Rejected for guns, pilots criticize test

Minuteman

“Dongola”
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Rejected for guns, pilots criticize test
By Audrey Hudson
THE WASHINGTON TIMES


Pilots already trained to carry guns and operate sophisticated weapons systems are among 100 applicants rejected from a federal program to arm flight-deck officers to protect aircraft from terrorist attacks.

Former police officers, firearms instructors and military pilots have filed written complaints with the Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) program questioning its psychological- and background-test system, as well as its generic rejection letter that doesn't explain an applicant's purported shortcomings.

One pilot, a retired Air Force colonel and fighter wing commander responsible for multimillion-dollar jet fighters, said he was allowed to carry his pistol aboard military aircraft.

"The USAF considered me psychologically sound enough to be directly responsible for nuclear weapons," the pilot wrote. "Yet a TSA psychologist has determined I am unreliable to carry a weapon in my own airliner."

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said the program's psychological- and background-test system "is the most fair kind of system that we could put in place to qualify as many as possible."

"It's important to arm pilots to protect the flight deck," he said.

The program's rejection letter says: "Based on TSA's evaluation during the selection process, you currently do not meet the criteria for participation in the FFDO program."

The unexplained rejections, gun-handling rules pilots say threaten security, and the declining number of pilots now willing to participate in the program have several members of Congress drafting legislation to eliminate "roadblocks" they say the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has created.

"We are talking about professionals here, but it's just been roadblock after roadblock at TSA. The only thing I can think of is, it's a liberal, knee-jerk reaction to guns," said Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican.

Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, said legislation he and Mr. Wilson are drafting will force TSA to implement the program as it was originally intended by Congress.

"Despite the urgency of this initiative to enhance our homeland defense, only a fraction of our 100,000 pilots have been armed so far. This will ensure that all pilots who have volunteered for this program can be trained and armed as soon as possible in order to defend the cockpit from terrorist thugs," Mr. Bunning said.

The FFDO program was established after the September 11 terrorist attacks and TSA officials say "hundreds" of pilots have completed the one-week training program since it began in April.

Mr. Melendez acknowledged there have been complaints that pilots are not being qualified fast enough, but said the agency has doubled the number of classes this year.

"You can't federalize the pilots they would like federalized in nine months, but we are working very hard," Mr. Melendez said.

David Mackett, president of the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, said his organization solicited volunteers for the program and 40,000 pilots asked to join, but only about 15 percent, or 6,000, actually enrolled.

Mr. Mackett and several pilots say officers are abandoning the program because of rules that require them to carry guns in lockboxes at all times instead of in shoulder holsters, and the weapons cannot be accessed until they are behind reinforced cockpit doors. They say the procedures make the flight deck vulnerable to attack every time the cockpit door is open.

As for the program's screening process, one pilot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the psychological evaluation assumes all pilots are "drunken wife-beaters."

Mr. Wilson said the evaluations are "just insulting" and one of many regulations designed as "a series of roadblocks to block it from becoming effective."

http://washingtontimes.com/national/20040204-100150-3132r.htm


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MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
The TSA wants to throw as many barriers in front of this program as they can, since any support of it by them would be an admission that everything isn't secure at the pax terminals.
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
Great point MikeD. Never thought of that. But the funny part is, the TSA's record proves what they're not trying to say LOL.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
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Great point MikeD. Never thought of that. But the funny part is, the TSA's record proves what they're not trying to say LOL.

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I just find it funny ironic that someone entrusted with nuclear weapons and a sidearm in the cockpit by the military, wouldn't be cleared for a pistol on the flight deck............yet is cleared to fly the plane anyway as the pilot at the controls!!

The fu#king morons at the TSA never cease to amaze me!

The only job the TSA has is to justify their budget. All else, they're effectively another useless government bureaucracy.
 

Sprint100

Well-Known Member
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they're effectively another useless government bureaucracy.

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My current stance on the TSA LOL
 

Cherokee_Cruiser

Well-Known Member
TSA says <about their screening processes/regulations>:

Guns and knives, yeah, we occasionaly miss those... but REST ASSURED, NO person will be onboard an aircraft with fatal weapons, such as tweezers or nail-clippers.
 

PurduePilot

New Member
I have read a copy of the new legislation and it plugs many of the holes that FFDOs and perspective FFDOs complain about.

For example, it requires that all FFDOs get metallic badges. I thought they already issued them, but apparently not. I wonder how screeners treat FFDOs if they have no way of IDing themselves.
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
FFDO program is a joke. The guy hands his "gun box" to a TSA dweeb who walks it around. Then they tear him and his luggage apart. "You can carry a gun but don't you DARE try to bring nail clippers on board!!!"
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
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The TSA wants to throw as many barriers in front of this program as they can, since any support of it by them would be an admission that everything isn't secure at the pax terminals.

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Can I sign this too?

Absolutely correct.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
The TSA wants to throw as many barriers in front of this program as they can, since any support of it by them would be an admission that everything isn't secure at the pax terminals.

[/ QUOTE ]

Can I sign this too?

Absolutely correct.

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Thanks, just my take on my observations of that useless organization.
 

Derg

New Arizona, Il Duce/Warlord
Staff member
The problem is, instead of asking people who use the system on a daily basis for inputs on closing up security holes, making flying safer and creative ideas on how to NOT repeat 9/11, we created a huge lumbering budget-busting bureaucracy.
 
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