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G200Pilot123
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Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Sun Jul 11, 2021 9:16 pm

Ages ago (before the FAMS) a lot of pilots used to carry firearms to prevent hijackings (I understand that some in the US still do), is there any other country in the world where this is still the case or is the US unique in that sense?
 
REMDUCK
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Mon Jul 12, 2021 12:21 am

There was an article published a few years ago "Colts In The Cockpit: Arming Pilots—From Airmail To Commercial Aviation" written by by Anthony Vanderlinden. The article is a good history of armed pilots in the United States, and mentions United having purchased and issued some handguns in the 1930s.
 
N1120A
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:06 pm

The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:45 pm

Slightly OT, KLM used to have rifles in the survival gear of their polar flights. Taking it a few steps further, Soviet cosmonauts had, I believe, sawed off shotguns in the capsule Incase they landed in the wilderness of Siberia and it took longer than expected to be picked up.
 
CFWAD
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 5:48 pm

I remember after 9/11 this became a much larger issue in the U.S. specifically. There was one flight that the captain inadvertently (?) discharged and it actually protruded the fuselage while in the flight deck.

Curious how many pilots were armed or took the necessary courses after 9/11. That and armed agents were very prevalent in the post-9/11 days for sometime.
 
USAirALB
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 6:15 pm

I seem to recall reading that either Finnair or SAS (or both) carried “enhanced” Arctic survival equipment on board their long-haul aircraft. I can’t remember what specifically is carried or where I read this (I know survival suits for everyone was one piece of equipment) but the source hinted that shot guns were also carried on board.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 6:41 pm

Are there any country other than the US that ever did this ? Talking about guns for "defense", not survival gear.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 7:58 pm

TWA772LR wrote:
Slightly OT, KLM used to have rifles in the survival gear of their polar flights. Taking it a few steps further, Soviet cosmonauts had, I believe, sawed off shotguns in the capsule Incase they landed in the wilderness of Siberia and it took longer than expected to be picked up.

Well, after the crew of Voskhod-2 had to trek, for several days, to a recovery site, via dense forests, having firearms does make eminent sense:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voskhod_2#Crew_Recovery
Yes, they were supported with supplies, and eventually rescue crews, dropped from helos. Still, having to trek for days through snow (instead of a hero's welcome with a red carpet), is not immediately what you expect, when you perform world's first spacewalk.

Aesma wrote:
Are there any country other than the US that ever did this ? Talking about guns for "defense", not survival gear.

In 1970s-80s, after a slew of hijackings, Aeroflot/MGA (Ministry of Civil Aviation of USSR) established a security protocol.
Among items:
1) armored cockpit bulkhead/door
2) cockpit door locked in flight
3) KVS (captain of the air craft) is armed
4) in case of takeover, door is NOT to be opened, regardless the circumstances. Basically, even ritual murder of cabin occupants is not a sufficient reason for cockpit crew to open the door

Most of that protocol was ditched in 1990's, as "eminently inhumane" communist nonsense. Citing Western fashion of "cockpit crew shares the fate of folks in the cabin" as the way to go.

After 9/11, old Soviet protocol suddenly seemed eminently sensible, whereas "cockpit crew shares the fate of folks in the cabin" mantra -- allowing hijackers to enter the cockpit -- seemed like an obvious bunch of hogwash...
 
bigb
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 8:19 pm

The US has a FFDO program. It seems to be a bigger hassle than it is really worth. I’ve flown with guys who were armed and it seemed like there was just too much to do just to be able to carry onboard.
 
11C
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 11:26 pm

N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


Although I can see why you may feel this way, having a variety of countermeasures is probably a good idea. The 9/11 attacks were not foreseen, and the simplicity of the plan made it effective. Who knows what plan some weirdo may come up with in the future.
 
26point2
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 11:30 pm

In 20 years has the US FFDO program ever been credited with saving the day? Seems like more of a liability than a practical thing.
 
