FFDO News [Archive] - Glock Talk

PDA

View Full Version : FFDO News


Patriot328
01-28-2004, 07:21
http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200401\NAT20040126b.html


Exclusive: TSA’s Email Threat ‘Last Straw’ for Congressman
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
January 26, 2004

(CNSNews.com) - A sponsor of the anti-terrorism legislation aimed at arming commercial airline pilots against hijackers says a threatening email uncovered as part of a CNSNews.com investigation into the implementation of that program, is "the final straw."

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) plans to introduce legislation, "right away," along with House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and as many as 50 co-sponsors, to force major changes in the program. The proposal would primarily remove most of the Transportation Security Administration's influence over what is formally known as the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) is expected to introduce an identical bill in the Senate.

The email message Wilson cited, which CNSNews.com obtained from confidential sources, threatened participants of the FFDO program with fines and dismissal if they shared "sensitive" information about the program with members of Congress, other law enforcement officials or the media. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had sent the email to FFDOs one day after a CNSNews.com special report was published detailing numerous criticisms about how TSA is administering the program.

"The final straw was the email restricting [FFDOs] from communicating their point of view with Congress," Wilson said, "which apparently was in response to [the CNSNews.com ] article." The email, he added, represents "an effort to chill the discussion of this issue, which, instead of chilling my interest only piques it more."

The message was labeled with the subject line "Unauthorized Disclosure of Sensitive Security Information (SSI)."

"Recent public disclosure of SSI by FFDO's in the media, to law enforcement gatherings and congressmen is most alarming and a serious breach of security," the message stated, warning that such disclosures "must be referred to TSA Internal Affairs for investigation."

"Failure to properly protect SSI," the message concluded, "may lead to removal from the FFDO program and civil fines."

CNSNews.com provided a copy of the message to Wilson, Mica and other lawmakers. David Schaffer, senior counsel to Mica's subcommittee, said Mica believes the message went beyond merely encouraging FFDOs to properly safeguard "Sensitive Security Information" from public disclosure.

"The thing that concerns Mr. Mica is the implication that people aren't supposed to talk to Congress, which, of course, he takes strong exception to," Schaffer said.

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, believes the email was an obvious attempt to intimidate FFDOs, to discourage them from telling Congress about how TSA has implemented the program. He accused TSA of "having a tantrum."

"TSA's idea of security really needs to be addressed, because, to them, security is a code word for covering up dirty linen," Pratt said. "Actually, they make us less secure because of their idea of security."

TSA accused of erecting 'one roadblock after another' to arming pilots

Wilson called the TSA's implementation of the FFDO program a "knee-jerk liberal reaction" against the idea of arming pilots to protect their passengers and fellow crewmembers from terrorist hijackings.

"At every step there has been an effort by the TSA to sabotage the ability of pilots to be armed," Wilson said. "There has been one roadblock after another to make it unworkable."

Among the pilots' complaints were the content and nature of required psychological evaluations and numerous alleged safety risks created by the TSA requirement that they carry their weapons in a locked box rather than in a holster on their person.

Pilots also complained about "veiled threats" by the TSA to disclose adverse information uncovered during background investigations to their employers or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) even if the information was unrelated to their fitness as pilots. The remote location of the TSA's single approved training facility and the agency's refusal to issue FFDOs badges, even though they are sworn federal law enforcement officers, were also of concern to some FFDOs.

Schaffer told CNSNews.com that Mica shares Wilson's uneasiness about TSA's implementation of the program.

"The subcommittee is concerned that the TSA has made it more difficult for pilots to participate than we had intended," Schaffer said.

"It's more the totality of the requirements rather than any particular one," Schaffer said. "We wanted them to establish the program in a way that would facilitate pilot participation, not make it so that they have to jump through a lot of hoops and go over a lot of hurdles in order to get there."

Schaffer said those "hoops" and "hurdles" have had an obvious effect.

"My understanding is that, when Congress was considering the legislation, the number of pilots who expressed an interest was in the range of 40,000, but that not nearly that many have actually applied to participate," Schaffer said. "We think the reason for that is because of the hurdles that have been placed in their way."

