It’s no secret that aviation today is the safest mode of transportation in the world. That incredible feat is due in part to a large coalition of key stakeholders, like ALPA, who work every day with industry and government to ensure that passenger and cargo air transport continues to maintain unprecedented levels of safety. One facet of that work includes keeping a close watch on how technology is being integrated into every aspect of aviation. Today, we are launching #TechTuesday, a new column here on Leadership from the Cockpit, to highlight the vital ways that pilots use technology on each and every flight, often unseen to the average passenger.
While the advancement of technology over the years has been critical in increasing efficiency and functionality within our system, ALPA has been a leader in ensuring that technology continues to enhance, not undermine, aviation safety and security. Through technological advancements, today’s pilots operate multimillion-dollar machines made up complex parts—essentially, an extensive network of computer systems.
While there is no argument that technology will continue to have an important role in what we do, ALPA is a strong advocate for adapting it safely and efficiently. Just this week, ALPA raised objections to new rules regarding the commercial operations of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and urged the FAA take a stronger stance in ensuring that those who commercially pilot sUAS hold the same certificate as commercial-rated pilots. By requiring knowledge tests as well as demonstrating flight proficiency, we will be able to assure a standard level of aeronautical knowledge and training for all pilots who operate UAS commercially.
ALPA recognizes that the commercial operators of sUAS aircraft have a vested interest in safe and successful operations. However, there is concern regarding the unregulated operations of sUAS by hobbyists for recreational enjoyment. Those recreational flyers are unregulated because the U.S. Congress would not allow FAA to issue regulations governing hobby flying of UAS aircraft. ALPA is also urging Congress to correct this legislative condition.
For more examples of how technology shapes aviation, come back to Leadership from the Cockpit for our next installment of #TechTuesday.