AVmail: November 18, 2002


Joe Preston: Security Bill Fought In New JerseyI would like to inform you that your comments on NJ drivers licenses is not quite correct. NJ has an option of getting your drivers license with a picture or without. I have mine with a picture as do most of my flying acquaintances.

Mike Muetzel: Cessna Firewall Cracks Raise ConcernsBoth FAA and Highway Safety Administration have same boss. If this was a Chevy with a problem that could break the firewall, there would be a safety recall at manufacturer’s expense. Why in the world don’t we demand the same thing from aircraft manufacturers?

Steve McDonald: Pilots Fear More Hijackings, Want GunsRe: Today’s NewsWireSome years ago as a junior pilot at my airline, pilots routinely carried a gun. It was then Federal Law that if the U.S. Mail was carried, somebody carried a gun. Somewhere in FAR 121, authorization to carry a gun is allowed with company approval. At least in my day (not that long ago), that regulation existed. Today’s government-regulated security nonsense at airports proves two things. One, it increases the government’s bureaucracy for their purpose of increasing Federal Employees. Two, it is a method for testing the American public as to how much socialism the public is willing to endure. It is absurd to believe that airport security exists to protect your airline crew. Today, even the cockpit crew must be searched and give up their pocket knife or nail cutters at a security checkpoint. Ask yourself; who is being protected when even the Captain gets searched? Are federal security checkpoint personnel hired to protect flight crews? Or do flight crews exist to give importance and legitimacy to the security personnel? I leave the answer to that question to your observations at your next inquisition at a security checkpoint (and I do mean inquisition). Simply put, who can complain about a pilot carrying a pistol loaded with rat shot or other bullet that protects the integrity of the airliner? Is the pilot not the last line of defense against a hijacking? DUHHH! The pilot cannot stop a maniac in the cabin carrying a bomb or murdering someone in the cabin. But any pilot CAN stop a takeover of his airplane with a pistol or sawed off shotgun. What’s so hard to understand? I’ll educate you about one organized bureaucracy against pilots being armed: the TSA and their federal airport security personnel. Understand that if pilots are armed, what purpose is served with this present massive airport security bureaucracy? A small unobtrusive security force at each airport with sniffing dogs is all that would be needed if pilots become armed. Do you now understand why the bureaucracy opposes this simple solution?Airlines are losing passengers in droves (and losing revenue). Passengers are voting with their feet, specifically about the increasing airport security bureaucracy. A 400 mile trip today can be driven faster than any airline can cover the same trip. Next year, as the TSA implements more inane bureaucracy at airports, the distance will increase to 600 miles. I for one will fly my Twin Comanche to New Zealand before the airlines ever see me again (and I still rate my airline employee travel privileges). I am unwilling, ever again, to waste my time at some security checkpoint in any airport, being examined by some bureaucrat who cannot even spell “bureaucrat.”