The Airline Pilots Security Alliance (APSA), a group created to promote the program, created an online registry for pilots who wanted to volunteer. Nearly 40,000 commercial airline pilots signed up. But sources tell CNSNews.com that TSA's official registry for the FFDO program, created after details of its implementation became public, has generated only about 5,000 applicants.

TSA initially agreed to an interview about the pilots' allegations but abruptly terminated that interview when asked about specific allegations concerning Sensitive Security Information.

Proposed legislation would remove TSA discretion over arming pilots

The pilots and Pratt appear to be getting their wish. Wilson and Bunning are poised to introduce the "Cockpit Security Technical Corrections and Improvements Act of 2004." The legislation removes almost all discretion from TSA as to which pilots may participate in the program and what requirements TSA may impose on them.

A draft copy of the proposal obtained by CNSNews.com stipulates that any commercial pilot who is employed by a passenger or cargo airline, holds a current FAA passenger or cargo pilot's certificate and is not barred from receiving or possessing a firearm by the Federal gun Control Act would automatically be qualified. The draft also notes that possession of the required pilot's certificate indicates that the applicant "thereby meets all mental and physical requirements," to apply for the program.

Once a qualified pilot completes the mandatory firearms training, which the proposal requires to be offered "in places throughout the United States so as to be convenient to pilots from all regions," that pilot "shall be qualified as a Federal Flight Deck Officer and shall be deputized as such."

Schaffer said eliminating the "hurdles" complained about by the pilots, as is proposed in the legislation, should encourage many more pilots to volunteer for the FFDO program.

"The more hurdles you set up the more you discourage someone from participating," Schaffer explained. "Whereas each individual hurdle might not be a show-stopper in itself, if you establish enough hurdles people tend to say, 'the heck with this, it's not worth the trouble.'"

But the plan also includes specific provisions that would deputize and arm hundreds, if not thousands of pilots almost immediately.

The Undersecretary of Transportation for Security would be required to immediately deputize as a Federal Flight Deck Officer any pilot who met the employment, FAA certificate and Federal Gun Control Act requirements if that pilot is:


- An active or reserve member of the Unites States Armed Forces;

- A former active or reserve member of the Unites States Armed Forces, discharged other than dishonorably; or

- A current or former federal, state or local law enforcement officer.

Pilots deputized under this provision would be required to complete the TSA approved firearms training within 120 days, but would immediately be eligible to be armed, upon submission of proof of completing the firearms training course mandated by their military branch or law enforcement agency. Wilson estimates that up to 70 percent of commercial passenger and cargo airline pilots would instantly qualify under those guidelines.

"That would be a deterrent," Wilson said.

The legislation would also address the pilots' fears regarding the disclosure of personal information. It forbids the TSA from releasing any information about applicants to the program except as necessary to fulfill its requirements. The language of the bill specifically prohibits TSA from telling an airline if the program rejects one of their pilots. Any pilot who is rejected has an automatic right of appeal to the Undersecretary of Transportation for Security and, if that appeal is rejected, to the federal district court nearest the pilot's home or crew base.

Provisions of bill would expressly define FFDOs authority and rights

Nearly a full page of the proposed legislation relates to the powers and privileges to be granted to FFDOs. The language of those proposals runs almost counter to the manner in which TSA is currently operating the FFDO program.

FFDOs would have the same authority as Federal Air Marshals to "carry a loaded firearm concealed on or about such officer's person.;"

TSA would be forbidden from requiring FFDOs to "carry or transport a firearm in a locked bag, box or container;"

The highest ranking FFDO on an aircraft would automatically be considered to be the highest ranking law enforcement officer on board;

TSA would be required to issue FFDOs "metallic badges" similar to those issued to all other federal law enforcement officers;

FFDOs would receive specific authorization for "acting reasonably to prevent an act of terrorism when outside the cockpit of an aircraft;"

TSA would be required, because of the mandate that firearms training be conducted "in places throughout the United States so as to be convenient to pilots from all regions," to approve a number of private firearms training facilities to accommodate FFDOs;

Airlines would be required to give pilots time off with pay to complete the firearms training and to provide space-available seating on their flights at no cost to FFDO candidates for travel to and from that training; and

FFDOs would be specifically authorized to disclose any information about the program to any member of Congress, negating orders to the contrary in the TSA email.

