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America's New War: Security In The Sky

Aired September 25, 2001 - 05:13   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Pilots who also police the skies -- well, that is an anti terrorist idea that the FAA, and some in Congress, are considering today. The nation's largest commercial pilot's union is challenging lawmakers to allow pilots to carry guns and undergo the same training as police officers.

CNN's Patty Davis has more on this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A call to arms by the nation's pilots -- firearms in cockpits. That in the wake of the terrorist hijackings two weeks ago.

DUANE WOERTH, AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: If you're ever in a last ditch effort to save the cockpit and save the crew, maybe save the capitol, the pilots could certainly benefit by being armed and trained to use those weapons.

DAVIS: The Airline Pilots Association says pilots could be armed in a matter of weeks if Congress signs on. The union, which represents 67,000 pilots in the United States and Canada, wants pilots, who volunteer to carry weapons, to undergo background checks and psychological profiles, receive extensive training in the use of firearms, be sworn in as law enforcement officers.

JANE GARVEY, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: But you're busy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're very busy over here right now.

DAVIS: It's an idea federal aviation administrator Jane Garvey, flying to New York's JFK Airport on a mission to restore passenger confidence, says she's not ruling out.

GARVEY: And that's an idea that we're absolutely willing to look at.

DAVIS: Also willing to look at it, some members of Congress searching for ways to deter terrorists.

REP. JOHN MICA (R), AVIATION SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: We don't want a shootout, but we want at least the ability to have survivors among passengers and crew on board. DAVIS (on camera): But arming pilots raises a number of concerns. Firing a gun in an airplane could pierce the fuselage and bring it down. The pilots say they'd use soft point bullets to injure humans but not hurt the aircraft.

(voice-over): Airline industry sources worry the weapon could be used against pilots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anytime you have a firearm someone else to get control of, and so, you know, custody and control will be very important in terms of who carries the weapon, where it's stored, who is trained to use it.

DAVIS: Pilots say arming their ranks would be the fastest way to bolster cockpit security, a solution, they say, that would help until there are stronger cockpit doors, stun guns in every flight deck, and new air marshals recruited and put in place.

Patty Davis, CNN, Washington.

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