heavymetal
Posts: 4443
Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 3:37 am

Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 4:38 am

Okay, now that the pilot's union has forwarded their request, somebody knowledgable tell me their thoughts before I make a fool of myself in debate....

Question: If a gun goes off in an airliner at cruise speed and altitude, what is the most likely result?

Please think through:

-Cabin window

-Cockpit window

-Fuselage at a seam...

Is this a BAD idea..guns in the cockpit?
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 5:04 am

Not as bad as you think. It most probably wouldn't pop the seam, it might break the windows though. However with the new sinter bullets, it wouldn't even break a window.

Peter
 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 6:52 am

Hi guys.

I read in a local news paper that the AOPA is considering a new training program for airline pilots that will train them to "fight back" instead of cooperating with highjackers.

Now that it has been made very clear that highjackers could be suicidal terrorists' who wish to use the aircraft as a deadly bomb, instead of wanting the pilots to land safely, (to fullfill their political or financial demands), airline pilots could be trained to defend their cockpit with their axe and to "depressurize" the cabin, in order to suddenly incompacitate the highjackers.

Plus, U.S. president Bush made it very clear during his recent speech to congress, that armed "Air Marshals" will now be present on certain flights.

So...If there will already be guns in the cabin with undercover air marshals...why not in the cockpit? I'm sure that some pilots would want a firearm hidden up front, and some pilots wouldn't. I'm also sure that if the aircraft is to be depresssurized, the pilots would rather it be done with the flip of a switch, not a bullet.

If I was an airline pilot today, after what's happened, I would want a 9mm handgun with 12 rounds in the mag, to protect my passengers and crew. I'd rather pull a trigger (If I had to), than swing an axe. That's my opinion.

Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
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RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 6:58 am

Hello again.

>Pmk, what is a "sinter bullet"? I'm very curious. Is it a bullet that has a plastic head (ball), instead of lead or copper?

Chris
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
heavymetal
Posts: 4443
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RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 7:01 am

I stand by my original post...and question: Is it smart?

What the hell good is a gun if a blown out cockpit window sucks both pilots and bandits out? or are these the type of guns that can be fired easily from a strapped in forward facing position.

Can an explosive decompression caused by a bullet fired by a pilot do the job the terrorists came aboard to do....destroy the airplane?

If the answer is not likely, then perhaps weapons up front are a good idea. If the answer is anything else, maybe it's not...
 
777236ER
Posts: 12213
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2001 7:10 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 7:07 am

Pilot with no or little training with a gun in a situation with 100s of innocent passengers and maybe 2 hijackers with hostages. Enough said.
Your bone's got a little machine
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 7:16 am

The pilot's primary responsiblity is to fly the aircraft not play superhero of the sky. The only SENSIBLE solution is to place an armed and TRAINED sky marshall on the flight and let them deal with the law enforcement issues. Most pilot's have neither the proper training nor judgement to be able to properly draw and control a weapon of any kind in an adrenaline charged situation like these. BAD, BAD, BAD idea. Leave the dirty harry stuff to those who are trained and able to do it properly.
 
airplay
Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:58 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 9:14 am

Twotterwrench,

Well said. I agree 100%. One other issue is that if pilot's were required to carry a firearm, I would guess that some would be out of a job. For instance I would assme that a clean criminal record and perhaps a background check may uncover something that makes a pilot ineligible for the opertion of a firearm.

How can a hole affect an airplane? The possibilities are endless. Imagine if a bullet penetrated some electrical equipment. Or if it hit a control cable. Structural integrity would probably not suffer but there is no guarantee.

Here's a short demonstration about the effects of holes in the fuselage that you can try with a sheet of paper. Start with a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 (or equivalent for our European friends). Grasp each end and pull abruptly several times. You'll find that its hard to tear the paper.

Now make a hole approximately 2 inches in diameter in the center of the paper and repeat the pull test. You'll find that the paper is much easier to pull apart.

The reason? When an airplane pressurizes the fuselage reacts much like a balloon. The metal skins are stretched. The tensile properties of the metal prevent the skins from tearing apart. When a hole exists, there is less material along each axis, therefore less tensile strength.

So how do they accomodate fuselage holes for antennas etc.??

When you make a hole in a fuselage, you have to replace the strength that was was removed. This is down by re-enforcing the hole with another piece of metal commonly known as a "doubler". A doubler surrounds the original hole and translates the force "around" the hole. Of course severl fasteners (like rivets) have to hold the tranfer the force from the skin to the doubler. The rivets are under shearing force. The number and size of the rivets are dependant on the tensile strength which has to be restored.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of a doubler, redo the above demonstration, but before you try to tear the paper with a hole in it, re-enforce the hole by surrounding it with scotch tape. You'll find that most (if not all) of the strength is restored.