"I want to take all prudent actions we can to protect American citizens from hijackings, and this is so prudent," Wilson said. "And it can be done immediately and it should be done ... in a pilot-friendly manner, not with roadblocks."

Pratt believes the legislation is exactly what is needed to create the type of armed pilots program the American public overwhelmingly supported in polls when the idea was proposed after the 9/11 attacks.

"What we've seen, we're very please with," Pratt said.

Capt. Tracy Price, an advisor to the Airline Pilots Security Alliance, agreed.

"This is the precise solution to the illness that ails the FFDO program," Price said.

"We can't have an effective FFDO program if it's going to be continually meddled with and muddled by government bureaucrats," Price continued. "This legislation takes that discretion away."

Pratt also predicted that the legislation would pass without too much opposition.

"Members of Congress are still flying planes with the same regularity they did at the time of September 11th. So, I think that, unlike a lot of issues where they enact a law and just never revisit it, they revisit this one once a week."

Wilson echoed that sentiment.

"We fly frequently, sometimes all day, sometimes back to back all day," Wilson said. "I want to take every reasonable and common sense step that we can to protect the American public."

Wilson said he also plans to contact Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, whose department oversees TSA, to ask him to implement the provisions of the bill by regulation, until Congress can pass the legislation.

"Persons who have a practical common sense understanding of the issue can only come to one conclusion," Wilson said, "and that is that arming pilots enhances the safety of an airplane and the passengers."

Multiple calls to TSA Friday requesting an interview for this article were not returned.

TheGrinch
01-28-2004, 09:42
Originally posted by Patriot328
http://www.cnsnews.com//ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200401\NAT20040126b.html

A draft copy of the proposal obtained by CNSNews.com stipulates that any commercial pilot who is employed by a passenger or cargo airline, holds a current FAA passenger or cargo pilot's certificate and is not barred from receiving or possessing a firearm by the Federal gun Control Act would automatically be qualified. The draft also notes that possession of the required pilot's certificate indicates that the applicant "thereby meets all mental and physical requirements," to apply for the program.

Once a qualified pilot completes the mandatory firearms training, which the proposal requires to be offered "in places throughout the United States so as to be convenient to pilots from all regions," that pilot "shall be qualified as a Federal Flight Deck Officer and shall be deputized as such."

'But the plan also includes specific provisions that would deputize and arm hundreds, if not thousands of pilots almost immediately.

The Undersecretary of Transportation for Security would be required to immediately deputize as a Federal Flight Deck Officer any pilot who met the employment, FAA certificate and Federal Gun Control Act requirements if that pilot is:


- An active or reserve member of the Unites States Armed Forces;

- A former active or reserve member of the Unites States Armed Forces, discharged other than dishonorably; or

- A current or former federal, state or local law enforcement officer.

Pilots deputized under this provision would be required to complete the TSA approved firearms training within 120 days, but would immediately be eligible to be armed, upon submission of proof of completing the firearms training course mandated by their military branch or law enforcement agency. Wilson estimates that up to 70 percent of commercial passenger and cargo airline pilots would instantly qualify under those guidelines.

The highest ranking FFDO on an aircraft would automatically be considered to be the highest ranking law enforcement officer on board;

FFDOs would receive specific authorization for "acting reasonably to prevent an act of terrorism when outside the cockpit of an aircraft;"

Bad Bill, with provisions that can't pass.

It would make an airline pilot, by virture of a prior military handgun qual (which are based on NRA bullseye type courses of fire, not tactical shooting)_and perhaps a few days of private contractor training the highest ranking law enforcement officer on board? Really, a pilot with a few days training will now be in control of FAMs, FBI agents, DEA agents, BICE agents with years of service, law and firearms training? I don't think so.

Additionally, this proposal to deputize pilots who may have not shot a firearm in many years? That is feasable under this bill. All you have to do is submit a DD214 saying you completed firearms training at some time in your former military career. Where is the CQB training that is so critical considering the environment threat. You can't just carry a gun as a good luck charm, you have to be able to retain it, and use it against a team of murderous killesr who aren't going to be of the most nasty persuasion in their attacks. The square range does not apply.

