Release #10.24
July 14, 2010

Pilots Need Accurate Crosswind Information
Denver Runway Accident Demonstrates Hazard

WASHINGTON – Airline pilots’ long-time call for timely, accurate weather information in the cockpit was echoed during this week’s National Transportation Safety Board sunshine meeting to detail the findings of its investigation into a 2008 accident in which Continental Flight 1404 departed the left side of the runway at Denver International Airport.

ALPA remains concerned, however, that the single-probable-cause outcome of NTSB investigations creates a scenario that focuses on a single element at the risk of ignoring the many safety issues brought out in the investigation.

“For decades, the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, has challenged the industry to provide pilots more accurate information more quickly on weather phenomena such as strong, gusty crosswinds,” Capt. Rory Kay, Executive Air Safety Chairman of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), said after the meeting. “Across the industry, the information on, and response to, extreme wind hazards is not as robust as it should be to keep our passengers and crews as safe as possible.”

The pilots of ALPA, the world’s largest non-government safety organization, advocate a solution that includes:

“ALPA also commends the NTSB’s recommendation to ensure that seats on the flight deck meet the highest possible standards of safety for crewmembers,” said Kay. “As the NTSB pointed out, flight crews deserve to benefit from a single, high level of safety across the industry.

“It’s unfortunate that it takes an accident like the one in Denver to draw attention to the safety risk posed by pilots’ not receiving timely and accurate information about crosswinds,” Kay concluded. “The good news is that we know the type of information access, operating limitations, and pilot training that are needed to address the hazard. We urge the regulator and the airlines to work together with pilots to swiftly implement these solutions.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing nearly 53,000 pilots at 38 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at


CONTACT: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or