United Training Pilots to Use Stun Guns

flyplanes2000

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United Starts Training Pilots to Use Stun Guns
Tuesday April 23, 2002 10:39 PM
www.airlinecrashpad.com

United Airlines has begun training it's pilot's in the use of stun guns, becoming the first US airline to take an approach to arming it's flight crews in the 6 months since the September 11th attacks. Up until now the US carriers have approached the security issue by enforcing policies already in existence outside of the flight deck. Although pretty much equal in terms of defense to the crash ax, the downsides of a stun gun are that it's a single shot weapon and it requires a short warm up time. Unfortunately after it's used, the charge is gone for a short while until the device recharges. At this point United has no plans for any kind of "stand off" weapon (other then the crash ax) while the device is recharging. United must still obtain the graces of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta before it can actually go ahead with it's plan. One aviation consultant who declined to be named said "While a bullet may take out 2-3 instruments, a single 20,000 volt charge making contact anywhere on an instrument panel can take out the entire electrical backbone to any flight control system, causing gobbs of electrical hell and most likely ending up in a fire to boot."
 

avbug

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Gobbs of electrical hell? That's a rather uninformed and ignorant statement.

When law enforcement qualifies with a taser, part of the qualification is getting shot with the device, just as it's a qualfication requirement for chemical controls such as mace, OC spray, and certain gasses. How many hairy chested pilots are planning to stand up for that one? My guess is not too many, and that the airline probably won't require it.

I wonder how someone decided that a taser is the "equivilent of a crash axe?" Would that be the deluxe electrified crash axe, or the sheffield steel 440 hardened taser, honed to a fine edge? How about a crash axe with batteries in the handle, sharp enough to shave a gnat, a .44 zip gun in the tip, with all the edges coated liberally in a curarie gel topped with poisonous fish guts?

I vote that we just wire a sawed off shotgun in the cockpit facing aft, and the airline invest the money in some good piano wire that can be run from the trigger to the door. When the shotgun goes off, it moves aft, bumping a small switch which activates two loudspeakers blaring opera music. If the blast doesn't kill the terrorists (or lost passengers who've had a bit too much to drink), then they opera will drive them nuts. They'll probably kill themselves or surrender, just to make it stop.

The downside is flight crews who may elect to crash the aircraft, just to make it stop.
 

Pilotadjuster

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Give pilots a REAL weapon!

I saw a story on MSNBC yesterday regarding this. The tasers work just great if your hijacker decides to bare his chest so you can make good electrical contact. Otherwise they are absolutely worthless. The crash axe is more useful for self defense. The reporters had several "aviation security specialists" simulate a slow-motion attack on a reporter sitting in a chair in a hanger. The reporter turned around and shot them all in the center of the chest. Even the few where the electrode actually stuck were not even slowed down. The last attacker was a relatively petite female officer and she wasn't even phased.

More feel good which will do no good, in my opinion.

Give pilots a real weapon; you trust them to operate an aircraft worth millions of dollars carrying hundreds of passengers. I think operation of a handgun would be well within their mental capability and moral responsibility!

Besides...handguns would save money on trials for the bastards later...:D
 

avbug

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It's always best to take down a hostile alive if you can; the intelligence that can be gained is invalueable. However, that's not a priority when in a last ditch effort at defense.

A taser works through moderate clothing; that's what it's designed for. It will even work through a denim jacket or other heavier materials.

Units are available which house multiple darts with a quick discharge time; two hits per victim aren't uncommon. The problem with having enough probes to be useful is one of battery capacity, bulk, and weight. Certainly in terms of an effective defense, a handgun is orders of magnitude more effective. However, a handgun is deadly force, while a taser is not. (usually).

As it appears that most of these terrorists are of a religious affiliation which is repulsed by pornography, my suggestion is to plaster the cockpit with centerfolds. This will serve a dual purpose by repelling hoards of evil terrorists, and will keep flight crews entertained for hours. (Or minutes, depending on their decorum and level of professionalism). Just a thought.
 

Boeingman

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Seems to be there is a problem with a stun gun having about 100,000 volts to accidently hit an electrical panel. What is the potential of damage or inflight disruption on electrical equipment.
MX manual for my airplane says the tolerance is +/ - 8 volts with a max of + /- 20 allowable. What about fly by wire airplanes?
 

avbug

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Several issues affect this. One is voltage vs. amperage. While the voltage is high, the amperage in every charge is relatively low.

