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Taser Planes May Tote Stun Guns 2001

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Shocking prospect


Rick Smith, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based Taser International, shows a stun gun that could be used on
airliners. The firm has been in discussions with Mesa Air Group about providing weapons.

Valley air company
plans to arm crews
to stave off attacks

Mesa Air Group plans to
arm its pilots with stun
guns, making it the first
domestic commercial carrier

to issue self-defense weapons for cabin crews, the
Phoenix-based company
said Thursday.
The company has been
working with the Federal
Aviation Administration
since last month's terrorist

may tote stun guns
attacks to establish storage
and handling procedures,
company spokeswoman
Benet Wilson said.
Although the FAA hasn't
approved the uSe of the
guns, Wilson said the company will start training its
pilots how to use them
within 90 days.
wfhere's still no indication where. (the FAA)"
stands," Wilson said. 'We
felt it was better for us to be
proactive, however."

FAA officials could not be
reached for comment.
·A stun gun is designed to
neutralize an assailant by


Among the planes flown by Mesa AI( Group are the America West Express planes America West Airlines stopped
Please see SlUN, Page1ttS- short of saying it would allow stun guns on those flights.

'STUN: Company aims for guns
in all 166 of its planes

From Page Al
delivering a nonlethal, highvoltage electric shock. A stun
gun that Ihisses its target
would not kill unintended victims or blow a hole in a pressurized airplane cabin.
Wilson said she didn't how
much it would cost !he company to provide weapons for
each cockpit and train its
pilots. The company plans .to
install the stun guns m Its
entire fleet of 166 planes.
One potential supplier of the
stun guns is Scottsdale-based
Taser International, which said
it has been contacted by sev- .
eral airlines since the Sept 11
terrorist attacks.
Taser CEO Rick Smith
declined to name the airlines
he has spoken to, but he said
his company has been in discussions with Mesa Air Group
to provide the weapons.
Smith said the order could
be worth as much as $100,000
to $150,000.

"How we view it is that it
will definitely be a significant
order, regardless of the s~e
because it's the first domestic
airline to deploy Tasers," he


.Some industry officials are
skeptical of how effective a
stun gun would be against
determined terrorists.
"Clearly the stun gun would
make the crew feel more comfortable, but I don't think that's.
the main issue," said Bill
Oliver of the airline consulting
firm The Boyd Group. "Still, I'd
rather see stun guns rather
than (45-<:aliber pistols)."
Oliver said he would like to
see the focus move from
onboard weapons to real security improvements in the airport, including. the federaIization of passenger and luggage

Mesa Air Group flies to 120
cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It connects
airports in smaller cities with
larger airports. The company
operates in the West and Midwest as America West

Tempe-based carrier America West Airlines stopped short
of saying it would allow stun
guns on America West Express
America West spokeswoman Janice Monahan said
she was told that Mesa Air
Group was going to work with
its partners.
"My understanding is plan
are still in the works for Mes'
so well see what happens,
she said.
-Tribune writer Dave Woodfill
can be reached by e-mail at
dwoodfil/ or by calling