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BobK

Pilot's gun fires on US Airways flight

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"If that bullet had compromised the shell of the airplane, i.e., gone through a window, the airplane could have gone down," he said.Yeah I am thinking this guy doesn't know exactly how pressurization works. There's holes built into the airplane larger then a body that release out to the environment.Take a look here to see what the outflow valve looks like in a similar sized airplane:http://www.b737.org.uk/pressurisation.htm

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>That's something I would like to see on Mythbusters.>>scott s.>.>Done already. They did an episode where they blew out a window to see if you can get sucked out or otherwise have something catastrophic happen. Busted. They eventually just blew the whole plane up.Pressurised aircraft are not airtight. The only reason you are able to breathe at 30000' is because the amount of air being pumped into the cabin by the pacs is enough to keep up with the air escaping from the cabin.

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That quote is what caught my attention in that story. It seems that most of the public's knowledge about how airplane's work comes from movies.

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Actually, the title of the thread should be, "Pilot Fires Gun on US Airways Flight". The gun didn't fire itself. What brought it about was that he (or someone else)was handling it and did something stupid - plain and simple.I can understand the crews wanting to be able to defend themselves, but allowing them to carry guns was a really dumb decision, IMHO.

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Bobk,The full story will out, but in the meantime I wonder if it was an authorized carry. Every US pilot who proposes to arm his cockpit must take an extensive firearms safety course, I believe the same one given to US air marshals in training.It seems to me that after that course nobody but a madman would carry a pistol with the safety off. Heck, I've never even taken a firearms safety course but I know to keep safeties on with every gun I've ever handled, and I taught my son and daugher the same. (Even though my daughter had no plans ever to handle a firearm.)So I think this fellow must have been inexperienced with firearms, the question then being, How did that gun find its way into the cockpit?

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When carrying a gun, I go so far as to have the safety on, plus no round in the chamber as well as keep the clip in, but not actually CLIPPED in. Just slide in so all I'd have to do is give a little push on the clip, then pull the slide back and I'd be ready to go. I don't trust firearms.As far as pressurization, take a look at any KC-135 out there today. There are hundreds of leaks and holes in them. EDIT: Word filter

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There's a big difference in what condition you keep your gun in, depending upon your intentions. If you're storing it at home, and keeping it for protection and you have kids in the house, yes - by all means keep it unloaded and the ammo stored in a different place, or keep a trigger guard lock on it. If you carry it because it's part of your job, you'd better keep that safety off and a round chambered, or in the words of my favorite firearms instructor, "all you have in that holster is a paperweight". I don't know what the policy for safeties and chambered rounds are for armed pilots, but I'd have to think that someone was probably "playing" with this one. And zzmikezz, if he wasn't authorized to carry it, he wouldn't have had it onboard. They still have to go through security and prove they have authorization to carry it. I wonder how often they go back for requal and training?

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I own a Sig Sauer 9mm pistol and it does NOT have a dedicated 'safety lever'. It is in 'safe mode' when either the hammer is all the way down or no rounds are chambered. If you chamber a round by pulling the slide back and then releasing it, the hammer will then be 'cocked' which Sig calls single pull mode. Very easy to discharge the weapon at this point, very little trigger pressure required to fire it, even dropping it could cause a discharge. You have to 'decock' the hammer to it's full resting position for a 'safe' carry (double pull mode), which requires far more trigger pressure to fire and it is safe if accidentally dropped at this point.I don't know what type of gun this pilot was carrying, but he obviously didn't know how to or he was too distracted by (landing procedures maybe) keep track of his gun's settings. Scary! He shouldn't have even had it out of storage! But cocking a gun can take precious seconds if you are being assaulted, so it does make sense to keep a round chambered if you're a pilot trying to defend an aircraft. Lets hope that more handgun training is forthcoming here for everybody's safety.Kim

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From what I've read, the pistol involved was a H&K USP .40 - I own the same gun in the .45 variant. Basically, there is a thumb operated safety lever that has three positions...1) up - safey on, 2) middle - live, & 3) down - 'de-cocked'. If a round is chambered by pulling the slide, the hammer will lock in the cocked position. Pushing the thumb lever down basically drops the hammer without it hitting the firing pin...supposedly safer than having to do this manually via holding the hammer and pulling the trigger. This could be a potential item to look at to ensure the pistol is functioning correctly.I'm really more interested at why the gun was out and being handled below 10,000ft...during approach in a supposedly sterile cockpit environment. Perhaps, SOP requires keeping the pistol out during flight and stowing it during the approach phase. Anyone know? JeffKDEN

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The Sig Sauer has a separate 'decock lever' to put the hammer down, but not an actual safety lever that disables the gun when safe is engaged. I thought that was a little weird when I bought the gun years ago, but it is 'safe' when the hammer is fully down, but only for a drop. It's just unsafe in the fact you CAN still fire it if you pull the trigger when a round is chambered. Not a good idea for gun noobs.Was the pilot actually handling the gun or did it just fall out of the holster? If he was handling it, that means he was not paying attention to flying! EEEEEEEK! Maybe that's why he dropped it. Perhaps something more pressing, like LANDING THE AIRCRAFT, distracted him!Kim

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As we always say when preaching firearms safety, "the best safety mechanism is keeping the finger off the trigger". ;-)

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