Participants in the first class of commercial airline pilots who volunteered to carry handguns practice firing April 17, 2003 in Glynco, Georgia as part of the Transportation Security Administration's Federal Flight Deck Officer Training program.
Photo: Gary Wilcox/Getty Images
Photo: Gary Wilcox/Getty Images

Federal flight deck officer leaves gun in Delta cockpit

A pilot authorized to carry a gun as a federal flight deck officer left the firearm in the cockpit of a Delta Air Lines plane, where it was later found by ground crew.

The Transportation Security Administration runs the federal flight deck officer program established after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to authorize certain pilots to use firearms to defend against someone trying to gain control of a plane. The agency trains eligible pilots, then issues each a TSA-approved firearm.

TSA issued a statement this week saying it is “aware of an incident at the Atlanta airport involving agency issued equipment,” and said “the public was never in harm’s way.”

“TSA takes all allegations of policy and procedure violations seriously, and when substantiated, appropriate action is taken.” The agency would not say whether any disciplinary action was taken against the pilot.

Delta in a comment on the February incident said its ground crews “followed procedures and turned over to law enforcement an item that was found in the flight deck after the flight’s arrival.”

Delta said it was working with authorities and would conduct its own review.

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About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.