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Pilot in Command

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Well-known member
Feb 11, 2002
Ok, the banter on guns was more or less standard society dribble on guns in the U.S.

As I read through there I started to think about it a little differently. There are some people driving hundreds of thousands of pounds of metal and people around at 500 kts who seem to feel that there obligation to minimize death as a pilot is somehow limited.

So my question is where do you think PIC ends? Where are your moral obligations? How can you justify not taking simple steps to ensure that when bad things happen the fewest possible people die?

Not only should you be willing to kill one to protect many, you should ensure your best possible chance of being able to do so. Stay in shape, learn to fight, demand weapons. Be ready to do your part. How in the **** can you justify doing any less? Your politics do not prevail over your moral reponsibilities. If they do stop flying.

So I thought of a couple of questions I'd love to hear people weigh in on:

1. Engine out, lighted highway with traffic, black to either side. You are the only one on board. Where do you land? Even if you will only kill one other person, where do you land?

2. Cockpit about to be penetrated by terrorists, what do you do?

3. Gun held to your head at beginning of takeoff. You are the only chance of getting plane airborn. What do you do?

If you don't make the choice to protect the largest numbers you have no business even driving a car, much less a heavy jet. If you can't take the responsibility for administering leathal force in the protection of others you have zero business flying.
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I can't take it any more !!!! It's DRIVEL not DRIBBLE. Drivel is the word, look it up in the dictionary. Dribble is what you do with a basketball. Go write "I will not write dribble when I mean drivel" 100 times on the blackboard. Sorry, you hit on one of my pet peeves....I'll go take my medication now. BTW, agree with you re: guns in the cockpit
I disagree very strongly with that sentiment. I shoot, I train and have taught martial arts. I've worked law enforcement, defense, security. I own firearms, swords, and other weapons. Yada, yada, yada.

Big deal.

In the cockpit, my duty is to manipulate the controls in order to operate the aricraft safely, and to make decisions concerning the safety of flight. I don't attempt to decide if Joe should marry Susie in the third row, or if Bob shouldn't stiff Jim on the deal in the 21st. Doesn't matter.

Cockpit safety is important. I firmly believe that if any crewmember feels the need to carry a firearm of defensive arm, and can show that he or she has been trained and is both proficient and competent to carry that weapon, then he or she should be albe to carry it. However: being a pilot doesn't automatically make one competent or safe to carry or use a firearm, any more than being a pilot makes one safe or competent to perform emergency surgery or play professional golf.

At the SAME time, I also believe that if someone doesn't feel comfortable carrying that weapon, then he or she should not be obligated to do so. A pilot does NOT have an obligation to take a life or use lethal force. No decision should be balanced on how many people to kill to be morally sound. One looks at the options, acts quickly and decisively, and moves on, not looking back. Who, how many, what...doesn't matter. What must be done to resolve the situation? Then do it, and be done with it.

Comparing some idealistic moral high ground to the privilege of performing one's job is rubbish. I am employed as a pilot. I have had the opportunity to do other assignments, including several different types of work that involved weapons and tactics. I am a skilled aircraft mechanic. I'm an emergency medical technician. I even collect business cards. But ya know what? I work for a living as a pilot. I don't get paid to stop bullets, to treat wounds, or stack cards. I get paid to fly, to read instrument approach proceedure charts, to figure fuel balances, and to keep people happy and safe.

You tell me this. You are exiting the aircraft after a flight, and someone enters the terminal, or the parking outside the terminal. They have a weapon. Do you hide, do you go for them, do you find a phone and call for help? Are you going to go be a hero now, or is it just in the cockpit? Just where does that job end, that walter mitty fantasy about saving the day? Do your darndest to make it all work out, but in the end, if it doesn't, it is NOT your fault.

Remember that when the action starts, chaos reigns. Lack of order; things may not turn out quite right. That's why it's called an emergency. That's okay. It's fine. You don't need to be perfect. You don't have an obligation here. You (hopefully) didn't create this situation. Deal with it the best you can. If you have the proper training and ability, great. Chances are that no matter how long you have trained, and how proficient you think you are, you're not ready. That's okay. You weren't hired for this; do your best; fly the airplane. That's what you do best.

