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                                    Lessons from Our Past Challenges
                                    And Opportunities for Our Future

“[O]ur workplace is                  By Capt. Joe DePete, ALPA First Vice President         in supporting and assisting our pilots physically
safer than it’s ever                                                                        and emotionally, helping flight crews and their
been. But we never                  N early everything we do as airline pilots              families recover from the traumatic effects of a
rest on our laurels                            extends from the challenges faced by         mishap and coping with stressful life situations
because we know                                those who came before. We owe the            while remaining on the job.
that the work is never               generations of past pilots a debt of gratitude for
done.”                               laying the foundation for our working environ-            Many of the issues we’ve advocated for, perse-
                                     ment, safety enhancements, technology, and             vered through, and ultimately won echo and reso-
                                     infrastructure improvements that we enjoy to-          nate to today. As a result, our workplace is safer
                                     day. Without the collaborative strength of ALPA,       than it’s ever been. But we never rest on our laurels
                                     a pilot’s day (and night) would look far different     because we know that the work is never done.
                                     and be far riskier than it is today.
                                                                                               The same technologies that have improved avia-
                                        Imagine flying in today’s busy skies without        tion have created new opportunities and challeng-
                                     traffic or terrain alerting or a moving map display.   es for others, like unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)
                                     What would your flight be like if you didn’t have      operating in “shared” airspace. We must ensure
                                     resources such as flight dispatch or cockpit weath-    that the safety and security of crewmembers and
                                     er radar? What hazards might await you without         passengers are never jeopardized by these aircraft.
                                     the lessons learned from flight data recorders?
                                                                                               Laser strikes continue to pose challenges.
                                        Looking back, ALPA has fought for and won           More were reported last year than any previous
                                     many initiatives on behalf of all pilots. One ex-      year, and they threaten pilots’ ability to safely
                                     ample is the standard T instrument arrangement         do their job. Informing the public of the risk and
                                     that puts important flight information in the          enforcing current laws are critical to reducing
                                     same spot in every airline cockpit. This innova-       the instances of this easily preventable crime.
                                     tion came to fruition thanks to ALPA pilots who
                                     were concerned about the wide variety of instru-          We continue to advocate for greater safety
                                     ment configurations and took action by working         regarding the air transport of lithium batter-
                                     with industry to effect change.                        ies, which pose a fire and explosion hazard that
                                                                                            pilots are currently powerless to overcome in
                                        Building on our successes, ALPA continues           flight. While new requirements have come into
                                     to work with manufacturers in the design and           effect, we’re working to expand them to all air-
                                     development of new aircraft, providing a line          line operations and to ensure that governments
                                     pilot’s perspective, like we’ve done with deicing      worldwide comply with these requirements.
                                     and wind shear recovery. Even the ubiquitous
                                     “fasten seatbelt” sign was an innovation ALPA             We continue our efforts to remedy the
                                     members advocated for to make air travel safer.        carveout of cargo pilots from FAR Part 117 and
                                                                                            are pushing for science-based flight, duty, and
                                        This perspective is why ALPA is known as “the       rest requirements for cargo operations.
                                     conscience of the airline industry.” ALPA is the
                                     reason why many of the visual aids and markings           We’re making headway on these issues by voic-
                                     found at airports, like PAPIs, distance-to-go mark-    ing our perspective to government and industry
                                     ers, and centerline approach lighting systems, exist.  and collaborating with our allies and industry
                                                                                            stakeholders to ensure that our concerns are
                                        Our professional expertise further extends into     proactively addressed.
                                     protecting the cockpit from terrorist acts. We
                                     conceived of and advocated for training pilots            Industrialist and Department of Labor Hall of
                                     to carry firearms as federal flight deck officers,     Honor inductee Henry J. Kaiser once quipped,
                                     lobbied for strengthening cockpit doors, and           “Problems are only opportunities in work
                                     continue to work diligently to keep the cockpit        clothes.” For those willing to do the work, there
                                     jumpseat in the control of captains everywhere.        are many opportunities ahead. The challenges of
                                                                                            today are simply chances for us to rise to the occa-
                                        We’ve also led the charge on advancements           sion and do our part to preserve and enhance the
                                                                                            profession we all cherish.

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