Friday night, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responding to reports that an airline pilot is accused of trying to board a flight at Buffalo for New York City with a loaded revolver in his bag. 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.
The Piedmont Airlines employee was to pilot a US Airways-contracted flight to LaGuardia International Airport.
Investigators believe Dieter had been flying with the gun since Wednesday, when he flew from Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, to New York City without having his bag X-rayed. He'd made seven flights since.
The TSA says at several airport pilots can reach their planes without going through TSA checkpoints. Only pilots involved in the federal flight deck officer program are allowed to carry guns. Dieter was not part of that program.
TSA is investigating and helping buffalo and FBI investigators with the case.
Dieter appeared without a lawyer in court. He's due back May 23. He couldn't be reached by phone.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
The NBC29 newsroom received the following statement from the TSA:
A US Airways pilot was arrested this morning after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a loaded .357 firearm in his carry-on bag shortly after 6 a.m. as he was going through the employee screening area at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) security checkpoint. The pilot originally was scheduled to fly from Buffalo to LaGuardia Airport.
TSA is working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the matter. TSA also is conducting a review of the case.