Star Tribune: Cravaack wants more money to arm pilots

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Aug 8, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Star Tribune: Cravaack wants more money to arm pilots

    U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack is challenging the Transportation Security Administration and the White House over potential cuts to a program that arms airline pilots as the last line of defense against hijackers. As part of its Department of Homeland Security budget, the U.S. House this summer passed a Cravaack amendment that would increase funding for armed-pilot training by $10 million. The Republican-backed House bill takes aim at the TSA and White House proposal to slash funding by half, a move spurred by one key fact: No pilot has used a gun on an airplane in the decade since Congress approved the program.

    During his time as a commercial pilot for Northwest Airlines, Cravaack, R-Minn., says he packed a pistol as a member of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program. As he pushes for a boost in funding, Cravaack has spent the spring and summer telling his colleagues in Congress that trained, armed pilots are a necessary security backstop.


    Cravaack's amendment would boost the training budget to $35.5 million by pulling funds from TSA payroll and maintenance accounts. He says underfunding in the armed-pilot program has left a backlog of willing volunteers waiting for background checks.
  2. Louis Betti

    Louis Betti Original Member

    I have a friend who is an FFDO, in fact, when he went for the training they told him to lose weight. Now, he is an FFDO and a marathon runner! FWI, he was flying the plane that took off just after United 93 out of EWR on 9/11.

    That aside, and while I have no issue with pilots carrying a pistol, the cockpit doors are quite secure these days. If some moron wants to get in, I can just "blow" the cabin (open the outflow valve fully, and take out the pressurization) and roll the plane over, and at 36,000' we might have some injuries, for those standing, and those without an oxygen mask on will be out like a light within 30 seconds a best.

    You CAN roll any jet airliner on its back, and if you know how to do it, you will not harm the aircraft. It's known as a "1 G roll". Tex Johnston did it when he first showed off the Boeing 707 prototype (the 367-80") back in the 50's! Of course, at 36,000' or so, you had better know what you're doing in that thin air, for a Mach buffet event or high speed stall could occur. Hopefully, most pilots are not like the crew on Air France 447, who could not recover from a stall without a hijacker on board!

    So, if you have a very secure cockpit door, what is the pilot supposed to do with the pistol? Open the door and start firing away? I would consider other options. Heck, I could push the yoke forward, roll the plane, and nail anyone standing on the ceiling!

    Nothing against guns in the cockpit, but do we REALLY need them?
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I believe that this quote from the article is not accurate:

    My recollection is that one FFDO did put a hole in the floor of his flight deck on final approach to Denver a while back. :D
  4. Louis Betti

    Louis Betti Original Member

    Yes, but it was an accident, and it occurred on US Air. The bullet went out the side of the Airbus aircraft, IIRC, but maybe the floor.

    The last statement in this article about it going through a window or the fuselage would NOT have brought the plane down, especially when on final approach at low altitude.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Sure an aircraft can be rolled over putting everyone not tied down on the overhead, but then what? 20 or so seconds later and they are hitting the deck, not to mention possible collateral human damage.

    Option one, rapid decompression by opening the outflow valve, dumping the cabin compressors, and staying at high altitude will disable the attackers unless they get their hands on portable O2 and even that is going to be time limited for the attacker.

    I see the FFDO as a last ditch effort to save the aircraft. I may be wrong on that point but I don't think any reasonable procedure would call for the cockpit door to be opened by the pilots.
  6. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    Here's some ignorance (mine of course) exposed: what good is it to arm aircrew? Is it helpful, or more of a hindrance?

    I trust aircrew to be armed, but I also trust them to tell me if they think it's a bad idea. If they don't think it's a good idea, well obviously they know their business better than I do.
    Monica47 likes this.
  7. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    It's a layer of Security Baklava! :D

    As a gun owner that doesn't hunt, I view the FFDO program as a natural extension of 2nd Amendment rights, although I'm not advocating that passengers with a concealed carry permit should be able to enter the sterile area.

    Anything that the TSA touches turns to poo, and the FFDO program is no exception. Want to know what the cause was of the negligent discharge on the US flight four years ago?

    I think the number of pilots wanting to be FFDOs is overstated in the media. Why would a lot of people put up with the red tape, idiotic procedures, and a dangerous holster that could end their career?

    You know, every time I try to engage an airline employee who's jumping up and down about how 9/11 Changed Everything into debate about rational security, they usually shut down with "I knew someone who died!"

    So what? The first five years I was at US, we had five fatal crashes. You don't think I knew people on those flights? Oh, how did we ever get by without grief councilors sweeping down upon us? :rolleyes:

    Well, it's a good thing that airline employees and other airport workers can't bypass the checkpoint to access the sterile area, isn't it?

    Oh, wait a minute... :eek::rolleyes:
    DeafBlonde and Elizabeth Conley like this.

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