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Pilot suspended after firing gun in cockpit

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  • Pilot suspended after he accidentally discharges handgun during flight
  • Pilot was part of program allowing pilots to carry weapons for safety
  • Bullet hit left side of fuselage, but did not hit crucial wiring; no injuries reported
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From Mike M. Ahlers
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A US Airways pilot has been removed from flight duty after he accidentally discharged his handgun in the cockpit during a flight on Saturday.

The shot was fired as the plane was at 8,000 feet on approach to Charlotte, North Carolina. The bullet penetrated the fuselage, but did not damage any crucial instruments or wiring, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The pilot was carrying the gun under the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which has trained thousands of pilots to carry weapons to increase aviation safety. Saturday's incident was the first case of an accidental firing.

The pilot has been taken off flight duty and suspended from the federal firearms program while the incident is under investigation, the TSA said Tuesday.

The agency is investigating whether the pilot was handling the gun as directed in policies.

No one was injured during the flight, which originated in Denver, Colorado. US Airways said in a statement that it removed the aircraft from service and is cooperating with authorities investigating the incident. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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