The latest in a string of bizarre events involving air travel -- and in some cases, flight crews -- comes in the form of a loaded gun. At the center of this incident, which involved a .357 Magnum, was a pilot for Piedmont Airlines.
The pilot was detained and charged Friday for allegedly trying to board a flight in Buffalo for New York City with a loaded revolver in his bag, the Associated Press reported.
Brett Dieter, 52, of Virginia was charged with the possession of a concealed firearm when a Transportation Security Administration agent noticed a .357 Magnum loaded with five rounds of ammunition in his bag at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, according to the Buffalo News.
A spokesman for US Airways, which contracts with Piedmont for its US Airways Express fleet, told the Los Angeles Times that the company would conduct an internal investigation and referred all other questions to Buffalo law enforcement.
Investigators believe Dieter had made seven flights with the gun since Wednesday, when he flew from Charlottesville, Va., to New York City without running the bag through X-rays, the AP reported.
The year has been off to a rough start for airline employees and travelers alike.
On April 19, a Delta Air Lines jet bound for Los Angeles made an emergency landing at John F. Kennedy International Airport shortly after taking off when birds were sucked into one of its engines.
Five days later, a JetBlue flight bound for Florida returned to Westchester Airport north of New York City minutes after it hit two Canada geese upon takeoff.
On March 9, an American Airlines jet returned to the gate in Dallas after an attendant let out a blood-curdling scream and began ranting about a crash as the plane prepared to take off.
On March 28, Jet Blue pilot Clayton Osbon began ranting and acting erratically as his flight headed from New York to Las Vegas, forcing the copilot to lock him out of the cockpit and make an emergency landing. Osbon was removed from the flight after having been tackled by passengers and strapped down with their belts.
As for this week's case, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Dieter could face a maximum 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
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