So...knowing that can we guess what the effects of a little hole on the fuselage is? Not 100%

 
jsuen
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 2:36 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 12:02 pm

Airplane skins are reenforced to prevent catastrophic failure in the event of a skin tear. Tears are designed to propagate along the skin until they reach a tear strap and stop to prevent exactly the problem Airplay talks about.

Due to manufacturing and inspection problems, Aloha 243 suffered a catastrophic in-flight failure when multiple cracks, due to corrosion and manufacturing problems caused massive disbonding of the skin. The airplane lost, basically, all the structure above the first class section. Due to structure loss, the rear of the plane drooped one meter. The plane landed, and the only fatality was a flight attendent who was sucked out. Of course, I wouldn't try this on any airplane, but is an example of how much a plane can stand.

A single bullet through the skin won't cause decompression. The outflow valves vent more air than a small hole.
 
JG
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:53 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Tue Sep 25, 2001 11:24 pm

I don't care to engage in a discussion of being a "Superhero of the Sky" but I would prefer to be able to defend my life, and by default the lives of any passengers, to be able to return to my family. If that means having weapon superiority even if only as a deterrent, so be it. Personally, I fly airplanes for a living not ego.

On the subject of aircraft damage in the event of weapon discharge. As a reasonably avid shooter I am experienced with the maintenance and use of handguns. It is widely known that ammunition exists that rapidly disintegrates upon hitting a hard target without causing much damage. This same ammunition, upon hitting a soft target tranfers all of its energy to the target (read: no exit wound). I own this type of ammunition for my own home defense weapon.

I don't think that everyone should carry and I am not here to offer any comment on perceived US 2nd Ammendment rights. I will say that it is not a bad idea if the individual receives proper training and maintains proficiency. I will also say that it is naive to expect an existing or future Air Marshall staff to cover just the THOUSANDS of flights that the company for which I work operates everyday...

$.02
JG
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 12:52 am

A "sinter" bullet is made of small lead pellets held together with a binder. It causes MASSIVE flesh wounds, however shooting it against a window the pieces fragment and the energy is spent. It is the perfect solution to this. To all those who think that a pilot is REQUIRED to do this is crazy; it should be an option. I also believe that MOST pilots would be willing to attend a 2 day training course to learn how to use the weapon effectively. My belief is no training no gun in the cockpit, just that simple. It's not a bad idea, sorry gang.

Peter
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 2:05 am

Great, now the pilots have to go to extra training and maintain proficiency. They cry about having to work more than 10 days a month as it is now. Can you imagine how much money ALPA is going to demand if the pilots are "required" to be proficient with firearms as well. As I said before, there is nothing good at all about this idea...BAD,BAD,BAD idea...
 
pmk
Posts: 609
Joined: Wed May 26, 1999 10:07 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 2:36 am

I didn't say I liked the options here, I don't think it should be REQUIRED for pilots to carry a sidearm, it should be optional. If you choose the option you SHOULD be required to have firearm training. What's your solution?

Peter
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 2:44 am

Solution:
1- Pilot flies the airplane.. that's his job...
2- Sky Marshall deals with the bad guy.. that's his job

It's the ONLY solution that makes any sense.
 
airplay
Posts: 3369
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RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:09 am

Jseun

Yah, you're right. I think most of us realize that *most* of the time a gunshot would not result in a catastrophic failure altough there is no guarantee of the extent of flying lead in the fuselage. But wasn't that a neat demonstration?
 Smile

 
airplay
Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:58 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:11 am

One thing nobody has addressed is when the aircaft flys to a country other than the US. Will Canada allow a pilot with a sidearm come in to the country???

 
Tripleseven
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2000 2:19 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:29 am

So many questions to add to Airplay's:

Would pilots flying, say SFO-LHR on UA be allowed to take the siderms away from the airport? I'd think they would have to secure them before leaving the premises.

Would US pilots be only permitted to carry the sidearms when at the airport or aboard a plane? What about concealed?

Would non US based carriers, such as BA become inviting targets if US pilots carry sidearms and British, Canadian etc. don't? With all of the non US based airlines over US and Canadian airspace, how does the FAA solve that problem?

 
Mr Spaceman
Posts: 2723
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:09 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:42 am

Hi guys.

On the TV news today. It was reported that the ALPA has stated, "most of it's members are in favour of the proposal for more secured cockpit doors AND firearms in the cockpit".

Naturally, a quick training course on the use of a sidearm would be nessesary.

Suddenly, things have changed in the world of airlines, and especially that of the airline pilots. This cockpit firearm possibility will be their choice.

