The idea of firearms at 36000 feet might sound alarming to some people. However, due to escalated security concerns post-9/11, passengers may occasionally find firearms on board.
For commercial flights, however, there are rules for the kind of pilots who can carry firearms. Only pilots who are part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program are authorized to carry guns on board.
These pilots undergo rigorous training lasting over 5 days in Artesia, New Mexico, post which they are designated as law enforcement on the high skies by the Transport Security Administration (TSA).
The kind and type of weapons are specified by the TSA and pilots volunteer to be a part of the program.
Can private pilots carry guns?
Private pilots or commercial pilots are allowed to carry guns provided they have completed the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program.
The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program was developed post 9/11 on the direction of the Office of Homeland Security. The Transportation Security Administration was in charge of developing the program to equip designated pilots and engineers to use firearms and protect the aircraft in case of a hijacking event.
Federal Flight Deck Officers have to fulfill certain requirements in order to carry firearms. Some of the eligibility conditions for this program include holding a current FAA airman certificate.
The program is a volunteer program and pilots who volunteer to be designated as law enforcement officers by TSA are not compensated for their service. The goal of the firearms on board is to secure the cockpit in case of a hijacking and enable the pilot flying to land securely.
The rules, therefore, require that the firearms should remain in the cockpit.
Can you bring weapons on a private jet?
Chartered pilots are not qualified to undertake the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program. Therefore, they cannot carry guns as part of this program.
However, passengers can carry a gun on a private jet provided they fulfill the regulations for such transport. For instance, they need to inform the charter company in advance that they intend to carry firearms on flight.
Further, loaded firearms are not allowed in the cabin. The firearm cannot be concealed and must be locked in cases.
If passengers are traveling internationally, it is also advisable to check the rules for carrying firearms in the destination country.
Different US states may also have different laws regarding the transport of firearms. Usually, in the case of travel within the state and on a private airstrip, it is generally allowed to carry firearms without any block.
Do navy pilots carry guns?
Military pilots or pilots part of either the army, airforce or navy are allowed to carry firearms. The exact firearm varies based on the arm of the military.
The firearm carried by navy pilots is usually a 9mm pistol. These are however mainly part of the pilots survival kit in case they have to disembark on enemy territory.
Depending on the type of mission or aircraft, navy pilots may also be equipped with machine guns.
Federal Flight Deck Officer
Federal flight deck officers are airline pilots authorized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry firearms on board commercial flights. Around 48 pilots are in each class of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program each year.
The exact number of Federal Flight Deck Officers in the country is unknown. The training for this program is provided free of cost.
The pilots who are designated under this program are not compensated for their services and the program is entirely voluntary.
Are federal flight deck officers law enforcement?
Yes, Federal Flight Deck officers are designed as law enforcement by TSA. These pilots are deputized to defend the flight deck against criminal action or air piracy.
What weapons do helicopter pilots carry?
Helicopters used in combat or attack helicopters come equipped with a number of weapons. These include machine guns, rockets, cannons, and missiles.
Helicopter pilots that are part of the military also carry a survival kit with a pistol or other weapons for self defense.
Black Hawk helicopters come with advanced weapon options with various stations. These stations may contain a combination of guns like a fixed forward 50-cal (12.7 mm) gun, rocket pods, and missiles.
What gun do Air Force pilots carry?
The kind of gun used by airforce pilots has varied over the years. For instance, in 2018, the airforce armed pilots with long-range stand-off rifles to use in case they are shot down.
Typically, United States airforce fighter pilots carry a 9mm Beretta pistol. In 2019, USAF fighter pilots were also equipped with converted M4 Rifles
Do flight attendants have weapons?
Unlike some pilots like those designated as Federal Flight deck officers, flight attendants are not authorized to carry firearms during the course of their duty. If they must carry firearms, they can do so, during non-work travel and subject to the regulations applicable to all passengers.
These rules include but are not limited to.
- They need to be above 18 years of age.
- They can only carry firearms and ammunition in checked bags.
- The firearms must be checked in with an agent and declared.
- The firearms must be unloaded and locked in a case with a padlock.
- Ammunition must be a separate pack and in packaging specifically designed to carry such ammunition.
Do pilots carry parachutes?
Commercial airlines do not come equipped with parachutes for numerous reasons. There are many reasons why commercial planes do not come equipped with parachutes.
One of the main reasons is that commercial pilots fly at a higher altitude than appropriate for a skydive. This makes a skydive with a parachute fatal with low temperatures and lack of breathable air.
In order to make skydiving at such heights possible for pilots, the airline would need to also carry oxygen cylinders-an additional expense. Finally, commercial flights are not designed for mid-flight skydives and not all pilots are trained to skydive correctly.
Military aircrafts however do provide parachutes for their personnel for various purposes. One such purpose may be in the case of forceful ejection where a military plane or jet may be caught in enemy fire.
In such cases, the pilot may eject from his seat with the parachute deploying soon after. United States airforce officers also receive special training in order to conduct safe jumps by way of parachutes.
This includes extensive on-ground training and parachute landing training. They are also then required to complete Parachute Familiarization Training (PFT).
The navy also requires similar training for its pilots.
FAQ relating to do pilots carry guns
Read ahead for some commonly asked questions regarding airline pilots and firearms.
Do pilots still carry guns?
Federal Flight Deck Officers carry guns as designated by the Transport Security Administration Authority to do so. However, while traveling internationally, some countries may not allow the carrying of firearms by such officers.
Special accomodation or permission may be taken in such cases by TSA for flying with firearms to a foreign country. The TSA however permits a Federal Flight Deck Officer when necessary to carry a firearm between different states irrespective of specific Federal or State law.
What weapons do pilots carry?
The exact weapons carried by pilots vary based on the kind of pilot-commercial or private plane pilots or military pilots. For commercial pilots designated as Federal Flight Deck Officers, the type and specifics of firearms are provided under 49 US Code 44921.
The airforce equips its pilots with GAU-5A Aircrew Self Defense Weapon. Information on the exact weapon type carried by other branches of the military is usually classified.
Helicopters used in combat or attack helicopter come equipped with a number of weapons. These include machine guns, rockets, cannons, and missiles.
Helicopter pilots that are part of the military also carry a survival kit with a pistol or other weapons for self defense. Black Hawk helicopters in particular come with advanced weapon options with various stations.
These stations may contain a combination of guns like a fixed forward 50-cal (12.7 mm) gun, rocket pods and missiles. The kind of gun used by airforce pilots has varied over the years.
In 2018, for instance, the airforce armed pilots with long-range stand off rifles to use in case they were shot down. Typically, United States airforce fighter pilots carry a 9mm Beretta pistol.
In 2019, USAF fighter pilots were also equipped with converted M4 Rifles.
Do pilots have a gun on board?
Not all pilots are allowed to have a gun on board. On commercial flights, only pilots designated as Federal Flight Deck Officers are allowed to carry guns on board as designated by the TSA.
Pilots of private chartered planes may also carry guns-however need to follow the specific rules and regulations to do so. Certain pilots who fly for cargo firms carrying high value goods also carry guns for the safety of the aircraft and cargo.
Are pilots armed?
Some pilots may be armed while on a flight. However, these are pilots specially designated by the Transport Security Administration (TSA) to carry firearms and will only use them for specific purposes.
Military pilots are also armed during missions and receive special weapons for defence against the enemy.