Saturday 2 December 2023

Delta pilot threatens to shoot captain over medical diversion

DELTA BOEING 737-832 N374DA (MSN 29622)

Federal authorities in Utah have charged a former Delta Air Lines pilot for allegedly threatening to shoot the captain during a flight last year. Jonathan Dunn was charged in a Utah District Court for disrupting the crew's operations on a commercial flight.

According to an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT) Office of Inspector General, Dunn used a firearm to assault and intimidate the flight's captain. This incident happened on a Delta flight between two unspecified destinations on the 22nd of August 2022.

The DOT released this statement about the incident:

"After a disagreement about a potential flight diversion due to a passenger medical event, Dunn told the Captain he would be shot multiple times if he diverted the flight."

Meanwhile, the federal court in Utah said about Dunn's indictment:

"The indictment alleges that, on or about the 22nd of August 2022, Dunn, the crew's First Officer, interfered with the performance of a crew member by using a dangerous weapon to assault and intimidate the Captain. Dunn was authorized to carry a firearm through the Transportation Security Administration's Federal Flight Desk Officer program."

Why did the First Officer have a gun and how did it get past security you ask?

The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) created the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program as an additional security measure after the terrorist attacks on September 11. 
The FFDO program allows flight crew to receive specialized training and carry weapons onboard to protect against terrorism. The participants are federal law enforcement officers certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FFDOs have jurisdiction over the cabins of commercial or cargo aircraft while on duty.

It is unknown what caused Dunn to misbehave while on duty. Dunn had no previous health issues severe enough to prevent him from flying since he had a medical certificate while working at Delta. Dunn got his medical certificate revoked after the incident, with Delta later revealing in a statement that he was no longer employed there. The DOT, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are conducting the investigation. Dunn is scheduled to face a federal court again in Salt Lake City late November.

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