ALPA

Leadership From the Cockpit

Vivid outdoor light displays and inflatable characters bring smiles to many during the holidays – but did you know that these high-tech presentations can put pilots, charged with the care of passengers and packages onboard, in danger?

The use of lasers in such displays has increased substantially in recent years, and a high-powered or poorly aimed laser beam can hit a pilot's line of sight on the flightdeck during a critical phase of flight—takeoff or landing. This year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) received 8,550 reports of laser strikes against aircraft, up from 6,852 in 2020 – and making the highest annual total since 2016!

The “laser strike” that illuminates the inside of an airplane flight deck can cause temporary blindness to the pilots aboard, which puts the flight in danger. Some pilots who suffer laser strikes have long-term vision impairments, leaving them unable to work.

If you’re a pilot who gets lased this holiday season, follow these steps.

ALPA walks you through how to mitigate a laser hit on the flightdeck, reporting to air traffic control and follow up actions after you land safely.

As you deck the halls this holiday season, remember your airline pilots and keep your lights and lasers pointed at your house, not to the sky. We’ll make sure your family and friends – and all those online purchases and gifts – arrive safe and secure.

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ALPA is happy to participate in helping the public fly drones safely, as it sparks the aviation bug for so many across the nation this holiday season. But before you take your drone out for a spin, we’d like to review the training requirements and emphasize how essential it is for you to follow them for everyone’s safety because now, you are sharing our airspace.

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We know that the most vital safety feature on a commercial airliner is at least two experienced, trained, and rested professional pilots on the flight deck—and as our passengers begin to return to the skies, we are delivering this message loud and clear so travelers know that airline pilots are More Than Ready to get them safely to their destinations this holiday season and beyond.

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The air shimmered with excitement on October 2, as more than 200 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University students and alumni spoke with ALPA pilots and toured a CommutAir ERJ 145 in Prescott, Ariz. The event, hosted by the ALPA ACE Club, was one of many ALPA outreach efforts held during the campus’ Homecoming week celebration, OctoberWest.

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Long before she became a captain, or had even flown on an airplane, Claudia Zapata-Cardone was no stranger to the airport. Almost every night growing up, Claudia and her mother would bring her father dinner during his shifts at the airport. During these drop-offs, Zapata-Cardone would watch the planes land and take off, imagining how “magical” the experience of flying must be. With her father’s help, she learned to identify the different types of aircrafts, their fuel capacities and how far they could travel.

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