Magazine article National Defense

TSA to Step Up Training of Armed Pilots

Magazine article National Defense

TSA to Step Up Training of Armed Pilots

Article excerpt

The Transportation Security Administration, starting this month, plans to double the number of pilots that it trains each week to provide armed security on airline flights, TSA Administrator James M. Loy told a recent congressional hearing.

TSA's Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which began last April, trains volunteer pilots to use firearms, if necessary, to defend their aircrafts' cockpits from hijackers.

To prepare for this responsibility, the pilots are trained, deputized, equipped and supervised by TSA. They attend weeklong classes, which until September had been held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Glynco, Ga.

However, Glynco has been "operating over capacity" in an effort to train a major influx of new federal security personnel, Loy said. For this reason, the flight deck officer training has been moved to a new facility at Artesia, N.M., which also is the boot camp for the federal air marshal program.

"Artesia has three environmentally controlled commercial passenger jets on hardstands available for use as tactical training simulators and ample indoor and outdoor shooting ranges," Loy said. …

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