Posts: 1546
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2002 8:18 am

United Weighing Merits Of Pilots With Stun Guns

Mon Nov 12, 2001 5:05 pm

Apologies if it has been discussed before, I read this very recently.

Anyways, UA seems to be the first major airline to seriously consider stun guns (Mesa was the first, I think), as a first step, while the issue of actual guns is still being fiercely debated.

What do people here think, as pilots, passengers, etc?



United Airlines said Friday it is one of several airlines considering arming its pilots with stun guns, a weapon that can deliver a formidable jolt of electricity that can incapacitate an aggressor.

"It's something we're looking at, and talking with our pilots union about," said Chris Nardella, a spokeswoman for the company, based in Elk Grove Township north of Chicago. The airline also is exploring new training for its flight attendants, she said.

"Hopefully we'll be able to announce training procedures soon for flight attendants to address their issues," Nardella said. The flight attendants union has been demanding that airlines do something to increase its members' security.

A Federal Aviation Administration rule change would be necessary before stun guns could be allowed on board. The FAA prohibits all dangerous weapons on commercial airliners other than those carried by air marshals.

United's pilots, who anticipate an announcement from the company endorsing stun gun use soon, would join a small but growing number of airlines that are considering the devices, or, like Mesa Airlines three weeks ago, already have begun work on a training course in anticipation of FAA approval.

On Thursday, Indianapolis-based American Trans Air announced it was exploring whether to equip its pilots with the weapons and had contacted several manufacturers.

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents United's pilots, as well as other airlines', proposed arming pilots with firearms. But the air carrier industry's trade group, the Air Transport Association, opposed the idea.

Pilots welcomed United's openness to arming them with the devices.

"It's a good first step," said Capt. Herb Hunter, a United pilot and ALPA representative.

Copyright © 2001, Chicago Tribune