March 15, 2005
Pilots to Congress: "Give Us Security Information in Cockpit Now"
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Captain Terry McVenes, Air Safety Chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, and First Officer Parry Winder testified on lasers as an aviation safety hazard before the Aviation Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure today. Winder, who was lased in the cockpit while approaching Salt Lake City, provided a first-hand account of his experience.
"While lasers are a serious issue, the public should recognize that flying remains extremely safe," McVenes testified. "We are very concerned about the potential risk lasers pose to the health of our pilots, but the public should understand that every commercial aircraft carries a professional two-pilot crew. It is highly unlikely that both pilots could be incapacitated simultaneously."
McVenes called on Congress and the federal agencies to take the following actions:
"Aviation security is about more than protecting pilots and planes, it is about protecting our nation," concluded McVenes. "By virtue of our passion and our professionalism, pilots have an unrivaled stake in aviation safety and security issues. We look forward to working together with the federal agencies and with Congress to address lasers and any other threats to passengers, crew and cargo."
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's largest pilot union, representing 64,000 pilots at 41 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
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ALPA Contact: John Mazor or Linda Shotwell, 703-481-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.