Release #13.70
December 30, 2013

ALPA Applauds Primary Focus on Safety in FAA Administrator’s UAS Announcement

WASHINGTON–The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) today issued the following statement regarding the announcement made by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta, which identifies congressionally-mandated test sites to be used for critical research into the certification and operational requirements necessary to safely integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the national airspace (NAS). These aircraft are also referred to as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

“ALPA is pleased that today’s announcement by the FAA detailing the selection of the six public entities that will develop RPA research and test sites around the country keeps the focus of RPA integration on safety. As Administrator Huerta made clear, this is one step in a deliberate methodical process to ensure the continued safety of the NAS. We are pleased at the assurances that these evaluations will be well supervised and carefully controlled.

"As ALPA has maintained for years, RPA can only be safely integrated into the NAS when it can be shown that the aircraft, pilots, and operators meet the same high standards as other NAS users. Key to this demonstration is comprehensive and multifaceted testing, analysis and failure mode evaluation. ALPA will continue to work with the U.S. government and industry partners to ensure line pilot input is available as a resource to the test developers.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 50,000 pilots at 32 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703/481-4440 or