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United Airlines flight UA37 between Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) was cancelled on Saturday when one of the pilots was allegedly found to have a Taser in his bag. Without a backup pilot to operate the flight, United was forced to cancel it and leave passengers waiting to get back to the United States.
Taser is the brand name for a Conductive Energy Device (CED). These weapons generate around 1,500 volts of electricity in extremely short pulses once they make contact. The shock neutralizes a person and allows law enforcement or others to take them into custody more easily. According to The Mirror, it’s “illegal to possess, purchase, acquire, manufacture, sell, or transfer one without lawful authority.”
In the wake of the September 11th attacks, United Airlines trained its pilots to use CED-style stun guns. The “Federal Flight Deck Officer” program allowed qualified pilots, flight engineers, navigators, and others permission to carry firearms onboard commercial flights. This does not appear to apply in this situation.
According to a witness at Edinburgh Airport (EDI), the 56-year-old pilot was arrested, charged with a firearms offense, and removed from the premises. The flight was quickly cancelled. A United Airlines spokesperson told Edinburgh Live:
This employee was immediately removed from service and we are fully cooperating with local authorities.”
United’s Boeing 757-200 aircraft can hold 16 First Class, 46 Economy Plus, and 114 Economy Class passengers. It has not been disclosed how full the flight was on January 20th, but all of those passengers needed to be reaccommodated.
Anthony’s Take: It is unknown why this pilot was carrying a Taser, but any weapon on an airplane poses a security issue. While United pilots were trained and allowed to carry firearms, this does not appear to be officially sanctioned.
(Featured Image Credit: VikiVector.)
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