Arming pilots makes no sense

Was going to throw this in the other gun control debate but figured it needed it’s own thread:

The whole arming pilots thing is dumb. So now there is a gun on board the terrorists don’t need to smuggle on. All they do is take a hostage, threaten to hurt them, get the gun from the pilot, and they are in control. If the pilots are going to ignore hostages and let them die anyway just put a super reinforced door on the cockpit and never open it.

Arming pilots. Dumbest idea, EVAR!

– Xaroc

I don’t know if it’s the dumbest Idea EVAR, but I pretty much agree with you. Pilot might say “Hell no, I ain’t opening this door” and the terrorists start killing folks… The first line of defense has to be on the ground. No easy solutions.

I have heard a lot of crazy leftist ideas thrown about here, but objecting to pilots having arms is crazy!

Well how do you expect pilots to steer the plane without arms?

:shock: :shock: :shock:

I think we should object to drunk pilots too, damnit!

I’m not sure I agree with this, but I don’t think it will be so easy to get the gun from the pilot. First, if the terrorists take and kill hostages, so what? You still don’t open the door and let them take control of the plane. Even if they kill everyone on board the plane, I would imagine the policy is to not let them gain control of the aircraft.

I think the whole purpose of the gun is to defend the cockpit. If the terrorists have hijacked the plane, they already have some form of weapons on board and the obtaining of a gun is probably secondary. Controlling the cockpit is the primary objective and I don’t see how putting a handgun there helps terrorists achieve that. But I can see how it might help prevent that.

This is sound logic up until the point that they breach the reinforced door somehow.

Chances are, that would never happen, but in the rare instance that it might (the guy snuck a shaped charge onboard in his rectum) then you have a situation with unarmed pilots and armed terrorists and guess who is going to be controlling the aircraft?

Reinforced door that is NEVER opened should certainly be the first line of defense, and that will probably work 99% of the time, but when it fails having a pistol w/ frangible rounds available is certainly a nice backup.

I flew four flights in the last month, including two transcontinental ones.

The door was open through both short legs (1.5 hours each) and for much of the transcontinental flights.

So much for reinforced doors. If pilots won’t respect this rule, why are we arming them?


Let’s give the pilots the benefit of the doubt. They may have had diarrhea or a hot stewardess on board. Still, I think keeping the bad guys OFF the plane has to be the most important thing.

Sadly, the days of hot sexy stews on board planes seems long gone. Damn equal employment laws. :(

You need to fly JAL.

Xaroc: you seem to be unclear on exactly what the term “hijacked” means. If the terrorist is already in a position to force the pilot to hand over the gun, then they’ve already hijacked the plane without the gun, making the whole gun thing somewhat irrelavant.

Of course if the pilot has a gun in a hostage situation, he’s not exactly hijacked, now is he? That whole last chance bit. Shoot the passenger and the hijacker… Pilot wins, plane wins, no hijack.

I mean, this argument is retarded. (Why do they bother to arm SWAT units? You just are adding more weapons for the criminals to use!)

Ok but what pilot is going to have the intestinal fortitude to shoot an innocent? We would like to think they would but wouldn’t it be easier to just be barricaded in the cockpit and try to put the plane down at the nearest air field?

I mean, this argument is retarded. (Why do they bother to arm SWAT units? You just are adding more weapons for the criminals to use!)

Got strawman?

– Xaroc

As opposed to having the intestinal fortitude to allow passengers to be killed outside their locked door until they give in? I think we can all agree pilots are in a shit situation no matter what; personally, I think they should be able to judge for themselves whether they have the “fortitude” to make that decision. Remember, we are not talking about requiring them to carry, but simply giving them the option, along with the locked door.

I think if 9/11 made anything clear it is that passivity is not a viable option in terms of hijacking…I think that is what pilots are seeking to stack in their favour.

I’m torn on this one. Thre are 2 pilots in my family. One doesn’t want to have anything to do with a firearm in the cockpit (doesn’t want the extra responsibility as he’s already responsible for 200+lives every flight) and the other says he would carry one if required by federal policy.

They both tell me that the reinforced door policy is a good idea, but useless as they are human too, and often need to take a piss like the rest of us and maybe get some coffee or stretch their legs , leaving ample opportunity for a ‘breach’ of security when the door opens.

I know other pilots, too and let me tell you they are just like anyone else in different stages of their career, some are just waiting to retire, some ornery, jumpy, piss off easily, some apathetic, while a vast majority would handle the responsibility just fine many of them being ex-millitary. But you can bet they’ll want a pay raise for the added training, time and responsibility.

It would make more sense to ‘deputize’ one of the flight attendants on every trip. A federal air marshall cost per flight would be enormous, but a security guard flight attendant specifically trained for the job with a minor duty of attending to passengers would be a more modest expense and more feasible to coordinate within each seperate airline. Even arming the FO’s would take the burden off the pilots who are mostly the ‘old timers’ while FO’s are mainly new hires.

From what I’ve heard though, policy dictates the firearm to be unloaded, in a locked safe until such time that it is needed. So it seems to be a moot point in case of a sudden door breach.

My father is an airline pilot, a captain, now retired. He was definately in favor of having a firearm in the cockpit, providing it had ceramic ammo. 9/11 made it clear to him (and most pilots, I imagine) that there can be absolutely no negotiation with hijackers from this point forward. The old rules have to be thrown out, and you have to assume that if they’ve taken control of the passenger cabin, all the passengers are dead if they can’t bring them down.

you have to assume that if they’ve taken control of the passenger cabin, all the passengers are dead if they can’t bring them down.

If they’ve killed/subdued 200+ people already a pistol is going to do how much good? I took a flight a couple of days after the WTC gubbins and was asked by numerous people if I felt afraid. My response then as now was “no”. My reasoning is simple. If a bunch of guys stand up on your plane now and state “we are taking control, sit still and no-one gets hurt” are you gonna think “ok” or “fuck this, lets get the bastards, I’m not being flown into a building without a fight”? The rules changed on that day, you cannot sit there anymore thinking that if you sit still and dont cause trouble you will walk away at the end of it all.

I think they should have a gas system, like the cabbie in Heavy Metal. A fatal mist takes out everyone in the passenger compartments (ok, maybe sleeping gas). A pilot w/gun is just dumb, having experienced plainclothes professionals on board w/gun (ceramic bullets) makes sense.

Unfortunately, nearly the entire alotment of the plainclothes security agents were almost immediatly reassigned to private congressional flights. Great work there, folks. Way to protect America.

Can’t they just have airline personnel take self-defense classes? Heck, they should just replace PE in schools with self-defense. heh

  • Alan