Release #: 16.21
June 21, 2016

ALPA Statement on FAA’s Regulations for Operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Washington, D.C.­—The Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) issued the following statement today after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced regulations regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS):

“ALPA has been a strong supporter of the safe integration of sUAS and has worked with the FAA and industry stakeholders to ensure that the overall safety of our national airspace is not compromised.

“While the regulations released today contain beneficial safety provisions, such as limiting operations to line of sight, no night-time operations, and not exceeding 400 feet in altitude, ALPA would like to see the FAA take a stronger stance in ensuring that those who commercially pilot sUAS hold the same certificate as commercial-rated pilots. This will assure a standard level of aeronautical knowledge and training across all pilots operating UAS commercially.

“Further, ALPA urges Congress to ensure that the FAA has the authority to fully regulate hobbyists and recreational flyers of UAS aircraft. Recreational users make up the bulk of UAS flyers, yet they are virtually unregulated due to legislative conditions placed on the FAA. It is essential that all rules developed to promote the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems must be consistent with and compatible with those for all other airspace users.

“We will continue to work with the FAA and stakeholders to further advance the safe integration of sUAS for both commercial operators and hobbyists. ALPA remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing the unparalleled safety record of U.S. aviation.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents over 53,000 pilots at 31 U.S. and Canadian airlines. Visit the ALPA website at or follow us on Twitter @WeAreALPA.


CONTACT: ALPA Media, 703-481-4440 or