N1120A
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Aug 25, 2021 11:50 pm

11C wrote:
N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


Although I can see why you may feel this way, having a variety of countermeasures is probably a good idea. The 9/11 attacks were not foreseen, and the simplicity of the plan made it effective. Who knows what plan some weirdo may come up with in the future.


20 years later, are we still pretending that? What if an FFDO ended up like Andreas Lubitz, and ended up shooting their fellow pilot and crashing the airplane? Or simply got macho with someone on their layover? Or was cleaning their gun in their room and it went off? Unlikely, right? Sure, but probably MORE likely than someone actually being able to hijack the now locked and hardened flight deck doors on airplanes full of people who are more than happy to duct tape some dip who doesn't want to comply with mask rules to a chair, let alone what they'll do to any "weirdo" who decides to attempt the futile behavior of mid-flight hijacking.

To answer one poster - FFDO's have intervened in exactly zero hijackings since 9/11. Not to mention the only guy the FAM's have "stopped" was a mentally ill senior citizen at MIA...
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:51 am

USAirALB wrote:
I seem to recall reading that either Finnair or SAS (or both) carried “enhanced” Arctic survival equipment on board their long-haul aircraft. I can’t remember what specifically is carried or where I read this (I know survival suits for everyone was one piece of equipment) but the source hinted that shot guns were also carried on board.


SAS does carry survival suits for everyone, and a lot of different survival gear, potable water and so on.

(Not accessible from the passenger cabin).
 
joeycapps
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 2:30 am

CFWAD wrote:
I remember after 9/11 this became a much larger issue in the U.S. specifically. There was one flight that the captain inadvertently (?) discharged and it actually protruded the fuselage while in the flight deck.


Don't quote me on this, but I seem to remember (from memory) that it was a USAirways A3--, and what made it even worse was that the discharge occurred on final descent, when the firearm should have been locked away because - duh, you're on final.

But by all means, correct me, this is from memory and since I'm at work, I don't have time to deepdive and confirm. That, or I've got a crazy imagination LOL.
 
HJM
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 3:32 am

I recall KE arriving to YVR had a procedure whereby a weapon carried onboard was taken for safekeeping until departure.
 
kiowa
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:17 am

N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


I would argue that the Air Marshalls are a waste and that the FFDO program is a much better “bang for the buck”
 
Shrewfly
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:18 am

TWA772LR wrote:
Taking it a few steps further, Soviet cosmonauts had, I believe, sawed off shotguns in the capsule Incase they landed in the wilderness of Siberia and it took longer than expected to be picked up.


Slightly off topic. But I saw the Russian capsule that took UK astronaut TIm Peake to the ISS. On the side of it, in English and Russian, is written many times "Human Cosmonauts on board" in both Russian and English

According to the exhibitors, this is a hangover from the days of the space race, when the fear was that if the capsule crashlanded somewhere in remote Russia, off-grid locals might open it up and attack them as aliens. So those weapons might not have been just for protection from bears or for hunting!
 
CFWAD
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:09 am

Hindsight is always 20/20 but would you not think the application of a taser or even a bb-gun style weapon would be just slightly safer onboard an aircraft for many reasons - including the inability to permanently incapacitate a crew member. Goes to show how crazed we all were in those months and few years after the day.
 
Max Q
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 7:01 am

JetBuddy wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
I seem to recall reading that either Finnair or SAS (or both) carried “enhanced” Arctic survival equipment on board their long-haul aircraft. I can’t remember what specifically is carried or where I read this (I know survival suits for everyone was one piece of equipment) but the source hinted that shot guns were also carried on board.


SAS does carry survival suits for everyone, and a lot of different survival gear, potable water and so on.

(Not accessible from the passenger cabin).



If it’s not accessible from the passenger cabin what’s the point of carrying it ?!
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:19 pm

N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


Upon what do you base this threat assessment?
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:21 pm

kiowa wrote:
N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


I would argue that the Air Marshalls are a waste and that the FFDO program is a much better “bang for the buck”


Its budget dust in the TSA/DHS budget, let alone the larger federal budget. The cost is essentially a small training and administrative cohort, weapons and ammo.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:23 pm

joeycapps wrote:
CFWAD wrote:
I remember after 9/11 this became a much larger issue in the U.S. specifically. There was one flight that the captain inadvertently (?) discharged and it actually protruded the fuselage while in the flight deck.


