Mayhem above the clouds. An American pilot has just been charged with threatening to kill his commanding officer in mid-flight, when he was told to divert the plane due to a medical emergency. “The alleged incident occurred on August 22, 2022,” the US Department of Transportation revealed in a statement sent to CBS News. The authority explains that the famous pilot, named Jonathan Dunn, would have been in “disagreement” with the captain, who potentially wanted to divert the flight “due to a medical problem with a passenger”. The co-pilot then allegedly told the captain he would be “shot down” if the flight was diverted, the inspector general said. The indictment, obtained by CBS News, alleges that Jonathan Dunn "assaulted and intimidated a crew member using a dangerous weapon."
The US Department of Transportation has remained silent on the name of the airline operating the flight in question, as well as the origin and destination of the plane. Asked by CBS News, a spokesperson for Delta Air Lines, however, revealed that Jonathan Dunn was working for Delta at the time of the incident.
A major question remains: how could a pilot have a firearm in the cockpit, and threaten to use it in mid-flight? The co-pilot is actually authorized to carry a firearm, and this is part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program of the Transportation Safety Administration, explains CBS News. Established in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks which saw several planes crash into the World Trade Center, this system trains and authorizes certain pilots - federal officers - to carry weapons; with the aim of securing commercial aircraft against criminal activities and terrorism.
Jonathan Dunn's profile was gradually revealed over the course of the investigation. According to information from CBS News, he is from Marysville, California. According to court documents relayed by CBS News, the tempestuous pilot joined the US Air Force in 2003. During his active service, he carried out two combat missions in Afghanistan. In 2014, he reportedly left active duty to become a pilot in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. Opposed to the Covid-19 vaccine, last year he took legal action in the United States to challenge the vaccination obligation imposed by the US Air Force.
While the episode could cause Americans to fear for their safety on board, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson told CBS News that Jonathan Dunn has been removed from the FFDO program. Delta Airlines, for its part, indicated that the pilot was no longer employed by the airline to date.