What about the civilian pilot population? They are SOL as far as I can see. No method to train them under this plan.

This program would be a disaster, the current program has credibilty due to the trainning and screening. This one, with neither, requires only that you be able to fog a mirror in order to be deputized. It, under any objective criteria, would resulti in people without the skills to do the job. A Marine rifle squad isn't a "shall issue" organization, nor is any law enforcement agency in the country. All requires extensive training- so do pilots if they are to be an effective deterrent.

Hate to be a Grinch on this, but the bottom line is that it won't make a significant difference. Pilots who don't apply are just plain lazy. If the threat is so imminent and bad, they would be beating down the doors to get the training and tools to participate. They wouldn't apply in droves for this program either, not that it will ever pass.

Grinch

flybywire
01-28-2004, 18:30
Grinch,

You make some good "yeah buts". I think a workable solution lies somewhere in the middle of all this.

For example, I think it's workable to take a qualified or previously qualified tactical-shooting kinda guy/gal who has experience carrying concealed, and let them demonstrate proficiency to a local certified training facility, then deputize them and let them carry concealed. Might even allow them to choose their own weapon from among a list of authorized weapons/ammo. Method(s) of carry might need to be resolved (winter vs. summer, etc). They can get the CQB training later, as time allows.

Grinch sez:

"Hate to be a Grinch on this, but the bottom line is that it won't make a significant difference. Pilots who don't apply are just plain lazy. If the threat is so imminent and bad, they would be beating down the doors to get the training and tools to participate. They wouldn't apply in droves for this program either, not that it will ever pass."

I have to disagree with you on most of this paragraph. If this, or a middle ground bill of this nature is passed, the floodgates will definitely open. The airline pilots I've talked to are dissuaded from applying due to all the "unreasonable" restrictions. Guys are balking due to the awkwardness of the current program. It has nothing to do with laziness. (I work with airline pilots. I haven't seen too many lazy ones.)

Another issue is many pilots can't get the week off to attend the training, or they have to give up thousands of $$ because they have to drop trip(s) at no pay to attend training. This type proposal fixes that problem.

The bill, as described above, may not pass. But if some more moderate program is installed, you will see the number of applicants increase many times over in short order. I guarantee it.

TheGrinch
01-28-2004, 19:37
When this program was envisioned, APSA was predicing 40,000 to 70,000 applicants. I thought it would be more like 10,000 at the most. Most of the pilots I fly with just don't have the self defense mindset of the average person you see here on Glocktalk. Most have never carried a gun, demonstrated by the fact that only a few have bothered to obtain CHL's in the states that offer them. I've flown with thousands of airline pilots in a CHL friendly state over almost two decades. They are bright, trainable people, but they definitely need more than superficial training.

In contrast, having read a few articles about the FFDO training, the current program is an advanced course that goes far beyond just shooting. Frankly, more than just a gun is needed to stop the threat. I don't see how a civilian school could provide equivalent training to the program as it exists. There is no school offering such training to date, It would take a significant investment to equal what TSA provides today.

As far as I know, no one has a problem with the training since the first prototype class ended. Reports are that it is currently outstanding, producing a pilot will skills and tools and mindset to handle the problem.

This bill would end all of that. If I read correctly, a pilot would be "deputized" on the basis of having served in the military in the past and qualified on a handgun. I've done all that, and it does not come close to providing anything resembling the tactical firearms and CQB training needed in this scenario. For example, in our Navy qual course, there were no presentations from a holster, just a "bullseye" style shooting course of around 50 rounds every THREE years.

The result would be an unholy mess. The new program would not have credibility, and there would be challenges across the board to pilots who "qualify" under the new bill. My guess is that the training would be far more confrontational, and there would be far more limits and opposition to flying FFDO's than there are today.

I doubt that there will be anywhere near the support in Congress for this bill versus the one that passed. My guess is that the original bill would not have passed without the screening requirements.

Lazy is the wrong word, "unserious" might be a better description. From what I have gleaned, there are current FFDO's from all walks of life- from well to do major airline Captains, to entry level commuter pilots who managed to get the time off to attend. Again, if the threat is so bad, it seems lame that pilots whose very livelihoods depend upon keeping another hijacking attempt from occuring can't find the time to attend. It seems a prudent investment to me, of which all pilots should partake.

