A question for commercial pilots. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old Mar 28th, 2012, 6:40 pm Thread Starter
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A question for commercial pilots.

Given the incidents in recent days of folks on a couple of commercial flights, who have caused concerns among the passenger group by their demonstrative acts, it set me to wondering about the use, or not, of air marshalls. I must'ave missed the memo about no longer using air marshalls on domestic flights. Are they being used on international flights?

Realizing that not every plane in the air can contain a 24/7 air marshall presence, I'm just wondering what the situation is now regarding their role?
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post #2 of 9 Old Mar 28th, 2012, 8:40 pm
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Wink Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Well Dick, I'm not a commercial pilot, but I have stayed at Holiday Inn Express, so I guess that should qualify me to respond! You never know if one is aboard, but they do focus on the international flights and flights into and out of the DC area primarily. They also dress a little more casually these days. Early on they were easy to spot due to the formal look including the necktie. They finally realized that was like wearing a billboard these days and adjusted the dress code accordingly so as to blend in better with the crowd.

Add to this the fact that passengers are no longer as passe as they once were. The recent Jet Blue incident shows this well with the passengers sitting on the wild Captain!

HTH,

John

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post #3 of 9 Old Mar 29th, 2012, 12:05 am Thread Starter
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Thanks, John. Makes sense what you say - I thought there would be no way they could be represented on 'every' flight in the air, but to have two recent events occur and no mention of those folks on either plane, just got Cheryl and I wonderin' if the program still existed on domestic flights.

BTW, she's flying over the A-pond in a few months and now knows she won't be able to spot the on-board marshall. She's not paranoid or anything, but hopes he'll be there!
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post #4 of 9 Old Mar 29th, 2012, 8:22 am
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Dick, et al,

I don't think coverage today is what it was a few years ago, and I imagine money has a lot to do with it. Also as with many hastily instituted government programs there are internal problems and the TSA is not without theirs. However, if you know what to look for and when to look, the FAMs are fairly easy to spot if they're covering a flight. Watch for two casually dressed folks identify themselves, with credentials, to the gate agent and board before the pre-boarders. This will happen very early in the evolution, usually right when the gate agent gets there, because the FAMs have to go to the cockpit and identify themselves to the crew as well. The ID process is especially important because there may be other LEOs on the plane and the crew and all LEOs need to know where everyone is sitting, for obvious reasons. Back to the FAMs. Once on the plane, look for those same two people sitting a row or two apart on opposite sides of the aisle, on the aisle, reasonably close to the cockpit, but not generally in 1st, or Business.

They're on many of the flights in and out of DC, especially Reagan. Coverage elsewhere is scheduled, but I have no idea what drives the schedule. Incidentally, the ID process can be cumbersome at Reagan as at times there are lots of LEOs coming and going out of there. Once, I had 7 LEOs including, 2 FAMs, packing out of there on a flight to Chicago and that didn't include the Secretary of HHS and his armed escort.

International coverage on US carriers is spotty and depends on individual agreements the US has been able to work out with the various countries. Not all of our friends are receptive to allowing an American with a gun into their country whether LEO or not. Foreign carriers flying into US airspace do not have US FAMs, flying in an official capacity, aboard at all.

This process may have changed some but that's the way it generally went as little as 4 years ago.

Bill Edwards
Boerne, TX
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post #5 of 9 Old Mar 29th, 2012, 8:58 am Thread Starter
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Hey, thanks Bill. It's amazing what wrinkle-down effects came from 9/11. And I would imagine things have ramped up just a bit after the last couple of inflight events!!

BTW - get your butt outta bed tamale and join me down at Einsteins at I-10 and De Zavala about 0630 or so. Or drop by my casa at 0610 and ride in ole Thundra with me.
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post #6 of 9 Old Mar 29th, 2012, 8:58 am
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Talking Re: A question for commercial pilots.

All good points Bill. I would add however that one other type individual you may see boarding prior to the normal boarding process is an FAA Inspector. The Inspector will be easier to ID though because he/she will have on a tie, and be at least in business dress. And although a sports coat or suit may be worn, it is not typically. Especially by yours truly here! In fact, we envy the FAM's for their more casual dress code!

Oh yeah, FAA Inspectors do not pack any firearms during inspection flights either! Just the mighty pen!

John
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jusbill1
Dick, et al,

I don't think coverage today is what it was a few years ago, and I imagine money has a lot to do with it. Also as with many hastily instituted government programs there are internal problems and the TSA is not without theirs. However, if you know what to look for and when to look, the FAMs are fairly easy to spot if they're covering a flight. Watch for two casually dressed folks identify themselves, with credentials, to the gate agent and board before the pre-boarders. This will happen very early in the evolution, usually right when the gate agent gets there, because the FAMs have to go to the cockpit and identify themselves to the crew as well. The ID process is especially important because there may be other LEOs on the plane and the crew and all LEOs need to know where everyone is sitting, for obvious reasons. Back to the FAMs. Once on the plane, look for those same two people sitting a row or two apart on opposite sides of the aisle, on the aisle, reasonably close to the cockpit, but not generally in 1st, or Business.

They're on many of the flights in and out of DC, especially Reagan. Coverage elsewhere is scheduled, but I have no idea what drives the schedule. Incidentally, the ID process can be cumbersome at Reagan as at times there are lots of LEOs coming and going out of there. Once, I had 7 LEOs including, 2 FAMs, packing out of there on a flight to Chicago and that didn't include the Secretary of HHS and his armed escort.

International coverage on US carriers is spotty and depends on individual agreements the US has been able to work out with the various countries. Not all of our friends are receptive to allowing an American with a gun into their country whether LEO or not. Foreign carriers flying into US airspace do not have US FAMs, flying in an official capacity, aboard at all.

This process may have changed some but that's the way it generally went as little as 4 years ago.

Bill Edwards
Boerne, TX

John & Marilyn Fisher
'00 K1200LTC "Katie"
'95 Triumph "Tigger"
'12 Triumph 800XC "Tigger II" (RIP)
'12 Triumph 1200 Explorer "Shadow Tigger"
Hillsboro, Oregon

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post #7 of 9 Old Mar 29th, 2012, 10:24 am Thread Starter
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Butt, how they gonna call you "Dapper John, the Inspector Mon" if you don't dress the part?? ) Although, I know Marilyn wouldn't letcha stray too far from approved dress code!!
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post #8 of 9 Old Apr 1st, 2012, 12:33 pm
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Hi Dick,

Bill's response was exactly how it Is supposed to work.
I only do international now but the fams were
still flying domestically as of last year.

We do have fams flying on our international flights
but I won't say how many or what the arrangements
are.

It is comforting knowing they are there.

B737boss
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post #9 of 9 Old Apr 1st, 2012, 4:37 pm Thread Starter
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Re: A question for commercial pilots.

Quote:
Originally Posted by b737boss
Hi Dick,

Bill's response was exactly how it Is supposed to work.
I only do international now but the fams were
still flying domestically as of last year.

We do have fams flying on our international flights
but I won't say how many or what the arrangements
are.

It is comforting knowing they are there.

B737boss
Thanks for that, Brent. I passed the info on to Cheryl, who feels the same regarding a comfort level knowing the fams are there.

Safe flying to you, and all those who ride the air. This'll close out this thread and I thank all the contributors.
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