Firearm discharges on US Airways flight

The Charlotte Observer reports:

 The firearm of a Transportation Security Administration federal flight deck officer accidentally discharged during a US Airways flight from Denver to Charlotte on Saturday, according to the airline.

No one was injured, and the flight landed safely in Charlotte, according to a statement from US Airways. The incident occured on flight 1536, which was in the air between 6:45 and 11:51 a.m. Saturday.

Wow, this raises a few pretty critical questions in my mind. How the heck did the gun go off by mistake? Was someone playing around with it? What part of the aircraft did it hit, and how bad could the damage have been?

While I can’t blame this on the air marshals (as much as I’d like to;)), I have a serious problem with the idea of guns aboard an aircraft, be they federal flight deck officers or federal air marshals. I really feel less safe with FAM’s aboard since they’re so easy to spot, so anyone that wanted to find a way to get their gun could, but I’m sure there’d be an uprising. Still, with the amount of security measures being taken nowadays, the least of which is the TSA, and the complete lack of access to the flight deck for non-employees, it just all seems so unnecessary to me. Whatever, I guess we should be happy that no one got hurt and just hope that closer controls come as a result of this.

PS: I’d like to apologize for a post I made earlier today (now deleted) without even realizing that the article was months old. I got my wisdom teeth out on Friday and I guess I haven’t regained all my wisdom yet. I also promise some mileage run tutorial posts a little later in the week.


  1. “and the complete lack of access to the flight deck for non-employees”

    The security of the flight deck is a myth perpetrated by the upper management of TSA to make the passengers feel all warm and fuzzy about their security. But during a normal cross country flight, the “fortified” flight deck door is opened on average during flight from 8-12 times. Why would any would-be terrorist try and break through a flight deck door, when all they would have to do is wait for the pilots or flight attendants to open the door for them?

    And you might find this surprising, but I too think there shouldn’t be any firearms in the cabin including Federal Air Marshals. The bad guys see us boarding before the passengers and having to show our badges to airline employees at the check-in gate, so they don’t have to bring the guns on board –– we already did that for them. I do believe that pilots shouldn’t be carrying handguns for this very reason –– accidental discharges. I think there should be a shotgun in every flight deck, in a secured rack just like in police cars, and the shotgun should be loaded with bird shot. Up close, like in a situation where a terrorist was trying to breach the flight deck, it would be a very devastating weapon, but if the shooter missed, it would unlikely damage the aircraft of seriously injury any passenger in the cabin.

    But then, what do I know? I’ve only flown 5 days a week for 6 years straight now. The TSA managers, who have never done my job, and have zero aviation security experience, are the one’s making the rules. Were doomed.

    TSA is “security theater” and nothing more.

  2. Looks like someone’s some explaining to do…

    I wonder if we will ever hear what really happened. I am not a weapons expert, but I would expect that properly stored and secured hand guns don’t randomly discharge.

    Lucky — looking forward to your tutorials 🙂

  3. They don’t. No handgun in proper working order just goes off “accidentally”. Yeah, this post is a little over a year old, but I figured some basic handgun knowledge might help the next person to stumble across this blog entry.

    There are multiple safeties in all semi-auto pistols made over the last what, 20 years? You can actually *drop* most pistols on the ground (including Glocks) and they won’t fire. And if that air marshal was carrying a revolver (doubtful, but possible), then the double-action pull is strong enough that the trigger will definitely not get pulled “accidentally”. Single-action mode, that’s actually possible…but then that means you’ve cocked the gun, which you’re never supposed to do until you’re actually READY TO SHOOT. And no revolver just cocks itself and goes into single action mode.

    But of course, that begs the question: what if the firearm *wasn’t* in proper working order? Well, that air marshal should’ve known that and taken the gun out of service. It’s called “maintaining your firearm, and if the air marshal isn’t doing that, then that’s a big, big problem, too. Somehow I don’t consider this possibility very likely.

    Bottom line: the trigger *MUST* be pulled. Someone clearly was playing around with that trigger and has no business touching a gun in the first place.


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