In close quarters, the only useful backup weapon is one already drawn, and the fastest reload is a second firearm. Them's the facts, folks. Belted in, facing away, the door blows; hinges gone and a thunderflash grenade enters the cockpit. It's dead quiet one second, then lots of smoke, a bright flash, you can't hear, can't think. It's been 1 and 3/4 seconds from dead calm and silence, and now your shirt is wet. As you reach for your oxygen mask per your training you begin to lose consciousness and realize as your final thought that you're bleeding out heavily down your uniform shirt. Your throat has already been cut.

That's reality. Spinning and drawing and being mr. hero is NOT reality. Fern bar talk about being ready to take a life is crap; clue up, mate. The object is to do your best, ultimately to stop the fight. Concentrate on any one outcome, including taking a life, and you're done. If you do happen to see it coming, and have time to unbuckle, get up, turn around, and move, then by all means, move through your opponent and keep going. Otherwise, fly the airplane; it's the most effective weapon in the world.

I'm in favor of having a personal weapon, if someone is qualified and capable, and prepared. That's really quite a tall order. However, don't make the sanctimonious demand that any of us be prepared to do this or that. Not hardly.

As for your road landing scenario, it's going to change with the specific circumstance. Sitting in one's arm chair at the computer is all good and well, but add in the noise, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the darkness...then see. How do you know you're going to "kill" anyone? (Seems to be a real fixation, here).

You handle the situation seeing what you've got. I don't know that anyone is going to live or die. Probably go for the highway. If it's crowded or can't get down, then probably for the dark area in between. It's not about one person vs. another. It's not about killing more or less. I have no idea why you're so fixated on killing, but you are. It's about handling a problem with what you have...weighing fate has nothing to do with it.

Cockpit about to be penetrated by terrorists, what to do? Not enough information. Rolling inverted is probably a good start. If a weapon is available, this is a good time for one crewmember to prepare for defense while the other flies. Crash axe, whatever. Chances are that if the terrorists are trained and ready, you're never going to know they're coming in, and won't have time to be prepared. However, you have the biggest weapon in the world in your hands when you're flying. Use it. Pressure dump, shut down one or more powerplants, pull, roll, unload. You have a lot of options. Squawk, call ATC, get someone's gunsights on you and get a tactical team deployed to your intended site. Too many variables, no information given.

Gun held to head, what to do? Depends how much I like my head. Mine has served me well for some time. Terrorist has a gun, then he doesn't need me to get airborne, and unless he's a quadrapalegic terrorist, I figure he can probably manage to takeoff...a child can takeoff. Do I do something stupid and get a lot of people killed, or delay? Dunno. How many others, what is going on? These men(?) are probably here to die. Stop on the runway, they can still kill everyone and die in the process; doesn't matter. No such thing as deterrence in a case such as this. However, once in the air, I have full control, something I won't have on the ground. Again, too many variables.

Don't try to make the moralistic arguement that anyone is obligated to kill. You just don't know that. How many have you killed? How prepared are you to do it; is it all theory, or is it proven for you? How comfortable are you with death, and how parepared are you to die? One who isn't fully prepared to die, isn't fully prepared to kill. Think about that before you tell the world about your commitment level.

Stop dwelling on killing. If you must, dwell on stopping a fight by whatever means necessary. However, you're very bent on coming back to this killing thing. That very fixation will get you hurt. Move through your opponent, and then move on. Weather he lives or dies is not your concern. Flying the airplane is your concern. Good luck to you.
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You ask 10 different people and YOU get 10 different "opinions"(keyword "opinions") what would YOU do in response to "your" questions.?

c h e e r s

3 5 0
(just curious)
It does appear that a "fixation" on killing/death is a major issue ... It is my opinion that a pilot's #1 objective is to safely operate the aircraft as he was trained to do not to be a security officer having to worry about which terrorist will attempt to break into the cockpit today and what kinda soft drinks are being served in the back to Joey and Kikie Balou back in 27C and wondering if Joey will get a phone number from Kikie...

