venture to guess the pilot today at some type of serious medical conditionWell, they said he was very thirsty, so at least we know it wasn't hydrophobia!

May he recover quickly.As for another 9-11, I wield a mean laptopAs UA Flight 93 showed, the problem with 9/11 was software, not hardware. The pilots on all planes, and the passengers on all planes except 93, complied because they were "programmed" to believe the plane would land, a negotiation would start, etc. They were playing from the old "co-operation is best" handbook, not realizing that the game had changed.

When the passengers on 93 realized that, they changed, too. May they rest.

My stupid ol' kid brother was the first one who said to me, around noon on 9/11: "You know what they need to do to prevent the next one? Nothing. Now that we all know what the game is, it can't happen again.

"Or if they do anything, how 'bout: 'Good morning, Mr. Loosedhorse, thanks for flying with us today. Here is your knife.'"

:) Like I said, we are the security system.

TenDriver
March 28, 2012, 12:58 PM
Things have changed, but to say it can't happen again is short sighted. Hence the reason we need more FFDOs, not fewer.

alienbogey
March 29, 2012, 02:12 AM
<<The bottom line is that 9/11 won't happen again on any flight because the paradigm of the passengers has changed, regardless of whether there is a FFDO/FAM on board.>>

With all due respect, that is incorrect.

The bad guys know about the new passenger 'paradigm', and they will plan for it.

All I can add is that I've been there, done the training, and seen the scenarios tested out.

FFDO's and/or FAM's stop the threat, barehanded passengers don't.

Loosedhorse
March 29, 2012, 09:51 PM
The bad guys know about the new passenger 'paradigm', and they will plan for it.How?

As long as we outnumber them, they're going to have a tough time. Real tough. There is a simple reason that since 9/11 the only credible threats to US planes have involved bombs: because now that the passenger paradigm has shifted, the terrorists realize that destroying a plane remains possible, but commandeering one does not.seen the scenarios tested out.Training scenarios demonstrate whatever they are set up to demonstrate. They are training, not reality.

We have reality, and it says passengers stop terrorists.

alienbogey
March 29, 2012, 11:12 PM
How?

As long as we outnumber them, they're going to have a tough time. Real tough. There is a simple reason that since 9/11 the only credible threats to US planes have involved bombs: because now that the passenger paradigm has shifted, the terrorists realize that destroying a plane remains possible, but commandeering one does not.Training scenarios demonstrate whatever they are set up to demonstrate. They are training, not reality.

We have reality, and it says passengers stop terrorists.


Saying it in bold face doesn't make it so, and what is more, you're 100% wrong.

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out how to defeat the pax.

Neverwinter
March 30, 2012, 12:22 AM
Saying it in bold face doesn't make it so, and what is more, you're 100% wrong.

It doesn't take much imagination to figure out how to defeat the pax.
The position has the historical evidence of Flight 93. The position against has at best, the say so of undisclosed scenarios by undisclosed entities. The posters on this forum don't accept the ABC News scenarios that show CCW on campus doesn't work, why should we accept that the aforementioned scenarios show that passenger action doesn't work?

Loosedhorse
March 30, 2012, 12:26 AM
you're 100% wrong.Sigh. You really do make it too easy, you know?

JetBlue Flight 191 3/27/12
American Airlines Flight 1561 5/9/11
Turkish Airlines Flight Oslo-Istanbul 1/6/11
Northwest Airlines Flight 253 12/25/09—”Christmas bomber” “Underwear bomber”
American Airlines Flight 63 12/23/01—”Shoe bomber”
American Airlines Flight 1238 10/8/01

If I know of 6 cases where that was true, now you have to come up with 594 cases where someone besides the passengers subdued a person in-flight threatening the safety of the plane since 9/11. And even then, I'd only be 99% wrong, not 100%. But maybe math isn't your strong suit?

I know it's going to take you a while to come up with the 594 cases...so I'll wait. And I'll read this:

TSA Considers Passengers One of 20 ‘Layers of Security’ to Stop Terrorist Attacks (http://cnsnews.com/node/59262)
It doesn't take much imagination to figure out how to defeat the pax.I'll assume "pax" is a (dismissive) I'm-cool jargon for passengers. If your statement is true, well, then considering that we obviously are the security system on-board a flight...I guess TSA better give us back our weapons, huh? Before our being unarmed really causes a problem! :D

wishn4more
March 30, 2012, 01:26 AM
I do agree with NeverWinter about passenger intervention; I for one, have always felt I was my own best protection on a plane (bus, train, parking lot...). I always wear tall athletic socks, keep my laptop/backpack at my seat, and a few other innocuous things. Unopened canned drinks are useful. Just sayin...

737Driver
March 30, 2012, 04:13 AM
I am sure we would all like to think that passengers would be able to stand up to multiple bad guys who have had plenty of motivation, training, preparation, a plan and the element of surprise. The simple fact is that the program is a very cost effective way to give tens of thousands of flights a last line of defense and as such deserves to be properly funded.

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