Pilots association opposes monitoring of flight recorders

March 25, 2010

The Air Line Pilots Association, International is voicing intense opposition to legislation proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) that would allow airlines to monitor cockpit voice recorders.

The Pilot Professionalism Assurance Act (S. 3048) aims to "improve air safety by authorizing the limited use by air carriers of information collected through cockpit voice recorders and flight data recorders." ALPA alleges airlines would use the data for discipline. "The chilling effect of having conversations and flight data monitored and evaluated out of context for possible disciplinary action by corporate managers and others who may have motivations other than safety would be substantial," the Washington-based association said in a Feb. 26 press release, adding that such a move could lead to pilot distraction.

DeMint's bill was introduced Feb. 26 -- one day after a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee's Aviation Operations, Safety and Security Subcommittee hearing on aviation safety, which was prompted by a 2009 Colgan Air Flight crash that resulted in 50 fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board plans to convene a three-day public forum on professionalism in aviation May 18-20.