October 23, 2001
ALPA Statement on NTSB Findings in Little Rock Accident
WASHINGTON, D.C.---The following statement was issued by the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) in response to the National Transportation Safety Board findings in the American Airlines accident at Little Rock, Ark. on June 1, 1999:
ALPA was pleased that the NTSB included fatigue as a factor in the accident. It was clear from the record that pilot fatigue played a role, prompting the Board to reiterate its recommendation of two years ago that the FAA should "Establish within 2 years scientifically based hours-of-service regulations that set limits on hours of service, provide predictable work and rest schedules, and consider circadian rhythms and human sleep and rest requirements."
Unfortunately, in the two years since the recommendation first was issued, the FAA has not yet moved to update the work and rest rules for pilots. ALPA hopes that this finding will provide the necessary incentive for the FAA to update these rules, which date back to the 1930s.
ALPA also was encouraged by the numerous recommendations to improve weather detection systems and notification procedures.
Almost unnoticed in the lengthy list was a call for required installation of crash detection and location technologies. Amazingly, although every general aviation aircraft is required to carry an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) that helps rescuers find a down aircraft, there is no such requirement for commercial airliners. Valuable minutes were lost in the fire and rescue response in this accident. The presence of an ELT would have reduced the response time considerably.
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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor (703) 481-4440