More Crazy Pilots
Hiya, Globetrotters and aviation enthusiasts! It's your favorite flight attendant, Regina, reporting in after what feels like a hiatus in the clouds. Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite travel companion, because we're about to soar through the skies of the aviation world, where turbulence isn't just about the weather.
Delta's Co-Pilot Drama: Threats in the Sky
In recent developments, a former Delta co-pilot, Jonathan Dunn, faced a federal indictment for allegedly threatening to shoot the captain of a commercial flight in August 2022. The threat was purportedly made in response to the captain's consideration of diverting the flight due to a passenger's medical emergency. The incident came to light as a Utah grand jury indicted Dunn on one count of interfering with a flight crew.
Dunn, who was part of the Transportation Safety Administration's Federal Flight Deck Officer program, had the authority to carry a firearm in the cockpit. Federal flight deck officers, armed pilots authorized by the TSA, undergo special training to defend against potential hijackings.
The indictment accused Dunn of assaulting and intimidating a crew member with a dangerous weapon. Additionally, it was revealed that Dunn was involved in an unsuccessful U.S. Supreme Court case in 2022. As a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, Dunn sought a religious exemption from the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine but lost the case.
Dunn, with a military background including combat tours in Afghanistan, faced disciplinary action in the Air Force after refusing vaccination. His subsequent removal from command led to his February 2022 relief of duty.
As of now, Dunn has been removed from the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, and his employment with Delta has been terminated. His last known address is in Marysville, California, and his FAA medical certificate has been suspended.
The Air Line Pilots Association, representing Delta pilots, emphasized the paramount importance of crew and passenger security. They denounced Dunn's alleged actions as inconsistent with their professional code of conduct and a violation of the trust placed in them by those they serve. The TSA and Delta affirmed their awareness of the incident, with ongoing investigations limiting detailed comments.
Off-Duty Pilots and Engine Shutdown Attempts: The Alaska Airlines Shock
Fast forward to a chilling episode on an Alaska Airlines flight. An off-duty pilot, Joseph David Emerson, has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder after allegedly attempting to shut off the engines on an Alaska Airlines flight from Everett, Washington, to San Francisco. The incident prompted a diversion to Portland due to a credible security threat related to Emerson, who was occupying the flight deck jump seat. The suspect reportedly tried to pull the fire extinguisher handles on the engines but was subdued and handcuffed by the flight crew.
Emerson, scheduled to be part of a flight crew on a 737 to San Francisco, had been sitting in the cockpit jump seat and unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt the engines. Before the incident, he was heard saying something similar to "I'm not right." The captain and first officer swiftly responded, maintaining engine power, and securing the aircraft without any loss.
There were 80 passengers and four crew members on board. According to passenger accounts, the situation was initially described as a medical emergency before it was revealed as a disturbance in the cockpit.
Law enforcement, including the FBI, is investigating the incident. Alaska Airlines confirmed that the event is unrelated to current world events. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg praised the professional response of the flight crew and air traffic controllers, emphasizing that there is no continuing threat.
Passengers reported a calm and professional handling of the situation, with the flight attendant reassuring them after landing that the suspect had experienced a mental breakdown.
The pilots union, Air Line Pilots Association, International, commended the pilots and crew for their safe handling of the situation. The union highlighted the rigorous vetting and scrutiny of the airline pilot profession, emphasizing continuous evaluation through various measures, including training, medical exams, and safety audits.
The FAA stated its support for law enforcement and will focus on safety considerations that may arise from the investigations. The incident underscores the importance of robust safety measures and swift responses to ensure the well-being of passengers and the integrity of air travel.
FedEx's Pilots: A Cargo Conundrum
In the recent chapter of the aviation saga, FedEx pilots find themselves amid a commercial quagmire. Picture this: cargo demand is down, and FedEx, facing the national pilot shortage, makes an audacious move. They're telling their crews to take flight with American Airlines, offering them not just a change of scenery but a whopping $250,000 signing bonus, a direct route to captaincy, and a ticket to a wholly-owned regional carrier, PSA. It's a deal that sounds too good to be true, and it raises the question: Is this the new normal for pilots in the turbulent skies of commercial aviation?