"Pilot's gun discharges on US Airways flight"....not good! (merged x 3)

This is a discussion on "Pilot's gun discharges on US Airways flight"....not good! (merged x 3) within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun I'm not in the industry but I would think an aircraft is not airtight and works off of a positive ...

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Thread: "Pilot's gun discharges on US Airways flight"....not good! (merged x 3)

  1. #61
    Member Array rogerswann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun View Post
    I'm not in the industry but I would think an aircraft is not airtight and works off of a positive pressure system. I don't think that a 1/2 hole would affect it because of all the places the pressure could escape. You are in the know, is that a correct assesment?
    You are correct.....the aircraft has outflow valve(s) which represent a large size hole (controllable), until fully closed.

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  3. #62
    Member Array rogerswann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun View Post
    I'm not debating about what damage a bullet hole would do. I'm not in the industry but I would think an aircraft is not airtight and works off of a positive pressure system. I don't think that a 1/2 hole would affect it because of all the places the pressure could escape.
    You are correct about the pressure system. A projectile hitting certain systems could prove to be different.

  4. #63
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    Update with pictures....

    Looks pretty minor to me....

    Photos Show Bullet Damage to Plane
    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Photos show that a shot fired from a US Airways pilot's pistol blasted a small hole through the cockpit wall of a plane that landed in North Carolina.

    The photos obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show a small entry hole in the lower side of the cockpit wall and a small exit hole on the exterior below the cockpit window.

    The AP described the photos and the bullet hole to US Airways spokesman Phil Gee, who said "they sound authentic."

    Airline officials have said the accidental discharge Saturday aboard Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte did not endanger those on board.

    Gee says the pilot has been taken off duty during the investigation by the Transportation Security Administration.
    Attached Images
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  5. #64
    Senior Member Array rangerman2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ragin Cajun View Post
    They just talked about it on ABC news. No details were given other then the bullet exited the side of the aircraft, it did not loose cabin pressure, and neither the rest of the crew or any passengers even noticed. They said it was the co pilot sitting on the left side and not the one flying the plane. I bet he was showing it off.
    shows us how much they know, the captain sits in the left seat and the copilot is the right seat
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  6. #65
    Member Array waketurb007's Avatar
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    Found this on Yahoo:

    "The pistol — a .40-caliber semiautomatic H&K USP — discharged shortly before noon Saturday aboard Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, as the plane was at about 8,000 feet and was approaching to land. Photos obtained by The Associated Press show a small entry hole in the lower side of the cockpit wall and a small exit hole on the exterior below the cockpit window."

    I was under the impression from my contacts that this happened at cruise altitude which was the basis of my previous posts.....That having been said if this information is in fact true, the gun went off during a critical phase of flight. My company SOP's have a "sterile cockpit" policy below 10,000 feet, as do all the airlines. Sterile cockpit means no actions (talking, reading, etc....) unless it is necessary for flight!

    I may have been misguided by my contacts as to the phase of flight that the incident happened. If the report on Yahoo is in fact correct, my opinion is different!

  7. #66
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    Stupid, just plain stupid.......

    The guy either pulled the trigger, was showing off or something got in the trigger guard and caused it to pull.

    Yet another case for "cocked and locked" guns.
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  8. #67
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    edr, we don't know exactly what happened, and I think your attempt to blame the gun is pretty lame. There have been THOUSANDS of NDs with "cocked and locked" guns - it is the operator, not the equipment.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  9. #68
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    UPDATE-Full article

    Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press

    Flight gunfire no sure disaster recipe

    By MITCH WEISS

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The pilot of a US Airways plane may have been mishandling a firearm when it went off in flight, piercing the cockpit wall before the jet landed safely, a federal air marshal said Tuesday.

    Airline officials have said the accidental discharge did not endanger the 124 passengers and five crew members over the weekend. But air safety experts said the hole, visible in photos obtained by The Associated Press, could have caused the plane to rapidly depressurize had it been in a window at a higher altitude.

    All people eligible to carry guns in the cockpit carry the same weapon, the .40-caliber semiautomatic H&K USP.

    "This is an extremely safe and reliable weapon," said Greg Alter of the Federal Air Marshal Service. "It's not going to discharge on its own, is the bottom line."

    The pistol discharged shortly before noon Saturday aboard Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, as the plane was at about 8,000 feet and was approaching to land. The photos show a small entry hole in the lower side of the cockpit wall and a small exit hole on the exterior below the cockpit window.

    The AP described the photos and the bullet hole in the Airbus A319 to US Airways spokesman Phil Gee, who said "they sound authentic."

    "There are two issues: would they (the crew) have enough oxygen to remain alert," said Earl Dowell, an aeronautical engineering professor at Duke University. "If the crew could no longer control the airplane, that would be a big deal. And the rapid loss of pressure might damage the structure itself."

