Poll on arming General aviation pilots


February 20, 2003, 10:46 AM

A poll from outside the normal firearms arena on whether General aviation pilots should be allowed to carry firearms such as the commercial pilots are now in an experimental program. Quantrill

Quantrill, I elaborated on your title a little.

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February 20, 2003, 11:00 AM
As a GA pilot operating under Part 91 I'm a private citizen traveling in my own aircraft or a rental.

It's apples and oranges trying to compare this to arming crews under Part 121 operations.

(and yes, I voted "YES") :D

February 20, 2003, 11:19 AM
I agree that the airline pilot's main area of concern would be the safeguarding of the cockpit once the doors to the outside are sealed. I would think that the GA pilot would be more concerned during the pre-flight walk around in a small GA airport in the early (even pre-dawn) hours. Most of the smaller, one runway GA airports are not even adequately fenced so any whacko can approach a GA pilot getting ready for a flight. Another point of view is that MOST small aircraft are not capable of doing much harm such as the Tampa student who flew into an office building. He was the only fatality and in fact the only one even hurt and the building only had minor damage. Then again, the more people packing are more people who will not listen to the anti-gun crackpots and here is a whole new catagory of people. Quantrill

February 20, 2003, 11:19 AM
Of course! Any pilot who wants to carry a gun should!

February 20, 2003, 11:35 AM

That's a good point about being vulnerable on the ramp. Most GA airports are ghost towns after dark and I've been on some very dark and lonely ramps in the middle of nowhere many times at o-dark-thirty.

Most aircraft thefts and break-ins occur in situations like this but I can’t ever recall a pilot being attacked or robbed on a ramp in those circumstances. Most of the time they want the aircraft for drug smuggling or to steal the avionics.

A 2, 3 or 4 thousand pound aircraft doesn’t make a good weapon (despite some press reports to the contrary). I can’t see terrorists making a move to hijack a GA pilot and forcing them to fly into a target. A nut-job maybe, but not a true terrorist.

D.W. Drang
February 20, 2003, 01:02 PM
Would this one cover cargo pilots? As I understand it, the current law regarding commercial pilots does not, and I fail to see where a FedEx cargo 747 loaded with XMas presents would be any less dangerous than a passenger aircraft.
Also, don't forget corprorate "business jets", a 737 with no ticketed passengers but a few corporate fatcats would do a lot more damage than a Piper Cub.

February 20, 2003, 01:32 PM
You mean there are general aviation pilots that don't carry guns? :confused: Every pilot I know up here has a gun or two in the plane all the time. :D

February 20, 2003, 01:59 PM
Can anyone cite the FAR section that restricts carrying a firearm in a private/rented light aircraft? To my knowledge, as long as you're legal at points of departure and landing, you're good to go. Now, if you have a forced landing enroute, you're on your own.:eek: But in that case, a weapons violation is prolly not too high on your list of concerns:D

TFL Survivor

February 20, 2003, 02:12 PM
If they get the necessary handgun training, qualify with the weapon that they are using and are fit mentally, I don't see why they shouldn't pack a gun in the cockpit..

I say, let'm pack!! :)

February 20, 2003, 02:24 PM
I heard once that all GA aircraft flying in Alaska were REQUIRED to have a firearm in the plane. I was told that it was a state law with no definitions on what had to be carried. Can you confirm this?? I often wondered what would happen to the poor pilot who was flying to Alaska from the lower 48, and thereby flying over Canada, if he had a malfunction while over Canada and landed in that very restrictive country. Can a small plane make it from the lower 48 to Alaska and not have to refuel?? Quantrill

February 20, 2003, 02:37 PM
Read the following from the "Avweb" newsletter about cargo pilots.........Quantrill

Arming Cargo Pilots, Part II
Cargo pilots might soon be able to carry firearms in the cockpit. Congress is currently working on legislation to close a gap in the Homeland Security Act that excludes cargo pilots from carrying firearms aboard their aircraft. If passed, the new wording would allow 10,000 cargo pilots to train and carry weapons in the cockpit after undergoing background checks. When it was originally drafted, the Homeland Security Act allowed all pilots to arm themselves, but it was later amended to permit only airline pilots flying passenger routes to receive the training and subsequent permission to carry firearms, much to the dismay of professional pilot organizations and unions. "There are no federal air marshals on cargo flights and we cannot allow these jets to be used for future terrorist attacks," said Rep. Don Young (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Duane Woerth, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, was delighted by the move and said the group will work with Congress to pass what it says is a "greatly needed improvement to aviation security

February 20, 2003, 04:45 PM
There's no federal regulation stopping GA pilots from carrying. The only problem is state and local laws at landing points. Pretty much the same as carrying in your car.

February 20, 2003, 05:20 PM
I'm not sure if there is actually a law requiring a firearm but I've yet to meet a GA pilot up here who doesn't carry one. Next time I talk to my stepdad I'll ask him about it, he's a guide and owns his own planes so he should know.

If you stay on the coast you can pretty much stay out of canada all the way down to the states.