If a taser strikes an "electrical panel", voltage would still have to be introduced to a circuit to cause a problem. Voltage isn't flowing anywhere. A taser doesn't work the same way grabbing a live wire might. Completely different path. The reality is that it's extremely unlikely that anything in the cockpit would be damaged by a taser, other than another crewmember. A taser does have the potential to interfere with pacemaker operation. However, it won't hurt aircraft electronics or anything else in the cockpit. Unfortuantely, this may also be true for the folks forcing their way into the cockpit.
 

Pilotadjuster

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hijackers

Avbug--should have remembered that from my Army days; a prisoner is invaluable in most cases, and intelligence is our only real defense against these guys.

The MSNBC story was pretty disturbing however; they shot each of the "hijackers" and it didn't even slow them down. The examples shown by the United press people were prisoners who were bare-chested and immediately incapacitated. From the MSNBC story, pepper spray would be more effective, if non-lethal is the goal.

Another defense I have received email about; all females on board should remain naked for the flight, which will force all hijackers to keep their eyes shut.... ;)
 

Boeingman

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Re: hijackers

Pilotadjuster said:


The MSNBC story was pretty disturbing however; they shot each of the "hijackers" and it didn't even slow them down. The examples shown by the United press people were prisoners who were bare-chested and immediately incapacitated. From the MSNBC story, pepper spray would be more effective, if non-lethal is the goal.

Pepper spray is worthless. Every couple of months or so, we get an individual in the club that gets "a bit out of hand". When they are asked to leave, 1 out of 10 usually fights. The bouncers used to carry pepper spray to restrain these people until the cops came.

I say used to because in each and every case it had to be used, it did nothing to stop the individual or slow them down.
 

Boeingman

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AVbug.

I see what you're saying, but since I am not an electrical engineer I don't know if the stun gun is harmless up there.

I think there should be testing done to see what could happen.

If we are going to arm pilots, arm them. Don't use these half ass measures.
 

flashpoint

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Here - Here to that. That's what I say.. How big is a taser in terms of a deterrence when compared to a gun? Why the hell is everybody so afraid of guns? I am afraid of having my airplane flown into the tallest structure in downtown while I'm sitting there lapping in my own blood with four dudes between me and the flightdeck- they stole from me, because I was defenseless! Sept 11th was the day that 3000 people had to die because 8 pilots were killed. 8 for 8! The fact that nothing has happened with arming pilots since 9/11 is a sham.. A complete sham.
Tasers hitting my panel... Whoa! Yeah sure nothing would happen.. Are you telling that I can put 20,000 volts (not amps...) to my #1 EFIS in IMC and it will be fine? For the love of Pete! I'd rather put a bullet though the **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** thing.. At least that'd be the only "get us home" instrument effected...
 
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dmspilot00

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AvBug is right in that it has to do with the amperage of the charge more than the voltage. I wouldn't consider that article very credibile. It has five spelling/grammer mistakes in the very first sentence alone! I would not be so critical but it is supposed to be coming from a "news" site. The people that wrote it obviously are not well educated.

P.S. It has been over seven months since September 11, not six.
 
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avbug

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Let me clarify my position on the subject. I am very much against the placement of a taser or other non-lethal device on the flight deck/cockpit as the sole or primary defense; I believe it represents a clintonesque viewpoint. It's politically correct, but a dangerous mistake. It comes from the same non-realistic thinking that suggests people should shoot to wound.

If lethal force is required (and it is in the event of a breach of the cockpit), then it's all or nothing. Either it's unwarranted, or it's warranted. A pilot in the cockpit does not have the training or experience, and won't get it from the cockpit, to make a snap decision on the use of force continuem. That is, if an assault on the cockpit is made, there isn't time to recognize a point at which an impact weapon is no longer viable, at which non lethal electrical or chemical weapons are no longer viable, and at which point lethal force should be employed. It's asking too much, and there simply isn't the time or maneuvering room.

On the subject of stopping a determined attacker: the FBI determined years ago (and it's a popular real-life training clip on film) that an attacker with a knife at 21 yards could still kill his victim, even though the victim put eight rounds of 230 grain .45 ACP hardball through the attackers heart. This sounds fantastic to some folks; many people believe that it's a fools errand to bring a knife to a gun fight. Often it's the other way around. If someone is determined, and knows what they're doing, experience and training often wins hands down. The choice of weapon doesn't matter. Read that again. The weapon does NOT matter. THe circumstances are often the deciding factor.

