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Airline Pilots Security Alliance Petitions President Bush

Airline Pilots' Security Alliance Petitions President Bush for Armed Pilots

Airline Pilots Security Alliance

See also:
Pilot groups unified on arming flight crew
Organizations make written appeal to President Bush

By Jon Dougherty
© 2002

April 3, 2002

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As representatives of the largest airline pilot organizations in this country, we would like your assistance in the immediate development and implementation of a program to defend the American traveling public with voluntarily armed pilots.

Public opinion polls and those within our own pilot groups indicate overwhelming support for arming flight deck crewmembers with lethal weapons. Nothing short of lethal force can stop lethal intent to hijack and destroy our aircraft and murder all on board. Yet the volunteer pilot arming provisions of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 that you signed into law on November 19, 2001, are being ignored.

To remedy this situation, we ask for your assistance in implementing a flight deck protection program that has the following characteristics

  • All volunteer pilots must be carefully screened, successfully trained and subsequently designated by a federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI or TSA.

  • Pilots so selected, screened and trained should be deputized or have the same indemnification and protections afforded other law enforcement officers in the employ of the U.S. government.

  • Pilots must be certificated in weapons handling, use of lethal force, carriage policy and procedure, rules of engagement in all environments, recurrent training, tort law, and other subjects deemed necessary by the governing authority.

  • Choice of weapons and ammunition will be mandated by the responsible federal agency.

  • Certified pilots will draw their weapons only for use in direct defense of the flight deck in accordance with program “use of force” rules

If the unthinkable happens again, there must be a means provided for our flight crews to defeat any hijacker who breaches the flight deck with a weapon and attempts to destroy the aircraft. Otherwise, a U.S. fighter may be ordered to shoot down a commercial airliner full of innocent passengers. America’s pilots must have lethal weapons as a last line of defense against well-coordinated, highly trained teams of terrorists.

Each of our pilot groups has independently assessed and recommended the best way to implement a plan to arm our flight crews. Each has drawn similar conclusions closely paralleling a proposed training program developed by the FBI at the request of the Department of Justice. We have forwarded our specific recommendations through the comment process requested by the Federal Aviation Administration, and stand ready to immediately assist your administration in the establishment of such a program. 


Captain Duane Woerth
Air Line Pilots Association

Captain John E. Darrah
Allied Pilots Association

Captain Tracy Price
Airline Pilot Security Alliance

Captain Bob Miller
Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations

Captain Jon Weaks
Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association

Norman Mineta, Secretary of the U.S. DOT
Tom Ridge, Director, Office of Homeland Security
John W. Magaw, Under Secretary of Transportation for Security, U.S. DOT
Robert S. Mueller, Director, FBI
Nicholas Sabatini, Associate Administrator for Regulation & Certification, FAA
Carol Hallett, President & CEO, Air Transport Association of America



April 4, 2002

Major Pilot Groups Meet To Discuss Arming Airline Pilots

Captain Tracy W. Price, Chairman of APSA, met with high-level officials from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the Allied Pilots’ Association (APA), the Coalition of Airline Pilots’ Associations (CAPA), the Independent Pilots’ Association (IPA), counter-terrorism experts and others to discuss arming pilots. A letter to President Bush asking for his immediate assistance in implementing a program for arming volunteer pilots with firearms, signed by the leaders of all these groups as well as the President of the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA), was presented to Deputy Assistant to the President Chris Henick at the White House. 

Captain Price stated, "This meeting and our letter to President Bush indicates the unified resolve of the nation’s 90,000 professional airline pilots on the issue of arming pilots with firearms to counter the terrorist threat. Pilots are not asking for any additional compensation for participation in this program, they only want the opportunity to be screened and trained in the use of firearms as a last and final line of defense of their passengers, crew and innocent citizens on the ground."

Contact Information:

Capt. Tracy W. Price - Chairman
Airline Pilots Security Alliance:

Printer Version

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. — Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States; With a Preliminary Review of the Constitutional History of the Colonies and States before the Adoption of the Constitution [Boston, 1833].

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