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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

Federal flight deck officer training

Monday, December 14, 2015
Interior of airplane cockpit

The Federal Flight Deck Officer Program trains eligible flight crew members to use firearms to defend against an act of criminal violence or air piracy. Since 2003, TSA authorized federal flight deck officers are trained to use force to guard against individuals attempting to gain control of the flight deck of an aircraft. 

Training also includes defense tactics, the psychology of survival and program standard operating procedures. Held in Artesia, New Mexico, training is conducted in a state-of-the-art facility at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and consists of 56 hours of intense training over the course of six days. Upon successful completion, the pilot is deputized as a federal law enforcement officer and issued a TSA-approved firearm and federal flight deck officer credentials.

Federal flight deck officers are authorized by TSA to carry their firearm onboard an aircraft. Outside of the flight deck, the weapon must be transported in a locked case.

Interested individuals must be a U.S. citizen, have and maintain a current FAA airman’s certificate, and have and maintain a current class one or class two medical certificates to be eligible. For additional information about the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program, learn more or apply online.