It was mentioned above that if 2 highjackers tried to take over an airliner...the undercover sky marshals would take care of the situation, and the flying should be left to the pilots. Sure, in a perfect world. Let me remind you, that of the 4 airliners that were just crashed by terrorists, 3 of those aircraft had 5 terrorists on board, and the fourth had 4 of these maniacs! >>> I agree that the pilots' job "should" be to just fly the aircraft, however, it is quite clear that life in the skies has suddenly changed. A world wide WAR has been declared!

I hope and pray that this will never happen, but, imagine that you're an airline pilot cruising onroute over North America, when suddenly you hear gun shots back in the cabin, between highjackers and sky marshals...and the sky marshals lose the fight. Where do you think the highjackers are going next? That's right. Your cockpit! What are you going to defend yourself with if they make it through the door? Your hand with some skin on it!

If the airline pilots are seriously considering having a gun in their cockpit. Let them. If it makes them feel more safe.

Guys, that's my last input towards this very tricky topic. We all have the right to our own views. Now I would like to continue learning technical info about what make these big beautiful jets fly!

Take Care

Chris  Smile
"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
 
DE727UPS
Posts: 810
Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2000 10:55 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 6:02 am

HA HA...the way Twotter talks about pilots all the time...I'm not surprized he doesn't want us to be armed....
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 6:31 am

Why would I want that? Morons like you have a hard enough time just flying the damn thing...
 
Bill Bob
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 9:54 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 7:56 am

Twotterwrench is always exhibiting a large case of "Sour Grapes" when it comes to the cockpit crews. A frustrated wanna be that never made it.. Poor crybaby.  Smile
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 8:42 am

yep bill, you know me so well. I actually have been flying aircraft since the age of 6. I have experience in 20 different types of aircraft including light turbine twins. I have over 1400 hours, most of it in Alaska (where most pilots on this forum couldn't do it.) I am rated for floats, wheels and skis. I have an external load permit based on demonstrated ability for when I am flying floats. I hold a first class medical because I choose to maintain one. Don't tell me I am a wanna be. I could have flown for a living, but I think that "driving a bus" would take all the fun out of it. Fact is, the bigger the airplane is the easier it is to fly. (any honest pilot will tell you this.) I fly as often as I like to and go where I want to go when I want to go there. I am a mechanic by choice becuase I enjoy the technical challenge and the rewards that go with it. So, next time, little boy, ask a little about me before you go trashing me, or better yet, just shut the fuck up.
 
Bill Bob
Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2001 9:54 pm

Twotterwrench

Wed Sep 26, 2001 9:00 am

You make me laugh, first of all if you put any credence in what the profile says about me or anyone else I truly feel sorry for your sorry ass. I'm not impressed with your flying and 1400 hours would not make a pimple on the ass of most airline first Officers. In fact it would not get you through the door. Hope you don't get a sore arm trying to pat yourself on the back. You complain about ALPA, bet you do not belong to IAM either. Suggest you go to bed and get up on the other side tomorrow.  Smile
 
airplay
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Re: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 10:46 am

Fights between pilots, especially between left and right seat are legendary. We can't even have a discussion in this forum without pilots almost coming to blows (verbally).

Imagine having a gun in the cockpit in the heat of the moment......


 
JETPILOT
Posts: 3094
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 6:40 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 1:53 pm

Twotterwrench......good to see you havent changed. Just as happy as always.

 Big thumbs up

(You'll have to use your imagination on this one....I wasn't able to find the little blue f*cker with the finger up I was thinking of)

JET
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

Jetpilot

Wed Sep 26, 2001 3:29 pm

Missed you too jet...
 
Seseal
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2000 2:52 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 5:44 pm

Hi there!

Well, good point for discussion.

Anyway the Devil has a variety of scenarios to play. Nobody will predict every possible way a catastrophe may develop. Everything from pure physics to psychology can be the fatal factor.

Years ago here in Russia we had flyalong air marshals armed with guns. Here is what happened onboard a doomed Tu-104 jet liner over Siberia back to 60s. There was a hijacking with a trivial ultimatum (quite "peaceful" one you may consider it after what happened in the States) initiated by a bandit. The undercover air marshal was sitting a few rows behind the bandit and managed to get closer unnoticed. Everything was done quiet and "professional"… the bad man was killed with a shot to the back of his head. The only thing the air marshal could not see from his site…a powerful grenade the bandit grasped in a hand. The very moment the bullet shocked his brain the fingers jerked and the trigger mechanism exploded the bomb. Nobody survived…..

What if there had been nobody onboard with a gun? Many lives could have been saved.

Seseal
 
JG
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:53 am

Re: Bullets In The Airplane

Wed Sep 26, 2001 11:24 pm

With all the reality and talk of death lately, it is nice to see some life back in this forum... welcome back to some that I have not read for a while.

