Leadership From the Cockpit
4 Results for Author Captain Joe DePete
By Capt. Joe DePete
Today, I had the privilege of helping to host ALPA’s Air Cargo Symposium. This one-day event provided a rare opportunity to hear from experts from across aviation’s all-cargo sector on ways improve safety and security for this vital segment of the transportation industry.
Along with ALPA President Capt. Tim Canoll, we welcomed FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Christopher Hart who addressed attendees, and those viewing the live webcast, on collaborative and innovative efforts to increase cargo safety and productivity.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) recent announcement that it will support an interim ban on all cargo shipments of lithium batteries on passenger airliners at an upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) meeting is promising news, but ALPA urges the FAA to strongly advocate its position at ICAO’s Dangerous Goods Panel, which is slated to meet later this month. Moreover, the United States must go further by fully regulating lithium battery shipment by air and implementing packaging restrictions and quantity limits on passenger and all-cargo aircraft.
Currently, lithium-ion batteries can be carried in all quantities as cargo on passenger and all-cargo flights. In its draft comment summary prepared for the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel Twenty-Fifth Meeting to be held October 19–30 in Montreal, the U.S. government states, “At this time, we feel it is necessary to support an interim prohibition on the carriage of lithium ion-batteries as cargo on passenger aircraft to ensure that the risk is mitigated while we continue to aggressively pursue development and implementation of the performance-based standard for air transport.” The FAA’s position came in response to recommendations submitted by First Officer Mark Rogers, ALPA’s former director of the Dangerous Goods Program and current IFALPA Dangerous Goods Committee chairman and ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel member.
As a profession, nothing compares to being an airline pilot. Ask any pilot and you’ll find that we are extremely passionate about flying. For us, it’s more than just a job, it’s in our blood—and you would be hard-pressed to find an airline pilot who would rather do anything else.
As ALPA’s first national officer who comes from an all-cargo carrier, I know from experience the unique challenges faced by pilots who fly freight. As the union’s first vice president and national safety coordinator, I also witness the common commitment to safety, pilot assistance, and security all ALPA pilots share, regardless of what they carry on their aircraft.