US Airways Pilot's Flippant
Remark Results In Charges

By Kathleen Brady Shea
Staff Writer Philadelphia Inquirer

A US Airways pilot was charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct after making an inappropriate comment at a security checkpoint at Philadelphia International Airport early yesterday, police said.
Elwood Menear, 46, of Annville, Pa., suggested that he did not require an illegal item to bring a plane down, airport officials confirmed. Police said Menear was detained at Security Checkpoint B and charged with the two misdemeanors, said Philadelphia Police Cpl. Jim Pauley, a police spokesman. Pauley said Menear might remain in custody overnight.
Linda Vizi, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said the bureau also was involved in the investigation.
"We will present the facts to the U.S. Attorney's Office and make a determination tomorrow or the next day as to whether he'll be charged federally," Vizi said last night.
The incident, which occurred about 7 a.m. yesterday, was the second time since November that a US Airways pilot had made an inappropriate remark. Airport spokesman Mark Pesce said that unlike in the previous incident, the pilot was detained immediately and security measures were not breached.
On Nov. 3, an unidentified pilot made a remark about a gun to a security worker, who allowed the pilot to continue through the checkpoint. By the time the security worker had second thoughts and contacted his supervisor, the pilot could not be located. As a result, the terminal was evacuated, delaying thousands of passengers for hours.
US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said the flight to Milwaukee that Menear was supposed to fly was delayed slightly so that another pilot could be found.
"We do take these matters very seriously," Castelveter said.
"We find this type of behavior inappropriate, and we're working with the police.
"In this case, the process worked," he said.
"There was no safety risk to passengers."
Asked what effect the arrest would have on Menear's employment with US Airways, Castelveter said the company could not comment until today, after it had reviewed the situation.
Arlene Salac, a spokeswoman from the Federal Aviation Administration, said the FAA had the authority to suspend or revoke Menear's license; however, under the Sensitive Security Act, that information could not be made public for at least a year.

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