Now, all you nay sayers are a bunch of liberals with the idealism associated with youth... thinking that a gun toting pilot's only goal will be to cap somebody... only if the rest of the passengers do not bum rush and crush the highjacker's skull with coke cans first.

 Smile
 
Guest

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Thu Sep 27, 2001 5:58 am

I am a gunner's mate in the navy and have some knowledge concerning this. No doubt a regular supersonic, full metal jacket bullet would be kinda dangerious in an airplane at altitude. Subsonic, fragmentating ammunition would be my recommendation. The round would have to have an optimum 12inches of penetration for stopping power and stay inside the chest cavity. No in and outs. This will be hard to accomplish with subsonic ammo though.
 
Guest

Future Commercial Pilot?

Thu Sep 27, 2001 6:08 am

Soon I will be in position to attend various types of flight training programs. I hold a pvt now and considering a change of careers in light of what happened. My fear isn't of being hijacked but of being employed. Will airline hiring ever return to the way it was or should I get out?
 
airplay
Posts: 3369
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:58 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Thu Sep 27, 2001 9:04 am

Here comes the "Liberal" label. It was only a matter of time. It comes out whenever guns are discussed.

It's a convenient way of labeling anyone opposed to anything.

It's usually used by someone who has no reasonable alternative.
 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Thu Sep 27, 2001 10:43 am

Hey, i am no liberal and no fan of gun control. I believe everyone should have has many guns as they would personally like to have. I just don't think they have any place in the cockpit in the hands of untrained, unprepared pilots. That's all...
 
JG
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:53 am

RE: Airplay

Thu Sep 27, 2001 10:47 am

Oh, please lighten up... I was just trying to hook someone and it happened to be you. Have a good night, this thread has pretty much run its course.
 Smile
 
JG
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 1:53 am

RE: Twotterwrench

Thu Sep 27, 2001 10:54 am

Wow, to that I agree. UNtrained and UNprepared is a problem and not what I would endorse.

We may differ in that I do support packing heat when trained and proficient. Nite all, we have beat this to death.
 
Metwrench
Posts: 715
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2001 11:25 am

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Thu Sep 27, 2001 1:25 pm

Nobody has addressed Heavymetel's original question.

Gunshot through a cabin window? Most cabin windows are made from stressed acryilic plastic. This material is very brittle and would likely suffer a complete failure if hit by a bullet. Rapid decompression would likely occur.

Gunshot through a cockpit window? These windows are usually made up of laminated sheets of glass bonded together at manufacture by adhesives cured in an autoclave, (oven), and under a vacuum. A gunshot would likely make a hole, fracture the rest of the window rendering it useless to see through but it would likely stay intact. Depressurization would occur but maintainable.

Gunshot through a fuselage seam? Same result as the cockpit window.

What was mentioned earlier was the damage that could occur if some vital component was damaged.

If the flight crews were protected by a secure door it is possible to depressurize the aircraft and put everyone to sleep, if they are high enough and can keep their oxygen flowing. Of course everyone would wake up when the aircraft decended in altitude. So what to do then?

How about training flight attendants in martial arts, they could stomp about the cabin and kick the shit of anybody that pissed them off. That would also take care of "Air Rage".

You know they want to, hell, they don't even like handing peanuts anymore.

 
fr8tdog
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2000 4:25 pm

RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Thu Sep 27, 2001 2:11 pm

I have seen what a 44mag does to a cockpit side window. All 5 rounds only went about 3/4 through the used side screen. This was done for fun by some of our mechs. just to see what would happen.

P.S. this window was not on the airplane.
 
heavymetal
Posts: 4443
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RE: Bullets In The Airplane

Fri Sep 28, 2001 3:08 am

Excellent posts, Metwrench and Fr8tdog....thanks for some detail rather than emotion.

My own personal view is simple. The weakest link right now in the flight process is the security checkpoints and access to the ramp.

I sympathize with pilots who feel being loaded for bear up front could negate potential onboard disaster scenarios. I'm not 100 percent sure it's a bad idea, that's why I asked the original question. To be blunt, I AM about 90 percent sure it's a bad idea.

One thing I would point out...the simultaneous hijacking of four airliners on 9/11 had one thing in common...the passengers and crew all believed that their assailants had a survival instinct. I think they trusted the hijackers reported assurances that everything would be all right. Only those aboard Flight 93 were alerted to the hijackers true intentions.

Now, as a result of 9/11, we as passengers know that a fight from the get go might be the preffered option. If the checkpoints can keep the guns and explosives from the airplane, I think a hundred self preservation inclined passengers can deal with even 4 or 5 knife wielders. In other words, if the cabin occupants realize that the hijackers want to kill them all, I dont think the terrorists will even get a chance to get into the cockpit, gun or no gun.

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