Mon, Apr 21, 2003
First 44 Graduate Firearms/Combat Training
You'll probably never know it, but the next time
you step onto a commercial flight, the guy driving may be packing
heat. Saturday, the first 44 commercial pilots graduated from a
special training academy in Glynco (GA), versed in the use of guns
in the cockpit.
"I need to defend myself and my aircraft," a female pilot told
the Associated Press during a break from practicing how to disarm a
terrorist in close quarters. No one taking the course is allowed to
give reporters their names or airline affiliations.
Capt. Fred Bates, an American Airlines pilot, member of the
Allied Pilots Association (APA) and a driving force behind getting
guns into cockpits, said eventually, about 30,000 pilots - one in
three - could be armed inflight.
Some pilots hate the idea of the additional responsibility for a
firearm inflight. Some see it as more of a public relations move
than an actual safety enhancement. Still others aren't thrilled
about the idea of carrying their .40 caliber pistols and ammo in a
locked box, which can only be opened in the cockpit.
But a poll last year shows 70-percent of flight crew members
asked favor the idea - especially when they consider their aircraft
and passengers could be targeted by terrorists for another round of
September 11th style attacks.
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