AVmail: April 21, 2003

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Guns in the Cockpit

I am a Learjet and King Air pilot who is worried about the abilities for pilots to carry guns in the cockpit and have a secured door. The problem with this can be demonstrated in a hypothetical scenario.

A 767 is on final approach to JFK. One of the pilots who has passed all background checks is having a bad day. He pulls out his gun, shoots the other pilot, and now decides the Empire State building is a fine place to stop the jet. There is not one thing a passenger or sky marshall can do at this point. The jet is his. Either have a secure door or have guns; but not both! Egyptian Air should be a lesson. At least that captain was able to fight the co-pilot. It's hard to fight back with a bullet in your head.

Rich Boney

Guarding Airports, Airliners

Your article on the use of man portable ground to air missiles left out one notable shoot down in Africa. The President of Rwanda, Juvenal Habyarimana, and the President of Burundi were killed in an incident when their aircraft was shot down just short of the airport in Kigali, April 6, 1994.

From the pictures I have seen, it was a Falcon Jet.

Doc Bryant

AVweb responds ...

Thanks for pointing out this incident. It's interesting to note the relatively few times a missle has been used to shoot down an aircraft. Nevertheless, it seems that terrorists will attempt to use any means available to accomplish their evil missions. I just hope that doesn't come at a steep price: Loss of opportunity to watch aircraft operations near airports.

Arturo Weiss