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An arrest report from the Lee County Port Authority in Lee County, Florida, shows that a Sun Country Airlines pilot was found with a loaded firearm at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), the main airport serving Fort Meyers, Naples, and Punta Gorda.

The incident occurred Friday night when Brian Andrew Machtemes was making his way through a security checkpoint. A TSA officer discovered the loaded firearm in Machtemes’ bag at which point the 54-year-old pilot was arrested.

Brian Andrew Machtemes (Image courtesy of Lee County Sheriff
Brian Andrew Machtemes (Image courtesy of Lee County Sheriff’s office)

Brian Andrew Machtemes, a resident of Minnesota, home to Sun Country Airlines’ headquarters, stated that he did indeed pack his own bag. The firearm recovered was a KEL-TEC .380 pistol loaded with six rounds.

While it isn’t illegal for commercial pilots to bring a firearm aboard an aircraft, they must be part of the Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) in order to transport weapons in their carry-ons. The FFDO, created in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, allows qualified active duty pilots to travel with a firearm in a locked and secure transporting unit. Machtemes does not appear to be certified for the FFDO program.

USA Today also reported that though Machtemes was registered to carry a gun in the state of Minnesota, that license was not valid in the state of Florida. Additionally, passengers (meaning not pilots) are required to remove ammo from firearms and place them in their checked bags in a special carrying case. Machtemes was not arriving at the airport for work but rather was traveling as a passenger.

Sun Country Airlines confirmed to USA Today that Machtemes is a pilot for the airline. He is currently in custody with bail set at $5,000.

H/T: USA Today

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