Captain Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), issued the following statement regarding this week’s findings from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) directed study that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) may damage aircraft more than bird strikes during collisions.
“The dangers from UAS that are operated unsafely in the national airspace are real—as we’ve seen in two recent UAS midair collisions. The findings released this week in a Federal Aviation Administration sponsored study, combined with previous data showing that near misses between UAS and manned aircraft are occurring more often, provide compelling evidence that we need to act before tragedy strikes.
“In 2012, Congress told the FAA it could not create or put into effect any new safety regulations for unmanned aircraft that are operated as models or as a hobby. Congress must change this law and allow the FAA to apply safety rules to all types of UAS operations. Policy and regulations must require operators to understand how to fly UAS safely. Individuals who fly UAS for recreation must be required to keep the aircraft within sight, so they know where it is located and where it is heading. In addition, authorities must possess the tools to identify and track UAS operators who don’t conform to the rules so that authorities can protect air travelers and shippers.
“The safety threat reinforced by this week’s FAA-sponsored study further demonstrates the need to allow public comment on all UAS Integration Pilot Program proposals. In addition, Congress must allow the FAA to apply proven safety regulations to hobbyists and help prevent future UAS-aircraft collisions that could hold dire consequences for the traveling and shipping public.”