Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover4

PAGE FROM HISTORY: AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

Colts In The Cockpit: Arming Pilots-
From Airmail To Commercial Aviation
BY LUKE MERCALDO AND ANTHONY VANDERLINDEN

I

n the aftermath of September 11,
2001, there was public demand to
arm commercial airline pilots. But
it was opposed by both pundits
and politicians, and punctuated by
one public figure who commented
that airline pilots were a "bunch
of cowboys." That opinion was
based on ignorance and propelled
by a political agenda, rather than
historical precedent. Fortunately, artifacts
exist to remind us of a time when pilots were
respected and depended upon to defend
their aircraft. One such example is a Model
1908 Colt Pocket Hammerless pistol, formerly
owned by Captain John "Jack" Elon Starr,

a pilot who carried the Colt while
conducting his flight duties with
United Air Lines during and after
World War II.
Compared with current
aviation firearm protocols, the
issuance and training during
World War II may appear
lacking. In 1942, a flight manager
unceremoniously issued Captain
Starr his Colt pistol with the warning,
"Jack, don't hurt yourself with it." Issuing
firearms to pilots was not simply a wartime
practice, but a continuance of an established
tradition that began with the first airmail
pilots in the 1920s. Read more ...

Captain Jack Starr's mementos (top) including his student pilot logbook, flight school class photograph from
United Air Lines flight training school, a photo of Starr flying as a new co-pilot, his United Air Lines captain's hat,
his Colt Model 1908 pistol and issue holster, flight logbook, United Air Lines pilot wings, and uniform lapel pin.
Axel R. Swanson (above) of Universal Air Lines was photographed standing next to his de Havilland DH-4 biplane
ready to fly the mail-with a holstered Colt pistol on his hip.

44

MAY 2018 | SSUSA.ORG


https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2018/3/16/colts-in-the-cockpit-arming-pilots-from-airmail-to-commercial-aviation http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - May 2018

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - May 2018 - Cover4
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