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"Arm our pilots now" by Captain Mark Estabrook,, September 11-16, 2001

Washington, DC - 25 September 2001

Duane Woerth, President, Air Line Pilots Association: "The Air Line Pilots Association has reprioritized our security recommendations and have determined that creating a program to allow specially trained and screened pilots to carry weapons in the cockpit must be a top priority. Specifically ALPA urges Congress to authorize a new program to train volunteer air line pilots to carry firearms in the cockpit to secure the nerve centre of the aircraft and to get the aircraft on the ground safely if faced with a terrorist threat."

J. Mark Hansen, Senior Counsel Regulatory Affairs, Comments of FedEx Express to DOT re: Docket No. FAA-2001-11229 Firearms, 1FEB2002

Wilson Center Polling of Pilots' Support for Firearms in Cockpit 10FEB2002

FedEx Pilots Association Security Committee Chairman Mark Estabrook to DOT re: FAA-2001-11229 Firearms, 13FEB2002

House Transportation Subcommittee, May 2, 2002:

Arms for Airline Flight Crews witnesses testified before Congress about proposals to arm flight crews to ensure passenger safety and prevent hijackings. Among the issues they addressed were the amount of training required, the possibilities of accidents, the use of non-lethal weapons, and the responsibility for the supervision of such a program.


Congressman Cliff Stearns on Cargo Pilot Security March 4, 2003: Addressing the differences in security among cargo pilots.

Mr. Speaker, at few other times has national security been more important. In the 107th Congress, we enacted many pieces of legislation that sought to strengthen the weakness of our homeland security. That weakness was apparent on 9-11. Yet, Mr. Speaker, a lot remains.

I rise today to address the security of our airline pilots and the fact that there seems to be serious differences in the scope of security that exist between different types of pilots, namely the cargo pilots.

Tens of thousands of cargo pilots are not able to enjoy the same level of security that has been put into place for many of the pilots of our Nation's passenger airlines. Little attention has been given to thousands of cargo jets that dot American skies each day. Terrorists are going to look for the path of least resistance, much like water; and it is merely a matter of time before men realize that their chances for success are higher in the cargo wing of an airport, where security is significantly 
more relaxed.

With the passage of the homeland security bill, passenger pilots were given the right to carry arms, but for some reason this same security measure has not been afforded to our Nation's cargo pilots.

If compromised, some cargo jets could become significantly more dangerous than those of the planes used on September 11. With increased fuel payloads and oftentimes dangerous cargos in their hulls, the impact from one of these jets would be devastating.

In recent months I have received several letters from cargo pilots in my district. These men and women are concerned that they are not getting the same attention as their passenger airline counterparts.

Cargo pilots fly the skies alone without the protection of Federal sky marshals or the possible support of a flight crew or hundreds of passengers. These pilots are in dire need of a last-ditch defense that will protect the cockpit, their cargo, and potentially thousands of lives on the ground.

The pilots of major cargo carriers, like UPS and Federal Express, are concerned and have voiced the fact that they no longer feel safe. Many of these jets weigh upwards of 800,000 pounds and carry over 50,000 gallons of fuel. The impact created by one of these planes would be unimaginable.

I feel that the message has been sent to potential terrorists who realize this and that we need to do something to protect innocent lives.

The FAA desires one level of security for all pilots, and I feel it necessary we should provide it for the cargo pilots. Political maneuvering by the cargo industry has shielded them from the level of security screening mandated for the passenger terminal. The entire burden for the security of the aircraft rests on two or three pilots who are in that cockpit.

There is little cargo pilots can do to defend the aircraft against a terrorist [Page: H1476] attack. Stripping these men and women of the ability to carry firearms in the post 9-11 environment is not right.

It is time that we address this obvious loophole in cargo security. In a maneuver that seemingly took place at the eleventh hour, the word ``passenger'' was inserted in the House bill's provision for arming pilots, and a similar change took place in the Senate version shortly thereafter. The effect of this single-word change is that it exempts all cargo carriers from the Federal mandate to arm pilots in a bill intended to enhance the pilot's ability to protect the airplane.

I feel that this back-room deal defies the initial intent of the bill and the will of our Congress. This body voted overwhelmingly to mandate firearms for all airplane pilots, not just those in the passenger service. We displayed our bipartisan support for this mandate with votes of 310 to 113 in the House and 87 to 6 in the Senate.

Mr. Speaker, it is time to fix this disparity and close the loophole once and for all so that all pilots in this country enjoy the same level of security. 

s516: To amend title 49, United States Code, to allow the arming of pilots of cargo aircraft, and for other purposes; Introduced 05MAR2003 during 108th Congress; Status: died in a previous Congress

Cargo pilots tell lawmakers they want guns too - Chicago Tribune 09MAY2003

SOURCE: WIKILEAKS; CRS Report "Arming Pilots Against Terrorism: Implementation Issues for the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program," by  Bart Elias, Resources, Science, and Industry Division (includes a legislative history on how the cargo industry lobbied against arming its own pilots), RL31674; 09JAN2004

Legislation to Arm Cargo Pilots Passes Senate Committee, By Jeff Johnson, 07JUL2008


Armed Pilots Want to Carry Guns Outside Cockpits

Cam Edwards talks to Marcus Flagg - President of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Association - NRA News - January 23, 2012 -


Uploaded on Feb 15, 2012

Cravaack Grills a Smug, Condescending Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

The Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program is the most cost-effective means of aviation security, with officers often paying more out-of-pocket to participate in the program than the government pays to fund the position. It costs the federal government a meager $15 per FFDO flight. Unfortunately, although FFDOs serve as the last line of defense on an aircraft, the President's 2013 budget slashes the FFDO program in half. Rep. Cravaack is a former FFDO and commercial airline pilot.

Napolitano testified the "cockpit door" is the last line of defense in commercial aircraft and advocated for elimination of the FFDO budget. This was just one example of the pro-Jihadist leadership coming out of the Obama administration..


Published on Jun 6, 2013:

After attempts by the President to kill the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program by zeroing out its budget, Congressman John Mica (FL-07) lead efforts in the House to restore funding to this vital program that cost effectively trains and allows our airline pilots to be armed to defend their aircraft, crew and passengers.

The House agreed with Mica's amendment during consideration of the Department of Homeland Security funding bill. The amendment, which passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support, does not increase spending in the bill but rather redirects funding from TSA bureaucracy to the FFDO program that Mica helped establish in 2003.

The FFDO program serves as the first line of deterrence and the last line of defense against possible terrorist attempts to take over aircraft. The pilots who participate in this program do so at their own expense and protect thousands of flights every day.

*** For additional case files in Estabrook v. FedEx, simply hover your cursor over the "SECURITY" button at the top of every page, then click on the sub-category of information you seek from the pull-down menu. If you want to return to more general background and Court decisions, simply double-click on the "SECURITY" button.
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