April 11, 2000
Press Release #00.20
ALPA Testifies Against Cameras In Cockpit and Psychological Testing
WASHINGTON --- The president of the nation’s oldest and largest
airline pilots’ union today told Congress that pilots strongly disagree
with the notion that video surveillance and psychological testing of
flight deck crews will make any contribution toward increased air
"ALPA has a proud 69-year history of safety advocacy," said Captain
Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association,
International (ALPA), "but these issues are both a waste of precious
resources and a senseless intrusion on pilots’ privacy. To the
uninitiated," he said prior to the hearings, "cockpit video, as well as
psychological testing of pilots, has the false allure of the
all-inclusive solution to the nature and cause of every aircraft
accident and incident. The reality is that video surveillance and
psychological testing of pilots will not prevent accidents."
On the topic of cockpit cameras, Woerth’s testimony underlined the
fact that video is not the answer to increasing air safety.
"Air safety will be far better served by continuing to focus on
improved flight recorders and proactive safety programs such as Flight
Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) and the Aviation Safety Action
Program (ASAP)," Woerth said.
Protecting pilots’ privacy and the release of data for inappropriate
purposes is ALPA’s highest concern with regard to cameras in the
cockpit. Experience with cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) in the past 40
years has proven that regardless of NTSB procedures, pilots are not
protected from the misuse of data collected for the sole purpose of
enhancing air safety.
"The CVR has been used for sensational purposes by the media. It has
been used by litigants in civil and criminal cases. It has even been
used by employers for surveillance and disciplinary purposes," said
Woerth. "This is unacceptable."
At the recent International Federation of Air Line
Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) meeting in Tokyo, pilots worldwide united
behind a resolute statement against the unfettered invasion of cameras
into their cockpits that said:
"Unless and until all member States of the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) subscribe to, enact and implement strong
protective measures to positively guarantee protection of privileged
information, and strict measures are imposed for abuses of national laws
and regulations governing the use of cockpit recorder derived
information, new and enhanced cockpit information collection devices
will not be accepted by the international air line pilot profession."
On the subject of psychological testing, ALPA contends that pilots
are already subject to rigorous and thorough screening and evaluation by
airlines prior to employment, including psychological testing and
performance evaluation, and during employment through FAA and
company-mandated medical examinations.
"Routine psychological testing of airline pilots is unnecessary.
There are already ample means during daily operations, recurrent
training, crew resource management programs and company evaluations to
identify improper pilot behavior," Woerth said.
A third subject of ALPA testimony centered on English language
proficiency of pilots. ALPA has long been a strong proponent of
standardizing voice communications between pilots and controllers.
The text of Captain Woerth’s full testimony will be posted on
ALPA is the world’s oldest and largest pilots union, representing
55,000 crewmembers at 51 carriers in Canada and the U.S.
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ALPA CONTACT: Anya Piazza or John Mazor (703) 481-4440