Don't quote me on this, but I seem to remember (from memory) that it was a USAirways A3--, and what made it even worse was that the discharge occurred on final descent, when the firearm should have been locked away because - duh, you're on final.

But by all means, correct me, this is from memory and since I'm at work, I don't have time to deepdive and confirm. That, or I've got a crazy imagination LOL.


As memory served it occurred at the gate, and had much to do with the holster and weapons retention requirements, which, without going into detail were at the time Byzantine and totally overthought.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 1:32 pm

N1120A wrote:
11C wrote:
N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


Although I can see why you may feel this way, having a variety of countermeasures is probably a good idea. The 9/11 attacks were not foreseen, and the simplicity of the plan made it effective. Who knows what plan some weirdo may come up with in the future.


20 years later, are we still pretending that? What if an FFDO ended up like Andreas Lubitz, and ended up shooting their fellow pilot and crashing the airplane? Or simply got macho with someone on their layover? Or was cleaning their gun in their room and it went off? Unlikely, right? Sure, but probably MORE likely than someone actually being able to hijack the now locked and hardened flight deck doors on airplanes full of people who are more than happy to duct tape some dip who doesn't want to comply with mask rules to a chair, let alone what they'll do to any "weirdo" who decides to attempt the futile behavior of mid-flight hijacking.

To answer one poster - FFDO's have intervened in exactly zero hijackings since 9/11. Not to mention the only guy the FAM's have "stopped" was a mentally ill senior citizen at MIA...


Again, without going into the details of the program, metric of the number of hijackings stopped is next to bogus to purposely obtuse. The better question is the number of aircraft since 9/11 that have been commandeered into weapons, which is zero, and the cumulative deterrent effect of screening, background checks, doors, heightened passenger awareness, increased numbers of FFDO/FAMS, and other non-public security measures.

Armed individuals fly in the US all of the time, and to my knowledge a far number of foreign countries employ air marshals.

The hypotheticals you suggest have been negated by two decades of data at the point, and the record of firearms mishaps/issues among FFDO, while not zero is well below the average of armed federal officers.

Ultimately, to the point of a deranged crewmember, the insider threat is always the most dangerous. The likelihood of such a person subjecting themselves to the added scrutiny of the FFDO is pretty remote, among other safeguards.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 3:25 pm

Max Q wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
USAirALB wrote:
I seem to recall reading that either Finnair or SAS (or both) carried “enhanced” Arctic survival equipment on board their long-haul aircraft. I can’t remember what specifically is carried or where I read this (I know survival suits for everyone was one piece of equipment) but the source hinted that shot guns were also carried on board.


SAS does carry survival suits for everyone, and a lot of different survival gear, potable water and so on.

(Not accessible from the passenger cabin).



If it’s not accessible from the passenger cabin what’s the point of carrying it ?!


You don't need it unless you've crash landed somewhere. That's the point. The survival suits are for cold weather protection.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Thu Aug 26, 2021 3:29 pm

Shrewfly wrote:
TWA772LR wrote:
Taking it a few steps further, Soviet cosmonauts had, I believe, sawed off shotguns in the capsule Incase they landed in the wilderness of Siberia and it took longer than expected to be picked up.


Slightly off topic. But I saw the Russian capsule that took UK astronaut TIm Peake to the ISS. On the side of it, in English and Russian, is written many times "Human Cosmonauts on board" in both Russian and English

According to the exhibitors, this is a hangover from the days of the space race, when the fear was that if the capsule crashlanded somewhere in remote Russia, off-grid locals might open it up and attack them as aliens. So those weapons might not have been just for protection from bears or for hunting!

Imagine if they landed on North Sentinel Island!
 
Max Q
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 8:21 am

JetBuddy wrote:
Max Q wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:

SAS does carry survival suits for everyone, and a lot of different survival gear, potable water and so on.

