Action News Investigation: Training U.S. Air Marshals

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Action News Investigation: Training U.S. Air Marshals. Chad Pradelli reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on May 24, 2017. (WPVI)

Action News investigative reporter Chad Pradelli was given exclusive access to how the Federal Air Marshals train for a life-or-death crisis in the sky.

An intense simulated bomb attempt is shown with paid actors.

For Federal Air Marshals, there's little room for error in the skies.

"We have to keep the training realistic. We have to keep it dynamic. Our paid role players help us with that a lot," Lowell Dimoff, Federal Air Marshal said.

"It's probably one of the most unique law enforcement environments in all of law enforcement because you are in a pressurized tube at 30k feet hurtling somewhere at slightly below Mach speed, a lot to consider," Daniel Kowal, Federal Air Marshal said.

Kowal is a firearms supervisor at the Transportation Security Administration's national training center in Atlantic City.

He says 1/3 of the air marshal training is dedicated to firearms. These recruits will pull the trigger 5000 times once their training is completed.

Many of the instructors also fly the skies undercover so we can't show their faces.

Some in congress have been critical of the Federal Air Marshal program in recent years. With a price tag reportedly near a billion dollars a year, some have called it outdated and unnecessary.

There hasn't been a hijacking attempt on a US airliner since 9-11. But a laptop ban on United Kingdom flights from 6 Middle Eastern countries last month has renewed concerns that our skies may be vulnerable.

These Federal Air Marshals will stay out of the politics and train to keep our flying public safe.

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