If you think about it, it is probably why the training environment is positive, the instructors know the pilots are dedicated enough to take the time off to show up.

The result is a strong program so that I know that any current armed pilot that sits down next to me has the discipline and the skills to perform his job safely and professionally. If this bill defines the new program, I will have little confidence in a pilot who shows up with a firearm in hand. That is not a statement of mistrust or condescension, it is an indictment of what would be a lack of standards and training.

There are additional demands of these pilots that probably haven't been thought through tactically either, but I'll let that lay. Now don't get me wrong, there are provisions that would help, but taken as a whole, it would be the beginning of the end of the program. The standards are just too low.

My guess that the bill won't go anywhere, or will be veto'd if it stands alone.

Grinch

flybywire
01-30-2004, 21:51
Grinch,

OK, I'll take no exception to the theme of your arguments. Sounds fair. Might could pick on some of the small points, but that's about all. I appreciate your well thought-out response.

Pilot
02-11-2004, 09:52
I have nothing good to say about the current FFDO program. The TSA has done all that it can to keep pilots from applying or qualifying. I agree with Rep Joe Wilson and The current Aviation Sub committee Chairman, Rep Mica about their views of what seems to be an anti gun, anti pilot TSA. I am all in favor of arming the pilots, but will never apply until changes are made to the current program. The current requirements of keeping the pilots un-armed most of the time, when we have about 38 federal agencies including OSHA inspectors who carry all the time, is pathetic. I hope the revised bill sponsored by Rep Wilson passes in some form. We will then have what the public demands, and that is to arm the pilots like congress ordered the TSA to do in the first place. One of many examples of the TSA requirements is for the pilots to have frequent firearm handling. The TSA ignored recommendations from the FBI during the development of the FFDO program to limit the handling of firearms on the aircraft. There are many other examples which demonstrate the weakness in the FFDO program and why most pilots refuse to apply under the current procedures. The program will not work unless you actually get the pilots to apply. I have no problems with the current training of FFDO's. It is the screening, and the current poor procedures that are the problem.

TheGrinch
02-11-2004, 18:13
Originally posted by Pilot
...The program will not work unless you actually get the pilots to apply. I have no problems with the current training of FFDO's. It is the screening, and the current poor procedures that are the problem.

Do you basically think that the program is more trouble than it is worth in terms of deterring terrorist attacks?

Bear in mind, the idea is to put pilots who are able to defend against multiple, vicious, and highly motivated attackers. Changing the carry method would require more training, not less. Otherwise, it won't make it into law. The case would be very difficult to make without more training.

It is interesting in that the FBI comments that you mentioned were used to argue against the idea of arming pilots without extensive training, or to prevent any program at all. Every law enforcement agency that I am aware of requires far more training in order for an agent to carry a firearm.

Having flown with an FFDO early on, and looked at the procedures first hand, I also don't think the current procedures create a problem of ND's. Other problems, but not that one.

I will post an article following this post that tells a bit about the training, including the rejection rate. The rate seems to be about what I would expect from the typical airline ranks.

From that article, it appears that the program will run out of money, about the time it runs out of pilots. At least this fiscal year. Who knows if it will be renewed or not.

Grinch

TheGrinch
02-11-2004, 18:20
Posted on Wed, Feb. 11, 2004

http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/7927041.htm



Airworthy
For pilots training to become armed federal officers, quick thinking and judgment under pressure are the goals
By Bryon Okada
Star-Telegram Staff Writer


STAR-TELEGRAM

Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

ARTESIA, N.M. - One one-thousand, two one-thou ...


Time's up.


Here's the scenario: You're the co-pilot of a commercial airliner somewhere over the United States, buckled in, ready for the long haul. Suddenly the cockpit door bursts open. What do you do?


The man coming through the door is growling. There's a metal object in his right hand. You unbuckle your seat belt, retrieve your pistol -- a Heckler and Koch short recoil USP 40 -- from the holster at your right hip, and turn. The man is lunging at you.