(Not accessible from the passenger cabin).



If it’s not accessible from the passenger cabin what’s the point of carrying it ?!


You don't need it unless you've crash landed somewhere. That's the point. The survival suits are for cold weather protection.



Yes that’s why it’s called survival equipment, so where is it stored ?



If you’ve crash landed somewhere and it’s in the cargo compartment for example you’re out of luck, you’re probably not going to get to be able to get to it when you need it most


That’s my point
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 2:38 pm

Max Q wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
Max Q wrote:


If it’s not accessible from the passenger cabin what’s the point of carrying it ?!


You don't need it unless you've crash landed somewhere. That's the point. The survival suits are for cold weather protection.



Yes that’s why it’s called survival equipment, so where is it stored ?



If you’ve crash landed somewhere and it’s in the cargo compartment for example you’re out of luck, you’re probably not going to get to be able to get to it when you need it most


That’s my point


I can't tell you where it is. That's the point.
 
FlapOperator
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 3:19 pm

To be honest, if there is a case where survival equipment is just gas you wish you had, imagine the utility of a shotgun, axe and fire starting kit to the average first class passenger from Boston or European flight attendant. I know there are regulatory compliance requirements, bureaucratic inertia, etc. But its the extreme of fantasy to think that the majority of people are going to crack open the survival kit and play some combination of Paul Bunyan and Annie Oakley.

The time to learn those skills was yesterday when you are in a survival situation, and the amount of actual survival training the vast majority of people receive is next to zero.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 5:07 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
To be honest, if there is a case where survival equipment is just gas you wish you had, imagine the utility of a shotgun, axe and fire starting kit to the average first class passenger from Boston or European flight attendant. I know there are regulatory compliance requirements, bureaucratic inertia, etc. But its the extreme of fantasy to think that the majority of people are going to crack open the survival kit and play some combination of Paul Bunyan and Annie Oakley.

The time to learn those skills was yesterday when you are in a survival situation, and the amount of actual survival training the vast majority of people receive is next to zero.

Well, I knew nothing about SAS survival kit aboard their planes, before reading this thread... But if it's all true, wouldn't you think the airline, equipping their airplanes with northern survival kits, would at least train their crews in using them? I mean, you go through all the trouble of storing the stuff aboard, and hauling it around, for the expected benefit of those onboard... Maybe at least some of those, onboard, would be prepared to make benefit of all those things?
 
joeycapps
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 5:09 pm

Yes, it indeed happened on approach. As someone who owns firearms, I will say that lack of training and experience using them can be quite dangerous, especially in such a confined and pressurized environment. Much to my amazement, I was actually remembering some of the details correctly... here's the article of the USAirways pilot that had a round fire through the cockpit on approach. Very unfortunate.

Image

Article: https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna23819887

I can't seem to find the pilot's name, and I am curious as to what repercussions (if any) he faced after the incident. Accidents happen, for sure, but I'm sure a lot of details were left out off of the presses.
 
Newark727
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 6:20 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zJP89orlbc

Apparently Eastern Airlines considered issuing a revolver to cockpit crews with special low-penetration ammunition to prevent hijackings, but dropped the idea. If you're into firearms generally, this guy's channel is worth a look - very esoteric stuff, I found it fascinating.
 
kiowa
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 6:48 pm

FlapOperator wrote:
kiowa wrote:
N1120A wrote:
The US has the FFDO program, which is completely superfluous and unnecessary, but there is a fairly sizeable minority of pilots in the US flying around armed.


I would argue that the Air Marshalls are a waste and that the FFDO program is a much better “bang for the buck”


Its budget dust in the TSA/DHS budget, let alone the larger federal budget. The cost is essentially a small training and administrative cohort, weapons and ammo.


I believe you are talking about the FFDO budget. If so, I agree. The TSA/DHS budget however, needs trimming like most of the government empires.
 
Max Q
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 10:41 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
Max Q wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:

You don't need it unless you've crash landed somewhere. That's the point. The survival suits are for cold weather protection.



