20 April 2008

USAir Pilot Whose Firearm Discharged In Cockpit To Be Terminated

"An US Airways pilot who aviation officials say accidentally fired his handgun in the cockpit during a flight will be fired, a spokesman for a flight officers group said. The airline has begun the termination process for Capt. James Langenhahn, said Mike Karn, vice president of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association.

"Langenhahn told police that he was stowing his gun in the cockpit of a jet preparing to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month when it accidentally fired. The federal Transportation Security Administration is investigating the incident."

I missed this story earlier in the week week when it was announced. Mixed feelings here. I think the policy of handling firearms in the cockpit so frequently prior to, during, and immediately following a flight, is absolute lunacy. This policy of the Department of Homeland Security, or of TSA -- frankly it doesn't matter who is responsible for this irresponsible procedure -- it needs to be reviewed.

The Federal Flight Deck Officers Association plans to fight the termination. "This was accidental not intentional," said Mike Karn, association vice president. "This is not the way to treat a long-term pilot."

While the accidental discharge is troubling, the distinct possibility that this pilot's career is being sacrificed so that the airline and TSA can avoid dealing with a glaring bureaucratic snafu is of far greater concern, I would think.

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