Armed Pilots Might Get Badges

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Air Accident Digest says changes may be made to the Federal Flight Deck Officer program to encourage more airline pilots to carry guns in the cockpit. According to the Web site, issuing badges would allow armed pilots to instantly identify themselves to other law enforcement officials and establish authority during an incident. Another change being considered is to allow FFDOs to carry their weapons when deadheading, instead of the current practice of securing their guns in lock boxes. The Web site says that it’s estimated that less than 10 percent of the 90,000 airline pilots have FFDO certification (the actual numbers are a secret) and suggests the government is interested in beefing up those ranks to take some of the pressure off the Federal Air Marshal’s program. Perhaps the biggest disincentive to pilots is the fact that they have to pay their own way to the training center in New Mexico and cover the $30 daily charge for room and board themselves. But Conan Bruce, an Air Marshal’s Service official, told Air Accident Digest there’s no shortage of pilots that want to take the training and each six-day course has been “at capacity.”