April 6, 2006
Pilots and Families Protest Cockpit Voice Recorder Airing During Moussaoui Trial
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- ALPA President Capt. Duane E. Woerth issued the following statement after the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia issued a written order announcing the potential public release of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) tape in the case of United Airlines Flight 93, the hijacked airliner that crashed in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Pilots urge U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to reconsider her ruling and keep private the cockpit voice recordings of the final moments before the hijacked Flight 93 airliner crashed.
“The families of our members who lost their lives on 9/11 have suffered profoundly, and we firmly believe that it would violate the privacy promises made by the government to pilots should the cockpit voice tapes be publicly disclosed.
“For years, federal law and agency policy have sought to carefully balance the privacy of pilots and their families with the need for a full and fair trial. The law recognizes certain narrowly defined circumstances where the CVR tape may be heard privately, so long as there is no public playing. Beyond that, releasing the tape serves no legitimate purpose that would outweigh the privacy rights of the crew. This decision would set a dangerous precedent that would affect the future privacy rights of all airline pilots.
“ALPA will provide any and all legal support to the families of Flight 93’s crewmembers who desire to keep the CVR private. We hope that Judge Brinkema will protect pilots and their families and play the recordings only in closed session, as the law requires.”
ALPA represents 62,000 airline pilots at 39 carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Its website is www.alpa.org.
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ALPA CONTACTS: John Mazor, Linda Shotwell, (703) 481-4440, firstname.lastname@example.org