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Fri, Apr 18, 2008

US Airways Fires Pilot Whose Gun Discharged Inflight

FFDOA Plans To Fight Captain's Termination

The US Airways captain who accidentally discharged his gun in the cockpit of an airliner inflight is being fired by the airline.

As ANN reported, Capt. James Langenhahn was suspended from the airline three days after the March 22 incident, which occurred as the Airbus A319 he was piloting descended through 8,000 feet to land in Charlotte, NC.

No one in the cockpit was injured, but the bullet did leave a hole in the inner and outer fuselage skins, the outer hole visible under the port-side cockpit window.

Langenhahn is a member of the Transportation Security Administration's Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program, which allows pilots to carry loaded firearms onboard commercial aircraft as a protective measure against terrorism. The pilot told authorities he was stowing the firearm, a .40 caliber semiautomatic H&K USP, when it fired.

A spokesman for the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association told CNN US Airways has begun the process to terminate Langenhahn's contract with the carrier... which the group plans to fight. "This was accidental not intentional," said Mike Karn. "This is not the way to treat a long-term pilot."

A spokesperson for US Airways declined to comment on the matter, which was the first such public incident of its kind since the FFDO program was created in 2002. Thousands of commercial pilots have been trained to carry firearms onboard their planes,

The TSA is now investigating the matter... which will no doubt include the question of why Langenhahn had the gun out of its holster in the first place.

FMI: www.usairways.com, www.ffdoa.org, www.tsa.gov/lawenforcement/programs/ffdo.shtm

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