California Bans a Large-Caliber Gun, and the Battle Is On

John Kelsey kelsey.j at
Tue Jan 4 09:16:06 PST 2005

Interesting questions:  How hard is it for someone to actually hit an airplane with a rifle bullet?  How often do airplane maintenance people notice bulletholes?  

My understanding is that a single bullethole in a plane is not likely to do anything serious to its operation--the hole isn't big enough to depressurize the cabin of a big plane, and unless it hits some critical bits of the plane, it's not going to cause mechanical problems.   I don't think the bigger .50 round would fundamentally change that.  So this could be one of those things that just happens from time to time, without getting much press.  (Most people have never heard of phantom controllers either, but they're a real phenomenon, and they seem at least as dangerous as some nut with a rifle taking potshots at landing planes.)  


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