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Mon, Mar 24, 2008

Pilot's Gun Discharges In Cockpit

US Airways Pilot Part Of FFDO Program

A gun legally carried into the cockpit of a US Airways flight by the plane's pilot Sunday accidentally discharged... resulting in no injuries, but leaving several questions.

According to WCNC-6 in Charlotte, NC, the incident occurred Sunday morning onboard US Air Flight 1536, enroute from Denver.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Andrea McCauley said the pilot is part of the TSA's Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) project, which trains pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit as a deterrent to the kind of terrorist acts witnessed on September 11, 2001.

Though supported by a number of pilots and their representative groups, critics of the controversial program have cited the risk of just such an accidental firing as one reason not to arm pilots. The pilot involved in Sunday's incident was recertified in November 2007 to carry a sidearm, McCauley added.

The aircraft carried 124 passengers and five crew onboard when the incident occurred. Damage to the aircraft is unknown at this time; the plane was taken out of service for inspection after landing in Charlotte.

TSA and the Federal Air Marshals Service will also investigate the incident.

FMI: www.usairways.com, www.ffdoa.org

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