(CNN) -- An US Airways pilot who aviation officials say accidentally fired his handgun in the cockpit during a flight will be fired, a spokesman for a flight officers group said.
The airline has begun the termination process for Capt. James Langenhahn, said Mike Karn, vice president of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association.
Langenhahn told police that he was stowing his gun in the cockpit of a jet preparing to land in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month when it accidentally fired. The federal Transportation Security Administration is investigating the incident.
Calls to Langenhahn's home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were not immediately returned.
In an e-mail, US Airways representative Morgan Durrant said the company's policies prevent it from commenting publicly on a personnel matter.
Karn said his group, which represents pilots who are federally trained and allowed to carry firearms on flights, will fight the termination.
"This was accidental not intentional," Karn said. "This is not the way to treat a long-term pilot."
He said he did not know how long Langenhahn, 55, has been a pilot for US Airways but said he is a veteran with the airline.
The bullet from the H&K USP .40-caliber handgun penetrated the left side of the jet's fuselage but did not hit any crucial wiring or instrumentation, the TSA said.
The gun discharge was the first public incident of its kind in the history of the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, which has trained thousands of pilots to carry weapons in an effort to improve aviation safety.
Created in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the program was approved by Congress as part of the Homeland Security Act on November 25, 2002. E-mail to a friend