U.S. House of Representatives Salutes FFDOs

Dec. 8, 2005 -- On the same day that a federal air marshal used deadly force to protect a commercial airliner, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution praising those pilots serving as armed law enforcement officers.

House Concurrent Resolution 196, which passed on December 7 by a 413-2 vote on the House floor, “applauds volunteer pilots … for taking a stand against those who would seek to harm the United States through acts of terrorism in the air.”

The measure’s primary sponsor was Rep. John Mica (R-FL), the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. The resolution was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of House members who sought to commend those pilots who have volunteered to participate in the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program (FFDO). The group included Reps. Don Young (R-AK), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Dan Lundgren (R-CA); Jerry Costello (D-IL), the ranking member of the Aviation Subcommittee; and Peter DeFazio (D-OR).

“The men and women who volunteer to become FFDOs are tangible reminders of what it means to be an airline pilot,” said ALPA President Duane Woerth. “A pilot will do whatever is necessary to operate his or her aircraft safely and securely. On behalf of those brave pilots, I thank Rep. Mica and his colleagues for this resolution of support.”

Passage of the resolution, which does not require Senate action, came the same day that a federal air marshal, another layer in the airline security blanket, used deadly force to protect an American Airlines flight in Miami. In the wake of the high-profile event, national media suddenly turned its fickle interest to airline security.

ALPA was ready, putting Capt. Paul Rice, Vice President-Administration, on Fox News and CNBC, and snagging interviews with USA Today, Reuters, CNN, the New York Post, and other outlets to stress ALPA’s overall security messages. These include the importance of law enforcement; screening for intent, not just objects; and funding security from the national treasury instead of through burdensome ticket taxes.