ARTESIA, N.M. - One one-thousand, two one-thou ...


"Did you notice what the man was saying?" asks Joe Collins, program specialist for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, where U.S. commercial and cargo pilots are training to become armed federal officers.


"He said, 'I'm going to destroy this plane.' Did you see the knife in his hand?" Collins asks. "Did you notice the small boy sitting in first class? Did you consider that once the man sees you are armed, he may be more shocked than you and stop?"


Collins is speaking to a group of pilots in a computer-enhanced classroom where pilots watch videos and simulate cockpit confrontations by using guns that shoot beams of light. Training also takes place in three 727s, used as "shoot houses," where cockpit assaults and hijacking scenarios can be practiced.


The pilots have volunteered for the 10-month-old federal flight deck officer program, designed to prepare them to prevent terrorists from using jets as missiles in the wake of 9-11. The Artesia center, about a 45-minute drive from Roswell, is the only place in the country that offers the training.


The federal Transportation Security Administration, created by President and Bush in the wake of 9-11, oversees the program. The TSA asked that the pilots not be identified and has declined to release the number of participants, although an estimated 1,650 pilots have graduated.


The pilots face tests that are, first and foremost, about quick and clear thinking.


There is target practice at the gun range, hand-to-hand combat in padded workout rooms and classroom discussions about the legal aspects of wielding a gun. But the real tests involve gray areas. Positive attributes such as focus and concentration can become liabilities: tunnel vision and audio exclusion. A blizzard of choices compresses into 1.8 seconds.


Ask a pilot why he is in the program, and almost inevitably the answer includes a story about 9-11.


"I was sitting in an airplane terminal watching it happen and thinking about how two months earlier I was there having lunch on the observation deck," one pilot said. "I thought, there has to be a way to make sure this doesn't happen again."


They are learning to act decisively under pressure.


The training continues. Did you use voice commands to try to stop the man? If not, why not? If so, why? If you shot, did you shoot accurately? The computers will answer for you. Cross your fingers.


Did you hit the flight attendant by mistake? Or, heaven help you, the small boy in first class? Did you shoot the attacker enough times to put him down?


This isn't Hollywood: Terrorists don't fall over after a single shot.


"The actual amount of attention paid to the mental preparation as opposed to the physical is pretty amazing," said one regional airline pilot based in the southeastern United States. "We're taking the mind-set of the terrorist and applying the appropriate level of force."


Pilots are being trained to think first, then shoot; having a survival mind-set does not mean going overboard.


It's close to lunch time on a Wednesday -- about halfway through the six-day training -- and pilots are practicing a gun takeaway in a padded training room. They are pretending that the blue rubber guns are semiautomatic pistols.


The pilot turns and grabs the gun's slide to cause a jam. (If the gun were a revolver, it would take a different type of grab to jam the cylinder.) With both hands, he turns the barrel up toward the attacker, then takes it away and turns it on the man.


"Stop!" the pilot shouts. "Federal officer! I will shoot!"


The trainer nods and advises that next time, turn the barrel more toward the attacker's thumb, causing pain in a hand nerve.


The pilots are adopting an exclamatory philosophy: I will survive! I will win! I will practice!


Their fighting style is a modified Bruce Lee: the closest appropriate weapon used on the closest appropriate target. Moves are designed to fit inside a cramped space, such as a cockpit.


And again, over and over, there is the threat assessment. This time, it's a color-coded pyramid. Think first, then attack. The training isn't just flying, or shooting, or fighting, or shouting commands. This is something different, requiring trainees to think differently.


"When you're through the program, you can see what is needed to produce a person who carries a weapon," one pilot said. "You respect those who make the choices and put the steps in place to make sure the right people are here."


There are large parts of this program that the public will not see. For every technique used in front of the media, there are dozens of others kept secret, only to be revealed to a would-be terrorist.


Uncertainty is the program's biggest weapon. Is the terrorist's target just another pilot, or is this an armed, federally deputized officer?


"It throws out a gamble," said an East Coast-based pilot.


Now it's the terrorist's turn to worry. He has planned for years, perhaps taking dozens of flights, sitting in first class, observing, waiting for an opportunity as the web of security becomes tighter and tighter.


