Pilot's Gun Goes Off During Landing

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mactastic, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #1
    Link'd...
    Now, my understanding is that it is exceedingly difficult for a modern handgun to simply discharge for no reason. So what the hell was going on in that cockpit? :eek:
     
  2. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #2
    It's not unheard of though. The pilots (just like police, etc) keep a bullet in the chamber so their weapon is always ready to go. I don't know exactly how it went off, but it can happen.
     
  3. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #3
    ...Depends on the gun, but generally speaking a modern semi-auto handgun or double action revolver is very safe - other than with a trigger pull it is VERY hard to discharge the weapon, assuming it's in proper working order.

    One exception is the popular Colt 1911. Because almost all 1911-type pistols are single action, it is often carried "cocked and locked", with the hammer back in the fully cocked position, and I think it would be easier for it to go off if mishandled. Still, if the safety was engaged it should not fire even if dropped.

    Without any further info we're just speculating, but if you are practicing proper carry technique and not fooling around an accidental discharge is extremely unlikely.
     
  4. Gelfin macrumors 68020

    Gelfin

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    #4
    Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking:
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

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    #5
    Why has the pilot got a gun on the plane in the first place, what if it went off at 39000 feet?
     
  6. Aea macrumors 6502a

    Aea

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    #6
    .
     
  7. Krafty macrumors 601

    Krafty

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    #7
    Then, whats the big deal?
     
  8. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #8
    Because that is obviously untrue.
     
  9. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

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    #9
    Well there is a big bullet proof firewall between the captain and the passengers. So it was not directly endangering anyone. But the bullet taking out a vital system and indirectly endangering the passengers, that is true.

    Thats what the safety is for!!! But it happens to the best of us.
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #10
    My understanding is that written procedures require that the handgun be carried onto and from the plane in an unloaded condition.

    So, enter plane, load handgun. At some point before exiting plane, unload handgun.

    For a semi-auto, dropping the magazine is no problem. If one's hand slips when racking the slide to eject the chambered cartridge, and if one is foolish enough to have one's finger on or near the trigger, an Oops! is possible. Rare, but possible. Hasn't happened to me in over a half-cenury of messing with pistols, knock on wood.

    Error in judgement to unload while in flight, IMO. Too much chance of some sort of distraction, especially after, e.g., contacting Approach Control.

    In flight? Again, foolish. Guns are not toys, for playing "Show and Tell".

    All this is just speculation, of course. Dunno what was actually going on at the time...

    'Rat
     
  11. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #11
    This is a classic urban legend - while it is a bad idea to use firearms in a pressurized cabin, a handgun-caliber hole (say less than 13mm) in an aircraft should not cause an explosive decompression. You need a much larger hole for that to happen, like a hatch opening - or a major metal fatigue failure.

    Generally speaking, the risks of carrying a handgun on a plane are limited to wounds inflicted by the weapon itself, either directly or from a ricochet. A hole in the aircraft could result in a slow pressure leak but the crew could reduce altitude long before it became a problem.
     
  12. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #12
    A half-inch hole in the skin? Wad up a piece of Kleenex and stuff it in the hole. If ya just gotta be neat, trim with pocketknife and slap a BandAid on it. Oops, forgot. Pocket knives not allowed. :D:D:D

    Erasehead, until somewhere in the 1970s or later, it was mandatory that pilots be armed on any airplane carrying the US Mail.

    Shame it wasn't still the law some nearly-seven years ago.

    'Rat
     
  13. lofight macrumors 68000

    lofight

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    #13
    :p

    Ladies and gentleman, this is the policeman speaking:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    I didn't know that...it seems to me that having the crew load and unload every time they make a flight is creating an extra step where something like this could happen, since while in the aircraft the crew has to worry about flying...

    I think it would be safer if they could board the aircraft with the weapon loaded and holstered - that way they would never have to even touch it unless circumstances called.
     
  15. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    #15
    Making the skies safer, of course!

    Just like a handgun owned for 'protection' is seven times more likely to injure the owner, friends and family than protect the owner from a criminal.

    O yah, I forgot - it's not guns that hurt people it's &^#ing stupid people who hurt people.
     
  16. J@ffa macrumors 6502a

    J@ffa

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    #16
    They just posted a transcript of the cockpit recording:

     
  17. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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  18. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #18
    Sounds like he was fooling around with it in-flight, which I'm sure is against the rules.
     
  19. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #19
    It's pretty laughable that somebody would actually say such an asinine thing. I guess Alter's definition of "endanger" really means "a bullet entered a passenger" or "a bullet caused the aircraft to crash".

    If the aircraft was on finals, I would say that is one of the worst possible times for a gun to discharge in a cockpit. This was a dangerous situation no matter how you look at it.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #20
    The winner! :)

    Seriously, I've always been troubled by the new rules allowing pilots to carry weapons, even with the strict training required. Being a sky sheriff just never seemed to fit within the primary duties of a pilot, but they were so overwhelming in favor of allowing this after 9/11, it was difficult to argue the point. Maybe now. Everybody on that airplane is just plain lucky.
     
  21. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #21
    The slow pressure leak would of course be fatal in the middle of the ocean.

    Even though aircraft have redundant systems, the cockpit is a really bad place to fire a gun. Once again, if any of those systems were disabled in an area without an airport, it could well be fatal for all involved.
     
  22. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #22
    A slow pressure leak would only be fatal if they didn't reduce altitude. Even in the middle of the ocean a properly fueled aircraft should be able to reduce altitude and divert to make an emergency landing. There is more of a danger of someone being shot or a critical control system being damaged than a catastrophic loss of pressure. I'm not saying a discharge isn't dangerous; I'm saying that it won't cause an explosive decompression. Shooting up the cockpit may very well damage control systems (though the cockpit does have dual redundant physical controls) so of course that is a dangerous circumstance.

    Like I said before, if a pilot is carrying a gun, it would be much safer for him to bring it on the plane loaded and holstered so he doesn't have to touch it. Once there a discharge is less likely than a plane crash due to a mechanical malfunction of the aircraft itself.

    I personally think that a pilot should be flying the plane, period. If there is a perceived need for armed law-enforcement on a plane than use air marshals...but the pilot should not be tasked with that sort of thing. Worst case, they could put an air marshal in the cockpit or have a steward/stewardess who is a trained air marshal.

    Pilots already have a demanding job in flying the plane - they should not be doubling as air marshals.
     
  23. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #23
    CanadaRAM, "Just like a handgun owned for 'protection' is seven times more likely to injure the owner, friends and family than protect the owner from a criminal." can only be true, maybe, if your measure of success is a dead criminal--which strikes me as rather bloodthirsty...

    Contrarily, statistical studies show that in the U.S., defensive use of firearms outweighs criminal misuse by at least 1.33:1, to as much as 4:1. (Prof. Gary Kleck, FSU). Shots need not be fired for successful use.

    'Rat
     
  24. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    I don't know this data, but perhaps both statements are concordant if defensive use is more common than "criminal" use, but leads to more injuries to those with non-criminal intent.
     
  25. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    #25
    I think I see the relationship to Barney.
     

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