February 19, 2010
Pilots’ Concerns Echoed in Many NTSB Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements
WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), commends the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for continuing to use its Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements to draw attention to many of the most serious safety challenges the U.S. airline industry faces today.
“We are gratified that the NTSB continues to push the FAA to enhance safety in critical areas, including the need to take on pilot fatigue, reduce runway incursions and excursions, and provide better guidance to ensure safe flight in icing conditions,” said Capt. John Prater, ALPA’s president. “ALPA strongly supports the Board’s call for expedited action to better safeguard passengers, crews, and cargo against these threats.”
For decades, ALPA has urged the airline industry and the FAA to address pilot fatigue by modernizing airline pilots’ flight- and duty-time limits and minimum rest requirements based on science. During the meeting, the NTSB reinforced the need to reduce accidents and incidents caused by human fatigue.
“Our union has been deeply involved in the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee and Congressional efforts to address pilot fatigue,” said Prater. “We hope the visibility surrounding this NTSB meeting will provide an added push to get the proposed regulatory changes through the process and out to the public.”
In addition, the Association applauds the NTSB’s continued focus on efforts to provide safer operations on and around runways. ALPA continues to be an industry leader in work to eliminate runway incursions and excursions. Technologies such as ADS-B and cockpit moving map displays, combined with runway status lights and enhanced runway markings, will help pilots safely navigate increasingly complex and congested airports.
Prater said that ALPA pilots are encouraged by the FAA’s commitment to increase the number of airports with runway status lights in 2011, but he underscored that the airline industry must continue to pursue the range of high- and low-tech solutions to making runways as safe as possible.
While supporting nearly all the NTSB’s Most Wanted Safety Improvements, ALPA, the world’s largest non-governmental aviation safety organization, remains adamantly opposed to the Board’s recommendation for the use of cockpit image recorders.
“Well-proven and far superior methods exist to gather safety information without the threat of becoming the distraction in the cockpit that video cameras pose,” concluded Prater. “Cameras also hold the potential to compromise the accident investigation process and invade privacy. In addition, the absence of international safeguards makes it a virtual certainty that such data would be misused. These powerful drawbacks make it clear that cockpit image recorders have no place in a commitment to advancing aviation safety.”
Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing more than 53,000 pilots at 37 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at www.alpa.org.
CONTACT: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or firstname.lastname@example.org