ALPA Continues to Sound the Alarm on Single-Pilot Language in House FAA Bill


In an interview with Politico, ALPA President Capt. Tim Canoll, discussed ALPA's opposition of the inclusion of Section 744 into the House FAA reauthorization bill. Section 744 authorizes a study to explore single-pilot flight operation on cargo aircraft.

“It is very premature even to be studying single-piloted planes,” Capt. Canoll said in the interview. “There’s no technology even envisioned, no one’s thought of one, that’s going to allow that nonverbal communication between someone remotely flying the aircraft thousands of miles away and the one person on the flight deck.”

Since the surprise inclusion of Section 744, ALPA has been working to keep this provision from being added to the final FAA reauthorization later this year, which is now moving through the Senate.

ALPA maintains that Section 744 introduces a significant safety threat to all-cargo and passenger flight. When an incident arises during flight, as demonstrated in the recent Southwest Airlines flight when the engine blew apart and ripped a hole in the plane’s fuselage, pilots are trained to react in accordance with practiced and prescribed procedures. For this reason, ALPA is also a strong advocate of the FAA’s first officer qualification, experience, and training requirements.

ALPA has also expressed concerns about cybersecurity, as well as communication delays between a pilot on the plane and a pilot on the ground. Standing with ALPA are the Independent Pilots Association (representing the pilots of UPS) and Chesley Sullenberger, the captain in the 2009 “Miracle on the Hudson” incident.

Politico also cited a recent NASA study which reinforces ALPA’s position. In the study, NASA simulated single-pilot flying with today’s flight decks and concluded that it is “not nominally acceptable due to the significant task demands and workload.”

Subscribers to Politico can read the full story here.


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