Are planes bulletproof

Why a gun does not belong in the cockpit

We are pilots and we want to fly, not shoot. There are probably some pilots who have graduated from the military and are quite capable of firing a precise shot. But there are certainly many who have never held a gun in their hand. And anyway: if we had to use a weapon - who would fly the plane?

So the pistol definitely doesn't belong in the cockpit. We have different safeguards. These are in principle secret. But you can tell a little bit about it:

On the one hand, there are security personnel who fly civilian flights - in the USA these employees are called Sky Marshals. They are there to ensure the safety of passengers and to intervene in the event of an act of terrorism or an aircraft hijacking. Your background may be police, intelligence, or you may have had other security training. These sky marshals really exist and are used very often. They may be armed and have ammunition that will not damage the aircraft skin. How you get on the plane, where you sit, how you are dressed and on which flights you really fly is subject to absolute secrecy.

Bulletproof cockpit door

In addition, our cockpit door is now made of bulletproof material. And it always remains closed in flight. It cannot be opened from the outside and entered the cockpit. This new system only exists on 9/11 and costs around 32,000 euros per aircraft. All aircraft are now equipped with it. A visit to the cockpit is unfortunately no longer possible for a normal passenger. Anyone could be a suspect. That is regrettable, but also understandable because of what happened. Only employees of the airline or close friends and family are allowed into the cockpit.

The access controls were massively tightened. On the one hand, this means checking passengers at the airport. On the other hand, all other employees who work in the vicinity or on the aircraft themselves. For example, we pilots and cabin crew always check the IDs of the cleaning staff who clean the aircraft at each destination. But all other people in the vicinity of the aircraft are also checked.

Suspicious suitcases

Many passengers have probably already seen the captain announce that a suitcase still has to be unloaded before they can take off. Again, this is one of the safety precautions. As soon as a passenger does not show up, but his suitcase has already been loaded, this is registered. Under no circumstances may the suitcase travel alone. Nobody knows what exactly is in it. This happens practically every day and often leads to delays. For a safe flight, however, this delay should definitely be welcomed.

These and all the other safeguards in place show that a great deal is being done for aviation safety. A pistol in the cockpit would be neither necessary nor useful.

[image2]Everything you always wanted to know about flying but didn't dare to ask: A pilot from a large airline answers readers' questions exclusively for aeroTELEGRAPH. He remains anonymous in order to be able to answer independently. Just send us an email to [email protected] Every week one of the questions sent will be answered.