In a move that has infuriated pilots and their unions, Congress has included allocations for research and implementation of single-piloted all-cargo flights into H.R. 4, the FAA reauthorization funding bill now under consideration.
Section 744 of the bill establishes a “research and development program in support of single-piloted cargo aircraft assisted with remote piloting and computer piloting” in conjunction with NASA and other relevant agencies.
On Aug. 1, unions representing the pilots of nearly 50 commercial airlines joined together at the 64th Air Safety Forum hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA) to express their opposition of what they’re calling a “dangerous set of provisions” added to the FAA reauthorization bill.
“ALPA adamantly opposes FAA Reauthorization Section 744 and will continue to use every resource we have to ensure that this anti-safety provision is not enacted,” wrote ALPA President Captain Tim Canoll in a joint press release with six other unions.
“Cargo and passenger carriers operate the same high-performance jet aircraft, share the same congested airspace, and fly over the same densely populated areas. There’s no logical reason to apply different standards to each,” wrote Capt. Dan Carey, president of the Allied Pilots Association (APA), in the same release.
H.R. 4 passed in the House of Representatives 393 – 13 on April 27. The bill now sits in the Senate where it has been placed on Legislative Calendar No. 401.