MEMPHIS, Tenn.—The cargo pilots of Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, the Independent Pilots Association, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division issued the following statement concerning the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday.
“While we applaud Members of Congress on their efforts regarding the release of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, we are deeply concerned with the language contained in Section 744—a provision that would introduce significant aviation safety and security risks for cargo aircraft. Specifically, this provision establishes a research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting.
“The professional cargo pilots of our collective airlines strongly oppose Section 744 and implore Congress to reject this provision without delay. By endorsing language that promotes single-operator commercial cargo aircraft, Congress will undermine years of safety and security measures currently in place and put lives at risk.
“The desire by some in the industry to pursue single-piloted or autonomously piloted cargo aircraft seriously places the American public and the flight crews of these aircraft in a tenuous position. For many years, aviation has been the safest form of transportation in the United States. This is by no means an accident; it is the result of a strong regulatory framework built over time, paired with an ongoing airline system safety culture that is one of the most ambitious in our nation’s history. Attempts to roll back safety regulations in such a way are counterproductive, and unacceptable to the common good. With the increasing frequency and severity of reports regarding computer hacking, accidents in current military and civilian drone operations, and mounting reports of autonomous vehicle accidents, we think any serious consideration of this technology is premature at best.”