Where does this leave us in the cockpit? With only a few feet of protective distance and a disadvantaged defensive position (strapped into a chair facing the other way), the pilot needs something decisive to end the conflict NOW. There is no room for single shot, see if it works type thinking. Something which will immediately incapacitate is required. This will require SOMETHING which will interrupt the central nervous system. Unless the pilot has the ability and training to effectively employ an impact or edged weapon (will take 10-15 years of daily training to accomplish), then really only two effective choices remain.

A gunshot to the head or pelvis is most effective, but seldom employed in close quarters defense; at least two shots to the upper chest cavity ("center mass") is the most viable and immediate target, but does not accomplish interruption of the central nervous system, and may or may not stop an attacker. (Remember that even shot through both lungs and heart, an attacker may complete the attack and develop a fatal blow, at close quarters).

The other choice is to electrically interrupt the CNS. This is the intent of the taser. It may or may not work. Generally the state of the attacker is not relevant to the use of the TASER. It is supposed to drop the attacker immediately. It is supposed to work through clothing. It is supposed to do many things. Do you want to be the test pilot who finds out when someone is attempting to slice your throat from ear to ear or put a pick in the back of your neck or behind your ear? When someone rolls a thunderflash grenade of a homemade popper with semtex or C4 (smuggled in their shoe) in your door or blows off the hinges during an entry, will you have the presence of mind to aim, squeeze, and hold the trigger on the taser for the first, second, third, and fourth attackers through the door?

A taser has some very bonafide uses. It's an outstanding way of neutralizing an aggressive individual or incapacitating someone in certain tactical situations. In an assault, personally, I would much prefer a firearm with which I have trained a LOT and regularly, and with which I'm comfortable. A Kahr or Glock with no external controls, a slick clean external surface that doesn't grab clothing, and the reliability of a fine dog, is ideal. No thinking, no disharmony, ergonomic, simple to use, reliable to the extreme. In most cases, so is a revolver.

Remember that a defense of the cockpit isn't going to be a long protracted battle; it's a rapid blitzkreig action; it's begun and ended in time measured in seconds, not minutes or hours.

On the subject of chemical defenses, don't compare them all to what is used in the bar. There are much more effective weapons in terms of concentration, makeup, size, etc. A few things to consider; powders and gasses are out. Use them in a confined space against an attacker, and the defender and attacker are breathing the same air. Generally you must be close and must apply it directly to the eyes and potentially airway of the attacker. In a law enforcement setting, it's usually used as a control while restraining someone. It's used to temporarily blind an attacker, and to take some of the fight out of them. It's not intended to stop the attacker.

A very effective compound today uses foaming action to retain the concentrated formula on the subjects face, in the mouth and airway, etc. It is physically blinding, and any effort to remove it by rubbing or wiping only makes it worse. It's available in a variety of delivery methods, from sprays to projectiles.

Chemical spray (OC at 20%) is often used and recommended for defense against bears; the probability of success is much higher than using a firearm, in many cases. However, I may be old fashioned, but while I'm all for carrying a large canister of OC with some range to it, nothing beats the reassurance of a .44 magnum. (Except possibly a .454).

Tasers and chemicals have a place, in the event a situation can be neutralized and mop up and arrest is immenent. One does not attempt to handcuff a fighting prisoner, and one does not tap an attacker on the shoulder to make him stop. First and foremost in stopping a cockpit assault is to STOP the assault, and there's no room to **CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED****CENSORED** foot around or play. It's a deadly serious mission. If the potential to retain an attacker alive after the situaition has been neutralized remains, then it will certainly prove valueable to intelligence agencies after the fact, and should be considered. It should NOT be considered during the assault, especially with untrained troops (pilots) making the call. Pilots shouldn't have to decide or worry about tactics; it's no time or place for such things.

I'm not against United or Mesa keeping a TASER on the flight deck, but it's use is very limited. There are better choices
for critical defense. Those choices still need to be addressed. The overwhelming voice of pilots in this country is leaning toward a defensive firearm. If the voice of the working industry is that united and prevelant, then my gut feeling is that this is a direction we very seriously need to consider moving. If that's to happen, it's going to take a proactive effort on the part of every concerned individual; letter writing, signing petitions, etc. It's not a politically correct action, and that needs to change.

