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April 22, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Gun Accidentally Fires, Pilot Gets Fired

From CNN:

A 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. . . .

Karn said his group, which represents pilots who are federally trained and allowed to carry firearms on flights, will fight the termination.

"This was accidental not intentional," Karn said. "This is not the way to treat a long-term pilot."

What do you think? Should the pilot be fired?



Not just NO but HELL NO! it would be differnent if someone was hurt or it caused a malfunction, but all that happend was people got scared. Scaring people isn't a reason to lose your job, just ask the Govt. they try to scare people all the time, if you listened to everything they said,and it came true we would all be dead from the avian flu, marijuana overdoses, the Osama Bin Laden would be president, and all rich people are evil! lol they don't lose thier jobs and oh yeah I just heard that the head of the FDA is asking for MORE money because apparently doing a bad job just means that it was underfunded...it has nothing to do with the people running the show, oh and watch out for that Global Warming we are all gonna go the way of the woolly mammoth..OH NO!


tough call, any one who carries a firearm is responisble for any bullet that leaves that gun and he did cause damage to company equipment (not to mention the bad press). On the flip side no one was hurt and it addressed a flaw in their system. Im glad Im not the one making the decision.


I think it shows a design flaw in the type of storage device that are used. If he kept it in a holdster on his person at all times he would not need to handle it.


It is obvious to me that the pilot was handling the gun unsafely for it to go off. On an airline this type of incmpetence is totally unacceptable,even if no one is injured. I don't think he should be fired, but disciplinary action should be taken.


Fired? No, suspended, yes.

Unless he was told not to bring a gun on the plane, he should be suspended and reinstated @ a later date (like 30 days).


NH  Philosopher

No No No. Firing is too easy a pathway and unjust overall. Suspend him - have him write I will not fire a gun in the aircraft 1000 times on the chalkboard and end it. No one got hurt - more importantly though...

This incident proves that the Gov't should not be governing airline security - but the airlines should be governing themselves.

This is a symptom of a wider issue.

Mc. Squizzy

no he shouldn't be fired.

Blue Ox

Just more gut-reaction bullshit. Smack him on the hand and let him go back to work.


I understood from one of the comments in print that the procedures require that the gun be unloaded and stored whenever the pilot leaves the cockpit, and reloaded when he comes back. That means handling the firearm frequently, sometimes in challenging situations (ie while trying to fly a plane, or during turbulence). Usually, shouldn't be a problem -- most firearms won't fire without the trigger actually being pulled, and have decockers, but, that's a lot of handling.

Scott. You mean all rich people arent evil?


I don't think he should necessarily be fired, but you have to remember, guns very very rarely just "go off on their own" like people say they do. If a gun fires unexpectedly, it happened because of some sort of carelessness probably more than 99% of the time. What if things had happened a little differently and a passenger had been shot? I support the idea of armed pilots, but only if they can safely handle a firearm.


That pilot should take the NRA hunter safety course, then trade in the pistol for a SA revolver. Firing him is extreme, but then
how do you explain shooting a hole in your plane?


Umm... he put over 200 peoples life at risk. Nothing happened, (and that is good) but it could have and if it did over 200 people would be dead right now and millions of dollars of damage would have been done. That pilot doesn't have to carry that gun, they are simply allowed too. Since he choose to carry he is completely resposible for what happens with it.

He ought to be fired and every remaining pilot that decides to carry a gun on a plane needs to be retrained, becuase if they were trained right the first time this wouldn't have happened.

Richard G.

I need more information to answer this question. If the weapon was out of it's holster, he should be fired. If it was in the holster and somehow still managed to go off, he should be suspended long enough to find the correct holster for his weapon.

If the weapon was out of the holster - no question, fire him.

Roving_Richard USMC (inactive)

I only want to fly on that guys plane.


This pilot is just lucky no one was injured. I have been using weapons for over 40 years and have never had one just go off. Operator error, and sometimes you don't get a second chance.


This pilot is just lucky no one was injured. I have been using weapons for over 40 years and have never had one just go off. Operator error, and sometimes you don't get a second chance.


This accident occurred due to federal regulations which require the pilot to unload, install a trigger lock and then place the weapon in a locked transport case. This procedure must be done sometime 10X a day! It was just a statistical matter of time before eventually there would be an accident (NOT an intentional discharge!) The pilot should be congratulated for having the cojones to go through all this crap in order to keep his passengers safer in the first place!
Don't fly US Air!

Troy S.

I'm not in the unenviable position to decide the pilot's career, but I will say this: everyone who handles, carries, secures, utilizes and or disposes a firearm is responsible for it 100% of the time!

This jughead nearly cost someone (or himself) their life- which is inexcusable. It's not the fault of a deplorable storage policy handed down by donut-munching bureaucrats who answer to the FAA, it is the individual's responsibility to secure his/her weapon in such a manor that this NEVER happens.

Guess which way I'm leaning now?



Recently, one of our city's police recruits killed his new wife with an accidental discharge of his firearm. I find it incredulous that it can be passed off as an accident.

Accidents happen but police, pilots, servicemen, indeed gun carriers of every sort should be held to a higher standard that doesn't include "accidents". Taking a position that entails firearms handling means taking on a great responsibility -- something beyond the bus boy dropping a tray of dishes or the teenager at McDonalds messing up your order.


I agree with Carney. If a police officer accidentally fires his gun he would also get fired. These people are given guns because they are trained professionals with them. You cant just give them a slap on the wrist and say " well next time try a little harder not to have your gun go off in a crowded airplane"


I also read that he didn't report the accident till after he landed. So even if you wanted to forgive the gun going off, not reporting it right away ought to be casue for termination.

S Dale Smith

All it takes is a briel spec of time for a screw-up with a gun. I work on them, handle them, use them, always with the utmost care. I have still have had accidental discharge of firearms, usually it's a malfunction between the finger and the brain, and not the weapon. Always think "SAFTEY" when handling any firearm. Fired ? No. A course on Firearm saftey procudures again? YES , And Again !!! It's like re-reading a MSDS sheet !!!

Barney Fife is a pilot?


Fire him. The amount of bad publicity he just gave the airlines and the bullets he put into anti's hands is unexcusable not to mention the lives he put at risk. All it takes is one bullet to pass through the exterior of the plane and that plane would lose pressure and drop like a rock-killing everyone. I wouldn't fly on an airline that lets a person off the hook for endangering all of those lives.

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