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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Guns on Planes

Paul with wrote to me and asked for my help. 

“We have just published our ‘General Aviation Guide to Flying with Guns and Ammo; for all the pilots out there who are hunters, sport shooters, and otherwise fly themselves and their firearms around under Part 91. Andrew, who also has his Private Pilot Certificate ... he grew up flying bush planes in Alaska!... has just published the post HERE.


My response had something to do with my not being a proponent of guns. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t judge anyone who carries a gun. Actually... I even joined the FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) program years ago. Why? Because I thought it was important if there were pilots in the flight deck carrying guns that shouldn’t be, maybe I should have one too.  

All joking aside, the training was excellent and whether you carry a gun or not on your airline, I believe everyone should attend the FFDO training program.


While I’ve since returned my weapon, as I fly International, I believe the safety and integrity of the program is essential—as well as the safety of guns on the flight deck in any size plane.

Paul’s response was, “Not everyone likes or enjoys guns, and I respect that. I am actually the only hunter at the office, none of my colleagues are hunters. I know for a fact that Andrew (who wrote the blog post) dislikes hunting, but born and raised in rural Alaska they were a necessity, as was flying (he learn't to fly before he learn't to drive!).


The blog post just covers the safety and practical aspects of transporting firearms in private planes. We are not advocating doing so, or even gun ownership in general, just explaining how to do it safety. I think a lot of pilots do carry guns with them and they may not consider the safety and security implications

Paul couldn’t be more right. If people are carrying guns on their planes and they should know how to do it safely. 


The pilots at LuckyGunner have published a guide on the legal and practical issues regarding the transportation of guns and ammunition in private aircraft. Their checklist includes ...   

  • Ensure that all firearms, ammunition, magazine capacities, and carry/storage methods are legal at departure, destination, en-route stop, and alternate airports (state and local laws) 
  • Do not taxi into the area of an airport reserved for commercial aircraft operations, or carry firearms into/near this area
  • Perform weight and balance calculation to determine if amount of firearms/ammunition carried would render the aircraft unsafe to fly. 
  • Secure firearms and ammunition in cases/containers and tie them down to prevent them from becoming missiles in flight.
  • Keep firearm/ammunition cases from interfering with flight controls or passengers/pilots
  • Remove firearms and ammunition from aircraft
Safety is always the issue when planes are involved.

Enjoy the Journey~
XO Karlene


  1. Hi K...slow day on the road?

    4th was good, 5th is 104 degrees and leftovers...catching up on dis and dat.

    Congrats on landing the Museum of flight gig, keep this up and you'll be in OSH doing Theater in the Woods.

    If/When you go to W. Mich U, stop by at the "Air Zoo" at KAZO (take the grand kids-it is part museum, part amusement park based on flight). It was started by Sue Parrish-a WW2 WASP Pilot and amazing pilot in a pink P40 and widebrim flowered straw ramp hat(think Bob Hoover in a pink flightsuit and great smile)-a class act.

    Well, half a cup of joe and a brownie-love breakfast at home.

    Tim 8DME_W_ORD

    1. Theater in the Woods? That sounds like great fun! Just put the Air Zoo on the bucket list. PVG turn with a very short layover, and I'm back in Tokyo among the internet world.
      Chocolate and coffee... my breakfast too!

  2. Karlene, thanks for a great post on an interesting topic. My thoughts on the FFDO are generally positive, I think the intention of the program is good. However, if a pilot fire his/her gun, midair, wouldn't that be problematic for the aircraft? I mean, a bullet hole is the last thing I would want in a pressurized canister, flying 0.8 mach, some 30-thousand feet.

    I'll add, I think the checklist provided here are very good guidelines for how to transport fire arms.

    1. Hi Cecilie, Yes... firing a gun through the plane would definitely do damage and we would depressurize. But... here's the thing. We only pull our guns out of the holster if we intend to shoot to kill. And that only happens when someone is attempting to take the plane. So... with that said, hopefully that shot will be directed the entrance of the doorway... not through the skin of the plane. I don't want to be graphic, but do you have an image? Thanks for your comment.

  3. I'm not a gun advocate either, Karlene -- not even close, but I respect people who respect the importance of gun safety. I'm so glad there are intelligent safety rules to follow for transporting firearms!

    1. Thanks Linda. I was contemplating this, but in Alaska, this is life. Guns and planes. So we better keep them safe. Thanks for your comment!

  4. The only guns I prefer on airplanes are:

    a) Mounted to the aircraft
    b) On aircraft with - in order - a US roundel or a Canadian roundel or a UK roundel or a French roundel or a roundel of another NATO country
    c) Shooting at the bad guys!!! No more 9/11s!!!

    1. No more 9/11's for sure! One day we will be one world, and won't have to kill each other. Wouldn't that be nice. :)


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