Yes that’s why it’s called survival equipment, so where is it stored ?



If you’ve crash landed somewhere and it’s in the cargo compartment for example you’re out of luck, you’re probably not going to get to be able to get to it when you need it most


That’s my point


I can't tell you where it is. That's the point.



Well, if you find out let us all know
 
mga707
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Fri Aug 27, 2021 10:51 pm

G200Pilot123 wrote:
Ages ago (before the FAMS) a lot of pilots used to carry firearms to prevent hijackings (I understand that some in the US still do), is there any other country in the world where this is still the case or is the US unique in that sense?


Not sure how far back you mean by 'ages ago' but the original reason that commercial pilots, at least in the US, were routinely armed had only a slight connection to hijacking. It was because they were the 'Guardians of the Air Mail'.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:18 pm

With the trend of bad behavior onboard flights, has there ever been a case where an air marshal intervened? I recall stories of off duty law enforcement getting involved but not air marshals.

Regarding firearms onboard, companies (Byrna is one) have developed a series of non-lethal hand guns (air powered) which fire a slug or a pepper ball. Not sure thats the answer but I wonder if it's considered as an option.
 
CX747
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:30 am

Stood at work late last week as a memorial of those who gave all in regards to 9/11 was unveiled.

We stand a little more than 20 years since that attack. We have a program that allows pilots to carry a sidearm for US flagged carriers. In that time, we have zero incursions and only 1 reported negligent discharge. SOLD

We have an Air Marshal program that since its inception has kept the skies safe. SOLD

Two programs that are successful and we want to scrap them or denigrate their existence? Two sets of people (pilots and FAMS) wanting to add a layer of security that doesn't hurt anyone. In the overall bureaucratic nightmare that can be the GOV, those two subsets seem to be very small in cost and BIG on INSURANCE. Pretty sure 3000+ people and their families wish that someone onboard the 3 jets hijacked by maniacs on 9/11, had a 9MM or 45ACP on their hip to answer the call if necessary.
 
casperCA
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:45 am

MohawkWeekend wrote:
With the trend of bad behavior onboard flights, has there ever been a case where an air marshal intervened? I recall stories of off duty law enforcement getting involved but not air marshals.

Regarding firearms onboard, companies (Byrna is one) have developed a series of non-lethal hand guns (air powered) which fire a slug or a pepper ball. Not sure thats the answer but I wonder if it's considered as an option.


In addition to not arming pilots I don't think many countries have an apatite for armed law enforcement.

In the case of Canada it has been limited to two very specific cases:
- The RCMP (similar to what you call the FBI in the US) has specially trained officers on certain flights. This came into existing just after 9/11 as it was a condition on Air Canada flights to DCA imposed by the US. I don't know if it has ever expanded beyond that one route or not.
- The Canadian Air Force operates VIP aircraft for the PM, GG etc. They are protected by Military Police while on those aircraft.

I think the Tokyo Convention and a host of others governs what they can do as law enforcement on an international flight.
 
casperCA
Posts: 163
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Re: Are there any countries where pilots still carry firearms?

Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:46 am

casperCA wrote:
MohawkWeekend wrote:
With the trend of bad behavior onboard flights, has there ever been a case where an air marshal intervened? I recall stories of off duty law enforcement getting involved but not air marshals.

Regarding firearms onboard, companies (Byrna is one) have developed a series of non-lethal hand guns (air powered) which fire a slug or a pepper ball. Not sure thats the answer but I wonder if it's considered as an option.


In addition to not arming pilots I don't think many countries have an apatite for armed law enforcement on flights.

In the case of Canada it has been limited to two very specific cases:
- The RCMP (similar to what you call the FBI in the US) has specially trained officers on certain flights. This came into existing just after 9/11 as it was a condition on Air Canada flights to DCA imposed by the US. I don't know if it has ever expanded beyond that one route or not.
- The Canadian Air Force operates VIP aircraft for the PM, GG etc. They are protected by Military Police while on those aircraft.

I think the Tokyo Convention and a host of others governs what they can do as law enforcement on an international flight.

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