February 20, 2003, 05:53 PM
Air Marshalls can't be everywhere and the pilot is ultimately responsible for the safety of his crew and passengers.

February 20, 2003, 05:53 PM
Yes, Alaska does have a state law requiring a firearm and ammunition be carried in the plane. It also requires survival equipment - Winter, a sleeping bag or blanket for each person. Summer, a mosquito headnet for each person. Plus food to sustain the passengers and pilot for two weeks (a candy bar would do).

At least, that was the law when I got my pilot's certificate in Anchorage in 1984, and while I was editor of Alaska magazine.

February 20, 2003, 06:26 PM
I am glad you asked. I ask why pilots need permission to carry? For me ,I consider every one armed and be #%&* if I will ever be searched the way people are now at airports. Soon it will degrade into check points along the hiwys & byways. More on this later. thanks

Kentucky Rifle
February 21, 2003, 08:55 AM
Copy on the "lonely, dark ramps at 0-dark-30". Been there a thousand times. I carry a J-frame in a shoulder holster under an "EAA jacket" and another in an ankle holster EVERY time I fly. On a ramp at 2:00AM it's just you and the pinging sound the cooling engines make.


February 21, 2003, 10:35 AM
I remember the look at my mechanic's place when I stepped out of the Bonanza with a full-size Kimber in a Fobus holster, worn in the open. I walked around the ramp with the pistol on.

After a few minutes, everyone got used to it and the only comments were about what kind of gun it was, how I liked it, etc.

Note: This was at an uncontrolled airport, where everyone is a hunter and gun owner. One of the mechanics ran to his Miata to pull his Glock to show me!

One of the reasons I like general aviation is the ability to carry a LOT of guns with me with no hassle.

I'll be flying the Bonanza from Louisiana to California next week for a week of tapping the new Guns & Ammo TV show. Yes, the captain will have a gun on that flight!

I R the "captain."

4v50 Gary
February 21, 2003, 11:31 AM
Was told that the pilots will get some sort of pistol. I would have suggested a DA 38 revolver.

February 21, 2003, 11:40 AM
at 74% now:)

February 21, 2003, 01:49 PM
At 75% when I voted.

February 22, 2003, 04:10 AM
Now this is food for thought. If I was to ever win the lottery, thereby giving myself the means to do so, I would probably end up with some sort of GA aircraft. I want to be able to fly wherever I want, when I want. I want to fly low and slow and look at the scenery.

The problem is that The Wife won't travel anywhere without her 'babies' - the five family cats. That means we're gonna need something more substantial than your typical four place Cessna, Piper, Beech, et al. Since I'm also a WWII aviation buff, and love the sound of old, round, oil-leaking engines, what could be better than owning your own DC-3/C-47? I could have it fitted out like a flying version of an Airstream trailer. (Hey, they're both rounded and made out of aluminum, LOL) Since this plane would be not only my means of transport but also my 'motorhome', of course I'd have a gun (or more) on board. Why do you think that Air Force crews had available survival weapons on board?

But back to reality here. Would the average GA pilot really have a need to carry? No. Achmed isn't going to fly up next to you on his flying carpet and try to commandeer your Cessna in flight and turn it into a Kamikaze. J'wan isn't going to fancy your set of wheels and carjack you. The only fear is being robbed at some lonely GA airport late at night. Not a very high probability in that. I can go down the street to my local uncontrolled GA field and wait for days without seeing any flying activity. Even at the local County airport, the crooks would have to look hard for a potential victim. Nope, he'll go where the pickings are more plentiful. He'll go where he can blend in better.

With all that said, (see my signature line)

February 22, 2003, 08:25 AM
1. Flying with cats. Put them in crates -- always. It's just a bit distracting to the pilot when a cat decides that it doesn't like flying and attaches itself to the pilot's face and scalp with those retractable connectors in the paws!

2. Guns on the flight. No, you won't need them in flight, but you have to land somewhere, and you'll be back in the world of good guys and bad guys.

3. Beech 18! Three of my friends use these as personal transportation. Amazing planes. Sidenote: Don't even consider it unless you don't even have to think about the money. I would love one, but no gun writer can afford one.

Remember that the real goal of airplane ownership is to keep yourself teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

February 22, 2003, 01:19 PM
"A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed". Hmmm......I've read this over and over and I can't find anywhere in there that says anything about airplanes:scrutiny:
What the heck are we asking permission for? Did I wake up in the wrong gountry one day?
I will carry a gun, because it is my inalienable right to do so. If I am put in jail because of that then my rights will have been usurped by an illegitimate authority. It would then be my duty as an American to restore a legitimate authority that operates within the bounds of the governing Document of this Country by whatever means necessary. Would that make me a terrorist?:confused: Or a patriot, or maybe a revolutionary? Nope.....I would be a loyalist, not to another country, but to the legitimate law and Constitution.....is there a name for that? Conservative maybe?
BTW instrument pilot in training, Rocky Mountain College.

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