Having submitted comments for the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security's March 24 hearing on key considerations regarding unmanned aerial systems (UAS), the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) is speaking out on safety concerns.
Capt. Tim Canoll, president of ALPA, says in a statement that the pilot union “recognizes the societal and economic benefits” of UAS, which, ALPA says, can “perform a wide variety of tasks more efficiently [and] in a more environmentally responsible manner, and potentially more safely than the same task performed with conventional aircraft.”
“However,” ALPA explains, “it is vitally important that the pressure to capitalize on the technology not lead to an incomplete safety analysis of the aircraft and operations.”
It encourages Congress and “industry stakeholders” to collaborate on developing safe operations for UAS, which possess a “uniqueness” that reveals “many safety and technological challenges to be addressed before integration.”
‘Until the FAA transmits comprehensive solutions, our overarching position is that unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft should not be allowed unrestricted access to conduct flight operations unless they meet all of the high standards currently required for every other airspace user,” according to the pilot union.
Founded in 1931, ALPA represents more than 51,000 pilots at 30 airlines in the U.S. and Canada.