Archives for March 24, 2008

Pilot’s gun discharges on US Airways flight

Pilot’s gun discharges on US Airways flight 12:14 PM | Local News | News for Charlotte, North Carolina | | Top Stories

CHARLOTTE, N.C.– A gun carried by a US Airways pilot accidentally discharged during a flight from Denver to Charlotte Saturday, according to a statement released by the airline.

First, I’m betting they had to take the plane out of service to clean up the cockpit.

Accidental discharges (mistakes in weapons handling and safety) (which is not “the gun just went off”: that doesn’t occur) happen eventually to everyone who handles weapons enough. The very very experienced range masters where I go will confess to accidental discharges, and do so to educate how their mistakes occurred and the lessons they learned. (These lessons invariably wind up being ‘get your finger off the trigger, and don’t let yourself get distracted’).

Most AD’s are non-events in the permanent-damage category, though I can certainly see how the cockpit of an aircraft would provide dozens of chances at a bad outcome. I wonder if the TSA and the airlines have a procedure that covers this? Probably it is ‘land safely, let’s talk about it on the ground’.

I was aware of the cockpit armed pilot program (or whatever its Orwellian name is), and thought it a good idea. Given the frequency of AD’s I still think it’s a good idea, but confess I hadn’t given weapons handling accidents much thought. Now I will, and here’s something else to get the flying public a little more anxious.

Update: Pilot suspended, from the armed flight deck officer program, and from fight status.