    But both Dowell and Fu-Kuo Chang, a professor of aeronautical engineering at Stanford University, said that airplane design emphasizes safety and that such a blast - even if it knocked out a window in mid-flight, isn't likely to cause the kind of damage that would lead immediately to a crash.

    "If not repaired, it may cause a problem. It could get bigger. For a single bullet, it would not be a factor for the safety of the airplane," Chang said. "If it hit the window, it may be a problem for depressurization. I still don't think it would cause a crash."

    Dowell pointed to a 1988 Aloha Airlines flight in Hawaii in which the roof of the jet ripped off after an explosive decompression at 24,000 feet. A flight attendant was blown out of the plane, but the passengers - many of whom were injured - remained strapped in their seats, and the pilot safely landed the aircraft.

    "If they lost a window, the people near that window would have been substantially uncomfortable," Dowell said. "You probably wouldn't have crashed the airplane. But there could have been some frightened people."

    The gunshot marked the first time a pilot's weapon has been fired on a plane since the flight deck officer program was created following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Alter said. The Transportation Security Administration is investigating how the gun discharged, and Gee says the unidentified pilot has been taken off duty during the probe.

    Pilots in the program undergo 50 hours of training at the federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, N.M. Alter said it appears the pilot of the US Airways flight wasn't following "proper procedures. ... We just don't know exactly what procedure wasn't being followed."

    Since April 2003, about 5,000 flight deck officers - captains or first officers - have gone through the training program and received permission to carry weapons in the cockpit, said Capt. Bob Hesselbein, chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association's National Security Committee. The union represents more than 61,000 pilots at 43 airlines.

    Gee declined to say how many US Airways pilots have graduated from the program and carry guns while on duty, citing security concerns.

    But they all carry the same gun, the high-priced and high-quality H&K USP, which Alter said was specially selected for the program. Gun safety expert Ronald Scott, a ballistics expert who served for 25 years with the Massachusetts State Police, said the gun wouldn't discharge accidentally if dropped or jarred in some way.

    "It's a top-of-the-line model," Scott said. "They're accurate and highly reliable. This is not something that you would just walk into a gun store and buy. And it's also not something that goes off by itself. ... Someone would have to squeeze the trigger."

    The jet will be grounded at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport for several more days as repairs are made. The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday it won't be involved in looking at why the gun went off but will investigate to make sure the plane is safe before it returns to service.

    "We want to make sure there was no structural damage and no systems on board were damaged by the bullet," said FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said. "We want to take a look at the aircraft to make sure it's in an air-worthy condition."
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  10. #69
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    So much for the "secret" pistol.... Wonder what this donkey was doing to shoot a hole in his plane. If there's ever a time you'd think you would be extra cautious...
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  11. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    So much for the "secret" pistol....
    It has been "public" for a long time. Published in many aviation communications. Nothing new about the issue weapon of the FFDO program.

  12. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by waketurb007 View Post
    It has been "public" for a long time. Published in many aviation communications. Nothing new about the issue weapon of the FFDO program.
    Shhh...don't tell some folks around here that.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  13. #72
    Senior Member Array bzdog's Avatar
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    Interesting. Sure looks like Alter is hanging the guy out to dry. My guess is the Air Marshals don't have to have to thread anything through the trigger guard of *their* firearms on the plane.

    Wonder if we will ever find out what happened.

    -john

  14. #73
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    Pilot Now Suspended!

    Pilot suspended after firing gun in cockpit - CNN.com

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A US Airways pilot who accidentally discharged his handgun in the cockpit during a flight has been suspended from the federal program that permits pilots to carry firearms and has been removed from flight duty pending the outcome of an investigation, the Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday.

    The mid-air incident, which occurred at 8,000 feet as the plane approached Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday, was the first in the history of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which has trained thousands of pilots to carry weapons to increase aviation safety.

    TSA declined to give details about how the gun discharged, but the agency is investigating whether the pilot was handling the gun as directed in policies.

    The bullet from the H&K USP .40-caliber gun penetrated the left side of the fuselage but did not hit any crucial wiring or instrumentation, TSA said.

    Greg Alter, a spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service that oversees the program, said a number of studies have made clear that damage from the gun's rounds "would in no way threaten the integrity of the aircraft."

    No one was injured during the flight, which originated in Denver, Colorado. US Airways said in a statement that it removed the aircraft from service and is cooperating with authorities investigating the incident.
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  15. #74
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    "Greg Alter, a spokesman for the Federal Air Marshal Service that oversees the program, said a number of studies have made clear that damage from the gun's rounds "would in no way threaten the integrity of the aircraft."
    What would have happened if the bullet had hit the fuel tank in the belly or on the wing? Or, what would have happened if the bullet had hit one of the fuse panels or displays, which are throughout the cockpit?

    I shudder to think about it!
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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  16. #75
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miklcolt45 View Post
    Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press


    This is not something that you would just walk into a gun store and buy.

    "
    I would think that most gun stores would get upset if you walked out with it without buying it!

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