Is your life worth a stamp and a signature? I'd think so.
 
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TurboS7

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Forget the porno why not just use the real thing. They could ride on the flight deck jumpseat.
 

airstang

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More dog & pony show...

Anyone who regularly operate out of air carrier airports will know what I am talking about...

This tazer thing is just another act in the old "let's make everyone feel better" show that the airlines and the government are both putting on. The whole point is to make business (the bread and butter) travelers feel safe enough to make that business trip by air instead of by phone (or fractional jet).

We all know that the "perception" of airline security is the only thing that has really changed since September (other than the inconvenience to honest passengers). All the FAA and the TSA have done is put really big speed bumps on the center aisle up to the cockpit. Just like a car alarm, its only a deterrent. If they want your jet bad enough, they probably will find a way to get to it.

Bottom line .... give us (the last line of defense) some means to even the playing field if (when) we have to fend of well trained, suicidal hijackers.

Just my opinion, of course!
 

skykid

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Tasers

Whatever was used in that MSNBC report IS NOT what UAL has. Moving forward while you are getting zapped is IMPOSSIBLE. You don't have to wait for a Taser to charge back up unless you have just fired the thing about 100 times. You don't have to be barechested - saw footage of people being knocked on their butts with all different sorts of clothes on, including a bulletproof vest. UAL autolanded an A319 several times while Tasers were being fired all over the thing, including the instrument panel. There's lots of misinformation out there. Are Tasers going to be 100% effective in every situation? Of course not. Neither will hanguns or Federal Air Marshalls. Its a good step in the right direction.
 

FR8mastr

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Those idiot cops zapped Rodney King 4 or 5 times with a tazer, sure didnt slow him down much. If it had actually knocked him down and incapacitated him the idiot cops would not have had the chance to beat the guy so badly therby preventing the trial and the riots and all the fun that went with that. Yea tazers that's the answer, especially knowing the terrorist work in groups of 5. Also knowing that I bet you that a dead or badly wounded flight attendant will preceed the scum terrorist into the cockpit so your PC tazer will just zap her. Or one of the volunteer terrorist will just go in fast and take the zap freeing up his buddies to finish the crew. You need to get real!!! deadly force is needed to counter deadly force. Or maybe we could just talk to them and try to understand their plight, they will then see the light and just give up. I'm sure Jihad abdul thinks its great that we infidels are so concerned with their well being. Without the use of deadly force either the terrorists or the government with the F-16 will make sure everyone on the aircraft is finished.
 

DairyAir

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Tasers

For those of you who have said that tasers are worthless and would not stop somebody are to put it simply, wrong. During an altercation at a club a friend of mine was trying to hold back some guy from trying to pummel another guy, the police showed up and during the fight one of the officers shot a taser at the guy my friend was holding back. These were two pretty large guys who had been drinking for a while and pretty charged up with adrenaline, the taser knocked both of them flat instantly, and it was sometime before thay got up again. Say what you want about the taser but it works and anything is better than nothing. Do some research on the particular taser we are all talking about and I think you will be surprised at what you find. If you are still not a believer then I will be happy to fire one at you and see how long you stay standing.

P.S. It doesn't matter how thick your clothing is, it doesn't work that way.
 

AWACoff

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What if the clothing you are wearing is non-conductive? I'm not a brain surgeon (or whatever they call those guys that play with volts and amps) but it wouldn't be too hard to wear rubber clothing. Heck, my girlfriend just had some on the other nig....Um, anyways, what about rubber clothing? If we can think of it, somebody else can too.

Just my opinion and a bread san'wich (unemployment just ran out...no money for cheese)
 

DairyAir

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The way the taser works is it shoots two probes with barbs at the target. these probes stick into the trgets skin clothes or whatever and the electrical charge is provided between the two probes, not directly into the skin. It was designed to spread the probes about twelve inches before impact which essentially provides a foot long bolt of energy arcing between two points on someones body. I do know that they have been tested with up to four inches of clothing including leather and the taser has lost very little of its effectiveness. As far as rubber clothes your guess is as good as mine but I doubt something like a wet suit would help much. I was as skeptical as everyone else is until I saw it in action and spoke with people who use them often I.E. police officers. I am a believer at least until something better comes along.

see ya

Sorry AWACOFF but I just ran out of cheesecurd
 
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