By Glenn Pew, Contributing Editor, Video Editor
The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) has announced its strong opposition to proposed legislation that would allow use of CVRs to punish pilots for procedural violations. The bill was introduced Feb. 26, by Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in part to "improve air safety" by allowing carriers "limited use" of the information collected by the recorders. Specific language in the bill would allow use of CVR material "to discipline or discharge a pilot" and "to evaluate or monitor the judgment or performance of an individual pilot," among other things. CAPA says the legislation "would turn back the clock on every safety improvement the industry has attained in the last fifteen years of voluntary aviation safety programs." CAPA is calling on members of the Senate to oppose the measure, saying that if it passes, the measure would "irreparably harm our aviation safety system in America." Meanwhile, the NTSB has its own take on the matter.
The NTSB recently announced its support for downloading CVR data for use in voluntary safety reporting programs -- with one major caveat. The board's recommendation for use of CVR material included specific wording that all crew be de-identified to protect confidentiality. According to CAPA, Senator DeMint's legislation would seek "to include 'real time' monitoring and punishment of pilots," and that, it says, "is misguided." CAPA believes introduction of such a measure would harm flight safety by inhibiting necessary communications required to effectively manage the cockpit. In the words of CAPA president Captain Paul Onorato, the bill would "destroy voluntary safety reporting programs" like Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) and the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). Find the bill online, here. For information on contacting your representatives, click here.