All of your questions are dependant upon certain circumstances and the situations at the "time" in which they occur which I feel can and will change due to the fact that one is NOT able to control all variables and come up with the "ideal" situation where you are able to dictate what "you" throw into the equation. So answering the questions that you have posed to me would be nothing more than "opinions" and "guessing" what would be best to do..(without a crystal ball "your" guess/opinion is as good as mine)


3 5 0
Like avbug said, when the sh!t hits the fan, there is kaos, panic....etc. Things can happen in a second or several seconds. Its easy totalk tough, and what "I would have done", but its a whole new ballgame when it actually happens.

What do you think is goign to happen, we are all going to turn into Steven Seagal or Wesley Snipes...passenger 57 type hero?!?

Sounds like a great movie....pilot kicks major a$$ and save the day!!

NOT REALITY....FLY THE FREAKIN PLANE and try to save lifes that way.

Been thinking about this lately. My conclusions: There should be something lethal in the cockpit. Carrying a gun(pistol) would be a huge pain in the keester. I for one don't want to carry one around or wear it while strapped in. Could you imagine what would happen if you left it in the hotel? "Hey, can you check for a 9mil I might have left by the sink? If it's there send it out with the next crew. Thanks." Believe me, it would happen. My solution would be to mount a sawed off shotgun next to the crash ax. Pilots carry the shells(bird shot load, I guess) in their flight kits. Very little training required. Stays locked on the plane till needed. If you don't want to use it, hopefully the guy next to you will. I think you would. As far as to who will "manipulate the controls" I don't recall manipulating much at all while the autopilot was doing its thing. The non-flying pilot would now be riding "shotgun" while he reads the paper. JMO.
We've seen the CNN footage of the terrorist training camps. The attacker is not rational, not thinking, not scared, and exceptionally well trained since birth to kill. If I am not already dead, I will demonstrate the fine aerobatic capabilities of this Boeing product.

At night, highway or dark spot? 91.22 careless and reckless operation to land in the unknown when the 118 freeway was mostly empty and in range, or the 405 freeway, more traffic but still landable, and runs all the way to the runways. I made that decision before I departed. That was easy.

When I applied for the military academies, I had to go through an interview with a board from the local congressman's office. One of the questions asked was from a petite elderly lady. She wanted to know that if I was on the ground and encountered a burly male enemy with a knife, what would I do? Simple, if my gun didn't work, then it'd be his throat slit, not mine. In combat you don't leave an enemy at your back. In 7-11 at 2:30 AM, temporarily disabling the attacker then fleeing in your car with one hand on the cell phone to 911 is good choice. Only by my elbow hurting the next day did I know what I did to get away.

Jedi Nein
wishing I'd had a working lightsabre that night . . .

WHAT THE????!!!!

Did you try to use English in that post?

That me to sense made it none explain. Expain maybe to it me you can.

Tough it is crazy Yoda like can talk.

Mr. Jedi:

Next time try to make a little more sense. Those of us that speak English might appreciate it. 91.22???!! Are you talking about the one between 91.21 "portable electronic devices" and 91.23 "truth in leasing"? Because if you are....I think the rest of the ENTIRE FREAKING WORLD WOULD LIKE TO KNOW HOW MUCH CRACK YOU HAVE BEEN SMOKING. Unless of course you were talking about careless and wreckless ops under FAR 91.13 which...........................nevermind. There is no FAR 91.22.

When I applied for the military academies

They let people like you who can't even copy a simple number down apply to be fighter pilots....or even to carry a bat in the military? Man...just dig the hole. That's all you need to concern yourself with. Much more and I'm worried that you'll overload.

No offense, but if you're gun didn't work.....I'd pick it up, turn off the safety, point it at the bad guy, pull the trigger and shoot him. I'd then use his cell phone, hit redial to call his lady, pork her, whilst laughing my arse off. Why your elbow is huting is beyond me..........
I know those are complicated instructions, but........

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