Feeds

US airline pilot pops a cap in cockpit

'Accidental discharge' of terror-busting pistol

SANS - Survey on application security programs

A US airline pilot has the dubious honour of being the first person to fire a weapon issued under a federal programme designed to thwart 9/11-style hijackings after his piece accidentally went off in the cockpit during an internal flight on Saturday.

According to the LA Times, the incident occurred aboard US Airways Flight 1536 from Denver to Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Airbus A319 bearing 124 passengers and five crew was preparing to land. While the Transportation Safety Administration and airline have declined to name the pilot or "provide information about the position of the gun or what the bullet struck", the TSA notes that the pilot was "authorized to be in possession of the weapon and he completed the appropriate training".

Said training is part of the "Federal Flight Deck Officers" programme, under which eligible flight crew members are "authorized by the Transportation Security Administration to use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence or air piracy attempting to gain control of an aircraft".

TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird described the training as "very rigorous and extensive". He explained that "crew members who completed the program were issued Heckler & Koch .40-caliber semiautomatic handguns" and that "some pilots carry guns that are loaded and ready to go".

Those who do bear arms aloft are required to requalify twice a year. The pilot in question had done so on 7 November, the TSA statement notes.

Bob Hesselbein, chairman of the national security committee of the Air Line Pilots Association, told the LA Times: "Our safety record is superb. This was truly an anomaly. At a minimum, 130,000 flights a month are protected by armed pilots. We are an integral part of the protection of airlines in our sky.

"After 9/11, we became convinced an armed flight deck was the ultimate deterrent to stopping a hijacking plan. From a terrorist standpoint, the hardest thing to do is take control of the cockpit. That's why the deterrent value of this program is just staggering."

The pilot of Flight 1536 is reportedly grounded pending a probe into the discharge. The TSA statement concludes: "TSA and the Federal Air Marshals Service take this matter seriously and an investigation is underway." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.