He has a weapon. He's in position. He sees the opportunity. Heart racing, he charges the reinforced cockpit door.


If he somehow breaks through, then what?


Is the barrel of a gun waiting on the other side?


ARTESIA, N.M. - One one-thousand, two one-thou ...


Time's up.


Training facts


Artesia, N.M., is known for an oil refinery, dairies and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, a division of the U.S. Homeland Security Department where air marshals and pilots are among the trainees. The center is 45 minutes south of Roswell. Here are some facts about the training:


•_It includes target practice, hand-to-hand combat and discussions on legal aspects of wielding a gun. Its primary focus is on clear thinking and decision-making.


•_Three 727s are used as "shoot houses," where responses to cockpit assaults and hijacking scenarios can be practiced.


•_About 3 percent of pilots who apply for the program are turned down -- fewer than 2 percent because of psychological assessment, the others because of a background check.


•_The federal Transportation Security Administration does not share the information from pilots' applications with the Federal Aviation Administration unless a person is somehow found unfit to fly.


•_The government will not release the exact number of participants. Only one person has dropped out, although others have been removed for medical reasons. The graduation rate is 99 percent.


SOURCE: Transportation Security Administration

Bryon Okada, (817) 685-3853 okada@star-telegram.com
online: www.fletc.gov





© 2004 Star Telegram and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.dfw.com

Patriot328
02-11-2004, 19:31
good article grinch...



artesia was a blast (no pun intended)



attention all pilots.. if you're "thinking about it"



DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pilot
02-12-2004, 21:13
The rejection numbers provided by the TSA don't add up. There have been close to 100 rejections, and less then 1000 trained. This is not 2 percent. There are currently about 80 pilots who were rejected, and who are now complaining directly to congress. They were given no reason for the rejections. Many of these rejected pilots have a military or LEO background. One pilot who was rejected was a former USAF colonel who had authority over nucular weapons!
Some pilots said they simply asked questions about the poor procedures or made other comments the TSA did not like. I am siding with congress and the 50 co-sponsors to the new bill to correct this mess. The aviation sub committee has more information than the public is allowed to see, and they are very upset. You can't argue that few pilots are interested in applying under the current procedures. The TSA currently even refuses to issue a badge to any FFDO. This speaks volumes. When congress ordered the pilots to be armed, this is what should have been done. The small number of trained FFDO's has simply not been enough, given the time since 9/11/01.
The public wants the pilots armed, congress wants the pilots armed. It time for action, not excuses. We have a history of arming airline pilots who carried the US Mail back in the 1950's to 1960's. There was not a single case of negligence that I am aware of during this time. There was an attempted hijacking in Cleveland during this time, where the Captain shot the hijacker dead before the plane left the gate area. Why has all this previous experience failed to make it into the current debate? These pilots were not given lock boxes, nor any of the current screening requirements, which are now being viewed as suspect by congress. The system worked then and it can work now. We just need to get some common sense into the mix, and this is exactly what the new bill called "Cockpit Security Technical Corrections and Improvements Act of 2004" is proposing.

flybywire
02-13-2004, 11:21
Pilot,

Good on you.

I'm also on the side which sez' the program is broken. There need to be some common sense fixes. Oops, I think that's the problem.

Russell Lang
02-13-2004, 14:06
I hate to burst someone's bubble, but according to the FAA, the Captain is already in charge of everyone on the aircraft, including the passengers. That automatically puts him in charge. It has always been that way, and will probably never change.

Looking forward to seeing if any of the "new' proposals will get through Congress.

TheGrinch
02-15-2004, 18:26
The numbers are correct, you are using wrong input data.

The rest is just not worth commenting anymore. If you want to defend your cockpit from terrorism, then sign up and go. Nothing in the program today should keep you from pursuing that noble endeavor.

Waiting, especially based on the misinformation out there sends exactly the wrong message.

Time is of the essence...

Grinch

fingers
02-17-2004, 13:09
Time is of the essence... Exactly.

Do it now. Worry about fixing the many problems later.

You do not want to be the guy in the cockpit wishing he was armed when they come rushing in but isn't because it was too much of a hassle to go through the program.