Thursday, September 27, 2007

Who Has The Gun?

When the world powers decide to meet it is always a huge deal. I flew a trip this weekend that went from the west coast to JFK. As I approached the gate agent at my departure gate, I noticed a lot of young, healthy, looking men that pretty much looked the same, standing near the gate agent. I was introduced to a secret service agent who showed me his identification badge, then told me he was with another 14 secret service agents, all carrying weapons. They were on their way to support a larger force at the United Nations meetings in New York City. Standing next to him were two Federal Air Marshals who were working my flight. I had a total of 17 guns on my flight. I felt very secure! It is not unusual to have a few law enforcement agents on board who are armed in the line of duty. I have seen agents from Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, FBI, CIA, Secret Service, Departments of the Interior, Treasury, Education, IRS, Naval Investigation, Post Office, Sheriff, Highway Patrol, Various Police Departments, and numerous others.

As the captain, it is my responsibility to know who is armed and where they are sitting. If there is more than one armed agent on board, then they all need to know who the other person or persons are that are armed as well and where they are sitting. We pilots can now be trained to carry weapons as well. I remember a flight once out of Miami, when I approached the gate noticing a striking, tall woman, who was wearing a leopard skin body suit. This thing was made out of spandex and could only be worn by someone who had the guts to wear it and the body to fit it. She obviously had both. The poor gate agent was a young man who was drooling like Pavlov’s dog, was beat red in the face, and was stammering on every word. I was introduced to the woman and was told she was a deputy form the Dade County Sheriffs Office. I checked her I.D. and welcomed her. I told her she could board with me and she did. As we were walking down the jet way I asked her if she had any bags. She did not. I stopped, looked at her and said, “O.K., where the heck do you carry your gun?” She smiled and said, “Captain, if I tell you, I have to kill you.” “That’s fair.” I said. I did not say another word and neither did she.

After an uneventful flight we went to our hotel in Manhattan. The copilot and I went out for the evening and on our return found many streets completely blocked off to vehicle and foot traffic. They were the expensive hotels near Park Avenue and the U.N. It was obvious the security was being increased for the many Heads of State and their entourages. As we left Manhattan the next day for JFK we noticed a high level of security along our route. While taxing out that afternoon we saw several aircraft from other countries that are their version of Air Force 1. We also saw a high speed convoy using a perimeter road to get around the normal airport traffic to go directly to an aircraft. I was able to get a picture of a convoy of dignitaries and the Republic of Angola’s aircraft. Be Safe, FlyGuy.


Blogger Soaring Student said...

Ugh. I had to be in NYC for a conference Tuesday last week. Traffic from LGA was a nightmare, several streets in downtown Manhatten were blocked with lots of New York's finest on duty to keep the vehicles away from the hotels.

I stopped and asked one man in blue what the blockages were for, and he cheerfully told me most of the delegates were staying at the Sheraton (and one other hotel), so they had blocked off the streets to prevent any vehicular-based bombs from getting within a few blocks. I also asked him whether the pub we were thinking of eating in was any good, but he was from the Bronx and didn't know the local restaurants.

On the downstide, the hotel we usually stay at is usually $250 per night. When the UN is in session, our room rate was $650 - plus taxes.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Teller said...

I jump seated with a CA that was an FFDO once...that was a little disconcerting at first. Never seen that many guns on a plane that wasn't operated by the Air Force before, though, that's for sure!

1:51 PM  
Blogger §kyye said...

Ha! Great story. Wouldn't have mattered if she had a gun or not, she wouldn't have had to use it anyway! ;)

1:27 AM  
Blogger blueapple said...

Cool blog you got here Captain!

2:54 AM  
Blogger Johnny said...

it's been a couple of months since your last post!!!
what's going on??
I'm really eager to read some new articles!!!

4:25 AM  
Blogger Alivewithpassion said...

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12:55 AM  
Anonymous CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

4:26 AM  

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