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Airline Pilots' Security Alliance Addresses
"Blow 'em Out of the Sky" Bush Policy

September 12, 2002

Contact Information:

Capt. Tracy W. Price – Chairman
Home: (703)250-3568
Cell: (703)587-7811
Fax: (703)250-3568

Capt. Marc Feigenblatt – Vice Chairman
Home: (513) 232-8350
Cell: (513) 225-5996
Fax (513) 232-8349 (must call first)


On the one year anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the U.S. government aimed surface to air missiles at the skies over Washington D.C. and launched armed fighters to patrol the skies over our largest cities. The decision to "defend" our citizens in this manner speaks volumes about the administration’s confidence in their progress toward improving airline security after a full years effort.

APSA Chairman, Capt. Tracy Price commented on this latest policy of the administration. "The administration policy to destroy a hijacked airliner while denying the pilots firearms with which to defend the airliner needs a closer look. Missiles can only be used to destroy an airliner that has been hijacked by terrorists and all on board will most certainly die. The concept of arming airline pilots with firearms to prevent or stop a hijacking is viewed by some as an extreme and intrusive measure, but we think they’ve got it exactly backwards. The policy of sacrificing a civilian airliner with innocent Americans on board to keep terrorists from using it as a weapon, while at the same time refusing to allow the pilots an opportunity to offer a last resort, final line of defense is the extremist view that should be ridiculed and dismissed."  

Price continued, "Finally, we need to look at what motivates terrorists. Terrorists want to strike fear into our hearts by attacking us in unthinkable ways. They expect to die in the process. It is hard to imagine a more enticing scenario to a terrorist group than the prospect of forcing the United States to unceremoniously kill its own innocent citizens. Conversely, it would be nearly impossible to gain control of an airliner with armed pilots locked behind a reinforced cockpit door. Such an attack will almost certainly fail and thus we have deterred the terrorist attack before it was ever attempted. Arming pilots with firearms promises deterrence and makes the successful execution of the hijacking nearly impossible; promising to shoot down a hijacked airliner offers a huge return to the terrorist groups and does nothing to make the hijacking itself any more difficult."

Price concluded, "The American people and their Congressional representatives survey this crazy landscape and speak with a loud and clear voice: ‘Arm our pilots. They have to stay in control of our airplanes or we all are in peril.’ What we are doing is lunacy and we must regain our sense of clarity before we are attacked again."

APSA Web Site: Airplanes & Guns Archives