CBS News Correspondent John Hartge reports that the first training class for 48 pilots could begin as soon as a month from now. But TSA head James Loy still has to sign off on the program and before it can be expanded to more pilots, more money will have to be budgeted.
The TSA, announcing its plan Wednesday, said its details are preliminary and could change between now and Tuesday's deadline for the agency to issue rules for the program, which was approved by Congress last year.
The plan calls for the training to include marksmanship, lessons on legal policies and defensive tactics.
"We're focusing on their ability to be a good federal law enforcement officer in a crisis situation at 48,000 feet," explains Robert Johnson, a TSA spokesman.
After completing training, pilots would be issued a .40-caliber, semiautomatic pistol and given authority to have the weapon with them only when they're flying a commercial aircraft.
When going to and from the airport, they would be required to carry the holstered weapon inside a locked case inside a bag so no one could tell they had a gun.
Though Congress didn't give the TSA any money to train pilots or pay for guns, the agency assembled $500,000 from various accounts for a test program. The agency has asked for $20 million to run a broader program.