BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – An airline pilot is accused of trying to board a flight at Buffalo for New York City with a loaded revolver in his bag, and authorities believe he’d been flying with it for two days.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office charged 52-year-old Brett Dieter of Barboursville, Va., with possessing a concealed firearm. A screener spotted the .357 Magnum before Dieter boarded Friday at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Dieter was to pilot a Piedmont Airlines flight to LaGuardia International Airport.
Investigators believe Dieter had been flying with the gun since Wednesday, when he flew from Charlottesville, Va., to New York City without having his bag X-rayed. He’d made seven flights since.
Dieter appeared without a lawyer in court. He’s due back May 23. He couldn’t be reached by phone Friday.
A Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman said pilots cannot carry weapons on board aircraft unless they are members of a federal Flight Deck Officer Program. She said Dieter is not a member of the program, and TSA is investigating what routes he took to board planes he previously piloted. She said that in many airports, pilots can reach the aircraft through “access points” other than checkpoints.
US Airways spokesman William McGlashen said he didn’t know how long Dieter had been with Piedmont, a subsidiary of US Airways. He said an internal investigation was under way.
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